ALA Midwinter 2018: Fun Places to Visit in Denver

There are loads of things to do while you are in Denver for ALA Midwinter! To take a break from the conference and see the city I would recommend taking in at least two of my top 5 places to visit.

  1. Downtown Aquarium

The Downtown Aquarium in Denver is my top choice for things to do. It could be because I love seeing things up close, it could be because I love going at my own pace, or it could simply be because Colorado is a land locked state so seeing tropical fish is super fun!  Although it is a little pricey, the experience is worth it and once in the building, you can go through as many times as you would like. The Aquarium also has a 4-D Theater for those that really want to “feel” the experience. A must-see when you are in Denver.

  1. Denver Zoo

Number two of top things to do in Denver when taking a break from ALA Midwinter is the Denver Zoo! The Denver Zoo is a wonderful experience and a great way to relax after a busy day at ALA Midwinter.  The Zoo is laid out to include many different climates for different types of animals so you will get your steps in.  As an added fun bonus, you can purchase beer at the zoo and enjoy a cold one as you get to experience all the sights and sounds of the numerous animals.

  1. Denver Museum of Nature & Science

No visit to Denver is complete without a visit to the nature and science museum! The hands-on experience you will get at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science will ignite anyone’s curiosity for sure. With Bill Nye speaking at ALA Midwinter, it is a great tie-in to what will be experienced at the conference.

  1. Denver Botanic Gardens

With all the focus on animals, don’t forget to give plants some love while you are in Denver. The Denver Botanic Gardens is another great adventure to see plants both native and not native to the Colorado region. Take a walk through and enjoy the peaceful experience of the gardens.

  1. Denver Art Museum

To round out my top 5 places to visit in Denver, escape to the Denver Art Museum. The traditionalist and the modern artist will find peace in the galleries.  Many exhibitions will be open during ALA Midwinter including “Revealing a Mexican Masterpiece: The Virgin of Valvanera”, “Then, Now, Next: Evolution of an Architectural Icon”, “Stampede: Animals in Art”, and “Past the Tangled Present”.  Also opening on February 11th, the exhibit “Degas: A Passion for Perfection”.  The Denver Art Museum is the sole American venue for this exhibition.

*Bonus Activity!

Because I couldn’t just end at 5 things, take in a show at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts while in town. Choose from 4 different shows during the weekend of ALA Midwinter.  All are sure to be a fun time!

Antonia Krupicka-Smith is the Adult and Teen Services Manager for Library 21c of the Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs, CO.  She loves all things science which is clear in what she thinks is best to do in Denver!

Contact Your US Senators to Support Library Funding

In an effort to strengthen library and museum services across the nation, Senator Jack Reed introduced the Museum and Library Services Act of 2017 (MSLA) along with Senators Collins, Cochran, Gillibrand and Murkowski.   This legislation, introduced on Dec. 22nd, would reauthorize the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  For this legislation to succeed, there needs to be a grassroots effort from citizens to encourage their Senators to support it.  Please take a minute to email or call your Senators and ask them to cosponsor S. 2271, and encourage your friends, family, colleagues, and library’s advocates to do the same. Ready to use talking points and email templates available on the ALA siteContinue reading

Gimme a C (for Collaboration!): Lessons Learned from a Waldorf School Partnership

In summer 2017, my branch library was invited to host seven on-site storytimes for The Denver Waldorf School (DWS), a local, private school whose philosophy aligns with the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. The agreement was for my library to provide a storytime and craft/art project for approximately 25 children (ages 3-6) once per week from June through August. This was our first opportunity to partner with the school, and the more I learned about the cornerstones of Waldorf education, the more inspired I became to apply the principles to our regular storytimes and school-aged programming. Additionally, the partnership motivated me to reevaluate the ways public library staff teach technology to middle grade and high school students, and has prompted me to incorporate more elements of Waldorf education into library programming.

Continue reading

Research on Competency Content Area 2: Interactions with Teens

Authored by the YALSA Research Committee

Throughout the current term, the YALSA Research Committee will be looking at Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff through the lens of research.  Through our posts, we will attempt to provide a brief snapshot of how scholarship currently addresses some of the issues put forth through the standards.

This post focuses on Content Area 2: Interactions with Teens, which is generally described as “Recognizes the importance of relationships and communication in the development and implementation of quality teen services, and implements techniques and strategies to support teens individually and in group experiences to develop self-concept, identity, coping mechanisms, and positive interactions with their peers and adults.” Bernier (2011) approached the notion of youth patron engagement by examining media representations of young adults.  The author argued that libraries, like most institutions, institute policies and assign resources for groups based on cultural assumptions, such as those established and reinforced by news media.  In his content analysis of news stories, Bernier found that teens are generally negatively portrayed, often as voiceless criminals, trouble-makers, and in need of adult rescue. Bernier encouraged libraries who serve young adults to deliberately consider their institutional approach to this group with regard to policies, resources, space, and relationships with teens.

Continue reading

ALA Midwinter 2018: Yummy Places to Eat in Denver

Denver has some amazing restaurants! While reading this post, you’ll discover that I’d never make it as a food critic. That said, I do enjoy really tasty food and have a very particular sister-in-law who has introduced me to some excellent places.

Pasta – gluten free, too.

Angelos Taverna puts together some mean pasta dishes – and has delicious gluten free pasta (the additional $5 is worth it).  The Gorgonzola Steak Fettuccine was wonderful.

Something a bit fancy!

Corridor 44 in Larimer Square is a small but neat place to try. They do lots of fun drinks with champagne. Their food ranges from Scottish salmon to beet salad to a short rib melt. I highly suggest that short rib melt. Nighttime at Larimer Square is a lovely place to walk around even if you aren’t going to eat in the area. 

Want a quick treat?

The Market at Larimer Square is a fun spot with a variety of baked goods, fresh salads, and hot drinks. The teas warm me up on a cold day!

Dive bar food with lots of class

As their website says, “Fried chicken and champagne? Why the hell not?” Max’s Wine Dive in Denver has a great atmosphere and a wonderful wine list to go with the fried chicken (gluten free option, too). Checkout their website – lots of tasty items including sweet potato donuts at brunch!

Your party can’t agree?

Try Avanti: they have loads of choices. Think food truck style, but enclosed. There are seven different vendors in the space – I’ve tried most and they are good. American Grind, Brava! Pizzeria Della Strada, Chow Morso, Kaya Kitchen, QuickFish, Quiero Arepas, and The Regional.

Like I said above, I’m not a food critic – there are only so many ways that I know how to say that something is yummy. Enjoy exploring Denver and all the delicious places we have to eat.

 

Joanna Nelson Rendón is an adult services manager and the young adult services division head for Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is an adjunct professor for the University of Denver’s MLIS program and is on their Program Advisory Board. Joanna is the co-chair for the Colorado Association of Libraries’ Leadership Development. She is a blogger for Public Libraries Online. Joanna loves hiking, salsa dancing, and, of course, reading!

Volunteer for YALSA Committees, Advisory Boards, and Taskforces by February 1

It’s that time of year again! As YALSA President-Elect, I’ll make appointments in February for the following virtual YALSA groups that will begin work in early to mid 2018.

  • AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation (1 year term): This joint committee will design and conduct a project of mutual interest and benefit to the three participating ALA Divisions, working from a platform identified by the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Presidents-Elect.
  • Division and Membership Promotion Committee (1 year term): To work with staff to develop and pursue an aggressive and continuous campaign to recruit and retain members for YALSA; to promote the association to colleagues and to key partners as defined in the YALSA Strategic Plan; to promote and maintain good relations with existing members through activities such as the member booth at conferences; recognition of member anniversaries and outreach to lapsed members.
  • YALS/YALSAblog Editorial Advisory Board (1 year term): To serve as advisor to the co-chairs of the Advisory Board, the editor of YALS and the YALSAblog Member Manager, on the overall content of the print journal and the blog. To take an active role in determining content for both publications and an annual editorial calendar that identifies timely topics as well as authors for articles and blog posts. To create messages and content to promote the blog and the journal and to cross-populate each to highlight the content and focus of each publication. To work to ensure that key YALSA guidelines, resources, initiatives, etc. are integrated into the blog and the journal. To assist with the search process for a new editor or member manager, when appropriate.
  • Financial Advancement Committee (1 year term): Provide oversight and continued enhancement of the Friends of YALSA program, including promotion, fundraising and donor recognition.   Work with the Board year-round to create and implement virtual fundraising campaigns and fundraising efforts at conferences, aimed at both members and nonmembers, to support the $16,000 worth of scholarships and stipends YALSA gives out annually.  Periodically review YALSA’s Fundraising Toolkit and make updates, as needed.  Size – 1 chair, who sits ex-officio on the YALSA board, and a least one member from the previous year.
  • JRLYA Advisory Board (1 year term): YALSA’s Research Journal Advisory Board oversees the peer reviewing process as outlined in the Refereeing Process Guidelines that were approved by the YALSA Board of Directors. The Board also serves in an advisory capacity to the Member Editor of the journal by assisting with the solicitation of contributors and articles as well as generating ideas for topical articles or themes, when requested from the Member Editor.
  • Organization and Bylaws Committee (1 year term): To revise the Bylaws in order to clarify them and, when necessary, to recommend revision and amendment to improve them for the effective management of the division, for the achievement of its stated objectives, and to keep them in harmony with ALA Constitution and Bylaws; to study and review committee functions, recommending changes in committee structure; to advise on the organization handbook; and to make recommendations on other appropriate organizational matters.
  • Research Committee (1 year term): To stimulate, encourage, guide, and direct the research needs of the field of young adult library services, and to regularly compile abstracts, disseminate research findings, update YALSA’s Research Agenda as needed and to liaise with ALA’s Committee on Research & Statistics.
  • 2019 Summer Learning Taskforce (1 year term): To leverage state and local networks to promote the applications for summer learning grants. To vet the applicants for the grants and by February 12, 2018, choose the 20 applications that best meet the eligibility requirements as measured by their responses to questions on the application.  To vet the applicants for the summer intern grants and choose the 20 best by February 26, 2017. To compile and/or create resources focused specifically on assisting library staff with implementing summer learning programs and activities and add them to YALSA’s wiki as they are developed.  To seed discussions and share resources on the Summer Learning Ning.
  • Teens’ Top Ten Committee (1 year term): To facilitate the exchange of information and galleys of books published within the current and previous publishing years among the voting teen group members as well as the non-voting members; to annually prepare the “Teens’ Top 10” list for Teen Read Week; and to coordinate the public electronic vote. To assist with the collection and vetting of applications from libraries who wish to host an official reading group.
  • The Hub Advisory Board (1 year term): The Hub Advisory Board participates in the development and maintenance of the Hub and follows the guidelines for the site as set out by the YALSA Board of Directors. The Advisory Board also serves in an advisory capacity to the Member Manager of the site and assists with the collection of content for the site, generates ideas for content, works on getting teen and librarian input and feedback, facilitates marketing and PR as needed, and writes for the site as needed.
  • YA Symposium Planning + Marketing Taskforces (6 month term): To assist YALSA’s Program Officer with the planning and marketing of the conference, including vetting papers and proposals, vetting scholarship applications, assisting the Program Officer with identifying authors and keynote speakers, and leveraging social media tools to promote the event and scholarship opportunities, and more. Members will regularly share content via social media and through their state and local networks to build excitement for and share information about the event. Members will work with YALSA’s Communications Specialist to assist with the implementation of a marketing plan.

Learn more about serving on advisory boards, committees, juries and taskforces via this FAQ.  You can gain valuable YALSA and professional development experience by volunteering to be on YALSA group.  You will also be helping YALSA achieve its mission to  “support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.”

