by Casey Rawson

This post is part of the YALSA Presidential Theme: Youth Activism through Community Engagement

Who defines civic engagement? Who are civics for, and what does civics mean in the lives of young people who are redefining activism and participation for a new generation? These are some of the questions that you can explore by participating in Writing Our Civic Futures, a collaborative project by the National Writing Project and Marginal Syllabus. They are also central questions for this year’s YALSA presidential theme, Youth Activism through Community Engagement.

Writing Our Civic Futures combines online annotation software, livestreamed and archived presentations, and webinars to foster social reading and public conversation around a variety of resources focused on youth activism. The project, which began in October and will continue through May 2018, includes conversations about voice and participation, critical literacies, civic and political dialogue, and inquiry (among other topics). These topics should be familiar to youth services librarians who have read YALSA’s Futures Report, its most recent research agenda draft, or the YALSA’s competencies document.

I attended the most recent webinar for this project, titled “Reimagining Youth Civic Engagement,” hosted by Remi Kalir and Joe Dillon and featuring the work of scholars Nicole Mirra and Antero Garcia. The webinar focused on Mirra and Garcia’s recent Review of Research in Education article, “Civic Participation Reimagined: Youth Interrogation and Innovation in the Multimodal Public Sphere,” which is November’s shared text for the Writing Our Civic Futures project. Mirra and Garcia talked about the need for educators and researchers to find new ways of capturing and measuring emerging forms of civic participation that are being created and led by youth, such as Twitter hashtag campaigns and the Dreamer movement. They also talked about the important role that adults can play in helping young people develop the skills and knowledge they need to make lasting change. Connected learning and Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) were discussed as two primary tools that educators can use in this work.

As librarians, we have a unique perspective to contribute to conversations such as this. We also have much to learn from classroom teachers, scholars, media makers, and youth themselves about how we can best amplify youth voices and prepare young people to take action on the issues that matter to them. Participating in the Writing Our Civic Futures project is an easy, fun, and free way to connect with a learning community that shares a passion for youth engagement.

December’s Writing Our Civic Futures topic is “Critical Literacy In and Out of School.” The shared text for next month, “Critical Literacy and Our Students’ Lives” by Linda Christensen, offers a wealth of opportunities for librarians to plug into the conversation. The article will be accessible for public reading and comment December 4 via the Writing Our Civic Futures syllabus page, and a webinar discussing the text will air December 5. Between now and then, you can catch up with the October and November conversations: Voice and Participation and Reimagining Civic Participation.

Colleagues-

I just returned from the YALSA Symposium in Louisville. It was great to meet so many YALSA members!  Here’s some of what I was up to in October. If you have questions, please make sure to get in touch!

Accomplishments

  • Led joint AASL/ALSC/YALSA Executive Committee meeting where we talked about opportunities for collaboration.
  • Prepared for and co-led October Board chat about how Board members serve as ambassadors for YALSA  and the monthly President’s phone call with Past and Incoming Presidents.
  • Attended YALSA webinar: “Youth Voice: Adult/Youth Partnerships.”
  • Connected with YALSA reps and liaisons to talk about opportunities to strengthen ties with ALA and other organizations  with which YALSA is affiliated.

Stats and Data

  • Member stats for September = 4,797 (down 3.7% over this time last year)

Don’t Forget!

  • Double your impact!  Between Nov. 1, 2017 and Jan. 15, 2018 any donation to YALSA up to $1,000 will be matched dollar for dollar by ALA! Find our more here.
  • The YALSA Board approved a new version of YALSA’s Competencies. A quick and dirty free .pdf version is available now, and later in November 2017 they will be available as a web page and as a more formatted .pdf.
  • YALSA is looking for a member manager of YALSA’s Teen Programming HQ.
  • 28 libraries in 21 states (and DC) received funding to implement coding programs in their libraries as part of the Ready to Code Project funded by Google.
  • Check out the YALSA Blog and The Hub for great ideas and the latest on YA resources!
  • Check out the Current Projects page to stay updated on what’s going on!

Thank you

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President 2017-2018

Follow me on twitter @Bridge2Lit

By Julie Stivers

[This post is part of the YALSA Presidential Theme: Youth Activism through Community Engagement]

Have you watched the powerful documentary film, Teach Us All? This crucial and compelling film—directed by Sonia Lowman and distributed by Array—documents educational inequality in the US, framed with the history and lasting impact of the Little Rock Nine. The film is available to stream on Netflix or—to increase reach—you can host a screening at your school, district, or library. (Watch the trailer here.)

