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 YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I interviewed Monnee Tong, Service Area Manager of Sciences at the San Diego Central Library. previously she was the Manager of the Pauline Foster Teen Center of the San Diego Public Library.

1. What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

While I was Manager of the Pauline Foster Teen Center, our outreach was targeted to teachers and schools to reach students. We were able to network and create relationships with teachers, which helped inform what outreach services we offered.  After receiving some feedback from teachers about what was needed for their classes, we developed a variety of different workshops that introduced teens to library services: articles and databases, catalog overview, introduction to the San Diego Public Library, and credible resources. Each workshop was about a half an hour, and we would usually play a game at the end of each one to test knowledge and have an excuse to give out candy and prizes.

My team and I would travel to classes to give these workshops, but many of them were given at the library along with a tour, and sometimes the workshops were tailored to what the class was learning. A typical visit to the library for a class would last about two hours, which included a tour of our beautiful library and a workshop. We are a popular field trip destination!

2. What are some of the outreach partners that have been created through your work at the San Diego Public Library?

One of the partners we had the pleasure of working with on an ongoing basis was the Monarch School, a K-12 school for students experiencing homelessness. We worked closely with the eighth grade class and saw them for a scheduled monthly visit. Sometimes we would visit their classroom, and sometimes they would come to the library. This past year, each month focused on a different topic that the students could research using library resources, and the year before that the students worked on creating videos using YouTube Editor in our multimedia lab. Having consistent visits like this was so valuable; we became part of the students’ community and they became part of ours. Many of them visited the library after school, and knowing them from class helped so much in building a rapport with them after school.

3. Describe a day in the life of providing outreach.

Before the day-of, I like to prepare by going over my presentation, printing any handouts for the class, putting together SWAG or prize bags, processing library cards if needed, and confirming with the teacher. On the day-of, I try to arrive early so I can find parking and the classroom, and to give myself time to set my presentation up and pass out any handouts that are needed. If I’m passing out candy or anything else that’s edible, I ask the teacher if it’s OK. I start out by introducing myself and showing everyone a photo of the library and telling them where it is before diving into my main content.

At the end I usually give a little quiz and give out candy to correct answers. One time I had leftover full candy bars from an event and decided to give those out. It got a little competitive in there…but I hope they all learned a little about choosing credible sources after that!

4. What resources would you recommend for someone new to outreach to look for ideas for inspiration as well as best practices?

One of my favorite resources is Infopeople, which provides continuing education and professional development opportunities. California library folks may already be familiar with Infopeople since it’s based here, but it’s available to anyone. They have free archived webinars on a variety of topics, including outreach.  It’s a great place to start if you’re new to a topic or need a refresher course.

5. What are some of your favorite things you have heard from teens while providing outreach services?

An encounter I had recently with a student was a tender “I love being a librarian” moment. I was invited to speak at a school for Career Day about being a librarian (which I love–I bust all sorts of stereotypes!) One classroom from the school had previously been at the library for a tour, so I was a little familiar with the school. At this recent visit, I had finished speaking to the classes and was about to say goodbye. The teacher then spoke up and thanked one of the students in the class, who was the one who requested that I come to their school. The teacher told me that she had liked the tour I had given at the library so much that she requested that I come to Career Day so I could meet the whole school. I was glowing from the comment. It’s easy to go through the motions and not realize who you may be impacting. The moment the teacher told me that and I made eye contact with the student, I felt like I had successfully done my job in connecting with the community and teaching people about what the library can do for them.

This is why outreach is important. You have so much to give outside of the walls of the library–the rest of the world should know about it.

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 YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I interviewed April Witteveen, Community and Teen Services Librarian with the Deschutes Public Library in Central Oregon.

  1. What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

My outreach is currently pretty simple and straightforward—but very, very consistent, which is so important. Most of these relationships have existed for longer than the 12 years I’ve been with my library system.

I currently visit our Juvenile Justice facility every other week. The building holds two populations in separate “pods”: teens that are serving short criminal sentences or are awaiting trial (the general “locked down” juvenile justice population,) as well as a program for court-involved teen males who enter a non-profit therapeutic program called J Bar J. The J Bar J teens in the secure facility are either working their way up, behaviorally, to get placed at a residential facility (J Bar J Boys Ranch) or have been removed from the Ranch due to behavior to spend time in the secure facility.

I do booktalks year-round to the juvenile justice students when they are in their classroom time, and I try to read the room while doing so to see if I think a discussion of what they’re reading right now could work—it doesn’t every time and I’ve had to cut and run. I also offer the summer reading program, in a modified format, to these teens. They have the opportunity to earn free books with reading time, and many of them are surprised these are books they get to keep and take home when they are released. I’ve seen some incredible generosity here too—“I’m picking something for my sister, it’s her birthday next week,” “can I donate this to the classroom for others to read when I’m done?” etc.

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Library Intersections: Where Does YALSA and Academic Librarianship Intersect?

At the start of my time in graduate school, I saw a post on a community forum. “Be a writer for YALSA” the subject line read. It was August, I was a young, excited, happy-to-be-becoming-a librarian and wanted to end up in a public library working with children and teens. The opportunity seemed perfect. I emailed the current YALSA blog editor at the time and the writing spot was mine.

I wrote for YALSA for two years, covering reports on after school opportunities, digital literacy, and reflections on the profession as I mixed theory from the class with practice in the field. The blog was a touchstone, a way for me to stay abreast with the field. I also love a good community of writers.

In the middle of my second year, the infamous job search began. I wrote up cover letters and polished up my resume. As I found public library jobs to apply for, I also was applying to academic librarian jobs.

I veered.

Today, I find myself at Pennsylvania State University Libraries. I’m a reference and instruction librarian who works a shifted schedule (Sunday-Thursday, 1-10 PM). I spend a lot of time with undergraduates, mainly freshman and sophomores but an occasional senior. What I love about my job is the ability for me to have one-on-one reference conversations with these students. I can really dig into how to research and I’m persistent – I’ve had conversations lasting up to two plus hours. While I’m still learning how to teach, I feel more settled in doing reference with undergrads.

But then why I am back blogging for YALSA you might ask? I’m back because I’m interested and invested in the intersection and overlap of the work of YALSA and the work I do as a librarian at Penn State. If we think about the long line of fantastic librarians a person has in their lifetime, we have an important handoff. I’m curious in the ways we are preparing teenagers for information literacy in college and also want to share the ways I’m teaching and learning from the teens during their first years of undergrad. I want to explore collaborations between academic libraries, public libraries, and school libraries. What are the ways we can work together, share resources, and build a community?

I’ve got some ideas on ways to talk about these ideas, but I also want to hear from you. Comment below on this blog post with topics you want me to explore. What should I write about? I would love any and all feedback.

I’m so glad to be back and blogging with YALSA.

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 YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I interviewed Lainie Castle, Project Director, Public Programs Office American Library Association. Most specifically we talked about her work with the Great Stories Club.

1.How do you see theGreat Stories Club (GSC) as a way for librarians to work with underserved populations?

There are two important ways that we see the Great Stories Club (GSC) supporting librarians’ efforts to work with underserved young adults. First, we hope the grant opportunity provides an impetus for librarians to reach out to other community organizations that are deeply engaged with teens who are facing specific difficulties, such as detention or incarceration, homelessness, drug or alcohol treatment, or other disciplinary or academic challenges. Fostering and helping to sustain these outreach partnerships brings specialized literary programming services to young people who might not otherwise have that opportunity. Because the GSC is a national program, with the involvement of both ALA and the National Endowment for the Humanities, it can sometimes help make the case for new or reinvigorated outreach efforts.

Second, the GSC provides a tightly curated set of programming resources that are designed to support an in-depth reading and discussion experience grounded in humanities scholarship. Each series has been created to be more than just an average book club, going beyond more standard questions about characters and plot to facilitate readers’ personal exploration of universal humanities themes, like the role of art in making and coping with change. The program seeks to inspire teens to consider “big questions” about the world around them and their place in it and, by offering programming space in which they can work through these questions with their peers and caring adults, to have a positive impact on self-concept. We want GSC readers to view themselves not just as readers, but also as thinkers and creators with important contributions to offer to the world around them.

2. Do you have some success stories of libraries that began working with a particular population/organization for theGreat Stories Club (GSC) and they continue to work together?

We are fortunate to work with many libraries that developed a new partnership in order to participate in the Great Stories Club, and are still working with those community organizations to serve teens, either in between GSC grants or after their grant term ended. Other GSC library programs have expanded with local support, due to initial participation in the grant. A few examples* include:

  • Sequoyah Regional Library System in Canton, Georgia developed an ongoing partnership with the Department of Juvenile Justice.
  • Berkeley Public Library and Berkeley Technology Academy renewed a lapsed partnership because of the GSC, and now work together on a locally funded weekly book club that’s ongoing.
  • Athens-Clarke County Library in Athens, Georgia partnered with the local jail, and now facilitates a twice-monthly book club there, funded by a private individual donor.
  • Glen Carbon Library in Illinois began partnering with the Madison County Detention Center through a GSC grant in 2009, and continued through several rounds of GSC grants while also developing other specialized programming including STEAM sessions and visits with therapy dogs.
  • Antelope Lending Library in Iowa City, Iowa partnered with the John McDonald Residential Treatment Center for Girls for the GSC, and has been able to continue reading and discussion programming with support from a local used bookstore that donated materials, and a local women’s reading group that donated funds to support travel (since the facility is about an hour away from the library).
  • The Juneau Public Library’s program with the Johnson Youth Center in Alaska was so successful with the treatment side of the juvenile justice facility that the librarian was invited to expand programming to the detention side.
  • The Hastings Ninth Grade Center in Houston, Texas has done several successful GSC series with their alternative campus (the Campus Learning Center), and the librarian presented a proposal to the school board this month, for expansion of the program district-wide to 11 other campuses.

3.How do you see libraries doing more work outside of libraries with underserved and underrepresented populations and do you have any recommendations for doing so?

For those who are looking to do more work outside their library with underserved populations, there are some resources on the Great Stories Club website that might be helpful. We have complete information for three NEH-funded series and five Oprah’s Angel Network-funded series that include reading lists, framing essays, discussion questions, certificates of completion for teens, customizable posters and bookmarks, supplemental reading lists, and other general programming ideas such as tips on establishing an outreach partnership, a list of reference books about library service to at-risk teens, tips for managing challenges with reading levels and engagement, and more. In addition to our wonderful national project advisors (for current and future themes), ALA PPO is fortunate to have a closed discussion list with more than 100 librarians who work on GSC grants and are amazing sources of knowledge and experience. If you would like to pose a question to the group, please email it to publicprograms@ala.org and our staff would be happy to share it and return a response.

*With thanks to the GSC project directors who shared their stories for the post above, including Angela Glowcheski (Sequoyah Regional Library System), Andrea Mullarkey (Berkeley Public Library), Priscilla Lewis (Athens-Clarke County Library), Magi Henderson (Glen Carbon Library), Cassandra Elton (Antelope Lending Library), Amelia Jenkins (Juneau Public Library), and Charla Hollingsworth (Hastings Ninth Grade Center).

 

 

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 YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I interviewed Heather Fisch, Associate Librarian, Outreach at the Hennepin County Library

1. What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

Our outreach team coordinates monthly booktalks by library staff to the students at Hennepin County Home School (CHS), a residential treatment center for juveniles ages 13 to 20 who have been committed by the court. We update their library collection with new materials and provide books as requested by students and teachers. We also organize special programs for the students, such as author visits and writing workshops.

2. Describe a day in the life of providing outreach.

Last year, one of our librarians chose Kekla Magoon’s novel How It Went Down to book talk. Many of the students connected with the novel, so much so that one student persuaded the administration to buy a copy for every student and host a school-wide book club focused on the novel. Students facilitated the book club meetings, and a couple of us from the library attended. The students were really engaged and the book seemed to resonate deeply with them and sparked profound discussion.  It was really inspiring to witness.

This past October, we had the opportunity to bring the author, Kekla Magoon, to CHS to discuss the book with the students in person. The event took place in the auditorium, where the students had prepared questions and posted them on paper taped to the walls. The students listened intently to the author describe her journey to becoming a writer, the process of writing books, and the impetus behind How It Went Down, and then asked questions including:

  • “What is your honest opinion on Black on Black violence and White on Black violence? Why does society make White on Black violence a bigger deal?”
  • “Why do people make their perspectives and stereotypes come true?”

(Disclaimer: Not all days in Outreach are this overtly inspiring, but I feel grateful to have been there for this one!)

3. What resources would you recommend for someone new to outreach to look for ideas for inspiration as well as best practices?

The best resource(s) I’ve discovered are the teens themselves. When I stop and listen, I’ve found that most teens will tell you what is meaningful to them, what incites their curiosity, and what inspires them to question the world around them. My colleagues have also been a trusted source for sharing best practices. In terms of where I turn when selecting titles for booktalks, I’ve had good luck with the following:

  4. What are some of your favorite things you have heard from teens while providing outreach services?

Some of my favorite things I’ve heard students say:

  • “Sometimes when I’m reading a book in my room at night, it feels like I’m watching TV!”
  • “I’m not always a fan of book trailers because they take away my freedom to imagine.”

(And lest we forget that some of our students are, after all, teenage boys):

Booktalker: “See No Color is about a 16-year-old baseball player whose body is growing in ways that make it difficult for her to continue playing ball.”

Student: “Growing? How?”

Booktalker: “She’s getting curves.”

Student: “Ooooo! I want that book!”

Breaking the Silence about Teen Dating Violence @ Your Library

On Monday, February 13, 2017, teens are invited to join a national conversation about teen dating violence. According to a 2016 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “[a]mong high school students who dated, 21% of females and 10% of males experienced physical and/ or sexual dating violence.” The same study also concluded that “[a]mong adult victims of rape, physical violence, and/ or stalking by an intimate partner, 22% of women and 15% of men first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age.” As teen library staff, have an opportunity to raise awareness about teen dating violence by helping teens advocate for their loved ones, friends, and themselves.

Given the amazing selection of books and resources that have been published for teens about dating violence (DV), we can bring awareness in many different ways. One method is to create a display that is going to invoke a powerful statement that needs to be said. For the month of February, my library posted this in our outside display case:

With these displays, we cab develop programming that can initiate a dialogue with teens about DV. If we have yet to connect with community groups and resources that can help us deliver our services, Teen DV month is a great place to start.

During Teen Dating Violence Awareness month, the teens at my library will discuss Jennifer Shaw Wolf’s Breaking Beautiful and a representative from Peace Over Violence will be there to answer any questions about teen DV. What I want to stress about these kinds of programs as that we need to declare that whatever happens at this event stays at this event. Victims of abuse need to know that the Library is a safe place so, by creating a circle of trust, we are actually stating we are here to help them. By opening up this conversation with our communities, it is incredibly helpful to invite an expert to answer the questions we don’t know or are qualified to answer.

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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 YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I spoke with Laura Mielenhausen, Youth Services Librarian Hennepin County Library Teen Central, Minneapolis Central Library.

What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

I provide weekly library service to the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC). This includes maintaining the JDC library collection; bringing new materials (both withdrawn items from Hennepin County Library and items purchased specifically for JDC); shelving the returned materials; and visiting the residents to suggest books and take book requests. When I visit the residents I let them know about the services our public library provides, including Homework Help programs, Teen Anime Club, and the Best Buy Teen Tech Center in downtown Minneapolis, where teens can do creative projects like record their own music. I also let them know how they can get a new library card and get any old library card fines reviewed, so they can get a fresh start as a library patron.

Describe a day in the life of providing outreach.

For my JDC outreach, I track the number of requests I get at each visit. I fill those requests with JDC library materials first, but in the case the teen wants a book we don’t have at JDC I bring it from the public library system. I keep a spreadsheet of who has what and everything is checked out to one library card account that I maintain. On the day of the visit, I pack my hand cart with any requested materials, new magazines, and new books for the collection and hop on the light rail to arrive at JDC. I check in with staff, sign in, and receive my building keys that I’ll use to move around the building. I have a book truck that I fill with new, popular, and interesting items, which I take up to each “mod” of residents. In each mod, I meet with residents, talk to them about the books they like and what they’ve been reading at JDC. These teens have a lot of time to fill and many read a book a day. They love to tell me about books they liked or did not like, and it gives me a good opportunity to do a little reader’s advisory on the fly by suggesting other books on the cart, and to encourage them to visit the public library after their release. After my visits I head back down to the library to put away returned materials and weed any damaged items. I spend about four hours at the JDC every Tuesday morning, with a few additional hours at my desk every week making requests, updating my spreadsheet, and getting the materials ready to bring in. Twice a year I put together an order for new books for JDC, with support from Hennepin County Library’s Outreach department. We sometimes get grant funding to bring in authors to visit the residents in JDC and other correctional facilities served by Hennepin County Library. When that happens, I work with my colleagues to plan the visit, bring copies of the author’s book for the residents to keep, and communicate with JDC staff and teachers to support attendance at the visit. Last year we were delighted to invite Kekla Magoon to come in and speak about her book How it Went Down. Residents had an opportunity to read the book before her visit and then were able to ask her questions about the book and her life as a writer. Everyone got to keep a signed copy of the book.

What resources would you recommend for someone new to outreach to look for ideas for inspiration as well as best practices?

Remember that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Reach out to other librarians in your system and those doing similar work in other library systems. Ask lots of questions – find out about existing outreach programs and what makes them succeed. If you have an idea for outreach you’d like to do, don’t be deterred by the inevitable, “Oh we tried that in 2010 and it didn’t work” response. If it’s a valuable library service that supports the mission of your library and addresses a community need, you can find a way to make it work. Meet with teachers, program coordinators, shelter directors, and other youth workers in your community and explore how you can bring library services to their youth programs or collaborate on youth programming together.

What are some of your favorite things you have heard from teens while providing outreach services?

I love hearing about what the teens are reading and seeing their enthusiasm about books. I’ve learned to never make assumptions about what incarcerated teens might be interested in reading – I get requests from R.L. Stine to Dostoyevsky, from Stephenie Meyer to Sister Souljah – and the joy I see when I bring a requested item never gets old. My favorite experience is when a formally incarcerated teen comes to see me at the library – we talk, get their library card account up-to-date, and look for books that might interest them. Coming from a situation where some books are restricted, a formerly incarcerated teen once said to me, “Wait, I can read whatever I want?” “Yes,” I said, “this is your public library. You can check out any book you see in here.”

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 YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This post will be a roundup of some of 2016’s posts to highlight the outreach work some teen services librarians are doing as as well potentially inspire YOU to try and replicate some of this work in your own libraries and communities.

December’s post introduced us to Jessie Vieau, Teen Librarian and the work he is doing at the  Madison Public Library, Central Library with Making Justice, a community-based learning program for at-risk and court-involved teens that includes weekly workshops and an artist-in-residence opportunity.

September’s post focused on the work Courtney Saldana, Youth Services Supervising Librarian at the Ovitt Family Community Library in Ontario, California does with the STeP program. Courtney created the STeP program or Skills for Teen Parents, an innovative library services model aimed at connecting pregnant and parenting teens with the resources and services they need to succeed as adults and as parents.

July’s post introduced us to the work of Hayden Bass, Outreach Program Manager, for the Seattle Public Library and her work in outreach and priorities she focuses on.

May’s post introduced us to Leigh Hurwitz, School Outreach Librarian with the Brooklyn Public Library and the work she does between Brooklyn PreK-12 school communities and Brooklyn Public Library.

March’s post focused on Kim Dare who was the YALSA Cultural Competence Task Force Chair 2014-2015. She talked a lot about the priorities of the YALSA Cultural Task Force be brought into the conversation of outreach.

