I recently attended my first ever Public Library Association conference.’  I consider myself a seasoned veteran when it comes to attending ALA’s annual conference, but I had never had the chance to go to PLA before.’  I was excited to see the differences!

One major difference was in the exhibit hall.’  Most of the young adult divisions of the major publication houses chose not to have a conference booth.’  But I still found some great ARC titles’ from’ Little & Brown, Macmillian, Simon and Schuster, and Zondervan.’  I really appreciated them being there.’  I also had some great chats and made some good connections with representatives from Tor Teen and Harlequin Teen, who made exciting cases for the relevancy of their specialty lines.

I also had a chance to find some new librarian tweeps and even meet one in person.’  It was also, of course, great to see YALSA staff at the booth.’  Conferences are most fun, I think, when you have the chance to make some human connections with your librarian colleagues and friends.

Were any of you there?’  What were some highlights for you?

I attended some great programs and encourage you to check out the available online handouts from the sessions.’  ‘ ‘ I’d like to talk briefly here about one session that was especially inspiring to me and that I think will have a lot of appeal to YALSA members, Maryann Mori’s Pregnant/Parenting Teens: Promoting Library Services Among the Underserved.

Maryann inspired ME to ask “What does my library have to offer pregnant/parenting teens?” and maybe she can do the same for you.’  Behind the cut, you’ll find a session description and links!

Maryann encouraged us to remember that pregnant and parenting teens have many of the same needs as any other teen patrons: they need entertainment and education resources, both of which the library can provide at low-cost or for free.’  They can also benefit from referrals for social services, parenting skills advice, and some consistency, which libraries can also provide.

Maryann suggested that we look for opportunities in our communities, make contacts, and think about what we already offer that might be a good fit.’  Many of the objectives of Every Child Ready to Read can benefit teen parents, such print motivation and phonological awareness.

While listening to Maryann stress the importance of these concepts, it occurred to me that some teen librarians might not feel as comfortable with these early literacy concepts as their children’s librarian colleagues, making this the perfect chance for library collaboration!’  Imagine what teen librarians working on finding connections and outreach opportunities in the community for pregnant and parenting teens and the organizations that provide service to them and children’s librarians with lap-sit storytime experience and Every Child Ready to Read training could do with their powers combined!’  In my opinion, that’s a dream collaboration that all libraries should welcome.

Maryann concluded by reminding the audience that helping teens learn how to model reading behavior with their babies can not only help the babies, but help the teens refresh their literacy and reading skills while also helping them find enjoyment in reading.’  I liked the way she showed that this program could help teens not only become “better” parents but help make their own lives better too, all while they were learning the library had many things to offer them at all points in their lives.’  It was a dynamic, persuasive case!

This session was truly inspiring to me and made me motivated to see what I could do not just in my local community but on a larger level too.’  What, if any, services does your library offer for pregnant/parenting teens? ‘ ‘ Are you ready to start some?’  I am!

Maryann’s blog: The Circulating Librarian

SLJ report on the session

PLA blog about the session

About Angie Manfredi

wishes there had been a Printz Award for "Witch Baby", doesn't understand Edward Cullen, hates Glee, loves pop culture, currently Head of Youth Services, Los Alamos County Library.

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