Looking for a way to get your teens involved in your library and shoot a fun video at the same time? Submit an entry to ALA’s contest for Library Advocacy Day! Getting your teens behind the camera (and in front of it) is a great way to show just how vital libraries are in the lives of young adults.

All entries must

1. illustrate the importance of libraries,
2. motivate people to attend the ALA’s rally for libraries during Library Advocacy Day,
3. include interesting visuals and quality sound design, and
4. be no more than three minutes.

To enter, upload your video to Vimeo, tag it “library advocacy day,” and send your full name, phone number, city, state and the url of your work to jroberts@alawash.org with the subject line “LAD video entry.” All submissions must be uploaded, tagged and e-mailed by 12pm EDT, May 26, 2010. ALA will announce the winners and recipients of the prize money–$175 for the first place winner and $75 for the runner-up–on Tuesday, June 1.

For complete rules and more information, visit the District Dispatch from the ALA Washington Office.

Posted on behalf of Project U.

Attention all teen librarians: Emerging Leaders Project U needs your help! Our team is creating a job shadowing initiative for YALSA to encourage teens to enter the field of teen librarianship. This initiative will include resources and materials that teen librarians can use to run a job shadowing program in their own library without having to start from scratch.

We’d like to showcase how fun, exciting, and interesting a teen librarian’s job can be, and we’d like your input. Please send an email to elteamu10@gmail.com with your name, where you work, your title, and a short narrative answering this question: “What is your favorite thing about being a teen librarian?” Your answers may be used in promotional materials that will be included with the job shadowing resources we’re creating. Thanks for your help!

Two-thirds (65%) of Americans report using their public library either in person, by telephone or via computer in the past year. That’s over 151 million people using public libraries! The 2010 Harris Poll Quorum Household Survey, available on the ALA website, reveals some interesting data about library use.

Among those who have visited the library by computer in the past year, one third (35%) report increasing their public library access by computer over the past 6 months. While taking out books remains the top service library users report as a reason to visit the library in person, patrons who use the library by phone or computer report increased renewals as well as catalog and website visits.

Additionally, 62% of unemployed adults had used their library in the past year, including many who visited libraries to complete an online job application, search employment databases and create resumes.

So what does all this mean for you?
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Do you ever find your conversations with teens veering more toward the personal than the professional?

Are books on sex, drugs, abuse or depression constantly going missing from your shelves?

Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I’m a librarian, not a therapist!” (…or a social worker, or a nurse, or a police officer?)

Would you like to hear how some of the hottest YA authors incorporate tough subject matter into their books–and their interactions with teens?

If you answered yes to any of the above, YALSA’s full-day preconference on June 25 is for you!

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Yesterday morning one of my students sidled up to the circulation desk before first bell and asked, “Were you, by any chance, at roller derby this Saturday?”

I was, in fact, and I had a great time–but instead of thinking about what fun I had with my friends, inwardly I started panicking.

Had I been drinking? Was I swearing publicly? Did I wear something I wouldn’t wear to school?

(For the record? The answer is “All of the above,” although we happened to be surrounded by small children so the swearing was probably at a minimum–instead we entertained the other adults in our area by gruffly shouting polite encouragement, like “I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!” and “I LIKE WHAT YOU DID THERE!”)

Running into a teen you serve in your library when you’re both somewhere else can be lovely, weird, or some combination of the two. Whether it’s at the grocery store or a roller derby bout, you’re suddenly off-duty and the dynamic shifts. What if you run into teens while they’re doing something you wouldn’t allow in the library? What if teens run into you while you’re doing something you wouldn’t do in front of your boss?

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As I write this, I’m glued to my chair behind the circulation desk. As a school librarian I’m often up and down, heading to the front office periodically to retrieve something from a mailbox or request a purchase order, making my way to a classroom to check in with a teacher, wandering into the stacks with a student to hunt down a misshelved book.

And then there are days when I’m grateful to stay in one place for a while.

Like today, when another teacher pointed out I have a four inch rip down the back of my pants.

My crisis is a small one–the school accountant is having her husband drop off her sewing kit (and a pair of sweats, I’m hoping, lest I be sequestered while my pants are being repaired!) and I’ll survive the minor embarrassment–but the whole thing has me thinking about emergency preparedness. What do I need to have in my library emergency kit?

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It was bound to happen sooner or later.

I had stocked my library with edgy titles. Where once the shelves were mostly full of “classic” YA titles and somewhat aged adult mystery novels, now they’re full of books about queer teens, unexpected pregnancy, parents with drug habits, and graphic novels. (Books with pictures! The horror!)

They’re all appropriately reviewed, of course, and many of them are award winners, some several times over–but when it comes to content, they don’t pull any punches.

So it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that I recently got my first book complaint.

As librarians, we tend to talk a lot about intellectual freedom and defending our teens’ right to read whatever they want. But when push comes to shove, how do we really respond to book challenges in the heat of the moment?

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In these podcasts, Matt Moffett interviews Molly Raphael and Sara Kelly Johns on their campaigns for ALA President. Raphael and Johns, both YALSA members, share their experience, strategies, and campaign platforms.

ALA members in good standing as of 1/31 should have received an automated email verification regarding the election. Polls open on March 16. For more information on ALA elections, including a schedule and the full slate of candidates for all offices, please visit the ALA website.



You can also download these podcasts, and others, at YALSA’s Podcasts site.

When I started this school year, I had no idea what a big part of my job reader’s advisory would be. The school I worked in last year had its share of heavy readers, but most of them were pretty self-sufficient; the most common question I heard was “Where are the Triple Crown books?” (Street lit was hugely popular there–we couldn’t keep titles like Black and A Hood Legend on the shelves.)

At my new job, on the other hand, I have quite a mix of readers–from students looking for books they’ve already read to use with essay prompts (testing my mind-reading abilities) to packs of girls asking for books like New Moon and Dear John before theatrical releases to a boy who raids the new book shelves every time I get a book order.

And, of course, there’s my personal book group.

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