Thanks in part to the Library Linx partnership program featured in the Public Library and School Library Collaboration toolkit, Deschutes Public Libraries (OR) have seen a significant increase in collaborative programming with area schools. One great success has been my involvement with a local high school. Eila Overcash, teacher-librarian at Summit High School, had a great brainstorm about three years ago. She wanted to attract new students to her media center as well as capitalize on the interest of the strong corps of readers she served every day. She began a weekly Brunch and Books program during the school’s lunch period; teens could drop by the library for tasty snacks, book-related craft projects or games, and connect with other students. Eila invited me to come to Brunch and Books once a month to do book talks and share library news.
Summer Reading is officially over (at least for our library). The numbers are in, the prizes are gone, and the time has come to reflect on how things went. For the Teen Volunteer Program, this means looking at quantitative and qualitative data and coming up with a way to evaluate how it went.
We collected a few different kinds of information to help us evaluate the program. First, we kept track of how much each teen volunteered and the number of missed shifts. This quantitative data lets us make certain claims with confidence:
- We only had three no-call no-shows, which was just under 1% of all scheduled shifts.
- Teens showed up for a total of 298 volunteer shifts throughout the summer.
- On average, five teen volunteers helped us each day.
- Teens volunteered at the library for over 1,100 hours this summer.
- At least one teen volunteered for 100+ hours this summer, qualifying her for the Presidential Volunteer Service Award (check this out if you are looking for a way to recognize exceptionally dedicated volunteers).
Feedback from the teens suggests that using an online calendar (we used a Google Calendar) for scheduling was successful. We also emailed them regularly and made sure that they felt comfortable letting us know if they couldn’t make it in for a shift. Teens were never punished or treated differently if they couldn’t make a shift — volunteering, for all its similarities to a job, isn’t a job.
Towards the end of the program, we collected qualitative feedback using exit surveys. The teens’ responses were anonymous, and all answers were ‘long-form.’ (See the survey.) We gave these to the teens during the last two weeks of Summer Reading. In retrospect, it would be a good idea to have a midsummer survey ready. Only giving the survey at the end of the summer missed the teens who had to stop volunteering before then. We still emailed the survey to all of them, but only a few responded.
Each month members of the second cohort of the YALSA and ARSL IMLS-funded Future Ready with the Library project meet virtually to talk about what they are working on, ask questions of each other, and build skills and knowledge related to middle school college career readiness. In an August live session a portion of the conversation focused on how staff working on the Future Ready project are able to manage time for partnerships and for working with community. This 5 minute video clip presents highlights from that conversation.
Learn more about the Future Ready project on the YALSA website.
In January of 2017, I took on the exciting challenge of becoming the first Youth Services Librarian for Eastern Shore Public Library, where we have 2 branch libraries and 2 affiliate libraries serving a rural community that includes the counties of Accomack and Northampton. I have never regretted it for a moment and find priceless daily rewards in my hours working with and for young people at the libraries.
The library system works hard to compensate for having a very small staff, so we were very excited to learn we had received the Teen Intern grant from YALSA and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation! We posted the positions online and created a press release which led to an ample number of applications for our two positions. We hired two teen interns, Anna and Jenninyah, for the summer (one for each of the branch libraries) to help with all of our Summer Reading Program events, Lunch at the Library programs, and our Garden Club at our Northampton Free Library in Nassawadox. In the early stages of implementing the Teen Intern Program, there were times when it felt as if the unexpected grant might be adding more to my workload rather than the hoped-for opposite. However, at this point, I can truly say I do not know how I would have managed without the support of my wonderful Teen Interns.
This summer, with support from the 2018 YALSA/Dollar General Summer Reading Learning Resources Grant, the Dover Public Library hosted two ¡Vamos a Jugar! (Let’s Play!) events featuring bilingual and vocabulary-building board games. From bilingual Bingo to You’ve Been Sentenced, I selected a wide variety of games to challenge and entertain Dover teens. Now that the teens and I have tested our collection, we can give you our top picks.
KLOO’s Learn to Speak Spanish is a card game that teaches players Spanish with color coded cards. The Race to Madrid board and pieces turn the card game into a journey to the finish line, eliminating the need for a score sheet. While this is the most inventive, educational game on my list, the teens were not as interested as I had hoped. On a different day or with a different crowd, I think we could have a lot of fun expanding the game, making our own boards, and learning more Spanish together.
Fitz It is a card game that plays a little bit like Scrabble and a little bit like a riddle. The Fitz It deck contains over 250 cards with various phrases. The games begins with one randomly selected card in the middle of the table. Players then add to the grid with their own cards, but they have to say a noun that fits the description of all the cards in the row or column. A little difficult to explain, this game is a fun challenge once the initial concept clicks.
This post was written by YALSA Future Ready with the Library Cohort 2 member Vicki Bartz, County Librarian, Ortonville and Graceville (MN) Public Library.
For the Ortonville and Graceville (MN) Library’s Future Ready with the Library project I am working with a committee of family and community members to develop our college career readiness services for middle school youth and their families. The planning process has been interesting as we learn how best to connect with the schools and other community members to develop a successful service. We want to focus on middle school social emotional learning as a step towards college career success. However, while some of those we are working with see great value in helping middle school teens gain social emotional skills in order to prepare for life success, others have not been so certain that this focus is important to this work.
After working with our planning committee we decided to host a meeting of parents and teens with a focus on social emotional learning. At the meeting we talked with parents about the five skills teens need in order to be successful in life. As we had this discussion with parents, the middle schoolers worked on the 5 Love Languages Mystery Game. This game gives young people the chance to think about what they most would like to recieve from a caring adult – a hug, having someone else clean their room, getting a surprise, and so on. From this teens gain an understanding of the types of support they would like to receive from adults.
I am one of the 2018 YALSA/Dollar General Teen Intern grantees. This was our library’s first summer running a teen internship program. As we wrap up our program for the summer, I’m reflecting on how it went.
Our library serves a community where there are not many job opportunities for teens. Every time I visit schools and ask teens what they want to see at the library, one of their first answers is “jobs” (followed by “slime”). Therefore, our goal with this internship was to create a supportive and engaging “first job” experience for teens. We asked them to fill out an application and go through an interview process. We interviewed six teens for two positions. My hope is that this was a learning experience in a supportive environment, even for teens who were not offered the internship.
Once we selected our two interns, I worked to establish schedules and expectations with them. I also worked to create a list of tasks for them to complete over the course of the summer. I am glad I followed YALSA’s advice to plan more work than I thought they needed, because both interns learned quickly and finished tasks quickly. Both of our interns supported our summer reading program by helping prepare for and host children’s and teen programs. They also worked on various projects to help children and teens engage with our library space and collection, by creating displays, passive programs, and more. One of my goals for the year was to re-invent our teen space and collection by finding ways to give teens ownership of the space. There’s no better way to do this than to hire a teen to help!
In July, YALSA said goodbye to our Executive Director of over 13 years, Beth Yoke. Her last day was August 3rd. The YALSA Executive Director search committee concluded their work in early July and selected Anita Mechler as YALSA’s new Executive Director. Anita started on August 13th. You can find out more about Anita in the interview conducted by the YALSAblog Member Manager Allison Renner.
As you may know, the YALSA Board works year round. Since Annual we have been creating, discussing & voting on Board documents virtually, as well as finishing discussion on a few documents that we were not able to cover at Annual. We have selected a site for the 2019 Symposium, filled a vacancy on the board, made an official statement on the future of midwinter, and made progress on improving member engagement experiences (this one can be found in the Annual 2018 documents). Check out the documents we’ve approved since Annual 2018 here.
The Board is currently finishing up revisions to the Mission and Vision and developing an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan, as recommended by the Advancing Diversity Taskforce. We will also begin work on Strategic Planning this year, so keep an eye out for ways you can participate!
- A big thank you to the non-YALSA Members of YALSA Executive Director search committee, including Mary Ghikas, Beatrice Calvin, Dan Hoppe, Aimee Strittmatter. Todd Krueger, Sandra Hughes-Hassell, and myself comprised the remainder of the committee.
- Thank you to Nicole A. Cooke for guest editing a terrific issue of YALS on Intersectionalism, Cultural Awareness, and Restorative Justice. It will be available to read very soon.
Relevant Stats & Data
- June Membership: 4,671 (down 2.8% over June 2017)
- Funds raised in June: $721
- The 2018 YALSA YA Services Symposium will take place in Salt Lake City, UT, November 2-4, 2018, at the Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel with a theme of: Zeroing In: Focusing on Teen Needs.Registration is open now and the preliminary program is online.
- The YALSA Board approved a new version of YALSA’s Competencies. Make sure to check out the YALSAblog to learn more about these competencies. Find out about the upcoming free webinar competencies series here.
- The Public Library & School Library Collaboration Toolkit, the result of a three-year collaborative effort with members of AASL, ALSC and YALSA, provides information, research, and examples to will help facilitate and incorporate collaborative initiatives. Make sure to check it out!
- Check out the The Hub for the the latest on YA resources!
- Check out the Current Projects page to stay updated on what’s going on!
YALSA President 2018-2019
The Bartlett Public Library District had nine teen interns during the summer of 2018 which was made possible by the generosity of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and YALSA. The nine teen interns (Ayesha, Abby, Abigail, Andrew, Cailin, Emily, Ian, Safa, and Sakhee) learned about teamwork, problem solving, and customer service skills by working with and for library staff as the teens designed and facilitated programs for youth. The assistance of the teen interns made it possible to offer four more programs that did not require registration each week at the Bartlett Public Library.
The nine interns were split into different groups: one assisted library staff with a Readers’ Theater program, four were STEM/LEGO program interns, and four were Craft program interns. Each group had an hour each week for planning and preparation of their activity and then an hour to run the program. Each week, Ruth Anne Mielke and I (the direct supervisors’ for the interns) checked in with the teen interns to make sure that they had the supplies they needed and to see how comfortable they felt with how the program ran that day and if they had suggestions for the next week. This weekly check-in was an essential part of engaging with the teen interns and ensuring that their internship was beneficial to them and the library.
A colleague and I recently had a debate. She said she thought a specific library was progressive and I disagreed. Why? Because as I see it the library she was talking about isn’t progressive as a system. There are a couple of staff that manage programs that are certainly progressive, but the library overall, not so much.
I think this distinction is important to consider. Think about it, if we want teen services to be future and teens first focused – as defined by YALSA in recent reports, blog posts, and books – then we can’t simply assume that if a library has a few good programs led by awesome people that the whole institution is progressive, future focused, and teens first focused. Thinking about this I asked my colleague, “What happens if the people facilitating the progressive activities leave the library system? Would the library still be progressive in your mind?”