ALA Online Communities and YALSA

At my high school, after the first week of new quarter, members of the current graduating class in good standing could opt out of silent study hall and spend the rest of the quarter in the Senior Privilege area. “Senior Priv” was something for the freshman, sophomores and juniors to look forward to, and for the seniors to lord over the heads of the lower classes. It was nothing more than linoleum tiled room, directly under the library, outfitted with vending machines, breakfast service before noon, tables to encourage socializing — and games. Uno was the favorite activity in 1992, and pouring over Where’s Waldo? books in search of the man in the red & white striped shirt was a close second.

Today on the YALSA-BK list, someone asked about games popular with teens in libraries today – traditional board games, puzzles, and card games – that the library might purchase and have on hand. It sounds like a few librarians even jump in and play along.

The subject is a bit off topic for that particular listserv, so I recommended that we move the conversation to the new ALA Online Communities. Its like bulletin boards with discussion forums, calendar, and file space, and the new YALSA Gaming Discussion Group has a community all it’s own.

To access ALA Online Communities:

1. Go to http://communities.ala.org.

2. Login with your username (ALA #) and password). Don’t have a password? For password help, go to: http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=Login&Template=/security/PasswordHelp.cfm

If you know your membership # go to
http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=Login&Template=/Security/NoPassword.cfm

(If you are REALLY in a pinch, try calling 1-800-545-2433 during regular business hours.)

3. After you’ve logged in, to locate the YALSA Gaming Discussion Group:
Click “Divisions” from the left menu
Click “YALSA” from the left menu
Click “Teen Gaming Discussion Group” from the left menu

Click “Discussion Forums” from the top menu

FOR MORE INFO:
After you’ve logged in, click “Documents”
Open the ALA Participants File:
http://communities.ala.org/DesktopModules/NOLModules/NOL.Modules.FileManager/FileManagerRoot/0/ALA_Participants.pdf

The original query about games has not been reposted yet but I did start to compile a list of responses – look under the Board Games forum and add your response: What card, puzzle and board games do YOU recommend for in-house collections?

~posted by Beth Gallaway

PLA

I have arrived in Boston, and already meet two lovely librarians that were on my flight. I have my computer, but my hotel’s Internet is a little spotty. I will try to post every evening, but if I am unable I will at least post a review when I return back home.

For anyone at PLA I hope to see you here, and if you are interested in video games and libraries, a few librarians will be meeting Thursday at 8:30 in the Sherdon lobby if you want to come, otherwise you can spend your time on the community discussion forums at communities.ala.org

Sorry for the informality.

Jami Schwarzwalder

Media coverage of YA literature

Yesterday, Charlie Gibson interviewed Marcus Zusack about his new book, THE BOOK THIEF. During the interview Gibson lavished praise on the book, never mentioning the fact that it was a books for YAs OR that Zusack had just received a Printz Honor for his last book. While I am grateful for the media coverage, I wish there were some way to let those who “handle” the talent know about YA and its awards. I am certain that had Zusack won a Newbery or Newbery Honor, it would have been mentioned. How can we get out the word?

Posted by Teri S. Lesesne

Don’t forget to VOTE!

Hi! I’m Beth Gallaway, a new addition to the YALSA blogging team. I’ve been charged with blogging “about ALA from a YALSA perspective.” I’ve been a YALSA member since 1998, have served on a variety of committees, am an SUS trainer, blogged the last 3 conferences for PLA, and in case you didn’t know it, I’m into video games, currently conquering Guitar Hero.

So, today, March 16, marked the beginning of ALA’s online voting. On the ballots are changes to bylaws, as well as names for selecting our next slate of councilors, board members, and folks to serve on a variety of committees.

My login (ALA membership #) and a unique password were emailed to me with instructions. I went to https://www.alavote.org/2006/ and logged in easily.

I belong to both ALSC and YALSA, so I had 2 division ballots in addition to the main ALA ballot. On each ballot, candidate names had a button next to them, labeled “bio,” Clicking the button made a new window open, showing individual credentials: resume, publications, committee work, accomplishments, and often, a personal statement. Even the bylaw changes had bios that included the original language, the proposed change, and the board’s current stance on the issue. So, even if you feel you haven’t done your homework, you can become an informed voter on the spot.

It took me about 15 minutes to complete all three ballots. If you missed the names of Youth Division members running for ALA council at large, Beth Yoke sent them out on YALSA-L a few weeks ago. The following list is not an endorsement and provided for informational purposes; I leave it up to all of you to consider the implications of having the interests of ALSC and YALSA brought to the Big ALA table–or not.

Cassandra Barnett
Elizabeth (Beth) E. Bingham
Carolyn Brodie
Luann Cogliser
Heidi Dolamore
Eva Efron
Ann Dutton Ewbank

Nancy Fredericks
Carolyn P. Giambra
Dora T. Ho
Dennis J. LeLoup
Virginia (Ginny) Moore
Ria Newhouse
M.A. (Peg) Oettinger
Brenda Pruitt-Annisette
Ellen Riordan

Frances Roscello
Barbara Silverman
Clara Sitter
Margie Thomas
Nancy P. Zimmerman

As far as the issues go, increasing dues are perhaps the biggest one. Amy Alessio outlines the benefits of a YALSA dues increase in her post on March 14. The modest $10 that YALSA is asking for means giving up seeing one movie. Or two of those fancy coffee drinks. Or not buying one gaming magazine. 🙂 And the benefits will bring us an extra $50K, now that we’ve hit 5000 members! (Congrats by the way to Marybeth Gallant, a library teacher in Ashland MA, her library is a member of the region I work for as a library trainer/consultant for youth services).

Increases in ALA dues are on the ballot this year too, with a proposed increase of $10 a year each year for three years. American Librarians Online conducted a poll in January, querying members about the proposed increase and 87% of the 510 respondents voted NO even though it has been 10 years since the last dues increase, and the cost of doing business increases each year.

I know many of our salaries have stagnated in the past few years, and perhaps the amount wouldn’t hurt so much if there were payment plans (like the amount deducted periodically from our paychecks) or if all libraries were willing to pay for staff professional memberships, but we are fortunate that dues are low compared to other professional organizations, and that we get so much bang for our bucks. How much use do you get out of ALA publications? Booklists? Website? Grants? Support? Professional Development? What’s it really worth?

For more information about ALA dues increases, check out the following:
ALA Q& A: Dues Increase:
http://www.ala.org/ala/ourassociation/governingdocs/aheadto2010/qaduesincrease.htm

Executive Director Explains Need for Dues Increase:
http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/selectedarticles/duesincrease.htm

2006 AL Direct Straw Poll Results
http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/aldirecta/2006pollresults/2006polls.htm

Online voting continues through April 24, 2006. If you have trouble, help is only a call or email away: User Support: call 800-974-8099 or e-mail 2006electionhelp AT alavote DOT org – note that support is monitored only from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday – Friday (excluding April 14, 2005).

~posted by Beth Gallaway

TAGS and Advocacy

Posted by Paula Brehm-Heeger

Thanks to everyone for the great comments about TAG activities. Clearly, TAGs can be an invaluable tool when it comes to building effective teen services! Some unique TAG activities mentioned in comments from the field include asking TAG members to:

  • Speak at staff training events
  • Ask questions of candidates for Teen Librarian positions
  • Create booklists
  • Help with children’s programs
  • Offer general feedback about service
  • Plan special theme-based programs

A few of these suggestions hint at the advocacy role TAGs can play internally – advocating for service to teens within the Library organization.

What about the role TAGs play in advocating for the Library in the community, particularly with other teens? How do your TAG members raise the profile of the Library? Could they be doing more?

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.