YALSA identifies 9 Core Professional Values in the Teen Services Profession;  accountability, collaboration, compassion, excellence, inclusion, innovation, integrity, professional duty and social responsibility.  

These core values were developed in 2013-2014 by the Professional Values Task Force of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Members of the task force were Sarah Debraski, Meg Finney, Gretchen Kolderup, Amanda Murphy, Lalitha Nataraj (chair) and Vivian Wynn. YALSA’s Board of Directors adopted the guidelines on June 27, 2015.

What does social responsibility  look like?

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY is defined as-promotes the mutual trust between the profession and the larger public.  Responds to societal needs as they relate to  teens and libraries

A person practicing this value;

  • Can articulate the teen perspective when friction arises between adults (patrons or staff) and teens in the library

You are able to capture the potential issue between teens and adults (patrons or staff).  You do this by being an advocate for teens and helping to sometimes be the conduit between teens and adults.  You have the ear of teens because you listen, respect and communicate directly with them and can be the teen voice when needed.

  • Seeks opportunities both inside and outside the library to speak up and act for teen services rather than waiting to be asked to do so

Do you share teen services, programming and teen successes with your staff regularly?  You may do this in meetings with staff from other departments, maybe through your library’s online or paper newsletter that is shared through your library/system.  Communicating with your staff what is happening with and for teens helps staff know what is going on programatically/services but also makes teens and teen services more relevant and understood to them and can in turn create additional advocates for teens and teen services.

  • Advocates for the educational, developmental, and recreational needs of teens, especially as they relate to library services

You do this by thinking about the 40 developmental assets and incorporating those outcomes with the programs and services you provide.  You think about the YALSA Futures Report and incorporate those outcomes into your programs and services.  And you share these reports, outcomes, assets and more with the staffs you work with. 

  • Promotes policies that support the needs and interest of teens and their families

Teens should be aware of policies and procedures that may affect them in the library.  You share and involve teens in the setting of policies and procedures that may affect them.

  • Advocates for changes in laws, regulations, standards, and guidelines that affect the ability of libraries to deliver excellent library services for and with teens

A great example of how to involve teens, and more importantly teens actively being involved in advocating for changes in laws is what teens in cities in Maryland and San Francisco have done in  affecting the voting ages Look at what these cities are doing and how teens especially are the motivating and driving force to getting these changes made.  This serves as a model as to how big changes are made.  You share stories of change like this with your teens and help them lead to make opportunities happen.

  • Promotes community volunteerism

How do you share information about opportunities for and with teens in your city?  You make information like this available to your teens in a multitude of ways; in person, online, on paper.  Have information on your library’s website on volunteer/internship opportunities, bring in organizations that have opportunities available for teens to connect your teens, go to schools/outside organizations and share what opportunities you have available for teens in the library.  Be that community organization to offer opportunities for teens to learn how to develop leadership/workforce readiness skills.

  • Provides leadership in the community

What type of teens are you helping to build in your library?  Look at what the Oakland Public Library is doing with the Youth Leadership Council and the amazing opportunity it provides for teens to develop leadership skills and to LEAD.  You are aware of opportunities in your library and you create leadership opportunities for and with your teens .  You know your community and the organizations that offer leadership opportunities for teens and you connect your teens with these opportunities.

  • Participates in collaborative relationships with other youth service providers and the public at large

You are connected with many organizations in your community that work with and for teens and you collaborate on programs in and outside of the library with these organizations.  You connect your teens with these organizations.  

  • Ensures the blending of social justice and economic efficiency of services

You know your community, you understand the possible socioeconomic challenges, race relations globally and locally, gender inequality and more.  You work to incorporate the feelings, thoughts and input of your teens to include their voices and views into programs/services so there are teen views as well as  more representative viewpoints.  You work with and for teens to create a safe space in your teen space.

The core values are a powerful tool for you to use to help strengthen your existing values and develop others you may want to bolster.  Share the core values with your colleagues as well as administration and your community.

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