Posted by Linda W. Braun

Recently I had the chance to go on a tour of the Seattle Public Library. I’d heard lots about the new library building and was really excited to see the architecture and the teen space. Walking up to the building one can’t help but notice the design of the facility and how it stands out on the city street. The instant message when viewing the building from the outside is “Well, this is quite something.”

I arrived at the library a little before the tour started and checked out the first floor where there is a very large sunny (yes sunny in Seattle) children’s room. The instant message when I saw the children’s room was, “Well, children are definitely an important constituency in this community.”

We met our tour guide and moved to the elevators as we found out the tour started at the top of the building. As we walked to the elevators I noticed in front of me a desk that said “Starbucks Teen Center.” As we moved closer I saw to the left of the Center comfortable furniture filled with people lounging – all adults. The Teen Center, I discovered, is a small horizontally designed space that does not include the comfortable furniture people were lounging in. The Teen Center is in fact much smaller than the children’s room. (Actually it ends up that by the end of the tour I discovered the space is much smaller than many areas of the library.)

I’ve been thinking about the instant message that the Teen Center sends to teens in the community. The fact that there is any space at all definitely sends a message that we know you exist. But, the fact that the space is small, somewhat dark, and nowhere near the size of other areas of the library sends a message that we know about you but don’t really need to think about you (or support you) too much.

Needless to say I was disappointed when I saw the teen space. I did have a renewed sense of the need to get the word out about service to teens and particulary the importance of designing space that supports teen needs and shows teens are a valued part of the community. The Professional Development Center section of the YALSA Website has a topic guide on space. For those interested in learning more about how to support teens through space it’s worth looking at.

Posted by Linda W. Braun

Today I went to a workshop that was led by two of YALSA’s SUS (Serving the Underserved) Trainers – Jack Martin and Sheila Schofer. The session was attended by over 40 librarians that serve teens in some way – YA specialists, generalists, children’s librarians, and directors. I left the session invigorated by the ideas of the presenters and the audience.

During the session Jack and Sheila gave participants a chance to talk about teens in the library, what they do there, and how those serving teens can help colleagues better understand the importance of providng high-quality service to teens. They connected the discussion to the Search Institute’s Developmental Assets and talked about how the Assets can be a tool for librarians to use when trying to educate colleagues about YA services.

One of the best activities was when Jack and Sheila had participants create a checklist for YA service The ideas were recorded on Word during the session, they were then printed out, and each of the people at the workshop was able to take the document back to their library and use it with staff/colleagues immediately.

This experience was a reminder of the great work that SUS trainers are doing and how they are helping to make sure all library staff is well-versed in YA.

You can read more about SUS on the YALSA website.

Posted by Beth Yoke:

I agree that programs have a lot to offer both new and seasoned librarians. What specific topics for programs do you feel would be the most helpful to *new* librarians or SLIS students? Career exploration? Job searching? Leadership training? Something else?
-Beth Yoke

Its the beginning of March, and even though I’m in college I’m not looking forward to my Spring Break. I’m looking forward to going to Boston for PLA.

Why, you may ask. Well its because at PLA I have the opportunity to meet with other librarians, see new places, and absorb a wealth of information from professionals all over the United States. The presenters are not paid to attend these conferences, but rather come to share what they have learned so that others may experience similar positive results. For me PLA is a breeding ground for great ideas, and who wouldn’t be excited about being involved in that.

I am halfway through my Library Science program, and attended both National and local conferences. The difference is astounding. At the national conference I was able to attend sessions of librarians who wrote articles, books, and blog; I was surrounded by dozens of authors of books I had read; and was able to leave with my suitcase full of ARCs, 5 bags full of “goodies”, and a head full of ideas.

I would recommend attending a national conference to everyone, but especially current Library Science students, and new librarians. While a student, ALA offers an excellent benefit of discounted conference admission and membership fees. If interested in working in a library you can not afford to pass this up.

Working with young adults requires a library that stays on the cutting edge of librarianship, which can still be two to three years behind the lives of the young adults. Attending conferences, participating in online classes, pushing yourself and your library to try new things, and sharing ideas with colleagues will keep our young adult departments meeting the needs of these important patrons long into the future.

posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

Posted by Linda W. Braun

This is the end of the final week of YALSA’s class on new teen literacies. Along with the reading required for the week, students are also submitting a final project. For their project students have to provide an overview of an innovative library program or service that uses the technologies and literacies discussed in the class. The projects submitted are amazing and cover a range of possibilities for bringing hi-quality service to teens. They range from projects with wikis, blogs, RSS feeds, games, and more. Wow to the students in the class. I can tell we are going to see some really wonderful services to teens from those who participated.

Welcome to the TAGS section of the blog! YALSA’s TAGS committee will host this section, and as the current TAGS chair, I’m pleased to kick off the discussion. Other members – Judy Macaluso, Kendra Skellen, Lisa Youngblood and Melissa Jenvey – will be posting TAGS-related questions, comments, suggestions and resource ideas in the near future, too. The key is for everyone reading the blog to share their thoughts, questions and comments about Teen Advisory Groups – we knows there is a lot to discuss when it comes to growing and maintaining a dynamic, energized TAG!

So, take a minute to brag about your TAG and tell us what you love most about your group and why? A little background information about your TAG would be great, too.

If your TAG is not already registered with YALSA’s TAGS directory, here’s your chance to sign up:

Posted by Amy Alessio:

This committee has to choose the best titles for Young Adults from 2007. When I see all the input in YALSA-BK about the winners each year, I am amazed that only 15% of YALSA members vote on the ballot. Now is your chance to meet the hard working folks who will be reading hundreds of titles on this committee.

Running on the spring ballot for the 2008 Printz Committee are: Julie Bartel, Janet Buttenweiser, Donna Cook, Elizabeth Elam, Walter Mayes, Lynn Rutan, Tricia Suellentrop and Cheryl Ward.

This blog gives them a chance to introduce themselves and let you know why you may want to vote for them.

Posted by Amy Alessio:

Members of the Margaret Edwards Committee award a YA author for lifetime achievement. Running for the 2008 award committee are: Chris Carlson, Ruth Cox Clark, Erin Downey-Howerton, Kimberley Hrivnak, Kimberly Paone and Kelly Vikstrom

This forum gives members a chance to get to know candidates before voting begins this month. Candidates will introduce themselves here and let readers know why you should choose them for this committee.