Public Library Association (PLA) Conference News-Teen Services

“Challenge yourself at #PLA2016 to be extraordinary because extraordinary libraries
create extraordinary communities.”  This was the theme for the bi-annual conference and it seemed to have genuinely expressed just that.

I began the conference by leading a preconference titled “Emerging Adults in Our Libraries: Who are They and Where do we Find Them?” and while the theme doesn’t specifically pertain to teen services I think a lot of teen librarians (and this was part of the impetus for the research for the presentation) will attest to the reality that this is something they see and think a lot about with serving teens; what happens to them in terms of services and programs after they “age out” of teen services?  This was a central focus of the research that myself and three other librarians embarked upon in 2015 by launching a nation wide survey into the work libraries are doing with and for emerging adults (ages 18-25/30).  The presentation at PLA introduced our research findings, had participants do an activity based on real life scenarios we heard from librarians with our research, participants shared out possible solutions and then an expert panel spoke about the work they are doing with emerging adults and their families as well.  Tomas Mejia, Director of Migrant Education at the Department of Education, Colorado, Clayton Gonzalez, Director of Programs, Urban Peak (a Denver, Colorado nonprofit that provides a full convergence of services for youth age 15 through 25 experiencing homelessness or at risk for becoming homeless) and Alberto Pellicer, Early Literacy Librarian, Denver Public Library.  A blog has been created that includes information from the preconference, articles about this population, outreach to this population, and opportunities for other librarians to share the work they are doing with this population.

The Bubbler @ Madison Public Libraries: A System-Wide Approach to Learning through Making was a great introduction into the work that Madison, Wisconsin Public Library is doing with and for peoples of all ages with technology programming, DIY programs, an artist in residence program and more.  The Bubbler is a program and not a specific space, the programs take place in the Central Library, the 7 branches, schools, juvenile justice centers and in the community.  There is a BIG focus on this kind of work with teens in schools, in the library and in the juvenile justice system and this is a library recognized effort.  Making Justice  is a community-based learning program for court-involved teens that includes weekly workshops and an artist-in-residence opportunity.  They are doing all kinds of programming opportunities for teens involved in the juvenile justice system with music programming, bringing in hand drawn animation stations and more.  The Bubbler is through an IMLS and NEA grants. Check out the Teen Bubbler site.

making justice

I visited the Denver Public Library and had a chance to see the Idea Lab in action during time for teens in the space; Monday through Friday 3:00-6:00 pm.  The SM Energy ideaLAB is a makerspace and digital media lab at the Central Library. With equipment and software, people can make videos, games, music, art, crafts, and more. The lab is free to anyone – no library card necessary!  Not too many barriers for teens to use the space in terms of not having a library card, no problem.

Sustainable Connected Learning for Youth focused on the initiative that the Cuyahoga County Library System has rolled out as a pilot in five locations with Connected Learning. The Information and Technology Department spearheaded this initiative by training staff in the focus areas of Connected Learning as well as provided ideas and worked with staff in identifying program ideas like STEAM programming, mentoring/social component and on the fly programming.

The article in School Library Journal in March 2016 introduced some of us to the work Denver Public Library is doing with asset mapping and I joined the session, Teen Asset Mapping: A Community Development Approach to Teen Services Expansion to learn more about what they are doing.  The Director of Denver Public Library and a staff consisting of librarians (one being the only Teen Librarian on the staff at DPL) and library associates worked tirelessly on this project beginning in 2013 with the idea that they weren’t providing teen services and wanted to but what would that look like in a city with a strong number of organizations that do provide teen services/programs.  The idea was to identify what the assets for teens are in Denver; this would be outside library organizations and find out what exactly they are doing with and for teens.  They developed questions and interviewed over 40 organizations and through the responses created a list of categories like juvenile justice system, teen parents, homeless youth, along with services/programs being provided.  What came out of the research was a better understanding of what services/programs there were in Denver and what services/programs weren’t being offered and what needs there may be.  The staff at DPL did an incredible amount of work on this and they are accessible; contact them through the link above as well as check out the resources they have available for more in depth information.

Annual 2015: Outdoor Fun Between Conference Sessions

This is a guest post from Susy Moorhead, a member of the Local Arrangements Committee for the ALA Annual conference in San Francisco.

In a little over a month Annual will be upon us! The conference is always an amazing event and I am sure this year’s will be another one. Sometimes though you just need a break from the hubbub and somewhere outside is often a perfect fit. These are my suggestions of some places to go right around Moscone when you need to take a walk outdoors or get some fresh air.

The Moscone Center is comprised of 3 halls – North, South, and West. North & South are underground, so you’ll definitely want to head outside periodically.

The main entrances of Moscone are located between 3rd & 4th streets off of Howard Street.  If you have time between programs, for lunch, or even before or after your day at Moscone, here are some places close by to spend some time outside: Continue reading

Annual 2015: What To Do There — And When You Come Home

This is a guest post from Susy Moorhead, a member of the Local Arrangements Committee for Annual 2015 in San Francisco.

You’ve decided to attend the annual conference this year! If you haven’t been before, and even if you have, you must be excited. Attending conference is a lot of fun but it is tiring and it can be overwhelming as well. Here are some tips to help you share what you learned once you get back to your home library. Continue reading

Teen Participation at ALA Annual

This is a guest post from the Local Arrangements Committee for ALA’s Annual Conference in San Francisco.

The YALSA Local Arrangements committee for ALA Annual in San Francisco, June 25-30, 2015, is recruiting youth participants to give feedback on nominated books at the Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA) Teen Session on Saturday, June 27, 2015 (a list of titles can be found here: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/bfya-nominations).

YALSA takes input from youth very seriously, and in order to get a wide representative of area youth, we are seeking applications from library staff in the greater San Francisco/Oakland area who would like to bring their teen book group to the ALA Annual Conference to participate in the BFYA Teen Session. Up to 50 local teens from the greater San Francisco/Oakland area will be able to participate.

Participation consists of teens (ages 12-18) speaking in front of an audience of the committee, publisher representatives, and conference attendees. The Teen Feedback Session runs from 1pm-3pm. Continue reading

Annual 2015: Why You Should Attend

This is a guest post by Kristine Macalalad, a member of the Local Arrangements Committee for Annual 2015 in San Francisco.

Why do we attend conferences? Getting ourselves there – from making the case, finding the funding, pinning down all the details of travel and accommodations, leaving work in the middle of summer reading…all the way down to schlepping all those cardigans with us across a great distance – can be no small feat. So, why do we do it? Is it all that great swag? Is it the marvelous learning opportunities? Some might argue it’s all about the networking!

Some things are just done best in person, and one of those things is networking. For newbies and seasoned professionals alike, networking affords a chance to make beneficial connections. Imagine: hundreds of like-minded folks, many passionate about the same things, many friendly and wanting to help, and all under the same roof. Magic happens! Ideas are bounced around, brains are picked, burning questions are answered, and connections are made that can have lasting effects long after we return home.

How to do it? Continue reading

Annual 2015: YALSA Program Highlights

Registration just opened this week for the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. Are you coming? If so, here are some highlights as far as what you can expect from YALSA during this bustling, busy conference. And don’t forget to check the conference wiki for even more information on San Francisco attractions, transportation, and more. Continue reading

Adventures in Korea

As I was sitting in the Philadelphia airport, waiting to fly home from Midwinter 2014, I checked my email to find something rather startling: an invitation to be the keynote speaker at a symposium on library services for children and teens sponsored by the National Library for Children and Young Adults (NLCY) in South Korea. According to the email, my book Young Adults Deserve the Best: YALSA’s Competencies in Action had been translated into Korean and distributed to libraries in Korea, and they wanted me to come to the symposium and share my “experience and expertise in youth library services”—all expenses paid!’  Continue reading

YALSA Board Major Actions at ALA Annual

The YALSA Board met three times at ALA Annual in Anaheim. Over those three meetings, the Board had some substantial discussions, set up some new task forces and ad hoc Board committees, approved two new committee manuals, and moved forward on several other items. For more details on these items, see the official Board documents at http://www.ala.org/yalsa/workingwithyalsa/governance/board/annual2012. The official minutes will also be posted in the Governance section of the website in the near future. The summary is below:

New Task Forces

  • A president-elect advisory task force to work with president-elect Shannon Peterson on defining her presidential theme and setting her goals.
  • An appointments task force to work with president-elect Shannon Peterson to help her make committee appointments during the coming year.
  • A 365 Days of YA task force to create and disseminate a calendar of easy to implement teen services resources aimed at new teens services librarians, library generalists, and paraprofessionals.
  • A state library association outreach task force to reach out to YA sections and roundtables of state library associations and school library associations to strengthen ties with these like-minded organizations.
  • A youth engagement task force to find ways to involve teens in the work of the YALSA Board by identifying and implementing projects in conjunction with Teen Advisory Groups.
  • A capacity-building task force to focus on the capacity-building goal of YALSA’s strategic plan.
  • A task force to create a manual for virtual selection committees.
  • A YALSA/ALSC/AASL task force to look at issues around the Common Core Standards.

Continue reading