January 2016’s post introduced us to Kate McNair, the Teen and Outreach Librarian for the Johnson County Library, Kansas, Antioch Branch.  Kate’s position focuses half of her time working directly on outreach, working with partners outside of the library.

What about some resources to help, these resources are culled from some of the posts throughout the 2016 year.

Vancouver Public Library’s Community-Led Libraries Toolkit. ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services has a whole slew of resources. Hayden Bass led a webinar at WebJunction—there are lots of other great resources linked there, too.

From Kristy Gale, Young Adult Services Librarian at the Seattle Public Library, University Branch November 2016 YALSA Blog post

  • Talk to youth and young adults that may be experiencing homelessness that use your library. They will have valuable input!
  • Check-in with library staff that are already doing this work. If you have community engagement and outreach service staff at your library, tap into them.
  • Seek out service providers at local agencies that reach out to teens and young adults experiencing homelessness along with other populations in your community that have inequitable access to resources and opportunities.
    • Connecting and volunteering with organizations that focus their work on helping young adults experiencing homelessness and LGBTQ YA has been a great way for me to learn more about the needs of the young adults I serve. Go on outreach with these organizations and learn as they model best practices!
  • The LAMBDA Summit was earlier this year, and Dr. Julie Winkelstein a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is a Postdoctoral Researcher and nationally known advocate for those experiencing homelessness, is a powerhouse of knowledge on the topic.

There are a lot of resources that I use on a regular basis that may be helpful to people coming to outreach.  Some books that I look at; (from Pamela McCarter, Outreach Specialist, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, April YALSA Blog post )

Books:

*          Hurt 2.0: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers (Youth, Family, and Culture)

*          Speaking to Teenagers: How to Think About, Create, and Deliver Effective Messages by Doug Fields

*          The Youth Worker’s Guide to Helping Teenagers in Crisis by Rich Van Pelt

*          The Romance of Risk: Why Teenagers Do the Things They Do by Lynne E. Ponton, M.D.

*          Ask Me if I Care: Voices from an American High School by Nancy Rubin

*          LOST and FOUND: HEALING TROUBLED TEENS IN TROUBLED TIMES by Jan Elise Sells

*          At Risk Youth, 5th Edition 5th Edition by J. Jeffries McWhirter

*          Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers by Cris Beam

Organizations:

TimeOut Youth Time Out Youth Center serves LGBTQ youth ages 11-20.

Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance The Mayor’s Mentoring Alliance connects Charlotte mentoring organizations for the purpose of promoting best practices through providing workshops, resources and standards for quality service delivery.

The Relatives  The Relatives is a system of resources that helps children, youth and young adults find safety, stability and pathways to successful futures.

Websites:

Library Services for Youth in Custody

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

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 YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I spoke with Jesse Vieau, Teen Services Librarian at the Madison Public Library, Central Library

What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

Making Justice focuses on the community as a resource. You can see a range of projects and resources we cover on the TeenBubbler.org website. Making Justice is a community-based learning program for at-risk and court-involved teens that includes weekly workshops and an artist-in-residence opportunity. Offered in collaboration with a diverse spectrum of artists, educators and activists, Making Justice fosters community engagement and self-expression via graphic and 3D art, photography, spoken word, performance, video and life skills projects. While teen participants are often focused on creating a final product, Making Justice workshop leaders are more concerned with relationship building, basic skill development and connection to the community. The hands-on pop-up workshops introduce participants to a variety of creative outlets by collaborating with local people who want to share their talents and physical resources. Our continuous efforts to connect with potential partners is what keeps the experiences current and dynamic, allowing the library to facilitate a wide range of hands-on workshops in all nine libraries and at partner locations around the city.

