Open Recruitment

Posted by Kendra Skellen, TAGS Committee Member, Gwinnett County Public Library

How do you recruit? Here you will use your standard forms of publicity: word of mouth, brochures, posters, flyers, web and maybe applications. When we started our TAB groups at our branch libraries, we used an application form. This allowed us to create a database of interested teens, and each teen then got an invitation from the library for the first TAB meeting at the branch of their choice.

If you are relying on posters and flyers, you will want to place these items in more places than just the library. Where to place the flyers and posters:
• local hangouts
• coffee houses
• parks

• schools
• Boys & Girls clubs
• Library (of course)

Make them eye-catching with enough information to catch their interest.

If you have teens who are already volunteering in the library, they are some of the first you should try to recruit. They already have an interest in the library or they wouldn’t be there volunteering. Ask they to help recruit their friends and to put up posters and flyers to the places where teens hang out.

Next posting – Recruitment by Invitation

Teens Are Great

Posted by Linda W. Braun

A couple of days ago I was with a group of teens in a public library and was reminded of how wonderful teens can be if we give them the chance.

There was a group of about 20 teens at the library for the weekly teen advisory group. For this week’s TAG the teens were testing out some new games the library purchased. Not everyone wanted to play every game, and when some teens were playing a game others weren’t interested in, the non-interested teens hung out, talked, read, etc. No one got all crazy about not being able to play. Similarly, whenever it was time to try out a new game, no one got all crazy about having to give up what they were playing.

The one game that brought everyone around the gaming console, and the TV which it was hooked up to, was Karaoke. (Which had a DDR dance pad attached along with a microphone.) All of the teens were interested in watching and/or singing. All of the teens cheered each other on – even when it was obvious the person singing had a terrible voice. When one of the youngest (and smallest) teens said he wanted to sing (he didn’t play any of the other games) I was really impressed with how comfortable he was getting up in front of the others whom he had just met, and how supportive the other teens were of his singing.

There were a couple of things I thought about as I spent time with this group of teens. First, the library was obviously a place where they felt welcome and respected. They were comfortable in the environment and were comfortable being themselves. They knew no one was going to judge them about how they played, sang, talked, etc.

Another thing I thought about, this is something I think about all the time, is how much more often we need to tell the positive stories about teens and what they do for themselves and with and for each other. The afternoon I spent with this group of teens was a definite positive story of smart, respectful, and confident teenagers.

I also have been thinking about how the library, through this TAG, demonstrated several of the ways in which it is possible to help teens develop successfully as outlined by the Search Institute’s Developomental Assets. These include:

  • Support – by respecting the teens, giving them a chance to plan programs and services, and giving them a place in which to test things out and be themselves.
  • Boundaries and Expectations – by helping the teens cycle through the games in order to test each one.
  • Empowerment – by giving the teens the role of game testers and by showing teens then can “perform” in front of others and not be judged.
  • Social Competencies – by giving teens the chance to play games together, hang out in a comfortable environment, and talking to them about their needs and interests.

I know the library I visited isn’t the only one doing great things for teens. It’s incredibly exciting however any time I get to see the positive impact library services can have on teens in actual practice in a library.

Second Life Library

The Second Life Library 2.0 popularity is growing. We are starting to have more classes, regular reference hours, and many visitors. Our facilities now include the main building, a smaller version with a medical library, and teen planning area, a beautiful Garden, friendly neighbors and a new outdoor classroom.

In addition to our wonderful library on the Adult Grid, Kelly Czarnecki is working on creating a Teen library on the Teen Grid. In Second Life, there are two different worlds. One is for adults 18 and older, while the other was created for Teens. Adults are not allowed on the Teen Main Grid, but approved educators are allowed to purchase an island for about $1250 up front and $195 a month. Last night was the first official meeting for organizing this library. For complete minutes you can go to Virtual Teen Library: Second Life, the official blog.

Look forward to more updates about this library.

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

YALSA Institute 2007

Posted by Linda W. Braun

That’s right we are talking Midwinter 2007. The YALSA Taskforce planning the next technology institute is hard at work developing a program that will give attendees ideas, information, inspiration, and capabilities to bring technology to their libraries and to their teens.

The Taskforce isn’t ready to make any big announcements, yet, but stay tuned. And, start thinking about making your plans to attend on Friday, January 19 in Seattle. YALSA will also host the second annual gaming night that same evening. It’s going to be a great day of learning and playing.

Podcasting

Learn Out Loud has educational audio book and podcast content. Last week, one of their free downloads was an audio tour of Rockerfeller Center and the Diamond District in NYC. Is anyone else offering audio tours of their library?

This would be a great project for teens (especially for that Teen Advisory Board you recruited last week!). Instead of busywork – cutting out story time crafts or dusting shelves – it’s an opportunity to create something of use that will help other patrons.

For a list of other libraries doing podcasting, check out the Library Success: Best Practices Wiki at http://www.libsuccess.org. If your library is doing something cool and replicable, join and contribute! For podcasting, look under Technology.

New to podcasting? Check out the presentations from the Podcast Academy at Boston University last weekend: two days about equipment, marketing, and how-to’s of making your own audio files that can be sent as attachments with RSS. This amazing resource has the video from ALL of the speakers, plus their powerpoint presentations:
http://www.bu.edu/com/podcast

Posted by Beth Gallaway

Huge Voting Increase!

Posted by Amy Alessio

Thank you YALSA Members! From the 15% of membership who voted in last year’s election, you have increased participation to 25%!

Thank you also for passing the dues increase! While that makes me especially happy as your Fiscal Officer, you all will be enjoying the new and regional opportunities we will now be able to support.

YALSA membership also voted to increase the nominating committee from 3 to 5 members and to establish Interest Groups. A few are already getting started, but if you have a group who want to form officially on a teen topic, check out the handbook for the procedure. (YALSA page, under About YALSA, then Handbook)

Speaking of the nominating committee – they strive to offer a slate each year of truly excellent people, which can make voting hard! Thank you to everyone who took a risk in front of their peers and agreed to run for positions which require large time commitments. Many of those people wrote all about themselves on this blog and in other ways for the past 7 months since they were approached before this election. From someone who went through this last year, the process can be nerve racking.

Both the winners and the others who were not chosen represent some of the hardest working and enthusiastic of our members. It is not uncommon in our organization for people who are not elected one year to be chosen in future years. It is certain that YALSA will continue to need their valuable contributions.

MySpace and other changes

I admire those librarians who have a willingness to try something new, but I wanted to tell them:
don’t hesitate to use good ideas. If you don’t ask now, you risk the possibility of worrying about it for sometime. I think it would be better to ask now, explain all the good reasons, and be told no, than to hope for months, doing projects to lead up to its approval, and then be let down after the anticipation.

If your library says no to MySpace, then you can offer to do something less intimidating projects such as start a blog on blogger, which in comparison maybe something the library is willing to do now.

If you want support you can point your library to some of the many Myspace library pages that have over 100 friends. Authors, Teens, College Students, Librarians, and other professionals are on Myspace. If your patrons use it, then why not have a presence there. You could ask the patrons, and use their quotes to convince the administration.

I know change can be scary, but if we do nothing for fear it won’t be accepted, we miss the chance to change things in the future. Talking to your administrators will make them think about how the library needs to change in the future. You would plant a seed for future change, and that could be worth everything.

Lay the groundwork today to have what you want in the future. If you have a well thought out and appropriate reason, then any good administration will help you find a way to meet the needs you observe.

We cannot be silent for our patrons. We may be the only one expressing their interests, especially when we work with teens.

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006

Posted by Linda W. Braun

As some people know, I’ve been trying to figure out what we do about copyright in the world of digital media, portable devices, and instantaneous access. We definitely need a new model of copyright protection and intellectual property regulation. But, what should it look like, how should it work, who should it protect, and how do we help teens understand intellectual property in the downloadable world? Those are all questions I keep asking myself.

I’m asking myself those questions again now that I know a bit more about the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006. Go Congress for trying to revise an outdated legal document. But, as I read about the proposed changes and revisions to existing copyright protection, I wonder if this is the right way to go. For teens in the early 21st century is the legislation that’s being proposed going to support their needs – both as users and content creators – in the future?

It’s important for teen librarians to read information about the proposed legislation in order to know what is coming, know how intellectual property is currently being thought about by legislators, and so we can advocate for laws that support the needs of libraries and teens and of creators and users.

There is of course flexible licensing available via Creative Commons which I think is a great tool. It allows content creators to provide access to their intellectual property in ways that work for users and the original designer of the content. If you or your teens create content – podcasts, blogs, images, etc. – consider licensing that content with Creative Commons.