I was lucky enough to attend a screening organized by a group of equity-focused assistant principals in our WCPSS district.  Watching—and then discussing—the film with fellow educators made the experience even more meaningful. For me as a viewer, the crucial thread running through the entire film was the powerful student activism piece and how it directly relates to this year’s YALSA Presidential Theme: Youth Activism through Community Engagement.

Teach Us All highlights students championing for their rights, building grass-root organizations, questioning inequitable and structurally racist school policies, and working with each other to enact social change within their schools and communities. Youth voices were the most compelling:

“It is up to us as students to create that essential change.”

“Real change happens when the people who need it, lead it.”


Teach Us All
highlighted several community led, youth-based organizations that work with and through youth on issues related to educational equity and social activism.

StudentsMatter [studentsmatter.org]
“A national nonprofit organization founded in 2011, Students Matter promotes access to quality public education through impact litigation, communications and advocacy. Students Matter fights for education equality in the court of law and in the court of public opinion, where students’ rights and voices matter most.”

IntegrateNYC [integratenyc.org]
“We are building a powerful community determined to advocate for meaningful policies that can ensure a just and equitable school system for all our young people.”

IntegrateUSNetwork [integratenyc.org/build]
“Together, we are growing a new generation of real leaders who will unite our society. Students develop civic leadership and design solutions for real integration and real representation.”

Additionally, Teach Us All is committed to inspiring youth to engage with their schools and communities using a social activism lens. On the Teach Us All site, further resources are organized by stakeholder, including educators, parents, organizations, and most critically, students.

Have you seen Teach Us All? What were your main takeaways? How do the issues identified in Teach Us All relate to libraries? What inequitable and structurally racist policies and practices exist within our libraries that need to be examined and dismantled? How can library staff work with youth to develop community led, youth-based programs that empower youth to examine issues related to equitable library services and programs?

We would love to hear from you in the comments.

Hello, YALSA Colleagues-

Did you know that the YALSA Executive Committee and the Board work year round?  We do! Virtually – just like many of YALSA’s committees and taskforces.

As part of YALSA’s new organizational plan we decided to hold our Fall Quarterly Executive Committee meeting virtually. This shift allowed us to save money & time (both for YALSA and for individual executive committee members) and to take advantage of 21st Century technologies. At our September 25th meeting, we discussed YALSA finances and building stronger relationships with ALA offices and divisions.

The YALSA Board also works virtually. This allows us to continue our work throughout the year and to be able to address topics that impact teens and our members in a more timely and efficient manner. To see what we’ve been discussing since Annual, take a look at the 2018 Midwinter Meeting Agenda and Documents. Here you will see the items we have discussed or acted on so far this Fall, including items related to the ALA Executive Director Search and Advancing Diversity within YALSA, one component of our organizational plan.

If you have questions about the work of the Executive Committee or the Board please leave them in the comments! Or send them directly to me.

Thanks for all you do for YALSA and for teens!

Best,
Sandra Hughes-Hassell
YALSA President 2017-2018
@Bridge2Lit

Colleagues-

Here are a few of the things I’ve been up to this month as YALSA president.

Accomplishments

  • Appointed Amanda Barnhart to be YALSA’s ALA liaison to various ALA groups and committees
  • Reached out to YALSA members in Puerto Rico and Houston who were impacted by recent hurricanes
  • Communicated with YALSA leaders, chairs, members, and ALSC & AASL presidents
  • Prepared and lead YALSA Executive Committee meeting
  • Lead Joint AASL/ALSC/YALA Executive Committee meeting
  • Prepared for October Board chat and monthly President’s phone call with Past and Incoming Presidents

Media and Outreach

Stats and Data

  • Funds raised in Aug. = $1,631
  • Member stats for Aug. = 4,765 (down 4.2% over this time last year)

Don’t Forget!

Thank You!

  • To the members of the YALSA Nominating Governance committee (Sarah Sogigian, Vicki Emery, Jennifer Korn, Candace Mack, & Abigail Philips) for developing the YALSA 2018 Election Slate
  • To the YALSA members who have agreed to be on the YALSA 2018 Election Slate
  • To all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities.

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President 2017-2018

Follow me on twitter @Bridge2Lit

 

By: Julie Stivers, Chair YALSA Presidential Taskforce

Banned Books Week is a powerful platform to highlight how libraries advocate for teens’ rights. As library staff working with and for teens, we can also find inspiration in the work that youth engage in themselves to protect and fight for their First Amendment freedoms.

Youth civic engagement is not new. Many of the cases detailed on ALA’s Notable First Amendment Court Cases page feature the civic efforts of teens. Two of the most famous—Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (ICSD) and Island Trees Board of Education v. Pico—resulted in rulings with language that can galvanize library staff and teens today.

