Online Classes

As society progresses towards a more technically advanced work environment, you can guarantee that you will encounter an online class whether for professional development, or for completing classes towards a Masters or PHD degree.

Online classes allow participants to connect with people that generally share similar interests, responsibilities, and even sometimes time in life.
When you register for an online class you are choosing a subject that for some reason interested you, and many of the other participants will have done the same. Remember this when you are nervous and apprehensive, and even overwhelmed.

You get out of an online class what you put in to it.
The same can be said of a face to face class. The only difference between an Online class and a face to face class is the technology and the participants.

Here are some strategies for getting the most out of an online class

  1. Communicate-Don’t wait until you have read all of the assignments to start conversing with your classmates. Post your reactions, questions, and connections when they happen so that you can share with your classmates. Remember if you stay silent you are cheating your classmates out of hearing a different perspective, and experiences
  2. Plan Ahead-Set aside a time when you will focus on your class. Treat it as if you were sitting in a face to face class. Don’t schedule anything during this time, and even consider going somewhere like the library to escape the duties of home
  3. Don’t procrastinate-It is so easy in an online class to wait until the end of the week or the day before an assignment is due to start working. As I hope you can remember from your face to face classes this doesn’t result in your best work.
  4. Have Fun-Unless this class is part of a required curriculum you signed up for a reason. That reason may be that you were interested in the subject, or you are going to make a program and needed more information. Either way you owe it to yourself to enjoy your time immersed in this topic. Feel free to share any connections you make with this topic to your encounters. We ask young students to share connections made when reading a book, why wouldn’t we want that from adults.
  5. Participate– The amazing part of online classes is that it really is the students that make the class successful. Boring Face to Face classes generally involved a lecturer standing for an hour re-stating what you read in your textbook, with no real acknowledgement that there are people in the room. The lively fun classes were ones that the teacher had students talk to one another about what they had read, or thought about a certain subject. Each group would most certainly go on many tangents, but when they were drawn back together the students would respond on topic about what they had discussed. Going off topic is part of discussions, so don’t be afraid that you don’t fit the mold. An online class is similar to your group discussion only you have a longer time to discuss, and more people in your group.

Online classes are great opportunities, and if you do more than just read you will have a chance to learn more. The teacher and the other classmates will respond to you. You will be able to have some of your questions answered, and most likely be comforted that you are not the only one who has those questions.

Lastly, Remember you will be interacting in the same way that teens interact with their peers. Teens use IM and in-game chat (chat), Forums(Discussion Boards), Blogs, and podcasts to communicate ideas. The topics they discuss range from political to pleasure, depending on the person. Being a digital native does not mean that these technologies are only for you, it means that technology doesn’t intimidate you. In online classes there will be glitches, but if the participants are flexible you can move past the glitches and into learning.

posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

Get Ready to Vote!

Posted by Amy Alessio

The ballots will open in a few days, and hopefully readers have had a chance to look through all of the interviews and questions on the YALSA Election Blog. When you start voting, please remember to vote Yes for the YALSA Dues increase. A $10 difference in dues will make a huge impact in YALSA services.

Since our last dues increase in 1994, we have established the Michael L. Printz Award, expanded our lists of selected books and materials and created Teen Read Week. With this dues increase we will be able to do even more:

1. Expand Teen Read Week

2. Develop 3 new awards (audiobooks, first time YA author, outstanding achievement in YA librarianship)
3. Create and disseminate new selected lists (such as Teens Top Ten and Graphic Novels)
4. Provide expanded online resources and tools to help members do their job (CE opportunities, online communities, blogs, podcasting)
5. Develop a YA Literature Symposium

Instant Messages

Posted by Linda W. Braun

Recently I had the chance to go on a tour of the Seattle Public Library. I’d heard lots about the new library building and was really excited to see the architecture and the teen space. Walking up to the building one can’t help but notice the design of the facility and how it stands out on the city street. The instant message when viewing the building from the outside is “Well, this is quite something.”

I arrived at the library a little before the tour started and checked out the first floor where there is a very large sunny (yes sunny in Seattle) children’s room. The instant message when I saw the children’s room was, “Well, children are definitely an important constituency in this community.”

We met our tour guide and moved to the elevators as we found out the tour started at the top of the building. As we walked to the elevators I noticed in front of me a desk that said “Starbucks Teen Center.” As we moved closer I saw to the left of the Center comfortable furniture filled with people lounging – all adults. The Teen Center, I discovered, is a small horizontally designed space that does not include the comfortable furniture people were lounging in. The Teen Center is in fact much smaller than the children’s room. (Actually it ends up that by the end of the tour I discovered the space is much smaller than many areas of the library.)

I’ve been thinking about the instant message that the Teen Center sends to teens in the community. The fact that there is any space at all definitely sends a message that we know you exist. But, the fact that the space is small, somewhat dark, and nowhere near the size of other areas of the library sends a message that we know about you but don’t really need to think about you (or support you) too much.

Needless to say I was disappointed when I saw the teen space. I did have a renewed sense of the need to get the word out about service to teens and particulary the importance of designing space that supports teen needs and shows teens are a valued part of the community. The Professional Development Center section of the YALSA Website has a topic guide on space. For those interested in learning more about how to support teens through space it’s worth looking at.

SUS Training

Posted by Linda W. Braun

Today I went to a workshop that was led by two of YALSA’s SUS (Serving the Underserved) Trainers – Jack Martin and Sheila Schofer. The session was attended by over 40 librarians that serve teens in some way – YA specialists, generalists, children’s librarians, and directors. I left the session invigorated by the ideas of the presenters and the audience.

During the session Jack and Sheila gave participants a chance to talk about teens in the library, what they do there, and how those serving teens can help colleagues better understand the importance of providng high-quality service to teens. They connected the discussion to the Search Institute’s Developmental Assets and talked about how the Assets can be a tool for librarians to use when trying to educate colleagues about YA services.

One of the best activities was when Jack and Sheila had participants create a checklist for YA service The ideas were recorded on Word during the session, they were then printed out, and each of the people at the workshop was able to take the document back to their library and use it with staff/colleagues immediately.

This experience was a reminder of the great work that SUS trainers are doing and how they are helping to make sure all library staff is well-versed in YA.

You can read more about SUS on the YALSA website.

Importance of Conferences

Its the beginning of March, and even though I’m in college I’m not looking forward to my Spring Break. I’m looking forward to going to Boston for PLA.

Why, you may ask. Well its because at PLA I have the opportunity to meet with other librarians, see new places, and absorb a wealth of information from professionals all over the United States. The presenters are not paid to attend these conferences, but rather come to share what they have learned so that others may experience similar positive results. For me PLA is a breeding ground for great ideas, and who wouldn’t be excited about being involved in that.

I am halfway through my Library Science program, and attended both National and local conferences. The difference is astounding. At the national conference I was able to attend sessions of librarians who wrote articles, books, and blog; I was surrounded by dozens of authors of books I had read; and was able to leave with my suitcase full of ARCs, 5 bags full of “goodies”, and a head full of ideas.

I would recommend attending a national conference to everyone, but especially current Library Science students, and new librarians. While a student, ALA offers an excellent benefit of discounted conference admission and membership fees. If interested in working in a library you can not afford to pass this up.

Working with young adults requires a library that stays on the cutting edge of librarianship, which can still be two to three years behind the lives of the young adults. Attending conferences, participating in online classes, pushing yourself and your library to try new things, and sharing ideas with colleagues will keep our young adult departments meeting the needs of these important patrons long into the future.

posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

Online Literacies Class – The Final Week

Posted by Linda W. Braun

This is the end of the final week of YALSA’s class on new teen literacies. Along with the reading required for the week, students are also submitting a final project. For their project students have to provide an overview of an innovative library program or service that uses the technologies and literacies discussed in the class. The projects submitted are amazing and cover a range of possibilities for bringing hi-quality service to teens. They range from projects with wikis, blogs, RSS feeds, games, and more. Wow to the students in the class. I can tell we are going to see some really wonderful services to teens from those who participated.

Posted by Paula Brehm-Heeger

Welcome to the TAGS section of the blog! YALSA’s TAGS committee will host this section, and as the current TAGS chair, I’m pleased to kick off the discussion. Other members – Judy Macaluso, Kendra Skellen, Lisa Youngblood and Melissa Jenvey – will be posting TAGS-related questions, comments, suggestions and resource ideas in the near future, too. The key is for everyone reading the blog to share their thoughts, questions and comments about Teen Advisory Groups – we knows there is a lot to discuss when it comes to growing and maintaining a dynamic, energized TAG!

So, take a minute to brag about your TAG and tell us what you love most about your group and why? A little background information about your TAG would be great, too.

If your TAG is not already registered with YALSA’s TAGS directory, here’s your chance to sign up: http://www.ala.org/yalsatemplate.cfm?section=yalsa&template=cfapps/yalsa_tags/default.cfm