Statistics you can use from the YALSA Research Committee

Data-driven decision-making. Research-based programming. Outcomes-based planning. Are these some familiar phrases around your library, school, or organization? Do you know how to incorporate research and data about teens into your library services and programming? The YALSA Research Committee’s new project is aimed at helping YALSA members make connections between research about teens and best practices for programming, services, and library advocacy.

This Fall, our committee been curating a collection of existing research related to the lives of young adults. This effort isn’t so much about finding data on young adults and library use, but if you are interested in research related more specifically to teens and libraries, technology, and literacy, be sure to review the most current YALSA Research Bibliography, annotated and organized according to the YALSA Research Agenda.

To complement the Research Bibliography, our committee searched for research and statistics on topics to help inform librarians and their work with teens. Continue reading

Henne Research Grant Available to Support YALSA Research Agenda

Help advance our profession by advancing your research! The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is pleased to support the Frances Henne / YALSA / VOYA Research Grant, an annual competition that awards recipients $1000 in seed money to support small-scale research projects. The deadline for applying is’ December 1.

The proposed research must respond to YALSA’s vision, mission, goals, and’ research agenda; applicants must also be YALSA members. ‘ Proposals are limited to two pages plus an additional page for biographical information. Full information about the grant and requirements for the proposal can be found here. Continue reading

June Eureka Moments

All set for Annual? For this month’s Eureka Moments, I tried to tie some research and news to some of the sessions you might want to attend at the conference. And if you’re not able to attend, I hope these items will allow you to participate from afar and to still feel up to date on what’s happening.

  • A 2010 case study in The Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy concluded that “educators cannot expect students to separate their identities from literacy practices” through interviews and observations with two gay teens. The researcher noted how a multigenre research project, rather than the more traditional paper, allowed the teens to explore themselves more fully and integrate their academic study of history and literature with their sexual orientation. The article ends with the researcher imploring schools and educators to become more sensitive to LGBTQ issues and to explore ways to allow students identifying in the spectrum to feel included in traditional classroom topics and texts and to respectfully invite all students to participate together.
    Vetter, A.M. (2010). “‘Cause I’m a G”: Identity Work of a Lesbian Teen in Language Arts. The Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 54(2), 98-108.
    Related session: Stonewall Awards Presentation, Monday 10:30am’  Continue reading

April Eureka Moments

Happy Spring! Or is it still freezing cold where you are? Or already hot as summer? Regardless of the weather, spring is a great time for the birth of new ideas, approaches, and programming. Maybe something here will inspire you.

  • You might be working and living in the “stroke belt,” did you know? Eleven states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia) are designated as areas with incredibly high prevalence of stroke, and new research shows that teens living in these areas are at higher risk for having strokes when they are older. This means that encouraging healthy habits and the cessation of unhealthy ones that could contribute to strokes, like smoking and diet, should be emphasized. Have you done any health programming lately? Read a news report on the study here, or check out the full article in Neurology. Continue reading

Paper Presentations, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the YALSA Symposium

I was quite the eager little first-year grad student last year when I submitted my paper proposal for the 2012 YALSA YA Literature Symposium. My subject–biracial identity in YA–was something I had been interested in for awhile, so I was happy to have an outside force encouraging me to turn my informal research into something real and accountable. But that was in February, and lots of school happened in between that acceptance and presentation, including a lot of procrastinating.

But I still made it, and on the Saturday of the symposium, I presented my paper and did not melt, have a heart attack, or run out of the room screaming.

I thought I would end up titling this post either “How NOT to Present a Paper at a Conference” or “How to Be the Best Paper Presenter EVER,” but I’m not sure I have the authority to write either. If there are rules other than “don’t rush and talk too quickly” (oops–failed that one), please let me know. Continue reading

October Eureka Moments

Thoroughly in the swing of things now? Already bored with what’s going on? Happy but ready to add more programming and interest to your services? Whatever the case, maybe some of these innovations, research publications, and other cool tidbits will inspire you.