  • In Tinker v. Des Moines ICSD, the Supreme Court stated that “students ‘do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate’ and that the First Amendment protects public school students’ rights to express political and social views.”
  • In Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District No. 26 v. Pico, the Supreme Court upheld the rights of students to challenge school boards’ removal of library titles. The ruling states that “local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books.”

Read more on these cases and many others at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/censorship/courtcases.

Teens today are successfully fighting for their rights in varied and dynamic ways. A recent victory powered by teens occurred in Arizona where students and their parents had been fighting against the removal of Mexican-American Studies curriculum from their schools. In late August, Judge A. Wallace Tashima wrote that the First Amendment rights of Tucson students had been violated as they were denied the “right to receive information and ideas.” Furthermore, the court concluded that the students had proven their First Amendment claim “because both enactment and enforcement were motivated by racial animus.” [Washington Post, August 23, 2017]

This powerful triumph is a victory for culturally sustaining pedagogy, diverse and reflective resources, and First Amendment rights. Impressively, it is a victory not only beneficial for teens, but also powered by teens. They organized rallies, created community groups—including U.N.I.D.O.S., United Non-Discriminatory Individuals Demanding Our Studies, coordinated peaceful protests, and even gathered support from teens in other states. [The Daily Wildcat, June 28, 2017]

Our libraries—public, school, academic—can serve as crucial incubators for youth activism and social justice. In addition to sharing these stories with our teens—what else are we doing in our libraries today to support our teens’ activism and fight for justice?

This post is part of the YALSA Presidential Theme: Youth Activism through Community Engagement

Colleagues-

A taskforce of YALSA members and staff have been at work updating YALSA’s “Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth” (last updated in 2010), with particular emphasis on aligning the document with the principles in the following YALSA documents: the 2014 Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action report, the 2016 Organizational Plan  and Implementation Plan, and the 2017 Research Agenda.

I am happy to announce the taskforce has completed a draft set of competencies for member review and comment. The goal of the competencies document is to create a framework that:

  • Applies to library staff working in a variety of settings and positions;
  • Focuses on teen services for/with ages 12-18;
  • Is based on current research; and
  • Reflects emerging trends and issues in the Library and Information Science and Youth Development fields.

The draft competencies include a set of dispositions and ten core knowledge content areas which collectively define what library staff need to know and be able to do to provide quality teen library programs and services.  Recognizing that professional practice develops over time with experience, training, and higher education, the draft competencies are grouped by level in each core knowledge content area. Each level is a prerequisite to the next, with knowledge and skill in one level required before moving to the next.

YALSA would like feedback from the library community and beyond to help strengthen this draft document.  A draft of the updated version (pdf) is available for your review.  To provide your comments, use this online form. The review period will run from Sept. 18, 2017 to Oct. 18, 2017.  The taskforce will use your feedback to refine and finalize the document. The taskforce will also be adding an introductory statement for the document and for each of the ten competency areas.

We are looking forward to your feedback and comments on this very important document.

Best,
Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President

smhughes@email.unc.edu
@Bridge2Lit

Colleagues-

August has been a busy month. Here are some highlights.

Accomplishments

  • Appointed Stephen Ashley as member manager of the HUB
  • Filled committee vacancies and finalized appointments to the Ready to Code grant review committee and Advancing Diversity Taskforce
  • Wrote a blog post entitled In The Aftermath of Charlottesville
  • Wrote President’s message for Fall issue of YALS
  • Participated in call with IMLS staff about their proposed strategic framework
  • Reviewed committee task lists
  • Attended ALSC Community Forum: Social Justice Practices in Youth Librarianship
  • Communicated with YALSA leaders, chairs, members, and ALSC & AASL presidents
  • Prepared for September Board chat, Standing Board Committee chair meeting, and monthly President’s phone call with Past and Incoming Presidents

Works in Progress

  • With a $500,000 sponsorship from Google, YALSA is administering Libraries Ready to Code – a grant program for libraries to design computational thinking and computer science programs for and with underrepresented youth. Almost 400 applications were received!
  • YALSA’s Competencies document is currently being updated and a draft will be available in Sept. for public comment

Stats and Data

  • Funds raised in July: $834.34
  • Member stats for July: 4,774 (down 4.7% over this time last year)

Don’t Forget!

