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.

What a Librarian Can Learn from Chess

A few years back I bought a chess board for our library, the kind with a magnetic board that makes it a bit portable, and one where I hoped students wouldn’t lose pieces too easily. I placed it on a spare student-sized desk near the library’s entrance with two nice chairs on either side. Teachers and students began sitting down or huddling deep into a game while waiting for a class to end or during a free period. I placed our few books about chess next to our game and hoped the board would help welcome in more library users. Then the school year ended.

When the new school year began, I put the chess board back on its desk. Three days into that school year, a handwritten notice was found under the board: Continue reading

The Problem with Cool

I started out this post by titling it “Libraries are not Cool.” But then, the more I wrote, the more I realized I don’t really agree with that statement. For some people, they really are. And it’s important for librarians to talk up their libraries, find out ways to make them more appealing to all age groups, and allow for the library to approach levels of coolness — by lifting food and cell phone bans, bringing in video games, and talking in normal voices, for a start.

Continue reading

Cross-Generational Voices on Digital Media and Society

Global Kids, Common Sense Media, and the GoodPlay Project have teamed up to present FOCUS. A multi-week web-bases set of online dialogues about digital life that is aimed to help put parents, teens, and teachers in touch with one another. Topics covered include privacy, identity, and several others. The discussions will take place April 13-May 4.’  Continue reading

YA Literature Online

cynthia Children’s and Young Adult Author, Cynthia Leitich Smith will stop by Teen Second Life on Tuesday, February 24 at 1pm PST to discuss her newly released book, Eternal. Leitich describes Eternal as a gothic fantasy. She has decided to get involved in Second Life since it’s a ‘very contemporary and very ‘now’ space’ as are her books. Check out her YALSA podcast here. Continue reading

SmallWorlds Intro

I shot a quick video of my library’s presence in SmallWorlds as an example of the web 2.0 tools that can be added to this virtual world that runs in a web browser.

The latest version of Flash is needed to run SmallWorlds. It’ll be interesting to see whether tweens, teens, or both find the site interesting, if they do at all. Many might enjoy what are called ‘missions’ or tasks to level up and earn points so that they can decorate their space and earn a title that clearly shows their status as someone more familiar with the program. As I mention in the video, be sure to check out the SmallWorlds library!

Legislation bill to block wi-fi access to minors in Utah

Representative Bradley Daw has recently introduced HB 139 for those providing wireless access to prevent a minor from accessing harmful material and to use a method such as a credit card to determine the users age. The penalty for not complying could be a fine of up to $1,000.
Read Andy Carvin’s blog post for more information.

As a recent post on the YALSA blog about social networking legislation asked, if there are any educators/librarians/teens living in the area where this bill would effect, reading this post, please share your comments.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Social Technologies-direct benefits to school and work

In the January/Februrary 2008 issue of American Libraries, Meredith Farkas in What Friends Are For writes about social technologies such as Twitter and Facebook which can be used as professional development tools. Farkas’ concluding paragraph is, “The next time you see a colleague logged into Twitter or Facebook while at work, don’t assume he or she is playing on the job. Your co-worker may just be learning something that will benefit your library and its patrons.”

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Being on the island in Teen Second Life when I took this snapshot in the sandbox reminded me of the article. The teen with the virtual cup of coffee in front of the DNA structure he was creating said he was doing this to help him with his bio test for tomorrow in school. Of course. The next time a teen is on RuneScape or MySpace at the library, maybe they are using it to help with their school work. Maybe they would be interested in knowing how other teens use similar tools for professional development something directly tied to a homework assignment if they hadn’t thought if it that way before.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki