A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

Happy New Year! For many, the changing year brings with it a list of resolutions. What can we do for those who have made it a goal to read more books? For starters, we can share reading challenges with our teen patrons or create our own for our communities. The 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge has users set a goal of a specific number of titles to read, but other sources like Popsugar, Book Riot, and the TBR (To Be Read) Jar Challenge give category guidelines in which readers select a title of their choice.  Others, like Epic Reads’ 365 Days of YA reading calendar and YALSA’s 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge (which counts toward the upcoming 2015 Hub Reading Challenge), ask participants to read a number of books from a provided list. Either way, these reading challenge avenues provide inspiration for creating your own reading challenge for your teens. Check out Random House of Canada’s year-long Reading Bingo Challenge (one general card and one specific to YA) — fun and motivating!

Another way to engage teens in a discussion of their reading is through book photo challenges. Offered monthly, these challenges ask users to take a book-related photo a day and post it on social media with the corresponding hashtags. The sky is the limit when it comes to daily photo tasks! Engaging library users in this type of discussion can provide clues to collection development and potential programming.

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Top-ten lists and year in review articles abound—it must be December!  Reflecting on the past year in the world of libraries, here are five themes that have impacted our work.

While YALSA members are digesting and implementing The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action, several other reports came out in 2014 that encourage library workers to embrace new paradigms and adapt service standards that can best serve our customers.  There’s the Pew Research Center’s Younger Americans and Public Libraries report, which breaks down library behavior in the Millenial generation.  From the report:  “…younger Americans are also more likely than older adults to have read at least one book in [the past year] (88% vs 79%).”  Hooray!  Another big splash came with the IMLS’s report titled Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums: Transformative Spaces for Teens.   I recently wrote about the new Aspen Report here.  These reports each focus on the importance of community engagement and transforming our institutions into new models of library service excellence.  Lots of great food for thought!

The Common Core
With the Common Core State Standards now in place in the majority of US states, how can library workers serving youth and teens support our partners and contacts in local schools, as well as help out students and their parents?  This question was a highlight of 2014, eliciting a wide variety of articles (1, 2), toolkits and trainings (1, 2.)  Have you prepared for and encountered ways to support the CC?  Let us know in the comments.

After gathering steam (hah!) in 2013, 2014 felt like the year that maker and STEM culture were part of mainstream discussions for library staff.  Beyond the library literature, Pinterest is a fun way to track and share different STEM/STEAM/make programming, reading, and space ideas to your workplace.  Check out this results page for “makerspace library.”

How did this campaign, a highly visible social media trend, get its start?  Check out this FAQ to learn about the origin and purpose behind the movement.  An Indiegogo fundraising effort had great success; the funds raised allow WNDB team members to create outreach programs, partner with other literacy organizations, and support diverse authors.

Crisis Situations and Libraries
In the midst of the Ferguson protests, the story of the town’s library as a community support center and safe haven in time of crisis went viral. Ferguson Library Director Scott Bonner said:  “During difficult times, the library is a quiet oasis where we can catch our breath, learn, and think about what to do next.”  On an international scale, stories are coming from Ukraine about the role of their libraries during a time of violence and instability.  If we can be there for our communities in distress, those communities can then be there for us; for example, destroyed and damaged libraries coming back stronger in the wake of tremendous storms.

What themes and trends impacted your work in 2014?  Do you have predictions for what’s to come in 2015?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform. A new month with a new season approaching can only mean one thing — new book displays! From fireplaces Catching Fire to snowmen and book trees, these displays were snow cool that we just had to share. What types of displays are you putting together this month? Do your teens have a role is putting everything together?

It’s also the time of year for “Best of” book lists. The 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards were recently announced as were Epic Reads’ 2014 Shimmy Award Winners. YALSA announced the finalists of both the William C. Morris and Excellence in Nonfiction Awards and School Library Journal presented their list of the 70 best books of 2014. Are you using social media to promote these titles and educate teens about these awards? If so, tell us how in the comments section below.

To view this week’s Instagram images, please follow this link: Instagram of the Week – December 8

Have you come across a Instagram post this week, or has your library posted something similar? Have a topic you’d like to see in the next installment of Instagram of the Week? Share it in the comments section of this post.

