September Eureka Moments

Even if you don’t work in a school media center, I’m guessing your life still tends to run on an academic schedule when you work with teens. So welcome to the new school year! Here’s what I think might be interesting, useful, or intriguing to you and your patrons this month.

  • If your teens are interested in what’s new in the going green movement, have them look more globally to see what’s going on. In coastal Ecuador, young people from farming families are heading up efforts to save, cultivate, and redistribute heirloom seeds to revitalize the environment and help farmers prosper. Part of an organization called FOCCAHL, 20-year-old Cesar Guale Vasquez travels throughout nearby areas collecting seeds from farmers and also hosts swapping events so that farmers can trade seeds with each other in order to have more vibrant and diverse crops. Now take that for inspiration and add to it your own library’s resources on climate change, farming, and nutrition and plan an interesting program that combines science with activism and see what your advisory board wants to do with it. Many libraries now are creating their own seed libraries, and whether they’re for wildflowers or corn, they can be a great way to bring communities together, get young people to work with older people, and freshen up your local environment while doing your small part to keep the world cleaner and greener.
    Matthews, J. (2012). Ecuador’s seed savior. World Ark, May 2012: 10-15. Continue reading

30 Days of Back to School: YALSA Student Interest Group

Our teens are not the only ones going back to school, colleges and graduate programs for future librarians are also starting up again this month!

Are you a student interested in Young Adult Library Services?’ ‘  The YALSA Student Interest Group is back in action and ready for all of your discussion and resource needs.’  What are you reading? What are you researching?’  What are your questions? Or your plans and ideas for working with teens? Join the conversation: check out’ our ALA Connect page.

Co-conveners Rob Bittner and myself, want to know how we can make this group great.’  Feel free to email us: r.bittner@rocketmail.com‘ or erin_m_daly@yahoo.com.

If you know any’ library school’ students or interested undergraduates, please spread the word!

From Student Life to Real Life

As an instructor in a library school I’m always excited by the ideas and innovations that students bring to class discussions. The students I teach are great thinkers and are ready to advocate for teens through library programs and services, as well as within the communities in which they work (or may end up working some day.)

But, sometimes I wonder, what happens to that excitement and energy when a student goes from the somewhat insular world of library school to the world of real live libraries. It seems that once out in the real world the day-to-day policies and procedures of a library hinder, and sometimes even kill, what I was able to catch a glimpse of in the library school classroom.

So, that makes me think librarians that are in the world of real-life libraries need to better support students, both when in library school and when just out of that rarefied environment. What can we “old-timers” do? We can:

  • Give students and new librarians opportunities to try out ideas that might be outside the box of what is typical or traditional in the library. Instead of saying something like, “We tried something like that once but it didn’t work.” What about saying, “That sounds like a really good idea, let me know how I can help you make it happen.”
  • Work with library schools to make connections with students and find out what happens in library school classrooms of the early 21st century. Then begin to figure out ways to integrate those ideas into teen services today.
  • Just like teen librarians need to talk with teens about the programs and services teens want and need from the library, librarians need to talk to library school students to find out what those students want and need. Also, it’s important to find out what current library school students envision for the job they will end up in when out of library school.
  • Put yourself in the role of a student by taking classes either in a library school, through YALSA, or through another institution that focuses on teens and/or libraries. Find out what new ideas are out there. Get energized by the ideas and possibilities that current library school students are being exposed to.

Don’t forget that YALSA has a Student Interest Group that is geared to supporting the needs of library school students. The group can also provide a way for “old-timers” to connect with students and build relationships for the future.

Anyone interested in the Student Interest Group can contact me, lbraun@leonline.com, for more information. Students if you have ideas about how current librarians can help you as you start your new careers working with teens and in libraries feel free to comment here. Let us know what your thoughts are.