IMLS National Leadership Grant – Artificial Intelligence (AI)

You may be aware that YALSA is partnering with Michigan State University and Indiana University for an AI literacy program for youth in underserved communities. The libraries involved in the project include the San Diego Central Library (San Diego, CA), Carroll County Public Library (New Windsor, MD), and the Capital Area District Library (Lansing, MI).  The following is an interview with Dr. Heerin Lee and Dr. Kayhun Choi who are leading the project. This will be a great resource for working with teens and AI!

Q: Please introduce yourself and briefly explain how you are partnering with YALSA.

A: Heerin: Hello! I am Heerin Lee, a Principial Investigator (PI) of a project called “AI & Co-design in public libraries: Empowering underserved youth to cultivate symbiotic relationships between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and their communities.” I am an assistant professor in the department of media and information at Michigan State University, working in the field of Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). I design and evaluate robots for social good with the aim of empowering socially marginalized groups, including people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, racial minorities, and older adults.

Kahyun: Hi, I am Kahyun Choi, a co-PI of this project. I am an assistant professor of Information and Library Science at Indiana University Bloomington. I am an expert in AI models for music digital libraries. I bring my experience of developing and teaching an introductory and intuitive machine learning course to this project. When I am not working, I love to spend time with my husband and daughter, do yoga, and listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and music.

Heerin & Kahyun: YALSA as a partner will publicize our open-source education materials developed within this project to librarians all over the US. These materials will include a detailed process of how we develop our program and how we run it including a summary of each session, main takeaways, lessons learned, and suggestions for future literacy programs. YALSA will also help us develop AI literacy webinars for librarians, promote the program, and perform other marketing activities via their outlets, such as social media, weekly newsletter, e-blast and other platforms.

Q: What interests you most about AI, and what led you to it as a course of study?

A: Heerin: While AI influences many people, only a relatively small population of engineers determine how the public interacts with AI in everyday life. The public’s limited access to AI knowledge stems from the fact that it is mostly disseminated by higher education programs. In particular, these programs mostly focus on computational aspects of AI rather than on social and ethical aspects. This could reinforce a digital divide and inequity issues at a national level. Thus, I thought it is crucial to run AI literacy programs through sustainable infrastructures like public libraries where community members, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds, have access to AI knowledge.

Kahyun: About 15 years ago, I got fascinated by powerful emotions coming from music. Instead of becoming a singer-songwriter, I built an AI model that could understand music emotions to some degree by capturing relationships between audio signals and emotions. Ever since, I have developed AI models that can annotate music, song lyrics, and poems with topics, emotions, and genres. While developing and offering an introductory AI course based on music applications to students without technical backgrounds, I realized the importance of intuitive and accessible AI education for the public and, particularly, underserved populations.

Q: Why did you choose public libraries to focus your research?

A: Heerin & Kahyun: As I briefly explained in my answer above, I think it is significant to disseminate AI knowledge through well-developed infrastructures so that many people have access to it regardless of their socioeconomic status. Economically underserved communities, in particular, are vulnerable to AI’s negative consequences as they are largely excluded from the decision-making process of envisioning AI technologies in society. Since the internet emerged in the mid-1990s, public libraries, as early adopters, have long played a critical role in enhancing the public’s technology literacy in the US. As we enter an era of increased AI technology in our society, libraries have tremendous potential for nurturing AI literacy.

Q: Is there anything you hope that youth will gain with AI as a result of your project?

A: The two main components of our program are 1) Module 1—Understanding core concepts of AI, and 2) Module 2—Envisioning AI for local industries. With these two modules, we hope youth not only learn core AI concepts, but also get more actively engaged with their local civic issues as AI co-designers. For example, we will introduce local media stories about AI in their communities and discuss how technological issues are closely entangled with social issues. Our program will develop critical thinking capabilities, enabling youth to understand AI-related social issues in their communities and actively participate in public discourse about AI technologies.

This project particularly adopts an asset-based approach, which is a pedagogy built upon a critical race theory that views students from socially underserved communities not as people with deficits but as people with “community cultural wealth.” We hope this process help students see themselves as people with their own knowledge and position them as people who can utilize AI knowledge. This will also help them more easily become co-designers in our participatory design sessions.

Q: What is the timeline of your project -or when people can expect to see more information?

This is a two-year project that started in Aug 2021. We are currently recruiting youths and their teachers for interviews to understand how they think about AI and their career paths. Based on findings, we will build and evaluate the two AI education modules by Aug 2022. Subsequently, we will run the AI education workshops with the materials in three public libraries one by one, the Capital Area District Library in Lansing, Michigan, the San Diego Central Library in San Diego, California, and the Carroll County Public Library in New Windsor, Maryland, until May 2023. After the workshops, we will disseminate our findings and materials through YALSA, our website, and conferences.

