Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff: Develop the Relationships and the Behavior Will Take Care of Itself (Mostly)

The Interactions with Teens content area of the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff centers on this main idea:

cover of the Teen Services Competencies for Library StaffRecognizes the importance of relationships and communication in the development and implementation of quality teen library services, and implements techniques and strategies to support teens individually and in group experiences to develop self-concept, identity, coping mechanisms, and positive interactions with peers and adults.

As I’ve talked with library staff over the past several months I’ve become more and more aware of how important it is to connect this Competency content area to what library staff often label as teen behavior management issues. The reason why these go hand-in-hand is that if library staff build relationships with teens, then the teens will trust that staff and feel respected by them. And, when trust and respect exist a majority of behavioral issues are likely to go out the door.

Consider these two scenarios.
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Call for Editor: Teen Services Competencies Publication

YALSA is seeking an experienced editor for an upcoming publication based on its Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff guideline. The tentative publication deadline is September 2019. The editor will be given a one-time stipend to compile, edit, and write content as needed and work with a group of contributors to produce a cohesive publication.

Applications are due December 1, 2018. December 15, 2018.
Working Title

Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff: A Practical Guide

Project Description

In public libraries, everyone needs the skills and knowledge to serve teens. According to a recent report from IMLS, nearly 7,000 of the nation’s 17,000+ public libraries have a staff of only 1.5 full time employee. Most libraries do not have the luxury of having a dedicated, full time staff person who focuses solely on serving teens.

In 2017, YALSA published an update to its competencies document, “Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff.” These competencies are meant to help libraries of all sizes and capacities provide quality library service in collaboration with teens. Merely having a list of competencies, however, is not enough. Library staff and their supervisors and administrators need help in knowing how to embed the competencies in the work of library staff and how to measure their success in achieving them. This book will examine each of the ten competencies and provide practical examples, suggestions, and resources aimed at front line library staff. The rationale behind the competencies will be addressed as well, to demonstrate how each one contributes to providing excellent service for and with teens.

Predetermined current experts and practitioners in the field of young adult librarianship in both school and public libraries will contribute practical examples, anecdotes, and success stories to illustrate how the competencies work at the building level. These contributions will appear in the body of the text (credited to the contributors). The editor may also have the opportunity to suggest potential contributors/experts if it is determined by both the editor and YALSA that there is a lack of content or expertise for a specific competencies area.

View full project details (manuscript length, table of contents, tentative timeline, etc) here.

Responsibilities

  • Work and liaise with a group of contributors and YALSA staff to meet deadlines and expectations
  • Make revisions based on YALSA feedback
  • Proofreading
  • Write content to fill gaps and build a cohesive document (introductions, sections, headings, table of content, appendices, etc) as needed
  • Compile content from contributors, provide feedback, and keep contributors committed to deadlines
  • Identify and include helpful, practical resources as needed to fill gaps
  • Edit several drafts of manuscript for overall consistency (focus, tone, structure/organization, pacing, language, etc.) and readability
  • Other responsibilities not listed may also be required that will be discussed as they occur

Requirements

  • Must have past editor and/or writing experience for book length (or similar) publications
  • Knowledge of recent developments and trends in library services for and with young adults
  • Read and become familiar with YALSA’s Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff resource
  • Be familiar with YALSA’s mission and organizational plan
  • Have an eye for detail
  • Strong project management and organizational skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills to manage content and communicate with contributors and YALSA Staff
  • Dynamic, self-motivated individual
  • Ability to delegate work and to manage and motivate contributors
  • Ability to set and meet deadlines
  • Ability to work well in a team environment
  • High ethical standards
  • Other requirements may also apply and will be discussed

A full list of responsibilities and requirements will be discussed and provided prior to contractual agreements.

Candidates must send a cover letter and resume via email to Anna Lam at alam@ala.org by December 1, 2018.

YALSA Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff: It’s Not a Competition!

cover of the YALSA Teen Services Competencies Do you ever say to yourself or others, “We are in competition with <insert name of an out of school time or school-based program>?” If you do, it’s time to stop. To serve teens successfully we have to stop thinking we are in competition with others and instead focus on what others are already providing, where there are gaps in what’s available, and what libraries can do with others in the community to fill those gaps.

Frequently I hear staff saying they can’t get anyone to come to this or that program because so and so is also doing it. So, that should be a clue to several things:

  • First the program may very well not be needed if someone else is already doing it.
  • Second, it could be really useful to meet with those that are already providing that program or service and find out what they would like to be able to do but can’t, and/or how the library can provide support for that program or service.
  • Third, it’s time to look at where the gaps are in serving teens in the community and focus on working with community to fill in those gaps instead of doing something someone else is already doing, simply because it seems like a topic or activity the library should be focused on..

I think a lot about Josie Watanabe, the Student Success Program Manager at the Seattle Public Library.   Josie manages an afterschool homework help program. A few years ago she discovered that at one library branch, which was a homework help site, numbers were going down. Josie did some investigating and discovered that a nearby elementary school received funding to start a school-based homework help program. What did Josie do? She said to herself, and others, “OK in that neighborhood the need for afterschool homework help is now being taken care of by another community organization, that means the public library can stop this service in this neighborhood, the library can support the school-based program by providing training to tutors, and hey let me see what other needs there are in this neighborhood that we can help fill without competing or duplicating.”
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Teen Competencies for Library Staff: Community & Family Engagement Webinar

cover of the teen services competencies for library staffEach month, through December, YALSA is sponsoring free webinars (for members and non-members) on topics related to the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff.

The August webinar (the full video recording is available after the break) on the topic of Community and Family Engagement was moderated by Bernie Farrell, Youth Programs and Family Services Coordinator at the Hennepin County Library (HCPL). Bernie was joined by staff from the public library and from Learning Dreams one of HCPL’s community partners. In their presentation the panelists discussed how library staff and community members work together to help emerging adults build self-advocacy skills, particularly those young people who are experiencing homelessness.
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Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff: Youth Engagement & Leadership Webinar

cover of the teen services competencies for library staffEach month, through December, YALSA is sponsoring free webinars (for members and non-members) on topics related to the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff.

The July webinar (the full video recording is available after the break), facilitated by April Zuniga from the McAllen (TX) Public Library, covered the topic of Youth Engagement and Leadership. In her discussion April discussed how to build relationships with teens so to learn about their needs and interests and help teens feel comfortable engaging with and leading through the library.
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