In 2012 and 2013 through funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, YALSA embarked on an ambitious journey to create the National Forum on Libraries and Teens. Its culmination was The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action, or Futures Report for short. The report’s purpose is to provide a roadmap for 21st century teen library services. Its hashtag, #act4teens, boldly reinforces the report’s subtitle. For me, #act4teens is akin to the Yoda quote, “Do. Or Do not. There is no try.” We must act to move teen services in our libraries forward.
YALSA and the Future of Teens and Libraries Taskforce created several #act4teens resources that can be found on the National Forum on Libraries and Teens’ shared resources page, which directs you to three types of tools designed to help you #act4teens at your library and in your community.
- One-page fact sheets to give to a variety of different audiences to raise awareness and excitement about the future of library services for and with teens. Factsheets are geared to the following audiences:
- Community members, partners, and advocates
- Faculty and researches at library and information science schools
- Library staff
- School administrators and principles
- Library trustees
- Canned presentations to use when you present the report to others and again can be used with a variety of audiences.
- A tip sheet geared specifically to help you bring the ideas of the Futures Report to administrators. The tip sheet provides strategies for starting a dialogue with your supervisor about the report and its implications. It also provides steps on how to start moving forward to reimagine services for and with teens in your community.
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Peggy Hendershot, Youth Information Specialist at the Johnson County Library, Blue Valley Branch, has just been awarded the 2015 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens with her program, the Young Adult Discussion Diversity Panel she formed with their Young Adult Advisory Council (YAAC). Peggy told me about her experiences.
What was the reaction to winning the award in your community? How did your students react?
Everyone has been very kind and full of congratulations. The Kansas City Star’s 913 (Johnson County section) requested an interview. It’s great positive publicity for the library.
We told the teens during our usual round of introduction questions at our February 7th YAAC meeting. We asked, “What was the most exciting thing that happened to you in the last year.” When it was my turn, I said, “Winning the YALSA Mae Award for the Diversity Discussion Panel!” Then we handed out a copy of the press release to the kids. They were very excited! There was quite a bit of whooping and hollering going on, along with plenty of high fives! We celebrated with cake, ice cream and confetti poppers. Then they wanted to talk about the next big event they could plan!
You mention in your application that your library’s YAAC takes advantage of the YALSA YA Galley program. Could you talk about how that works with your group?
The Johnson County Library YAAC groups applied to participate in the YALSA YA Galley/Teen Top Ten book project and were accepted into the program. Publishers sent out galleys and review titles of new and upcoming books. At our monthly meetings, the YAAC teens selected the titles that interested them from the selections sent out. The teens then read the books and completed reviews for them, which were sent back to the publishers. They also rated the books, nominating their favorites for the Teen Top Ten best books. YAAC members also discussed the books they did not select and why they chose not to read them. This information was also sent to the publishers. Our term was up the beginning of this year, but we plan to reapply to the program at the first opportunity!
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By Adrienne Strock
For a complete list of YALSA happenings at ALA’s 2015 Midwinter meeting, see the YALSA Midwinter wiki page.
Midwinter YALSA YOUmedia Partnership Session: Partnering Strategically to Reach beyond Library Walls
Join representatives from YOUmedia and the Chicago Public Library (CPL) as they discuss the history and evolution of their partnerships throughout their short and robust history on Saturday, January 31, 8:30am-10am, at McCormick Place West in room W183c. In this panel, CPL Teen Services and YOUmedia staff will share their partnership experiences and essential elements for building and sustaining successful partnerships, present best practices, discuss the successes and challenges of program implementation, and how to best leverage resources to enhance learning experiences and increase access through showcase and special opportunities. Participants will also engage in a “Build Your Sustainable Partnership Program” game! Take on the role of a partner in a mock partnership program and navigate challenges and leverage resources to create an engaging experience that demonstrates how teens can be supported and guided along learning pathways.
