Instagram of the Week — June 13

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

Across our library system, we have been finishing up our Summer Reading Club visits, coordinating book lists, training teen volunteers, and sprucing up library branches to get ready for our busiest season. Not only are we gearing up to help teens read all summer long, but we’re focusing on learning beyond books too. This year teens can try a variety of classes ranging from origami and improv comedy to coding, comic book storytelling, money management, and more. I’ve warned teens that while we may not offer tests or grades for participating in our classes and camps, they might win cool prizes like baseball tickets, a Raspberry Pi, or a GoPro camera. Best of all, teens can engage with community groups and local experts to discover new things on their own terms.

Please see the ‘grams below for ideas and inspiration for fun Summer Reading Kick-offs! And for more information, please see the following resources:

YALSA 2016 Top Ten Summer Learning Programs

Adopting a Summer Learning Approach for Increased Impact: a YALSA Position Paper

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Instagram of the Week — May 23

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

While we may remember card catalogs and index cards, what about microfiche records of library cards? How about punch cards and the ever evolving bookmobile? It’s easy to forget how transformative technology has been to our work. When the days are long and the to-do lists are never ending, check out the Instagram hashtags #vintagelibrary and #librarytbt (library throwback Thursday) for a good dose of “back in the day was so much harder.” You might also find some ideas worth bringing back. Library billboards, anyone?

Despite the rapid changes of the past few decades, what hasn’t changed is the library’s solid foundation as an institution of choice. As the Future of Library Services for and with Teens explains, we have the choice to discontinue roles that are no longer a priority for students or the community. Youth not only have the choice to read what they want, but can participate in what they want at the library in-person or online. It’s definitely exciting!

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Instagram of the Week – May 16

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

This week we’re focusing on two hashtags that can get teens and library staff working together to create content and engage bibliophiles worldwide. The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report discusses the importance of helping teens gain experience with technology and social media, create digital and message content, and interact with adults who can serve as mentors. The report also highlights how it’s no longer the role of just those in the Children’s, Teen, or Youth Services departments to interact with teens, but that all library staff members regardless of position or department should work on engaging teens and building relationships. Creating content for your library’s Instagram feed is a fun (and often humorous) activity, but can be time consuming and something that gets bumped down the priority list as the school year comes to a close and public library summer reading programs gear up. Inviting all library staff to stage and snap a few photos while encouraging teen volunteers to assist and share ideas presents an opportunity to make introductions and work toward a shared goal.

If the #librariesofinstagram hashtag is the go-to for connecting libraries around the world, then #bookstagram is what brings book lovers together to share current reads and book reviews, to be read piles, favorite quotes, fandoms, and more. Usually these eye-catching photos feature one or two books staged with a complementary background, small props, and good lighting. Book publishers frequently #bookstagram new releases and libraries are featuring items in the collection, staff recommendations, and book club selections. Inviting staff and teens to stage photos allows for a change of scenery (perhaps literally with different surfaces, lighting, and desktop items to incorporate), camera angles, and a variety of titles to include.

Although National Library Card Sign-up Month isn’t until September, libraries post photos of their cards throughout the year and often invite patrons to participate in contests depicting their card on the go. Looking through #librarycard photos is exciting! Yes, a number of the images are libraries highlighting their card and all of the resources that can be accessed with it, but there are just as many photos of patrons excitedly sharing that moment when they’ve moved to a new town or have a young family member obtain a new card. A library card hashtag is easily customized to include your library or town for a summer contest featuring #librarycardadventures or #travelinglibrarycard. Easy to pack and the sky is the limit for photo ops!
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Instagram of the Week — May 9

The current Libraries & Learning issue of Young Adult Library Services (YALS) emphasizes how learning is at the core of our work in school and public libraries, and how we can support teens’ learning. While libraries have historically focused on learning by providing print and digital resources, many are also considering ways to incorporate the process of learning into library programs, outreach partnerships, and staff development. As YALSA President Candice Mack states in this issue’s editorial feature, “think of how dramatically the conversation changes when instead of saying, “I bought a 3D printer for our library,” we say, “the teens in our community need help preparing for 21st century careers, so the library is providing hands-on workshops so teens can use the latest digital tools to create something that supports their schoolwork or hobby.”

This week’s Instagram illustrates how libraries and other community agencies are supporting teens’ learning through financial education workshops, college test prep, sewing, music instruction, public speaking, and more. The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report indicates that the role of library staff is to support teens as facilitators of self-directed inquiry.  The library needs to shift from a place to find content to a place of learning and engagement. In order to step into these new roles, library administrators need to provide planning and resources to support continual staff development, so that staff can meet the learning needs of their communities. Finally, don’t be afraid of failure! Library staff are encouraged to use failure as a means of ongoing improvement, in order to better serve our teens.

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Instagram of the Week – April 25

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

With spring weather in full swing, it’s time to venture outside of the library walls and connect with community members in town. In the past two weeks Instagram has been full of library bookmobiles, book bikes, and staff members taking part in local expos, festivals, parades, and charity walks. The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report discusses how some teens only use libraries for school related work and libraries must engage them in areas beyond academic interests in a way that is visible to teens, parents, and the community. In its explanation of the envisioned future of library services for teens, the report describes developing year-round outreach services in which librarians and library staff leave the building to provide direct services to teens. Outreach programming also provides an opportunity to collaborate with other community stakeholders and businesses. This week’s selected images provide examples of how libraries are putting themselves out there to reach teens and their families in town and the local organizations they have partnered with to do so.

Does your library have a bookmobile, visit the local farmer’s market, or participate in town-wide events? How did you determine your bookmobile route and schedule? What types of publicity materials do you bring with you to events or what programs do you hold? Share with us in the comments section below!

 

 

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Instagram of the Week — April 11

Throughout the month of April, libraries are clearing away the clutter, running creative teen programs, and getting ready to celebrate National Library Week (April 10-16). Every April Fool’s Day, the puns and jokes bring to mind a supervisor of mine. She would prank call us in the evenings to ask if we had any red books, for instance, and she always had patrons dropping by for books and laughs. For her fiftieth birthday, we returned the favor by packing her office with balloons so tightly, it was impossible to move. Not only did we love working for her, she encouraged a culture of creativity and truly connected the library to the community. Research shows that laughter has not only been linked to higher creativity in problem solving, but also benefits health and relationships.

As The Future of Library Services for and with Teens explains, library staff need to connect with teens as individuals, be willing to talk with teens about their interests and passions, and take risks in order to find out what works and does not work with and for teens. Hosting creative programs provide teens a way to connect to the library and gives them opportunities for making and hanging out. Being silly on the job reminds us that working with teens is not only demanding and rewarding, but also FUN!

Please let us know how your library is celebrating National Library Week in the comments section below!

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Instagram of the Week – April 4

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

We’ve flipped our calendars to April and the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month has arrived! Established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration worldwide. The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report discusses the importance of engaging teens in library programming that helps develop multiple literacies and skills for future college and career success. Poetry month lends itself to a variety of active and passive programs, and libraries are taking to Instagram to share programming opportunities with their communities. Sharing a poem a day on social media, placing boards with magnetic words around the library, and providing the materials necessary for poetry contest entries allows teens to explore poetry at their leisure. On the other hand, holding a poetry slam, blackout poetry art program, or hosting a poet to lead a workshop and reading can foster a more collaborative environment for teens. Spine poetry and poetry contents that require photographs, online submissions, or sharing content on social media provide an opportunity for teens to enhance technology skills. Putting together a book display? Why not ask teens to assist in searching the catalog for materials to include? Don’t forget to pull a few novels in verse and popular fiction titles that include works of poetry.

Need a little inspiration for programs? Visit the National Poetry Month website where you can find a list of 30 ways to celebratetips for librarians, and a form to request a free poster with this year’s design by Debbie Millman. Don’t forget that Poem in Your Pocket Day is coming up on Thursday, April 21!

This week’s Instagram images not only highlight what libraries are doing for Poetry Month, but also how they celebrated April Fools’ Day on April 1. Want to share your poetry program plans or tell us a fun April Fools’ prank your library pulled? Use the comments section below!

