Library books, library databases, library spaces — individuals aged 16-29 are more likely than their elders to use all three, according to the latest Pew Internet and American Life report on young Americans’ relationships with libraries, released today. And, hearteningly, more than eighty percent of this age group believe it is very important to have professional librarians help individuals find the information they need.

The study provides lots of data to confirm that young people “born with the chip” perceive libraries as important parts of their community and their information ecology, including’ the persistence of physical books and resistance to shifting resources online.

“Younger Americans’ reading habits and library use are still anchored by the printed page,” said Kathryn Zickuhr, research analyst at the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project and, with Kristen Purcell and Lee Raine, report co-author. “Some of this stems from the demands of school or work, yet some likely lies in their current personal preferences. And this group’s priorities and expectations for libraries likewise reflect a mix of traditional and technological services.”

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A weekly short list of tweets that librarians and the teens that they serve may find interesting.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between June 7 and June 13 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
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There’s never been any shortage of “Digital Divides” for us to talk about. The haves versus the have nots, the young versus the old, the tech natives versus the technology-as-a-second-language folks.

But even if your patrons have the internet and know not to call it “The YouTube,” there’s another digital divide in America that can be just as limiting as not having a connection at all: how teens, and adults, are getting online.

Access to Broadband

The FCC reports that 94% of Americans have access to high speed internet, a huge increase from the 15% who answered the same way in 2003. But that still leaves 6% of Americans— over 19 million people– without access to high speed internet. Concentrated mainly in rural and tribal lands, the populations who can’t access the higher level functions of the internet are arguably the most in need. And in places where broadband is available, over 100 million Americans still do not subscribe to it.

The Introduction of Smartphones

At the same time, smartphone usage is growing among teenagers, giving kids who have never owned a computer a way to access the internet that’s personal and reliable. A recent Pew Center report found that 37% of teenagers own smartphones. For many, these phones have become their primary way of accessing and sharing information— from social networking to texting to accessing library resources.

The widespread use and availability of smartphones to these teens is a great advancement, and an important step in the battle to make the internet accessible to all. But smartphones, for as great as they are, are not a digital panacea. And that’s where libraries (and you) come in.

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Caffeine_Molecule “Like a caffeine molecule.” That’s how University of Washington ischool student Lauren Woody said she would visually depict her experience attending the two day summit at Midwinter held by YALSA as part of the National Forum on Libraries and Teens. At the summit discussion centered around the future of teens and libraries. Keep reading to find out more about what Lauren and fellow student Jesse O’Dunne said about their experiences at the summit. Read More →

What in the world have I been up to lately? It’s all here.

Key Activities:

Worked with the Board to appoint the fabulous Carla Land as the 2013-14 YALSA Board Fellow. We are thrilled to have her as part of the team!

Worked with the Board to appoint Pam Spencer Holley to fill the vacant position of Fiscal Officer. Pam will be working closely with the Board, the Executive Committee and the FInancial Advancement Committee Chair to help YALSA members and the public better understand YALSA’s finances. Thank you, Pam!

Had an inspiring, eye-opening, amazing time at the Summit on Teens & Libraries. We learned about teens, technology, Connected Learning and so much more. Save the date for March 19 so you can participate in the first virtual town hall on leveraging partnerships between libraries and other organizations: & on Twitter: #yalsaforum.
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branchesThis January, the’ Center for an Urban Future‘ released Branches of Opportunity, a report about New York City’s Public Libraries. Despite the important role they play in the city’s human capital system, libraries continue to remain undervalued by policymakers.

I spent some time on the phone this month with David Giles, the Center’s Research Director, who wrote the report . He explained his findings related to teens. The answers that follow summarize his words.

While this report was particular to New York public libraries and not exclusive to teen users, there are definitely some takeaways for our own library systems and settings and for the work that we do with young people. Read More →

image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user niiicedaveA couple of recent events and conversations have me thinking, once again, about the importance of library staff working with teens connecting with stakeholders, administrators, teens, etc. to make sure that teens have the best services possible. Here’s a brief rundown:

  • When Chris Shoemaker and I presented on YALSA’s Badges for Lifelong Learning project at the ALA Midwinter Meeting some participants talked about the struggles they continue to have in their schools and public libraries accessing what now we might call traditional technologies – YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.
  • I’ve been reading about the “new” digital divide and talking to library staff that work with teens who talk about why they can’t use devices with those they serve because of access issues.
  • I listened to teens at the YALSA Summit on Teens and Libraries talk about their use of digital media (including the aforementioned Tumbler which is filtered out of some libraries) and the importance of relationships with library staff on library use.

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8430121091_c719b48483ALA Council is the governing body of ALA. Council meets during Midwinter and Annual, with significant electronic communication in between.

I’m an ‘at-large’ Councilor, which means I’m not representing a particular state, ALA division, or roundtable like some other Councilors do. For example, all divisions (like the youth ones, ALSC, AASL, and YALSA) have an ALA Council representative. There’s also an Executive Board and Council Officers as well. While the structure of Council might sound complicated and can be at times, every Councilor there has an important role.

Though not every issue Council discussed at Midwinter had to do with our service population, I have briefly summarized those issues which did apply below:

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Hey Everyone,

As you can guess it’s been another super-duper busy month in the YALSA world. Here’s what we’ve been up to!

Key Activities:

Worked with the Capacity Building Taskforce to initiate plans for implementing YALSA’s new goal in the Strategic Plan.

Hosted two online trainings for Selection and Award committee chairs and members. Thanks to everyone who was able to participate!

Worked with the YALSA Executive Director to appoint YALSA’s new Blog Manager, Wendy Stephens. Congratulations, Wendy!

Worked with YALSA’s Executive Committee and the Executive Director to plan and create the agenda for the 2012 Midwinter conference.

YALSA is finalizing an exciting new partnership with a national retailer that will expand programs and improve digital services for teens in libraries across the country! Stay tuned for the official announcement in late January!

Outreach and Media:

Interviewed by for a story on trends in teen reading and literature.

Statistics & Data:

December donations received were $1,775.00 for Friends of YALSA and $250.00 for YALSA’s Leadership Endowment.

The most recent membership stats are from November 2012. YALSA currently has 5,218 members, down .9% from last year.

Thank you!

A big shout-out to the Morris and Non-fiction committees for choosing their finalists!

Thank you also to the Teen Tech Week committee for launching the 2013 website:

Congratulations to The Hub for having its best month ever in terms of the number of visits to the site:

Thanks again for all that you do for our association,