Connect, Create, Collaborate: Summit on Teens & Libraries. A student perspective.

Caffeine_Molecule “Like a caffeine molecule.” That’s how University of Washington ischool student Lauren Woody said she would visually depict her experience attending the two day summit at Midwinter held by YALSA as part of the National Forum on Libraries and Teens. At the summit discussion centered around the future of teens and libraries. Keep reading to find out more about what Lauren and fellow student Jesse O’Dunne said about their experiences at the summit. Continue reading Connect, Create, Collaborate: Summit on Teens & Libraries. A student perspective.

Connect Create Collaborate: Who Are the Teens We Connect With?

image of cheerleaders on the football field in a pyramid by Flickr Creative Commons user sd dirkI’ve been thinking about the library staff working with teens that say to me, “I love working with ….. teens.” In the …. spot they usually say the geeky teens, the artistic teens, the literary teens, the drama teens. But, I never hear the football players, the cheerleaders, the popular kids, and so on. Maybe it’s just the library staff I’m talking with but I keep wondering, “Why aren’t I hearing that those groups are loved by library staff?”

Now I know, many will say to me, but the popular kids, the football players, the cheerleaders, etc. don’t need us as much. But, is that really true? Just because a teen is popular doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t need information literacy skills, relationships with library staff that can act as role models, opportunities to reach the developmental assets through library services. Does it?
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Connect, Create, Collaborate – Connect, Connect, Connect & Don’t Assume

image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user niiicedaveA couple of recent events and conversations have me thinking, once again, about the importance of library staff working with teens connecting with stakeholders, administrators, teens, etc. to make sure that teens have the best services possible. Here’s a brief rundown:

  • When Chris Shoemaker and I presented on YALSA’s Badges for Lifelong Learning project at the ALA Midwinter Meeting some participants talked about the struggles they continue to have in their schools and public libraries accessing what now we might call traditional technologies – YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.
  • I’ve been reading about the “new” digital divide and talking to library staff that work with teens who talk about why they can’t use devices with those they serve because of access issues.
  • I listened to teens at the YALSA Summit on Teens and Libraries talk about their use of digital media (including the aforementioned Tumbler which is filtered out of some libraries) and the importance of relationships with library staff on library use.

Continue reading Connect, Create, Collaborate – Connect, Connect, Connect & Don’t Assume

Connect, Create, Collaborate: Gamifying, Reading, and YALSA Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge

One of the reasons I love working with teens and kids is that their books are so awesome. There are so many amazing authors in YA right now, from John Green to Holly Black to Stephanie Perkins. I could spend all day, every day reading amazing YA lit and still not even make a dent in my to-read pile. That’s not even mentioning the great kidslit out there, including Rebecca Stead and Catherynn Valente. ‘┬áJust thinking about all the books and authors I want to read makes me giddy.

So, in terms of reading, I’m a pretty busy lady. As you all know, librarians don’t really get to sit around reading every day, so I have to squeeze in what I can during lunches, after work, and on my commute (don’t worry, that’s an audiobook happening there). With all of the pressure to keep up with popular authors and series, I sometimes forget about all the books over in ol’ Dewey. I mean, I know they’re cool (probably. maybe? definitely.), but nonfiction just seems less appealing when I’m plucking my next book to read off my stack of library tomes. I know that connecting to all types of books – nonfiction included – is just as important as connecting to readers and community members when serving teens successfully.
Continue reading Connect, Create, Collaborate: Gamifying, Reading, and YALSA Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge

Connect, Create, Collaborate: Teens at the Table

meetingsMany libraries provide opportunities for teens to build skills through volunteering, attending or leading a program. In the past few weeks at my library, meetings have come up where I thought it would make sense to invite teens to have a presence at the table and I’m glad we got them involved. Here are a couple of examples of how we had teens participate in meetings:

  • A teen intern at my library proposed a handout for a film festival and indicated what the festival categories should be. At about the same time, my co-workers and I were having discussions about such a festival and setting up a meeting with a director of the premiere festival in our town. (Someone with expertise who has run and coordinated such an event for several years.) Continue reading Connect, Create, Collaborate: Teens at the Table

Connect, Create, Collaborate: Favorite Apps

In December, YALSA App of the Week bloggers asked blog readers to nominate their favorite apps for teens of 2012. We then asked readers to vote for their favorites from those nominated. The results are in. With 31% of the vote YALSA’s Teen Book Finder is the winner.
app favorite chart 2012
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Connect, Create, Collaborate: Teens 2013

teen girl with mobile device Earlier this week I presented a YALSA Institue on Teens and Technology. The participants, library staff at libraries in the Southern Maryland Regional Library Association, and I talked a lot about what we know about teens in 2012/13, when it comes to technology. And, as I think about the topics discussed, it’s clear to me that quite a bit of what we covered is key in connecting with, creating for, and collaborating with teens in 2013. Here are some examples:

  • One YA librarian who has a brand new job in a brand new library talked about surveying the teens she works with to find out what they wanted and needed the library to provide. What did they tell her? They wanted space for hanging out with friends and being a part of the teen community. This might not be so surprising, but it does bring up a couple of key points related to connecting, creating, and collaborating in 2013. First, teens aren’t necessarily going to look at the library as their source of materials. While we still want to connect teens to materials, more importantly we need to provide space for teens to create and collaborate on their own and with their peers. This may be via a makerspace, a learning lab, and/or a flexibly furnished teen space that teens can turn into something that works at the exact moment for a specific need. It’s about the space perhaps along with the materials. And, maybe in some cases, the space more than the materials. This is also space that parents and caregivers feel comfortable having their teens spend time in. While we can’t be 100% safe, teens telling adults in their lives they are going to the library to hangout with friends is most likely something that parents will feel comfortable with. Continue reading Connect, Create, Collaborate: Teens 2013

Connect, Create, Collaborate: Teens, Work Skills, Opportunities and Outcomes

image from Flickr user Fort Meade of teens working together at a computerI’ve written in the past on the YALSAblog about the programs we provide in my library that help teens to grow up successfully. The recently published Kids Count data book re-affirmed for me the importance of what we are doing at my library and the positive impact our work has on teens.

The Kids Count data points to some opportunities for libraries to help teens succeed. For example, data shows there is lack of job skills for those aged 16-24. This makes me think that one thing the library can do is to provide robust opportunities, such as a strong volunteer program, so that teens can gain and sharpen these skills.

What can you do in a volunteer program to help teens gain the necessary skills?
Continue reading Connect, Create, Collaborate: Teens, Work Skills, Opportunities and Outcomes