Fill out the Committee Volunteer Form by Feb. 1, 2018. 

Thanks for all the time and talent you volunteer to YALSA!  If you’re looking for other ways to get involved, visit the YALSA web site for more opportunities or check out this brand new video from Jack Martin and Kate McNair!  If you have questions feel free to get in touch with me (crystle.martin@gmail.com).

Crystle Martin,  YALSA President-Elect

 

 

 

Year-End Activities for Library Staff

Recently there was a discussion on the listserv for the Association of Rural and Small Libraries about what activities are good to undertake at the end of the year.  It seemed like a good topic for the YALSAblog, too, so I’ve adapted my answers to make them more focused on serving youth:

Reflecting on this year

  • Send thank you notes to volunteers, supporters, and anyone who gave a helping hand or moral support.
  • Do a post-mortem of your overall efforts to serve teens in 2017. What was successful? What failed and why?  What will you do differently next year?  For more about taking the time to reflect, read this article, Time to Reflect: why does it matter in the workplace?
  • Conduct a review library policies and procedures to see if they need updating. Some useful information is on the ALA site and YALSA’s wiki.
  • Conduct a review the teen pages on your school or library’s web site and social media sites to see what needs updating or improving. Check out ASCLA’s web accessibility resources.  Review content and style for inclusive language, professional content versus personal beliefs, and potential sexist, discriminatory, or similarly insensitive language or images.  Ensure graphics do not show people in stereotypical roles.

Continue reading

Putting Teens First in Library Services: An Interview with Mega Subramaniam

Shannon Peterson and Linda Braun talk with Mega Subramaniam, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies. Mega discusses the Youth Experience certificate program, what it’s all about, and how to apply for the next cohort.

Putting Teens First in Library Services: A Roadmap is available for purchase in the ALA store.

How Libraries can Build Communities with Minecraft

On Thursday afternoons, in the heart of the Beacon Hill Library in Seattle, you might find an animated group of youth on laptops designing parkour courses, rendering torch lit dungeons or co-constructing capture the flag arenas—all in Minecraft, the popular world-building game. To some, this scene might seem somewhat out of place in a library: Aren’t video games and lively teen banter fundamentally at odds with an institution whose core identity markers are books and silence? Not according to Juan Rubio, the Digital Media and Learning Program Manager for the Seattle Public Library (SPL).

“This is how they begin to build a bond and affiliation with the library,” explains Rubio. “I want to create learning opportunities while keeping the environment fun and playful—and Minecraft is a good transition in that direction.” Creating teen-friendly zones and activities is part of a widespread movement by libraries to become dynamic hubs that engage the community in a broad range of services and events.

Rubio spearheaded the partnership between SPL and Connected Camps to deliver a free after school Minecraft program for 10 – 13 year-olds. He’d run successful Minecraft clubs in his previous incarnation with the Brooklyn Public Library and decided to build on the experience in Seattle. Following the successful pilot at Beacon Hill, Rubio aims to roll the program out to more of SPL’s 27 branches.

“We wanted to target middle school youth, and to add another layer—not just Minecraft for Minecraft’s sake. My outcomes are around design and computational thinking, so Connected Camps was a good fit for us,“ said Rubio. In terms of practical implementation, the library offers breakaway rooms, wired laptops, and on-site supervision, while Connected Camps provides a structured Minecraft program and the support of an in-game mentor.

Continue reading

Update on the Search for the Next ALA Executive Director

Currently a petition is circulating among ALA members that attempts to put a measure on the ALA spring ballot in an effort to overturn the most recent decision by ALA Council to change the language of the job announcement for the next ALA Executive Director from “MLIS preferred” (or CAEP/school librarian equivalent) back to MLIS required. YALSA’s Board of Directors strongly favors retaining the current status that prefers that candidates hold the MLIS/CAEP degree rather than require it. We feel that in order to effectively lead a professional organization the size and scope of ALA, a person’s skill as an association executive is critical. If there is a degreed librarian with these skills, that would be most desirable.

Continue reading