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform. This week we’re looking at how libraries can use Instagram as a platform for readers’ advisory. An interesting example that popped up this week comes from the UK. In the United States National Bullying Prevention Month takes place during October, but the UK holds Anti-Bullying Month throughout November with National Anti-Bullying Week falling during the third week (November 17-21 this year). As a way to raise awareness and spark discussions about bullying, Sarah Churchill, a bibliophile with a book-focused YouTube channel, started the Anti Bullying Readathon for which participants would read books with bullying themes. A Goodreads group was created and more than 700 members have created a list of 150 books that touch on bullying for a variety of reading levels. Participants engaged in discussions and shared their reading on social media using #AntiBullyReads. Engaging readers in an active discussion, developing themed reading challenges, as well as posting images of recommended books and resources available in the library are excellent ways for libraries to reach patrons on Instagram for readers’ advisory.

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Happy Summer! Hope you are all surviving and thriving as your summer reading programs come to an end this year. Don’t forget to look toward autumn, as YALSA’s Fall Appointments season approaches!

As President-Elect, I’ll be making appointments to the following YALSA committees and taskforces:

*Please note that the PPYA Committee is an all-virtual committee for the coming year. YALSA members with book selection and evaluation experience and who are comfortable working in an online environment with tools like ALA Connect, Google Docs, Skype, etc. should put their names forward for consideration.

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Just four or five years ago, I would send out postcards to remind teens of our monthly Teen Advisory Board meeting but today this method of communication would be completely foreign and unfruitful for my purposes.

Today, the library, like many other components of a community, is largely an intangible presence existing entirely as mobile communication. Today, I can save the postage and send out a Vine or Instagram to engage my teens up-to-the-hour of a library event. Today, I’m seeing many more new faces at my library events because of my digital presence as a librarian.

As Facebook and Twitter intersect with more instantaneous rivals, such as Snapchat, that offer more content options, such as Tumblr, it can be a fun challenge for librarians to keep up with the nomadic sprawl across various platforms of mobile teen connectivity.

We learn as we go, break new grounds, we talk with our teens and remember to never reinvent the wheel.

Here are my top three Vines, Instagrams and Tumblrs that worked as kick starters for my own YA librarianship in 2013:


1. Metropolitan Library in Oklahoma County describes their vine as “your inviting innovation link to the world,” and gives us insight into their teen programming, services and displays. Read More →

by Lisa Goldstein

Wondering which YALSA committee to apply for? Consider Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults.’  I’m currently the chair of PPYA, and this is my third year on this selection committee.

PPYA creates three to five themed booklists each year. Past themes have included food, body image, and spirituality; this year’s themes are war, humor, and GLBTQ. Books of any format – fiction, nonfiction, graphic novel – which fit the declared themes and are popular among teens make the list. Literary quality is not a strong consideration. Members use circulation stats and teen feedback to gauge popularity, and do their best to ignore standards in taste, writing, or cover art.

Committee members serve on two of the subject lists, for which they acquire, read, and evaluate every nominated title. Each list usually ends up with between fifty and seventy-five nominations, and is eventually whittled down to twenty to twenty-five titles.

One of the most helpful things about PPYA work is also one of the trickiest: most books do not fit neatly into one category. Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, for example, is hilarious, but it also has fantastic GLBTQ characters. Which list does it belong on? This can lead to fascinating discussions with committee members, and helps immensely with readers’ advisory further down the line. Does a teen in your library need a book with a positive portrayal of a transgender character? Give her Bray’s Beauty Queens. Does another teen want a funny book? Recommend Beauty Queens. Because PPYA doesn’t focus on new releases, committee members attain a well-rounded knowledge of young adult literature. Reading and categorizing over one hundred young adult books can’t help but aide readers’ advisory, as well as the creation of book lists and pathfinders. Read More →

Not in Seattle but wishing you could hear what local teens have to say about this year’s Best Fiction for Young Adults nominations? In Seattle but stuck in another meeting or session on Sunday? Have no fear–you can join the BFYA Teen Feedback Session live blog here or on The Hub!

We’ll be streaming live video from the session, pulling tweets with the #bfya hashtag, polling readers about nominated titles and publishing your comments LIVE. The live blog will start shortly before the session opens at 1:30 PM Pacific, and you can join at any time. You can even log in with your Facebook or Twitter account to include your gravatar with your comments.

If you can’t make the live session, have no fear; the complete session, including video, will be available to replay at your leisure as soon as the live blog closes.

Seattle has a thriving YA author population who set their books right here in Emerald City – or nearby. Whether you are attending Midwinter or not, here are a few titles to get you in a Pacific Northwest’ frame of mind.


‘ The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

Suffering from panic attacks, Jade finds it calming to watch the Woodland Park Zoo’s elephant webcam. Her fascination with the animals (and a boy she sees working with them) encourage her to get out of her comfort zone.

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