Q: If people want to read more about the grant, where can they find it online?

A: The grant proposal, which includes detailed project design, is available online. https://www.imls.gov/grants/awarded/lg-250059-ols-21 If you want more information, feel free to contact us at heerin-at-msu.edu.

 

 

 

Future of Teens Public Librarian Education

YALSA supports the work of the IMLS grant funded project led by University of North Carolina Chapel Hill SILS faculty members, including Brian Sturm, Sayamindu Dasgupta, Casey Rawson, and Sandra Hughes-Hassell (YALSA Past President, 2017-2018). In YALSA’s letter of support for the project the following was stated:

“Changes in the services and programs public libraries offer, and in the increased diversity of America’s teens, require librarians who work with teens in public libraries to have new knowledge, skills, and dispositions. By aiming to reimagine LIS curricula for teen librarians, this project has the potential to transform the field of teen services librarianship.”

As current or former students of the LIS degree, we ask that you please consider contributing your time and insight towards this project by participating in an upcoming group feedback session: Re-envisioning LIS Curriculum.

Join us in re-envisioning the LIS curriculum for public library youth services.  Drop in any time between 3:30 and 5:-00 ET, April 8, 2021 to share your thoughts.  

How can I join?
Zoom link: https://unc.zoom.us/j/98463439117?pwd=OERZZkx2UlFFMUFQNVJNUzVkdDFSZz09
Meeting ID: 984 6343 9117
Passcode: 900103

What if I can’t come?
No worries. Add your ideas to this moderated Padlet.
Padlet URL: https://padlet.com/futureofys/60kguyq3zbvtyjgz

Questions?
Contact:
Sandra Hughes-Hassell <smhughes@email.unc.edu>

Linda Braun <lbraun@leonline.com>

We are looking forward to learning what you think.

 This project is being conducted by the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.  

 

Learning with YALSA This Summer

drawing of hands raised The teens in your community might be out of school for the summer (or just about to get out of school) however, library staff never stop learning. That’s why YALSA has some great options for you to keep your learning going this summer. Here’s what’s on YALSA’s continuing education calendar for June, July, and August:

New E-Course

Start at the End: Backward Design for Library Programming
7/8/2019 – 8/11/2019

This new online course, taught by Casey Rawson, a Teaching Assistant Professor at UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science, gives participants the chance think about what they would like their library activities for and with teens to achieve. Then with that in mind work backwards to determine what programs they might provide in order to reach that goal/impact. During the five week course participants will learn about the backwards design framework for planning. They will also have the chance to develop learning goals for their activities for and with teens and through those goals better articulate the value of the work that they do. You can learn more and register for this e-course on the YALSA website.
Continue reading Learning with YALSA This Summer

Future Ready with the Library: Still Time to Apply for Cohort 4

clearing a farm fieldIf you work in a small, rural, or tribal library consider applying for the fourth cohort of the Future Ready with the Library project. This project, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and in partnership with the Association of Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL), provides library staff with opportunities to engage with their communities to build college career awareness services for middle school youth. Learn more about the project and how to apply by viewing the 60 minute information session available below.
Continue reading Future Ready with the Library: Still Time to Apply for Cohort 4

Future Ready with the Library Cohort 4: Apply Now

Middle school, however, is perhaps the unspoken linchpin in establishing a positive trajectory for career and college success, and here’s why: the exploratory opportunities and soft skills developed in early adolescence bridge elementary literacy with high school level life decision-making, which will ultimately lead to graduation and post-secondary achievements. - http://bit.ly/8waysmidschoolccr

Do you work with youth in a small, rural, or tribal library of any kind?

Do you want to join with your community members to support the success of middle school youth and their families?

Are you interested in learning more about teens, community engagement, connected learning, and college and career awareness?

Would you like to help middle schoolers start to think about how they can turn what they love to do and are interested in into a career?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions then it’s time for you to consider applying to participate in the fourth cohort of YALSA’s Future Ready with the Library IMLS funded project. The application period runs from April 2 to May 15, 2019. All are welcome to apply, regardless of job title or type of library. Note: ALA/YALSA membership is not required to apply.
Continue reading Future Ready with the Library Cohort 4: Apply Now

Ask Your Senators to #FundLibraries by April 5!

The White House budget proposal for FY2020 has, for a third time, proposed elimination of federal funding for libraries. This year’s “Dear Appropriator” letters have finished in the House. We are now urging Senators to preserve more than $210 million in federal library funding.