Thank you

  • To Molly Wetta for serving as our fabulous Hub Member Manager for the past two years!
  • To Linda Braun, Kafi Kumasi, Satia Orange, Crystle Martin, Mega Subramaniam, and others for helping to staff booths at IASL and NCAALX!
  • To Hailley Fargo, Kristin Fontichiaro, Jennifer Luetkemeyer, Trent McLees, Renee McGrath, Allison Renner, and Julie Stivers for participating in the creation of YALSA’s Teen Literacies Toolkit.
  • To all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities.
  • To Beth Yoke and Linda Braun for their work on a YALSA preliminary IMLS grant proposal.

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President 2017-2018

Follow me on twitter @Bridge2Lit

 

Colleagues-

It has been a week since the Unite the Right white supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, my hometown. I am sure by now all of you have seen ALA’s statement on Charlottesville: http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2017/08/ala-condemns-racism-and-violence-charlottesville

My colleague Amelia Gibson and I recently wrote an article for Library Quarterly entitled “We Will Not Be Silent: Amplifying Marginalized Voices in LIS Education and Research” in which we outlined four roles LIS faculty must assume as we stand in solidarity with people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, women, people with disabilities, immigrants, and others whose very existence is under attack. The article will be published in the Fall.

As I reflect on the events that unfolded in Charlottesville and continue to unfold across our country, I believe these four roles also apply to library staff who work with and for teens – in all libraries, not just in libraries that serve teens who belong to marginalized groups.  If we want to create a more just and equitable world, library staff must not only support teens facing racism and oppression, but also show teens who come from a place of power and privilege how and why they must embrace diversity and respect others who do not look like them. So what can we do?

  1. Be aware of how the history of our field is shaped by power and privilege and learn from those who have done the work before us.
  2. Engage in discussions about institutionalized racism, sexism, ableism, classism, and other forms of structural oppression with our colleagues. Provide a space for teens to have these discussions.
  3. Amplify the voices of the marginalized in more than just our collectionsConsider also: programs, visiting authors, services, and staff/volunteers.
  4. Speak out about how racism and oppression are counter to the core values of the LIS field such as access, democracy, intellectual freedom, representation, diversity, and social responsibility.  For some of us this may be difficult, especially if were taught to believe libraries are neutral places. However, libraries are not neutral and never have been neutral.

I want to thank you for your efforts to support all teens. I especially want to thank you for supporting teens and their familes who are confronting racism and hate. As a field, we must use our privilege to challenge social and institutional systems that silence, marginalize, and threaten teens. It is important.

Best,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President

Colleagues-

I am honored to submit my first YALSA President’s report. My goal with this monthly report is to keep you up to date on the work I’m doing in my role as YALSA president and to highlight key association activities in which I am involved.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Accomplishments

  • Filled various openings on committees and task forces
  • Welcomed incoming committee & taskforce chairs
  • Answered questions from YALSA members about committees, task forces, and various other topics
  • Wrote a blog post and email message about District Days
  • Appointed and met with President’s Advisory Taskforce
  • Inviting members to join the Advancing Diversity Taskforce that the Board approved
  • Communicated with ALSC, AASL, & ALA presidents
  • Prepared for August Board chat, check in with New Board Members, and monthly President’s phone call with Past and Incoming Presidents

Works in Progress

  • With a $500,000 sponsorship from Google, YALSA is administering Libraries Ready to Code – a grant program for libraries to design computational thinking and computer science programs for and with underrepresented youth.
  • Advocating!  District Days are here and your congresspersons are home on break. Now is your opportunity to advocate for federal library funding (#saveIMLS) and speak up for teens!  Find out how here. I made an appointment with my Congressman – I’ll keep you posted.
  • Applications being reviewed for member manager for the HUB
  • Working with the board and YALSA Staff on the 2017-2018 Implementation Plan for our Strategic Plan

Stats and Data

  • Funds raised in June = $1,461
  • YALSA Membership in June = 4,807 (down 5.3% over this time last year)

Don’t Forget!

  • Registration is open for the 2017 YA Services Symposium, Nov. 3-5 in Louisville, KY. Register through Sept. 15 and save with early bird rates! Housing is also open now through Oct. 1.
  • Applications are being accepted for Libraries Ready to Code through August 31, 2017.
  • Don’t forget to check out the Current Projects page to stay updated on what’s going on!
  • All chairs should submit their Quarterly Report by August 15!

THANK YOU

  • To all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities, and especially for all of the out-going committee chairs and members whose work finished at the end of June.
  • To outgoing board members Candace Mack, Nick Buron, Jennifer Korn, Gretchen Kolderup, and Trixie Dantis for their contributions to the YALSA board and for all they do to support teens!
  • To Past President Sarah Hill and Executive Director Beth Yoke for their guidance in my first month as YALSA President!

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President 2017-2018

Follow me on twitter @Bridge2Lit