  • You know your patrons like games. And you may already know of some of the social justice gaming websites and programs out there, like Games for Change or Spent. Now it might interest you to know that there’s a new game out there designed specifically to target your ethics, not just to make you live in someone else’s shoes or support a cause. Quandary is its name, and it was designed by The Learning Network, a collaboration between MIT and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Take a look at the game here, and then consider if your gaming club might attract new members with an interest in social justice, or if your volunteer group might like to try some gaming. Now that so many teens are so savvy at programming, you might be able to get a group together to create a game that tackles a local issue that they find important.
  • Continue reading

    The Copyright Quagmire

    Copyright. ‘ It’s one of those issues in education that doesn’t go away. Whether it is the 1,000 pound elephant in the room no one wants to acknowledge or it’s the topic being policed with the kind of gusto most often left for sample sales. Copyright causes confusion, panic and in some cases, arguments. ‘ The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.’ ‘  But before we discuss a solution, let’s look at some real life scenarios: Continue reading

    August Eureka Moments

    Is this what they call the dog days? Not for me! This is my first summer living in Boston instead of Tucson, and I’m soaking up the beautiful high-80s temps they call “hot” around here and spending as much time outside as possible. But I did manage to go inside and find a few interesting tidbits for your personal interest and professional usefulness.

    • Have you ever tried to explain to someone why their offhand comment that “that’s gay” offends you? Or been annoyed when you offer to help carry something heavy and you’re refused because you’re female? Maybe someone made a rude joke about Middle Easterners not knowing you are of Saudi descent? These are called “microaggressions,” and the Microaggressions Project, a collective blog made up of submissions from anyone who wants to share an experience of feeling belittled, ignored, or just frustrated, whether because of their religious beliefs, gender identity, race, victim status, or a variety of other factors. Without resorting to hate speech or angry tirades (and no specific names, locations, or other identifying information is in any of the submissions), this blog would not only be a great resource for teens who feel like their voices aren’t being heard, but you could talk with your advisory group and possibly start your own project, with something as easy as index cards and a locked jar or box. Continue reading

    July Eureka Moments

    School’s out, I’m no longer sick, and the blog is no longer down! In honor of the evolving focus of this column, I’ve changed its title and broadened my scope. But don’t worry; I’ll still be trolling the various databases for hard-hitting research, too. The first month of summer is usually the busy one, in which students are still finishing school, are already in summer school, or have begun to embark on busy summer adventures, like camp and travel. So the ideas I’m offering you are a bit more low-key or focused on the librarian, rather than the patron, since I gather that your patrons are not exactly in the mood yet for anything that requires a lot of commitment.

  • Last weekend, PostSecret put up a (trigger warning) postcard from someone who dislikes being labeled intolerant for saying that certain types of people are, maybe, hypocritical about oppression. That made me think of a tumblr I found once upon a time called Oppressed Brown Girls Doing Things, whose tagline, “Because we’re still oppressed,” is awesomely readable in a multitude of ways. You might just find this fun to read when there’s a lull in your day, but I know I’d love to see some of these posts find their way into a collage on a library wall, a bookmarks list on a library computer, or into the meeting of any group that meets in your teen room. While the content ranges from NSFW language to sarcastic gifs, the blog also brings up a lot of pertinent points about what it means to be a woman of color. Continue reading
  • May Research Roundup

    I’m back! After a month off for vertigo and another month of innovating, I’m glad to be resuming this column, even though it probably needs a new title, since it’s as much about innovation and general cool-stuff-is-happening-all-over-the-place-and-you-should-apply-it-to-your-library-work as it is about research. That said, here is some of the fresh new ideas coming out of the woodwork and being published or publicized this month.

    • After I’ve waited for what seems like forever (but is really just since I joined Twitter and started following Levar Burton), the website RRKidz is finally live and going somewhere! This 21st century incarnation of “Reading Rainbow” promises access to the classic episodes that I know I adored as a kid as well as new content for today’s media devices, those ubiquitous tablets and genius phones, curated by Burton himself. My first recommendation is for you just to get excited. But also consider that some of your patrons may still remember the original show, and my guess is that even if they claim to be non-readers, they’ll have some great memories of it. “Reading Rainbow” may be for younger children, but you can get your teen volunteers excited about it by mimicking the show’s popular “You don’t have to take my word for it” section, in which real kids recommended their favorite books to others. What a great way to get teens to sit in on storytime, or to volunteer in your children’s section, and they can just as easily create videos on library computers to share their favorite YA stories with fellow teens, along with your help.
    • The New York Times magazine recently held a contest for the best essay answering the question “Why is it ethical to eat meat?” The contest subject and its judges (all white men, mostly already known for championing animal rights and being vegetarians or vegans) immediately prompted outrage, interest, and annoyance, and all of the comments and criticism are well worth reading. Continue reading