Top-ten lists and year in review articles abound—it must be December!  Reflecting on the past year in the world of libraries, here are five themes that have impacted our work.

While YALSA members are digesting and implementing The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action, several other reports came out in 2014 that encourage library workers to embrace new paradigms and adapt service standards that can best serve our customers.  There’s the Pew Research Center’s Younger Americans and Public Libraries report, which breaks down library behavior in the Millenial generation.  From the report:  “…younger Americans are also more likely than older adults to have read at least one book in [the past year] (88% vs 79%).”  Hooray!  Another big splash came with the IMLS’s report titled Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums: Transformative Spaces for Teens.   I recently wrote about the new Aspen Report here.  These reports each focus on the importance of community engagement and transforming our institutions into new models of library service excellence.  Lots of great food for thought!

The Common Core
With the Common Core State Standards now in place in the majority of US states, how can library workers serving youth and teens support our partners and contacts in local schools, as well as help out students and their parents?  This question was a highlight of 2014, eliciting a wide variety of articles (1, 2), toolkits and trainings (1, 2.)  Have you prepared for and encountered ways to support the CC?  Let us know in the comments.

After gathering steam (hah!) in 2013, 2014 felt like the year that maker and STEM culture were part of mainstream discussions for library staff.  Beyond the library literature, Pinterest is a fun way to track and share different STEM/STEAM/make programming, reading, and space ideas to your workplace.  Check out this results page for “makerspace library.”

How did this campaign, a highly visible social media trend, get its start?  Check out this FAQ to learn about the origin and purpose behind the movement.  An Indiegogo fundraising effort had great success; the funds raised allow WNDB team members to create outreach programs, partner with other literacy organizations, and support diverse authors.

Crisis Situations and Libraries
In the midst of the Ferguson protests, the story of the town’s library as a community support center and safe haven in time of crisis went viral. Ferguson Library Director Scott Bonner said:  “During difficult times, the library is a quiet oasis where we can catch our breath, learn, and think about what to do next.”  On an international scale, stories are coming from Ukraine about the role of their libraries during a time of violence and instability.  If we can be there for our communities in distress, those communities can then be there for us; for example, destroyed and damaged libraries coming back stronger in the wake of tremendous storms.

What themes and trends impacted your work in 2014?  Do you have predictions for what’s to come in 2015?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

About April Witteveen

I am a Community and Teen Services Librarian with the Deschutes Public Library in beautiful Central Oregon. I love both outdoor (hiking, camping) and indoor (knitting, fermentation) adventures.

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