One of the great perks of working in a school is the opportunity each fall to feel refreshed, take stock, and focus on improving for the upcoming year.’  Even year round schools have a natural cycle as students move to the next grade.’  YALSA provides a variety of helpful resources to prepare for the new year.

The Professional Development Center on the YALSA website is a one-stop shop for information on career development, learning opportunities and teen services resources including white papers, toolkits, bibliographies and more. Although YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youths focuses on teen services in public libraries, many of the benchmarks apply to school settings as well. (Look for a rubric to be published in the future to help evaluate your services.) ‘ It’s an excellent reminder that we are about more than instruction, and can never forget our role as teen advocates and the need to provide an inviting and pleasant space.’  Reading through them, it struck me how I need to think more about creating opportunities to serve niche groups among my students.’  How cool would it be to invite the humane society or anime club to meet in the library and introduce the books and online sources we have available?’  I’ll ask them if they want to create a display and give them a set amount of money to research and select materials for the collection.’  Showing an interest in their special interests sends a genuinely inclusive message.

Speaking of purchasing, get a hand with your overall collection development by using YALSA’s book award and booklist resources. Helpful too is the forthcoming book, Annotated Booklists for Every Teen Reader: The Best from the Experts at YALSA-BK ‘ by Julie Bartel and Pamela Spencer Holley included in the YALSA Books link along with other timely titles for school librarians. Don’t forget to print out the 2010 YALSA Book Award Bookmarks.’  Do you have a technology goal for this year? The Teen Tech Guides are an excellent place to start, and look to the Advocacy Toolkit for comprehensive tips on dealing with budget and other legislative concerns.

This is just a taste of what’s available. Exploring’ the Professional Development Center had an immediate pay-off for me–I’m printing out the brochure, Teen Reading Guide for Parents and Caregivers, to give out at our upcoming Back to School Night open house for parents.

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