YALSA 50th Anniversary — get on board

The YALSA 50th Anniversary group really brainstormed with Judy Nelson, Beth Yoke and our great committee chairs, and we have something to celebrate for every month, and for every member, starting in January 2007.

YALSA plans to field a division book cart drill team for the fun, fun, fun competition in Washington DC in June! Team members? Why not you? And if you know some YA authors who’d be game, give them the word!

Going to Seattle for midwinter conference? We’ll kick off our birthday bash at the Monday night joint youth division get together–let them eat cake!

Watch this space for more news…

Posted by Mary Arnold, Co-chair YALSA 50

Register now for a YALSA e-course

Great CE delivered right to your desktop! Registration for YALSA’s fall session of e-courses opened Aug. 21st and runs through Sept. 25. The session will run from Oct. 2-30. The courses are meant to be the equivalent of a full day workshop. The cost is $135 for YALSA members, $175 for ALA members, and $195 for non members. To register go here. Three courses will be offered:

Pain in the Brain: Adolescent Development and Library Behavior
Teen brain development rivals that of the toddler years: maybe that explains the attitude and characteristics of this historically underserved age group. Find out exactly why teens act the way they do and learn how librarians can address patron behavior issues in a way that will develop relationships with young adults. By the end of this class, participants will: 1) Understand the physical development of the adolescent brain and how it manifests into physical and emotional behaviors, 2) Examine the developmental needs and assets of adolescents, and the role libraries must play in helping teens grow into healthy adults, 3) Discuss how to apply newly acquired knowledge and techniques to improve library services to teens in ways that meet developmental needs and build developmental assets. Instructor: Beth Gallaway

OutReaching Teens
Outreach has always been important to libraries, and now it is proving to be one of the only sure fire ways of reaching underserved audiences. The content of this course will focus on the importance of providing outreach services; different ways libraries can provide outreach services to teenagers with minimal impact on staff and budget; and how to garner support for outreach efforts. Instructor: Angela Pfeil

New Technologies and New Literacies for Teens (Course is full, but you can get on a waiting list)
How does teen use of technology to play, learn, and create improve their text-based literacy skills? How are teens using technology to communicate, collaborate, and create? What technologies should librarians know about to support teen interest in building community online? In this four week course you will find the answers to these questions, become familiar with the tools and techniques teens use to communicate and collaborate online, and discover how to inform your own community about best practices that support teen’s technology-based print literacies. Participants in the series will have the opportunity to talk with others about teen use of technology and how that use improves literacy skills. They will also have the chance to create a framework for a program or service at their library that supports teen technology-based print literacy. Instructor: Linda Braun

To learn more about the e-courses, go here.
-posted by Beth Yoke

New York Times Librarian Awards

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Nominate a YA librarian (or two or three) for the New York Times Librarian Awards:

Who is eligible: any librarian with a Master’s degree in library science who is currently working in a public library in the United States. Nominators are encouraged to nominate librarians who consistently demonstrate the highest levels of professionalism, knowledge and public service in the execution of their duties. Nominations of family members will not be considered. Retired librarians are not eligible. Awards are not given posthumously.

Deadline to nominate: Sept. 15

Award: 21 winners will get a plaque and $2,500

-Posted by Beth Yoke

Teens, Libraries, and Assets

Yesterday I had the chance to participate in a Teen Summit sponsored by the Nassau Library System. Approximately 53 teens, 19 librarians, and associated library professionals attended. The Summit was planned to give teens in the County the opportunity to meet each other, think about their role in the community and the library, and come up with creative ways that their libraries could better serve them.

The facilitator for the day was one of the Search Institute trainers, Sue Allen. From the very start she got the teens involved in the program. Within a very short period of time the teens, and librarians, felt comfortable talking about the world, teens and adults, and libraries.

At one point Sue had the teens and librarians (separately) develop lists of stereotypes and expectations. As a part of this the teens (in small groups) wrote down lists of how they want to be perceived by adults. These lists were pretty powerful to ponder and included:

  • Awesome
  • Determined
  • Not Lazy
  • Eager

On these lists teens also wrote that they wanted to be respected by adults and that they wanted to be judged correctly.”

Shouldn’t all library staff, in all departments, be able to see teens in these ways and give them what they need/want?

After discussing the 40 Developmental Assets, teens and librarians again broke out into small separate groups and came up with ways that libraries could support teens. What was interesting about this list was that the teens weren’t really able to think outside of the library box that they already knew. The ideas were good but they weren’t so different than what libraries already do for teens. It seems to me a next step is to get teens and librarians talking together again about how the ideas need to be implemented, what the barriers are to implementation, and to perhaps come up with more forward-thinking programs and services.

It really was a great day and it’s a testament to the commitment of the librarians who attended that each came with at least one teen from their community. (Some librarians had 5 or 6 teens at the Summit.)

BTW, YALSA Serving the Underserved (SUS) trainers are well equipped to work with libraries to integrate the developmental assets and youth participation into their programs and services. If you are looking for a trainer you might check out the SUS list.

What is Youth Participation?

Over the past several weeks I’ve been working on a few projects that have given me a chance to consider once again what we mean in libraries when we talk about youth participation. To be honest, over the past several years I’ve been pretty frustrated with teen youth participation in libraries. What I usually find is that most librarians focus on activities that are at the lowest levels of the ladder of particiption. In other words real teen participation is really pretty minimal.

Yesterday, I was able to hear part of a presentation from community agencies in New York City that manage to “do” real participation. (YMCA, Studio Museum Harlem, The Door) Unfortunately, I missed everything but the question and answer portion of the presentation, but what I did hear was truly inspiring, particularly from a youth participation perspective. Panelists mentioned the importance of:

  • Listening to what teens have to say
  • Not making assumptions
  • Not judging
  • Being who you really are – not trying to be cool when you are not
  • Talking with teens about sometimes difficult topics
  • Building relationships

This tied in with other thinking and work I’ve been doing. Recently, I’ve been reminded how important it is for librarians and teens to focus on project-based youth participation. Many teen librarians talk to me about how hard it is to keep teens coming to TAB/TAG meetings and how much work it takes on the librarians part to keep a TAB/TAG going. But, think about this. If the participation is project-based:

  • Each project has a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Different teens in the community work on different projects.
  • More teens will want to participate and be motivated because they are involved in a specific project that is of interest to them.
  • You have the chance of meeting the needs and bringing in more teens because of the short-term nature of the participation. (It’s not a life-time committment.

It’s likely that a higher level of participation is also possible when it comes to project-based youth participation. Teens have more opportunity to come up with projects that are meaningful to them, the library, and community. Some examples of project-based participation include:

  • Space planning – a group of teens who are interested in figuring how to work with the library’s space get together and plan and implement a rearrangement or renovation of the space.
  • Gaming – teens who are interested in gaming get together to talk about how to bring gaming into the library. They talk about policies, hardware and software, and plan programs.
  • Collection building – teens who are interested in different parts of the library collection get together to help determine what to add, and weed. A group of music loving teens might work on the music collection. A group of manga loving teens might work on the manga collection. Etc.

None of these projects has to be long-term. The group might get together for several weeks, disband, and then reconstitute themselves in some way at a later date. The group only lasts as long as the project on which they are working.

And, of course, don’t forget that teens involved in a particular project could meet virtually just as well as f2f.

It would be great to learn about librarians who are using a project-based approach to youth participation already. Anyone?

Blog It!

Posted by Meg Canada
I plan to submit Blog It, the summer program I offered at the Hennepin County Library to Get Connected: 50 Tech Programs for Teens, but the fabulous Linda Braun has also posted the handouts we used to share with you. The class uses Blogger.com to create their own blogs. This is a great opportunity to discuss safety, ethics, and appropriateness online. Kudos to YALSA member Christy Mulligan who originally put this together. I have now offered a train-the-trainer class to an additional twenty-seven HCL staffers to offer during Teen Read Month (yes, we celebrate the whole month) or Teen Technology Week. If you have any questions feel free to drop me a line.

YALSA to sponsor 2 members for Emerging Leaders

Attention student members and members who are new librarians! YALSA will sponsor two members to take part in ALA’s Emerging Leaders Innitiative. If selected, you will receive free training and funds to travel to the 2007 ALA Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference. Click here to learn more or to get an application. The deadline to apply is Sept. 15th.
-Beth Yoke

Toolbars are back

For quite awhile I was on a kick talking to everyone I could about creating library browser toolbars. I had this vision that everyone in a community would install the toolbar in their browser and that way the library would always be in people’s minds via the browser. I’m not sure why but I lost the momentum on the toolbar front and gave up the soapbox.

However, the other day I read about MIT creating a new Firefox toolbar for their users. You can downlod the toolbar, install it, and then have quick and easy access to MIT catalogs and databases. It’s really a great idea and I don’t know why more libraries haven’t started doing it.

Imagine if every teen in your community had a library toolbar in their browser. Teens wouldn’t have to go to the library site to find materials. You could add links to favorites, reviews, renewals, etc. on the toolbar.

You can see some other examples of library toolbars:

I think I have to get back on the toolbar bandwagon. Stay tuned.

Teen responds to using Wikipedia

After Wikipedia banned Stephen Colbert from editing or adding comments to their site because he was making erroneous additions, CNET teen intern writes about some of the pitfalls of Wikipedia. What do others think? Do you try to steer library users away from Wikipedia or find the opportunity for a ‘teaching moment’?

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki