Putting the M in STEM

I’ve had STEM on the brain a lot lately. (For those of you who haven’t yet become familiar with this acronym, it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.) The library in which I work has fully embraced STEM programming, providing informal hands on science classes for students in Kindergarten through High School. I’m also privileged to be working on the YALSA STEM Task Force. At our library, we’ve done lots of traditional science experiments, held building clubs, and offered teens the chance to learn new technology. But in all this, I find myself asking, “Where’s the math?” I came up with an unexpected answer.

The single place I use math the most, other than basic household bills, is when I craft. Continue reading

30 Days of Innovation #10: looking for programming ideas outside the library

Recently on a discussion board I follow there have been numerous requests (and responses) for free, unique, or new programming ideas for teens. I have been following these threads quite closely because I, too, am always looking for fresh ideas. Plenty of us find craft ideas on Pinterest (and collaborate on this board), discover great titles on blogs, and hear from experts on webinars. But there are so many more ways to discover programming. In fact, you need look no further than your personal life. Continue reading

You Could Scream or Cry But Instead Advocate

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had conversations with library school students and colleagues about teens and libraries that have made me want to scream and cry simultaneously. But, really what these conversations make me most want to do is speak out for the importance of serving teens in libraries, and in the community overall. Here’s what’s happened:

  • I’m talking with a group of librarians and one of them recounts the story of a conversation she had with a colleague. The librarian noted that the conversation went something like this, “I wish the library in my town provided better services to teens.” The response, “Maybe they don’t need to, the teens in that community have a lot of other resources, activities, etc. that they can take part in.” I heard this and just wanted to scream, I may have actually done that. Would a librarian say that about adults or children? What’s the message that the library sends to teens when it has a host of programs, resources, and services for every other age group?
  • While talking on Twitter with some library school students about library services to teens the conversation turned to the way teens are treated in some libraries. Students recounted stories of librarians taking away chairs so that the teens wouldn’t be able to sit and therefore would not stay in the library. Or, library staff saying negative things about teens when talking with other library staff. These posts made me want to cry and I felt like some students and library staff take for granted that this happens in libraries. It felt and feels like staff diss the teen age group and it’s just to be expected. But, how can that be OK? Would it be OK to do that with any other age group or group within the community? Continue reading

Join YALSA for a Midwinter Hack Jam!

Get a pair of x-ray goggles that really work! While these may not see through a steel plate, they can see right through the Internet!

YALSA is pleased to host a demonstration of one of the Mozilla Foundation’s newest tools: the Hackasaurus web x-ray goggles. This javascript app gives teens – and anybody else – the tools to discover the rich world of code hiding just beneath the surface and gives them the ability to remix the web. Continue reading

Get the scoop on STEM!

What is the buzz about STEM? From listservs to blogs to Twitter, everyone is talking about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. Join YALSA for a discussion of what STEM is, and how you can incorporate it into your library. We’ll share ideas on STEM programming and how to build collaborative STEM partnerships with other organizations. We’ll also look toward the future and talk about how librarians can easily implement STEM initiatives during Teen Tech Week.

The forum ‘ will open at 10am EST on Monday, October 3rd and will close Friday, October 7th at 3pm EST. This discussion will be moderated by Shannon Peterson, Youth Services Librarian at Kitsap Regional Library.

To Access the Forum
1. Login into ALA Connect
2. Select the YALSA division page under “My ALA Groups”
3. On the right hand side menu select “Discussions” and then select the month’s discussion thread.
4. To contribute to the discussion click on “Post new discussion” link

If you have trouble accessing the discussion board or have questions or a suggestion for a future YA Talk forum, please contact Eve Gaus at egaus@ala.org