What is Youth Voice?

On October 19 at 2PM Eastern YALSA’s webinar will be on the topic of youth voice. Juan Rubio, author of the chapter “Working Together: Youth-Adult Partnerships to Enhance Youth Voice,” in YALSA’s book, Putting Teens First in Library Services: A Roadmap, will facilitate the session. This will be a highly participatory webinar that will include time for talking about challenges and opportunities that youth voice brings to teen library services. Participants will hear about real-life examples of youth voice in libraries and get to brainstorm ways to bring it to their own institutions.

Quotes from Rubio’s Putting Teens First chapter provide a good idea of what will be covered in the webinar:

Unless learning institutions such as libraries begin to incorporate youth voice
as an integral part of their offerings, youth, and especially minority youth, will continue consuming and producing media that frequently has nothing to do with how they conceive of their world and their community.

The best way to achieve outcomes that incorporate a strong youth voice component are library programs that take place through a series of workshops where teens and adults come together for several sessions. Meaningful social bonds are more likely to develop if young people are engaged in a series taking place over longer periods of time. When this occurs, teens develop affinity with the adult facilitator(s) and with the institution as a whole. Creating an opportunity to connect in these ways provides youth with an implicit incentive to be part of the program and to fully engage, which will enable a richer and more productive experience.

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