OUTREACH SERVICES FOR TEEN LIBRARY STAFF: WHAT SOME STAFF ARE DOING OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF LIBRARIES

The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations; populations such as new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, and teens who are incarcerated. As these populations are often marginalized and underserved, it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The President of YALSA, Candice Mack, is focusing her year as President with an initiative, “3-2-1 Impact: Inclusive and Impactful Teen Services,” which will focus on building the capacity of libraries to plan, deliver and evaluate programs and services for and with underserved teen populations.  Visit YALSA’s wiki to find and share information about serving diverse teens and building cultural competence.

Each month I will profile a teen librarian or staff working in teen services providing outreach services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented teens. The purpose is for us to learn, connect, network and share with each other the crucial work we are doing in this area.

This month will be a different focus where I interview Kim Dare who was the YALSA Cultural Competence Task Force Chair 2014-2015. How can the priorities of the YALSA Culural Task Force be brought into the conversation of outreach and are there things that can be helpful when thinking about working with underserved and underrepresented populations?

What does the Cultural Competence Task Force focus on? What are its priorities?

The idea for the Cultural Competence Task Force was born in March 2014 based on findings from The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action. The YALSA Board of Directors realized that as our teen patrons reflect increasingly diverse backgrounds, librarians must be able to meet their needs in ways that go beyond traditional programming and collection development. The task force was created in September 2014, and during the year that we worked together, we were charged with bringing together resources that would assist librarians in developing their cultural competence.  The term may have different connotations to different people. There are several good definitions out there: our task force sees cultural competence as the recognition that each of us is shaped by our culture, and an appreciation of diverse cultural backgrounds through our interactions with others. It is the welcoming and integration of diverse ethnicities, sexualities, cultures, incomes, and education levels into the services we provide, with an ultimate goal of enhancing the lives of our patrons and our own professional growth.

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Serving Latino Teens: Podcast with Ady Huertas

YALSA’s Cultural Competencies Task Force interviews Ady Huertas, Manager of the Pauline Foster Teen Center at San Diego Central Library. Ady has worked with teens for over a decade: from providing instruments and lessons for a library rock band, to providing free summer lunches, to organizing a thriving teen council, Ady continually strives to provide resources and services for teens. She currently leads and contributes to several projects serving Latino teens, such as the REFORMA Children in Crisis Task Force, and the California State Library/Southern California Library Cooperative STeP (Skills for Teen Parents) Project. This podcast gives an overview of how best to reach out and serve Latino teens and provides advice to librarians new to serving Latino young adults and their families.

Resources:

REFORMA: The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking: http://www.reforma.org/.

REFORMA Children in Crisis Project: http://refugeechildren.wix.com/refugee-children.

Webinar about the STeP Project: https://infopeople.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=485.

University of California, EAOP: http://www.eaop.org/.

National Council of La Raza: http://www.nclr.org/.

National Council of La Raza | STEM: http://www.nclr.org/index.php/issues_and_programs/education/k12_education/stem/.

Summer Fun Cafe: http://www.sandi.net/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&ModuleInstanceID=19400&ViewID=047E6BE3-6D87-4130-8424-D8E4E9ED6C2A&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=49011&PageID=1.

Follow us on Twitter:
Ady Huertas: @adyhuertas
Monnee Tong: @librarianmo

Intro and Closing Music: Summer’s Coming from Dexter Britain’s Creative Commons Volume 2. https://soundcloud.com/dexterbritain/sets/creative-commons-vol2

Serving Incarcerated Youth: Podcast with Patrick Jones

Podcast length: 11 min 40 seconds

YALSA’s Cultural Competencies Task Force interviews Patrick Jones, retired young adult services guru, author, speaker, winner of the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Library Association and Catholic Library Association, and pro wrestling enthusiast. Patrick was a teen librarian for 20 years, and continues to be an advocate for teens and teen services. This podcast gives an overview of how best to reach out and serve young adults in juvenile correctional facilities and provides advice to librarians new to outreach to prisons.

Resources:

Librarians Serving Youth in Custody: http://www.youthlibraries.org/.

The Beat Within: A Publication of Writing and Art from the Inside: http://www.thebeatwithin.org/.

Contra Costa Times article about librarian Amy Cheney: http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_27691434/alameda-county-librarian-connects-incarcerated-youths-lesser-known.

Literacy for Incarcerated Teens: http://www.literacyforincarceratedteens.org/.

Reaching Out to Young Adults in Jail, p. 16: http://yalsa.ala.org/yals/yalsarchive/volume3/3n1_fall2004.pdf

School Library Journal article about literacy for incarcerated teens: http://www.slj.com/2014/09/literacy/literacy-for-incarcerated-teens/#_

 

Follow us on Twitter:

Patrick Jones: @PatrickJonesYA.

Learn more about Patrick at his website: http://www.connectingya.com/.

Monnee Tong: @librarianmo.

Intro and Closing Music: Summer’s Coming from Dexter Britain’s Creative Commons Volume 2. https://soundcloud.com/dexterbritain/sets/creative-commons-vol2

 

Cultural Competence and the Maker Movement

As the Maker Movement gains momentum across the country in schools and libraries, YALSA’s Cultural Competence Task Force is encouraging organizers to think about ways to expand the scope of maker programs to broaden their appeal to all kids. Making isn’t just about robots and Legos, and it’s not just for the “nerdy” boy. In fact there are many developments and initiatives that are changing the definition of makers and making that we want to highlight. From Black Girls Code, New York City’s Mouse.org, DreamYard’s DIY Dream it Yourself, the Community Science Workshop Network, to programs like Able Gamers and the Washington D.C. Public Library’s “DIY Fair for People with (and without) Disabilities”, we are seeing a concerted effort to engage and include children from underserved communities so they may envision a future for themselves in the tech world.

Another important direction for the maker movement is to step away from the robots and find opportunities to include maker activities that tap into a broader range of cultures and traditions. A research group at MIT called High Low Tech is a wonderful source of information about this topic and offers tutorials for some amazing and unique projects. We take particular inspiration from Leah Buechley, a designer, engineer, and educator who likes to create tools and programs that mix together cutting edge technology with traditional art forms (her inventions include the Lilypad Arduino). A great discussion of equity and the maker movement, and a nice shout out to Buechley’s work, can also be found at Rafi Santo’s blog.

If you’ve been thinking about how you can incorporate the maker movement into your library programming, we encourage you to take some time to explore these resources and find ways to connect with kids who may not think “making” is for them.

 

submitted by YALSA Cultural Competence Task Force

The mission of the YALSA Cultural Competence Task Force is to help you incorporate cultural competence into your everyday work, and to increase the relevance and value of our libraries as partners in our communities, especially in reaching traditionally underserved young adults. Kim Dare, 2014-2015 Chair