Last week in the first post in this month’s YALSAblog Professional Learning series on working with teens at risk, I posted a set of resources to read, listen to, and view. This week it’s time to start a discussion about working with teens at risk AND steps to take in order to work with teens at risk.  

One of the barriers I hear from teen librarians is they feel they don’t have the support from their libraries to go outside of the library and provide library services and services and programs to teens at risk, nor do some of the libraries have in their strategic plan or priorities to focus on providing services/programs to these populations.  Reading and learning more about what the Madison Public Library is doing specifically with teens who are incarcerated with the Making Justice program really made me think how a library is recognizing a marginalized population that is limited to services and programming and bringing those services and programs in.  With the institution as a whole acknowledging and focusing services and programs specifically to this population says a lot about how it feels about working with teens at risk as well as promoting and using this program as a model.

This week let’s talk about this:

  • What barriers might you face within your library to focus services on working with teens at risk either in the library or outside the library? Maybe your barrier is that you are interested in working with working with teens at risk and don’t have administrative support or don’t know even where to start.
  • What did the resources from last week get you thinking about in relation to those barriers?
  • What are some examples of work people are doing in their libraries with teens who are at risk? Is it something that your library acknowledges, recognizes and supports (is outreach and working with teens at risk in your library’s strategic plan for example or a specific focus for your library?)
  • What questions or comments do you have from what others are writing?

It would be great to have a discussion on this topic, so feel free to post your own thoughts as well as replying to others.

YALSA core professional values coverWhat do accountability, excellence, innovation, and social responsibility have to do with the teen services profession? The quick and easy answer is a lot. However, a more specific answer is that these 4 ideas are a few of the Core Values listed in YALSA’s new Core Professional Values for the Teen Services Profession. This Professional Values document was published by YALSA last month after a year-long development process by the association’s Professional Values Task Force. The Task Force began their work after discussions by the YALSA Board of Directors during their 2013 Annual Conference meetings The Board wanted to develop and support the professional development of library staff serving teens and to help others in the library profession understand the value of what library staff working with and for teens work towards every single day of the year.

The document, a one of its kind in the area of library teen services, is an excellent framework for the values that all those working with teens in libraries should embrace. Not only does it list the Core Values but it includes ways of demonstrating those values. For example, if you demonstrate Innovation, which is defined in the document as:
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