YOUmedia on Partnerships and Partnering Strategically to Reach beyond Library Walls
The African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” seems ever present in today’s educational mission of rethinking how to create engaging learning experiences for young people. This proverb manifests itself when entities who have chosen to actively invest in the lives of young people come together to support their growth and development. Collaborations and partnerships can yield unique approaches to sparking and engaging interests of young people, acting as a critical component to expand a young person’s learning journey.
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Happy New Year!
I am pleased to announce that all appointments have been made for the 2015-2016 award and selection committee cycle.
Many, many thanks to the all the talented and dedicated YALSA members who submitted nearly 600 volunteer applications to join these great committees!
If you submitted an application, you should have received an email from me inviting you to be on a committee or an email letting you know that my appointments taskforce and I were unable to find a spot for you this year.
If you received one of the latter emails, please don’t be discouraged and please try again. There were just not enough slots for the number of applications we received.
In the meantime, you can gain valuable YALSA and professional development experience by volunteering to be on a YALSA strategic committee, task force, or jury. The work of all of these strategic groups is done virtually and do not require conference attendance. The deadline for strategic committee applications is March 1, 2015, and I will be making those appointments in the spring.
Early last year, I received an e-mail from our Youth Services Consultant at the South Carolina State Library with information about how YALSA was willing to send their representatives to state library association’s annual conferences to discuss their newly published national report entitled The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action. As Chair of the South Carolina Library Association’s (SCLA) Youth Services Section, the opportunity to connect with YALSA could not have come at a more perfect time. With our annual conference theme focusing on unbound services statewide, it was important to help plan sessions that allowed attendees to think outside the box and assist in re-evaluating services they already provide, while also instilling new ideas within their communities. YALSA’s call to action does just that.
With the neatly bound report in hand, Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell from the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reached out on behalf of YALSA to a room of 30+ South Carolina librarians and paraprofessionals. Conversations evolved both during the course of the annual conference and at home within our communities. One such conversation with Cheryl Brown, Past Chair of the SCLA Youth Services Section, spoke of the versatility of this report: “with my involvement in the Collaborative Summer Library Programs’ efforts to bring quality summer programming to teens, I found the session invaluable…We can no longer trust that what we planned for teens five years ago will be what serves teens most effectively today.” Her statement resonates with many teen services-oriented professionals, and holds true for one YALSA forum participant, quoted in the report, who compared this paradigm shift in services to going from “grocery store to kitchen,” where teens move away from being the consumers as we help turn them into the producers.
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by Adrienne L. Strock & Sandra Hughes-Hassell
Almost a year has passed since YALSA released The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action. In that time, libraries across the U.S. have opened digital media centers or makerspaces, developed meaningful community partnerships, been affected by demographic shifts among their users, and implemented user-driven programs and services both in and outside of library spaces. School and public library staff have also been affected – co-learning and developing the new skills called for in the report. Along with this shift in services have come new sets of challenges and opportunities for growth, too.
My #act4teens journey has been both personal and professional. I have dabbled with STEM and maker projects wanting to make things light up as both a personal interest and to level up my own knowledge and skills to better serve and learn with teens. In anticipation of the 2014 launch of Studio NPL, the Nashville Public Library’s (NPL) IMLS learning lab project, NPL teen staff has been diving into and discussing the Futures report at our monthly teen services meetings. We have also expanded our STEM and maker programs at our Main Library by introducing teens to low-tech maker crafts. A recent partnership with Nashville CoderDojo has resulted in a surge in tech-savvy adults who now serve as expert mentors for our tweens and teens allowing them to learn about coding, robotics, and game design.
How have you #acted4teens? What’s happened along the way in your #act4teens journey? YALSA wants to hear your stories of how the report has impacted you and your library. How has the report shifted your philosophy of library services for and with teens? What parts of the report have resonated most with you and why? What changes have you implemented as a result of the report? What new challenges or successes have arisen based on the steps you have taken to #act4teens?
Your #act4teens stories are worth celebrating and sharing, whether big or small, through quotes, YALS articles, and more. Soon, the Future of Teens and Libraries taskforce will host a special #act4teens YALSA Blog series, and we want to hear from you, too. Tell YALSA how you #act4teens here.