making-justice

Describe a day in the life of providing outreach

Today started like every Thursday — I met the guest artist/presenter at Central Library to go over supplies and room setup, and the workshop outline that will be run with two teen classrooms today. The Shelter Home classroom takes their van to Central Library each week for a 90-minute hands-on workshop in the Media Lab or the Bubbler Room. An hour after they leave we are already setup and starting the second workshop five blocks away inside the Juvenile Detention Center classroom. I walk to and from the detention center with the artist and our university intern/s, and we get to break down what just happened, vocalize observations and suggest alternative ideas all while pushing a cart of laptops or a flatbed stacked with several large painting canvases around the Wisconsin state capitol building. After arriving back to Central Library in the afternoon today, I then met two artists who needed to prep the silk screens for tomorrow’s tee-shirt design workshop in the Bubbler Room with an at-risk high school classroom under the local school district’s innovative ed department. After ensuring they had all of the supplies they needed for tomorrow’s workshop I was walking to another meeting when, luckily, I ran into our favorite rap artist and part-time library security monitor who needed to make sure I had the set of MacBooks with LOGIC installed on them packed up and ready to go so he was all set when he gets picked up by the beat producer tomorrow morning for their “Rap Sessh” workshop on-site at a different at-risk high school classroom. After adding that to my small list of things I still need to do before I leave today, I went into a 2 hour meeting with one of my mentors who was in town and was able to fit me into her crazy schedule in order to get updated on all things Teen Bubbler, exchange several new ideas, and discuss further edits to the Making Justice project permissions form to ensure it covers the playing of teen audio content on the new youth radio station on the city’s West side. We hugged, I ran through the 5-story building to check off my to-do list, and I walked out into the warm December night just as my wife and three kids pulled up to the curb across the street. And then there was a lot of email tonight after everyone went to bed.

What resources would you recommend for someone new to outreach to look for ideas for inspiration as well as best practices?

Connect with people in your service area. Go to meetings already happening in the community and request meetings with anyone who serves youth. Create your own database by asking people questions about what they do, what resources they have and what they are passionate about. Make note of common goals. Networking has been key for me to understand how to connect Madison teenagers to resources outside of the library’s walls.

What are some of your favorite things you have heard from teens while providing outreach services?

“You mean I don’t have to illegally download LOGIC anymore?” (after hearing of several options to use the library’s copies for free)

“Its so nice to take a break from learning.” (after just having created her first ever stop-motion video)

“I’m actually happy I’m in jail right now.” (while in the middle of a black-light chalk workshop at the juvenile detention center)

“Hey guys, we’re going to Bubbler today!” (using Bubbler in the form of a verb)

Follow-up from the Nov. 16 Town Hall on Supporting Youth during Difficult Times

Yesterday over 40 YALSA members met online during the YALSA virtual town hall to discuss ways that we can support youth in our community during turbulent times.  The outcome of the recent election has caused many young people to feel anxious and uncertain about the future of their rights and of our country, and we know that many incidents of bullying, hazing, harassment, and hate crimes have been reported in the past week. Because of this, the focus of the town hall was changed to focus on what we can do create safe spaces for our youth, how to create empathy, and how to empower teens to promote positive change in our community.

Why do need to offer these types of services to our youth? Because it’s our job.  Last year, the YALSA Board approved a document called Core Professional Values for the Teen Services Profession that focuses on nine core values that define professionalism for those who work for and with teens through libraries. Three of those nine are compassion, inclusion, and social responsibility–values that have been extremely important in the past few weeks.

YALSA has created a list of resources on this topic–Supporting Youth in the Post-2016 Election Climate.  We hope that you will find the information useful and share it widely with colleagues and co-workers.  In addition, ALA has created a Libraries Respond web page with further resources.  If you weren’t able to participate in the town hall, you can listen to the audio recordingread through the comments that were posted in the chat, and check out the tweets with the hashtag #yalsachat.  Many members shared what they are doing inside and outside of their libraries, and it was also great to hear what people were thinking about doing in the future.  As a result of the town hall, a YALSA Interest Group hopefully will soon be forming around ideas to help teens understand and empathize with our changing world, as well as to empower them to advocate for change in a positive manner.  Look for more information on that coming soon.  Also, if you’re interested in this topic, watch your YALSA eNews for information about the January YALSA webinar led by Renee Hill on the topic of helping youth recognize their ability to engage in social justice and equity activities.

Yesterday’s conversation was energizing and hopeful–thank you all for caring for the teens in your community!