I’m back! After a month off for vertigo and another month of innovating, I’m glad to be resuming this column, even though it probably needs a new title, since it’s as much about innovation and general cool-stuff-is-happening-all-over-the-place-and-you-should-apply-it-to-your-library-work as it is about research. That said, here is some of the fresh new ideas coming out of the woodwork and being published or publicized this month.
- After I’ve waited for what seems like forever (but is really just since I joined Twitter and started following Levar Burton), the website RRKidz is finally live and going somewhere! This 21st century incarnation of “Reading Rainbow” promises access to the classic episodes that I know I adored as a kid as well as new content for today’s media devices, those ubiquitous tablets and genius phones, curated by Burton himself. My first recommendation is for you just to get excited. But also consider that some of your patrons may still remember the original show, and my guess is that even if they claim to be non-readers, they’ll have some great memories of it. “Reading Rainbow” may be for younger children, but you can get your teen volunteers excited about it by mimicking the show’s popular “You don’t have to take my word for it” section, in which real kids recommended their favorite books to others. What a great way to get teens to sit in on storytime, or to volunteer in your children’s section, and they can just as easily create videos on library computers to share their favorite YA stories with fellow teens, along with your help.
- The New York Times magazine recently held a contest for the best essay answering the question “Why is it ethical to eat meat?” The contest subject and its judges (all white men, mostly already known for championing animal rights and being vegetarians or vegans) immediately prompted outrage, interest, and annoyance, and all of the comments and criticism are well worth reading. Read More →
Happy February! Here are some interesting happenings, research, and innovation that you might want to share with your patrons. As always, leave comments if you have any suggestions.
- Programs such as the It Gets Better Project have made teen suicides, especially those related to homophobia, a more pressing issue. But is it reaching middle school-aged teens and tweens? A new study shows that many teens who have made suicide attempts made their first ones before high school, which means new approaches to mental health and wellbeing need to be taken earlier. U.S. News and World Report did a writeup of the study, which was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
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The 2012 YALSA/VOYA Frances Henne Research Grant Committee congratulates this year’s grant recipient, Sylvia Vardell.’ Her research proposal is entitled, Poetry Books and Apps: Complement or Competition?’ Dr. Vardell’s research seeks to investigate student attitudes toward poetry apps and the impact of use of apps on poetry book reading and circulation.
In the research proposal, Dr. Vardell poses these questions and ideas:
â€œWhere do we begin in selecting poetry that children will like? No one has yet considered the impact of the new format of the poetry application or ‘app.’ It seems logical to hypothesize that access to this new innovation might have a positive impact on young people’s attitudes toward the poetry content, but it has not been investigated. In addition, this raises the question about whether poetry in print format will suffer as a result. Does new technology trump old books? The proposed project will attempt to address these questions.â€
Dr. Vardell notes that although this small study focuses exclusively on poetry, this look at the impact of apps on student attitudes and the relationship to book reading offers wider applications that interest professionals and researchers in libraries and literacy.
Sylvia Vardell is Professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman’s University, where she teaches graduate courses in children’s and young adult literature.
The YALSA/VOYA Frances Henne Research Grant offers seed money to research that supports the YALSA Research Agenda.’ Applications for the 2013 grant are due on December 1, 2012.’ For more information, please see http://www.ala.org/yalsa/awardsandgrants/franceshenne .
The applications are in! ‘ The YALSA/VOYA Frances Henne Research Grant applications have been submitted, and the review committee is currently reading the innovative research ideas of this year’s pool of grant proposals.
We are looking forward to announcing the 2012 recipient at the ALA Midwinter Meeting.’ You are invited to join us for the official announcement during the â€œYALSA Research Forum: What’s Next for YA?â€ event on Friday, January 20, to be held from 1:30 PM-3:30 PM, Dallas Convention Center, Room D225. ‘ As part of the Research Forum, we will announce the winning grant proposal and tell you how to apply for the 2013 Henne Research Grant.
We will also share the news of the 2012 recipient during the â€œYALSA Trends in YA Presentationâ€ on Saturday, January 21, to be held from 4:00-5:30PM, in the Dallas Convention Center, Room C141. This event will feature a paper presentation from Jeanie Austin called “Critical Issues in Juvenile Detention Center Libraries.” The paper will explore the tensions present in juvenile detention center library services (such as institutional limitations and access to technologies) and how youth and librarians can and do navigate these tensions within the library setting.
For more information on these programs, please go to http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/YALSA_at_ALA%27s_2012_Midwinter_Meeting. ‘ We hope that you can join us for one of these YALSA events at Midwinter, and we look forward to celebrating this year’s Frances Henne Research Grant recipient with you in Dallas!
I’m back with another month’s worth of interesting research and writing on scholarly and popular topics related to teen culture, literacy, and library services. I’ve decided to expand from just summarizing research to also linking you to fascinating articles, blog posts, or other more easily-accessed tidbits that might spark meaningful conversation, programming, or reference/advisory transactions. As always, if you have a topic you’d like to know about, or if there’s a journal you miss having access to, comment here and I’ll do some digging for you.
The Lilith blog, an online supplement to the Jewish feminist magazine, reports on a “freedom ride” in Jerusalem protesting the ultra-Orthodox custom of requiring women to board and sit in the rear of the public bus only. Sound familiar? If you’re looking for a way to allow your diverse patrons to connect with each other, try bringing this up as a topic and talking about the similarities with the freedom rides in the American South.
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Here’s another thing to get you geared up for ALA’s Annual Conference in Anaheim this June. The Library Research Round Table is looking for presentation proposals related to three areas of library research. Abstracts must be submitted by December 20, 2011, and notification of acceptance will be sent in late February, 2012. Accepted proposals will be presented at the ALA Annual from June 21-26. If you have recent or in-progress research relating to users, problem solving, or innovation, consider submitting.
LRRT defines their three categories as this: Read More →