There’s always lots of interesting research going on in the field. To help you stay current, the Research Committee has compiled a short annotated bibliography of recent and ongoing research that offers a lot of food for thought.
Merga, M. K. (2014). Are Western Australian adolescents keen book readers?. Australian Journal Of Language & Literacy, 37(3), 161-170.
This study examines Western Australian teenagers’ reading habits and attitudes toward reading.
Valdivia, C. & Subramaniam, M. (2014). Connected learning in the public library: an evaluative framework for developing virtual learning spaces for youth. Public Library Quarterly, 33(2). 163-185.
Many youth services librarians aspire to create virtual spaces at their libraries that encourage youth participation, engagement and new media literacy development. This article presents an evaluative framework to aid youth services librarians in achieving this mission of providing informal learning opportunities through virtual spaces. The framework is designed to be used at any point in virtual space development.
Vickery, J.(2014). Youths Teaching Youths. Journal of adolescent & adult literacy (1081-3004), 57 (5), p. 361.
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ALSA and Baker and Taylor are proud to support the continuing education endeavors of librarians across the country. They offer not one, not two, but three great scholarships to help YALSA members who have never attended ALA Annual the opportunity to do so. And it is a wonderful opportunity. I was lucky enough to win in 2011 and be able to attend Annual in New Orleans. It was a very satisfying experience and allowed me to connect with my teen librarian colleagues and YALSA members in a way I never had via the online environments of list-servs and websites. That one conference gave me the confidence to continue to volunteer for YALSA committees and taskforces, Since 2011, I have had the opportunity to help YALSA’s strategic goals by serving on several different process and selection committees and it has been incredibly rewarding.
The criteria for these grants are pretty simple and available on the website. To paraphrase: you need to be a member of ALA/YALSA, one to ten years experience working with teens (for the Baker and Taylor scholarships only), and you have never attended an ALA Annual conference. For the Broderick scholarship (which is open to MLIS students), you must be currently enrolled in ALA accredited graduate MLIS program. The deadline for applying is December 1. Still not convinced that attending Annual is worth it? Here is what some of the previous years winners have to say.
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There are tons of committees, task forces and areas to work in YALSA. Everyone knows about the book award committees and some of the major task force, but there are a lot of smaller, less glamorous and flashy committees that are a part of YALSA as well. Did you know that YALSA has a Research Committee? Well, I didn’t either, until I decided to volunteer for YALSA and became a member of the research committee, which I currently chair. So what is the research committee? What exactly do we do?
The Research Committee has actually been around since 1968. The Research Committee’s purpose is “To stimulate, encourage, guide, and direct the research needs of the field of young adult library services, and to regularly compile abstracts, disseminate research findings, update YALSA’s Research Agenda as needed and to liaise with ALA’s Committee on Research & Statistics.” So what does that entail? Well for starters, the Research Committee developed the YALSA National Research Agenda, which helps guide the direction and express needed research to “help guarantee that librarians serving young adults are able to provide the best service possible as well as advocate for funding and support in order to ensure that teens are served effectively by their libraries.” The Research Committee also keeps this document up-to-date, which is one of this year’s current tasks. We are using The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action to ensure that the Research Agenda is up-to-date and on track.
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I just wanted to thank our members for the 537 volunteer committee applications that were submitted and to give everyone an update on the award and selection committee appointments process!
The appointments task force was finalized in October and award and selection committee chairs were selected. The appointments task force and I are still working on filling all of the award and selection committee member vacancies, but rosters should be finalized soon.
Appointing the local arrangements committee for Midwinter 2015 is the next priority.
ALA Appointments: There has been one ALA Appointment call to review the general ALA appointment process. The slate for the nominating committee has not been officially presented, but does include one YALSA member.
ALA President Elect Sari Feldman has put out a call for volunteers for the ALA committees listed below. Please let me know if you are interested in being recommended for any of them. The ALA application form closes this Friday, November 7, 2014.
It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to go through all of your applications. Thank you so much for your dedication to YALSA and to teen library services!