Last night YALSA’s monthly chat was on the topic of risk in teen services. A pdf file of the transcript is now available.

It was quite an invigorating discussion with a variety of risky topics covered including:

  • Risks of librarians friending teens on Facebook and other social networks
  • Differences that exist in risk-taking in school libraries and public libraries
  • Importance of having support in risk-taking in the workplace
  • Importance of being able to talk with others about risky situations, decisions, etc.
  • Need to assess levels of risk and when to take risks in library services to teens
  • Categories of risk
  • Connections between fear and risk
  • The need to be able to access stories of librarian risk-taking

And that’s just a few of the topics covered.

One of the areas that jumped out for me during the discussion was the difference between planned risk-taking and on-the-fly risk-taking. For example, it’s possible to plan to take a risk in a new program, but it’s not possible to plan for the spontaneous discussions librarians have with teens on topics that might require saying something risky as part of the discussion. (For example conversations that might lead to discussion of sexual orientation, religion, health, politics, etc.)

On-the-fly risk-taking is something I want to consider more. I definitely want to talk to other librarians about this topic. Perhaps readers of this blog have thoughts about on-the-fly risk-taking. If you do, feel free to post them in the comments. (Actually, any thoughts about the topic of risk feel free to post in the comments.)

As a reminder, YALSA will publish a book, titled Risky Business, in summer 2010. If you have stories about risk in your career and/or your library, you can send a message to One of the book’s authors will get in touch with you to talk more about your story and its possible inclusion in the book.

The next YALSA chat is scheduled for Wednesday, September 2, 8PM Eastern. The theme is Teen Read Week. You can participate by going to YALSA’s space in ALA Connect and clicking on the chat link on the right side of the page.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.

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