Most of the chatter in the education world around teens and technology focuses on meeting teens where they are and bringing educators up to speed with contemporary tech usage, integrating established curriculum with new tools. But for those of us who actually fall under the definition of Millennials (or Generation Y) along with the teens we work with, all this us versus them talk has gotten tiresome. We, too, grew up playing video games, text heavily, and flocked to social networks. We’ve learned the language and the tools of the professional world, but in our personal lives (and, increasingly, at work) we’re communicating in much the same way that teens do.

So what happens when we’re communicating with teens, but not at work?

Norton High School in Massachusetts made headlines last October when administrators proposed a new policy barring teachers from interacting with students–even former students–on social networking sites and contacting students with personal phones. Schools across the country have made similar moves, arguing that “professional distance” is important for educators–and for teens.

And I say hogwash.

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Throughout the month of February, YALSA will be posting each day on themes relating to teens and technology in (or outside) libraries. From mobile apps to tablets, technology and its applications are now an inextricable part of young adults’ daily lives. How do libraries and librarians support teen technology use? What do traditional literacy skills look like in the information age? Will we lead the charge, or struggle to keep up?

Lately I’ve been thinking about the disconnect between my personal infrastructure and the one I enjoy (or bemoan) at work. What if my tech habits at home could carry over to work?

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Our blogger meetup at Midwinter, originally scheduled for Sunday from’  1:30-3:30, unfortunately conflicts with the teen feedback session for Best Fiction for Young Adults–which we are, in fact, live-blogging. Any bloggers, new or returning, planning on attending the meetup should come to the Best Fiction location (conference center room 14) instead. I’ll be there starting at noon, and we’ll keep the agenda informal as usual to accommodate folks coming in from other meetings.

In related news, join us for live coverage of the teen feedback session, Sunday from 1:30-3:30! If you’re not at Midwinter you can hear what the teens have to say and join us in discussing nominated titles. As always, we’ll do our darndest to stream live video from the session. You can join the session directly from the blog, or you can participate by using the #bfya hashtag on Twitter. You can also log in with your Facebook or Twitter profile to include your profile picture with your comments.

YALSA will also be liveblogging the Youth Media Awards on Monday morning, so if you can’t get into the official ALA broadcast, join the discussion with us!

Candidates for ALA President and Council have been announced. Council candidates include the following YALSA members:

Thomas Brogan – Young Adult cluster Specialist, Brooklyn Public Library
Robbie Nickel – Librarian, Sage Elementary School, Spring Creek, NV
M. A. (Peg) Oettinger – Retired, Warminster, PA

YALSA provides these names for informational purposes only, not as an endorsement. It is important to note, however, that these candidates’ experience as YALSA members will provide our division membership with representation at the ALA Council level.

If you believe YALSA should have greater representation on ALA Council, it is not too late to add your name to the 2011 ballot! If you would like to run for ALA Council, you need to submit a completed petition to ALA by February 2, 2011. The petition requires you to get 25 signatures from ALA members who support your bid for Council. More information on the petition process and the electronic petition form can be found on the ALA website. Serving on ALA Council is one way to advocate for better ALA support of school and young adult librarianship, so please consider submitting a petition to run in the 2011 Council election.

Voting in the 2011 election will begin in March. If you will be attending Midwinter in San Diego, please take advantage of the following opportunities to get to know the candidates:

*ALA President-Elect Candidates’ Forum from 6:00 to 7:30 pm on Sunday, January 9th at the San Diego Marriott & Marina, room Marina F

*YALSA Coffee with the Candidates from 10:30 to noon on Sunday January 9th in convention center room 9

Posted on behalf of John Sexton
Chair, 2011 YALSA Nominating Committee
Membership information current as of November 30, 2010.

The other day, as I was talking about my new work as a high school yearbook advisor–or maybe it was about taking on some union duties–no, I think it was a discussion about me volunteering to chaperon a bus heading to a football game–a friend turned to me and asked, “Is there anything you don’t do at that school?!”

I’m pretty open about one of my career (and life) goals: to never have a “That’s Not My Job” moment. In other words, never to balk at those odd little (and big) things that come up in the course of my school library day, never to pass the buck or leave a student out in the cold.

So what’s my job?
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As much as I’d love to read every book in my collection, it’s not a particularly realistic goal–nor is reading every forthcoming young adult book. Like all teen librarians, I have to pick and choose, and I often rely heavily on other people’s reviews and recommendations when it comes to collection development.

I’ve been pretty pleased with the success of my fiction choices, but every once in a while I buy something that looks great to me, but never leaves the shelf.

So how do you find the instant hits?

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Just as in April accountants suddenly find themselves surrounded by friends with tax questions, when September rolls around it seems everyone wants to ask the librarians what we’ve been reading. Okay, so maybe it’s a year-round issue, just as doctors probably don’t have a busy season for identifying rashes at dinner parties, but I find that the questions pile up more than usual as teens head back to school. What’s a good book for a thirteen year old girl who likes sports? What should I get for my nephew just starting high school? What are the popular books these days? Suddenly you’re on the spot, expected to do collection development for teens (and adults) you’ve never met.

Personally, I find these conversations even more frustrating than an hour of back-and-forth with a teen who professes a distaste for reading. Asking a school librarian in suburban Massachusetts “What’s popular?” when your grandson lives in downtown Oakland is probably about as helpful as getting ski resort recommendations in Santa Fe. (There aren’t ski resorts there, right?) And while a teen’s other interests may intersect with her reading tastes, hearing that she loves volleyball isn’t quite as useful as knowing the kinds of books she’s enjoyed in the past.

So how do you handle being ambushed by reader’s advisory questions?
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As part of our 30 Days of Back to School series, we’ll be interviewing other professionals who work with teens in and out of school. How can we collaborate to better serve our teens? Where do our services overlap, and where can we pass the baton to more effectively meet young adult needs?

First up: Molly Gesenhues. Molly is a guidance counselor with Chicago Public Schools who was also gracious enough to participate in YALSA’s full-day pre-conference in Washington DC.

mk: Thanks for joining us! Can you start by telling us a little bit about your job description?
Molly: Well, I’m a high school counselor. I work with students grade nine through twelve on their academic, social-emotional, and post-secondary goals. I get to see teens on an individual level as well as in groups and, if I’m lucky, in the classroom.

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