One letter asks members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to fully fund the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the other asks the Committee to fully fund the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. The more signatures we have, the better the chance that the appropriators will protect funding for LSTA and IAL programs.

Senators Jack Reed (RI) and Susan Collins (ME) are leading this year’s LSTA and IAL letters and the deadline is April 5. Want to see if your representative has signed already? Check our appropriations letter tracker.  Email your Senators now!

Future Ready with the Library: Career Cruising @ Colorado Valley Communications

This post is written by Allison Shimek, a member of the second cohort of the YALSA Future Ready with the Library project, and a coach to members of the third cohort. Allison is the Director of the Fayette Public Library and Fayette Heritage Museum and Archives in La Grange, Texas. Contents of this post originally appeared on the Future Ready with the Library Community of Practice. Allison’s first post on her work as a part of the Future Ready project was published on the YALSAblog earlier this year.

13 teens in 6th – 11th grade attended an event at Colorado Valley Communications (CVC), a local telephone and internet provider. Of the total, eight teens were in middle school (6th – 8th grade). Most of the teens were the same from our first event at a local bank. We did also have a couple new faces.

photo of teens talking with CVC staffThe day began with four career exploration stations. The teens visited the NOC (network operation communications) room with several big screen televisions that displayed problems with towers and outages in the area. The company actually had a tower go down and a cut fiber line during the event so the teens got to see what happens in those instances and how problems appear on the screens. At another station teens learned how fiber is installed in the ground and how to splice fiber. At another station the teens explored how a fixed wireless network works and how locations for wireless are selected using Google Earth’s mapping tools. By entering their home address into the map teens had a chance to interact with the tools the telecom employees use. Last, teens learned about how technology has changed the way customers interact with CVC and how CVC markets to the community.
Continue reading Future Ready with the Library: Career Cruising @ Colorado Valley Communications

Your Help Needed: Support the #FundLibraries Campaign

As you may have heard, the White House has released its federal budget proposal for FY2020 and once again, they have proposed to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Libraries need your support now more than ever. ALA is calling on library advocates in every congressional district to contact their representative and ask them to support federal funding for libraries by cosigning “Dear Appropriator” letters to fund the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. The more signatures ALA gets on these letters, the more likely it is that funding for LSTA and IAL will be restored. The deadline for signatures is March 28.

Learn more about ALA’s FY2020 #FundLibraries Campaign here. Also, be sure to visit ALA’s action center to contact your member of Congress and sign up to receive action alerts at strategic times as the campaign progresses.

A History of Transforming Library Services for/with Teens through Continuing Education

This post was written by Denise Lyons, the Deputy Director of Statewide Development at South Carolina State Library. She is a co-author of the Transforming Library Services for and with Teens Through Continuing Education (CE) report.

cover of the reportAt the 2016 American Library Association annual conference, two state library agency representatives, from Wisconsin and South Carolina, along with leadership from YALSA, began a conversation about how to build stronger alliances between the groups that serve teens in library organizations. There seemed to be a great deal of overlap with the work of groups at the local, state, and national levels. Yet, there was little collaboration among the different groups.

It seemed reasonable to start considering how to change this by connecting with YALSA. The association already had a relationship with state library agency youth services consultants (“YS Con”). While each state library agency is organized and operates somewhat differently, there is often a person on staff who serves as the youth services (YS) consultant, the one person at the library agency who is the state’s coordinator of children’s and teen services. Many of these positions are part of the Library Development Consulting Department of the state library agency, and most are responsible for providing youth services continuing education opportunities and organizing statewide initiatives such as summer reading and learning programs.
Continue reading A History of Transforming Library Services for/with Teens through Continuing Education

Transforming Library Services for and With Teens Through CE: What We Learned

cover of the reportIt’s been a year since YALSA and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) started work on the Transforming Library Services for and with Teens Through Continuing Education (CE) Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) project. In that year the two organizations hosted a National Forum on the topic, sponsored virtual town halls to learn about the needs of library staff as they relate to teen services, and interviewed library staff and stakeholders to learn about models for successful CE.

Findings from the year of learning are synthesized in the new report, Transforming Library Services for and with Teens Through CE: Findings and Recommendations. These include a framework for what CE that transforms teen services should encompass such as:

  • Multi-part series that give participants the chance to take a deep dive into a particular topic.
  • Multi-part series that acknowledge more than one approach may yield success and which provide participants with the opportunity to critically reflect on their learning, integrate it into real-life practice, then join with other learners and facilitators to evaluate how implementation went, and try again with changes based on the assessment. Continue reading Transforming Library Services for and With Teens Through CE: What We Learned