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Instagram of the Week – March 28

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

While library Instagram feeds share images of programs in action, memes that make you chuckle, smiling library staff members, and striking images of the building and grounds, the majority of posts are focused on books. Whether it be new books that just arrived, a fresh book display, pets posing with books, or book recommendations (to name a few!), libraries are finding ways to showcase materials to patrons. Recently, I’ve found that many libraries are tagging authors, illustrators, and publishers in the comments section of the post or in the image itself. At first glance this may seem commonplace given the constant sharing and tagging that goes on within the platform, but in light of the Future of Library Services for and with Teens report and YALSA’s Social Networking Toolkit, the action has an important impact.

The Futures report explains that today’s library staff have the tools to meet teens where they are and must help them develop multiple literacies that extend beyond the library’s physical space. Listed in the report are seven ways that we can help teens gain media literacy skills as presented by Renee Hobbs at the Summit on the Future of Library Services and Teens. As suggested by the list, getting teens to think about how they interact with media can help them analyze what they consume and make good choices with regard to what they listen to, read, and watch. Library staff can help teens research personal interests and gain skills that will help them analyze and interpret messages, create content, as well as share ideas and represent themselves in the future. In terms of social media specifically, the Social Networking Toolkit states that the act of creating a social media profile, writing content and comments, and editing content develops reading and writing skills. Learning how to use social media tools in a safe environment will allow teens to develop boundaries and expectations when using social platforms, demonstrate a commitment to learning, feel empowered, and see library staff and teachers as positive role models for navigating social media. The Social Networking Toolkit provides an example in which a teen follows an author’s blog or Twitter feed as the author reflects on his or her writing and reading experience. The student can then use the author’s social media account as both a platform for research and a way to communicate with the author.

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Instagram of the Week – March 14

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

Last week from March 6-12 marked this year’s “Create it at your library” Teen Tech Week celebration. Sponsored by YALSA, this yearly initiative aims to connect teens and libraries, and encourage teens to make use of the library’s nonprint resources. As the Future of Library Services for and with Teens discusses, the knowledge divide continues to grow as one in four teens does not have access to technology. Participating in events such as Teen Tech Week provides an opportunity for teens to gain experience with technology tools in an informal setting and strengthen digital literacy skills. Libraries around the country took part in Teen Tech Week by showcasing maker and breaker spaces, hosting DIY and science programs, introducing teens to new technology, and having fun!

Mark your calendars for next year’s Teen Tech Week celebration from March 5-11, 2017.  Continue reading

INSTAGRAM OF THE WEEK — MARCH 7

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

During my first week as the new teen librarian, I observed a pair of Muslim men studying in the back corner of our adult nonfiction stacks. After a while, they took a short break to carefully roll out their rugs and pray. Nearby, a group of teens were working on a class presentation. They watched the two men curiously for a few seconds, then went back to their work without comment. I felt fortunate to be a part of this moment– to witness tolerance in action in this small gesture.

Last month’s book displays and library programs in celebration of African-American History Month demonstrate our long standing efforts to promote cultural awareness in our communities, and highlight our country’s path from slavery toward a more open and equitable society. As our youth population becomes more diverse, we have more opportunities to offer collections and services that best reflect our communities.

Dr. Carla Hayden’s nomination as Librarian of Congress, Simon & Schuster’s announcement of a new line of children’s and YA books featuring Muslim characters, and plans to offer more diversity-specific book sales flyers to schools are welcome changes. Meanwhile, The Future of Library Services for and with Teens highlights the dramatic shift in the demographics of our youth and the challenges they face. More than 16 million, or 1 in 5, live in poverty. African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to drop out of school, and jobless rates for African-American and Hispanic youth are rising. The report indicates that our collections and services need to shift toward being centered on relationships, provide more access to educational and career resources, and continue to be mindful of the significance of our patrons’ racial, cultural, and social backgrounds in meeting our teens’ needs.

The current issue of Young Adult Library Services (YALS) Resource Roundup by Crystle Martin highlights several tools to assist with reaching diverse populations outside of the library.

For more information about diversity and equity of services, please see the ALA’s Diversity webpage, YALSAblog’s archived posts, and the following resources from YALSA: the Diversity Map, Cultural Competence and Serving Diverse Teens wikis, and the Teen Demographics Infographic.

 

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