The Emerging Leaders Project T has been and will be hosting weekly discussions during the month of May regarding getting more involved in YALSA. We want to hear from you, those that know best about what “getting involved” looks like.

These conversations will be held in ALA Connect in the YALSA section. Here’s what we’re discussing (please note that you can comment on any of these posts even if it’s not their designated week):

May 3rd – 9th: How did you begin your involvement with YALSA? Was it full tilt committee work, using the YALSA resources, following their listserv/blog, or something else?

May 10th – 16th: How is money (or the lack there of) been a barrier to involvement? How do you work with or around it?

Coming soon:

May 17th – 23rd: Best practices for communication from YALSA to the membership, what’s working and what could be different.

May 24th – 30th: Regional Youth Library Services organizations options and how YALSA fits in there.

The information gathered during these discussions will help YALSA improve service to its members. We invite all YALSA members to participate in this conversation.’  We want to know how you are involved, your barriers to involvement, what you want to achieve from being involved and anything else you are interested in sharing.

Thank you!

I started out this post by titling it “Libraries are not Cool.” But then, the more I wrote, the more I realized I don’t really agree with that statement. For some people, they really are. And it’s important for librarians to talk up their libraries, find out ways to make them more appealing to all age groups, and allow for the library to approach levels of coolness — by lifting food and cell phone bans, bringing in video games, and talking in normal voices, for a start.

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I’m thinking about this topic from the perspective of someone who is building a new teen program…although, with the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of said program fast approaching, I’m not sure how much longer I can call it “new.” I do think, though, that my advice applies to librarians managing any kind of teen program, new or established. In my experience, here’s where you shouldn’t skimp:

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I work in a library where children’s and adult programming is incredibly successful on the whole–I’m talking standing-room-only in a room that seats 175 people, and in a town of about 20,000, that strikes me as pretty good. Teen programs…not so much. We’ve had a few programs where I was floored by the number of teens who came–nearly 60 to a Black Tie Party that the Teen Advisory Board hosted, about 50 to our Summer Reading Finale party. But some, like book groups, chess programs, craft stuff….get zero kids, two, three–teeny numbers. So I’ve been thinking a lot about the kind of publicity I’ve been employing and how it should change.

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Waaaaay back when I started working at my library, my colleague Kate Sheehan and I talked about a program she had been meaning to try. We moved it to the back burner for many months, but this summer, we were able to get the planning process going, and the program began this fall.

We called it Juniors Helping Seniors, and here’s what it is: teens aged 13-18 tutor seniors (well, they don’t technically have to be senior citizens–they can really be adults of any age,’  but the name is cute) on how to use a computer. The program is really geared toward adults who have little to no experience using a computer–this program isn’t for people interested in getting help concatenating spreadsheets, but rather for people who aren’t great at using a mouse, or downloading attachments from their email, or searching for information using Google.

I totally recommend organizing a program like this in your library, simply because it’s been working very well for us so far. If you’re interested, here’s how we did it.

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Last Saturday at ALA, the committee I’m on, Technology for YAs, sponsored “Downloadable Technology: Current and Future Trends,” a fantastic panel discussion featuring three speakers: Beth Gallaway on downloadable gaming, Kate Pritchard on downloadable and streaming music, and Karen Potash on OverDrive. If you weren’t able to attend, here’s an overview of how the panel gave librarians some great ideas about how to save money and keep on top of music, gaming, and ebook trends.

For the presenters’ slides, click here.

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I’m at Computers in Libraries this week, and this morning I attended Helene Blowers‘s talk on digital natives. It was awesome. Helene is a great advocate for children and teens using technology. Here are some selected notes from her talk:

Identity—For teens, their online identity is the same as their in-person identity; they explore to see if a space is safe; their social identity is very important to them

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I’ve noticed a particular phenomenon among teens that I don’t see as much in children or adults. Actually, it’s two things.

1. Often, when I see a teen searching for a book on the shelves, and I approach her and ask if I can help her find what she’s looking for, she says no–even though it’s pretty obvious that she’s having trouble locating the title she wants.
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The candidates for YALSA’s elected positions spoke at an open forum here at Midwinter. They each introduced themselves and made a brief statement, and then answered questions from the audience. Here’s some of what they said. (Note that not all candidates were in attendance.) Read More →