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The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association is to advocate, promote and strengthen service to young adults as part of the continuum of total library service, and to support those who provide service to this population.
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Teen librarianship isn’t always the most glamourous of positions in the library world. Fortunately, the back-up we have available to us through YALSA and the many awards they offer feel priceless to the winners. As Katie George, winner of the 2011 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, puts it, “Receiving recognition like this from teen-serving peers… at this level… is a shot in the arm. It reminds you, ‘Yes! You are making a difference! Keep going!’”
Katie’s “Pass the Book” program at the Howard County Library System in Columbia, MD, started in 2009 and involved passing around over 600 copies of Scott Westerfeld’s The Secret Hour. Teens would then read the book, log the book number on the program’s website, and pass the book along. According to Katie, “Pass the Book appealed to teens’ interest in participating in an exclusive activity, yet encouraged them to connect with other teen readers by sharing books and participating in the website.” She also pointed out that this program gave the public library another opportunity to branch out into locals schools, where some books were distributed in school media centers. While the program is no longer actively giving out new books, the titles are still being logged today – over 616 times on five continents.
For Katie and the other teen librarians, winning the MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens gave them “a boost of confidence” and allowed them to “experience renewed enthusiasm for our jobs.” If you’re still considering applying for the MAE Award, take into consideration these wise words from Katie: “Give yourself credit, be brave, and apply. What may be “all in a day’s work” for you, might be a groundbreaking idea to someone else. Your work may be just the inspiration someone else needs… and they’ll never know about until you share.”
Applications for the 2013 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens are due December 1, 2012. Check out the YALSA website for more information.
Posted on behalf of Mary Haas and the MAE Award Jury.
Have you heard? YALSA received funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to facilitate a year-long project. What’s the project about? It brings together library staff that work with teens, educators, library educators, youth development experts, technology experts, and stakeholders to talk about the future of YA services. All leading to a white paper that will outline where teen services should go in the future and how best to support teens in libraries and communities.
There are two key pieces to the Forum that lead to the white paper:
A set of virtual town hall meetings that will follow-up on discussions from the Summit. These virtual town halls will take place in March, April, and May of 2013 and will give a wide number of people – from YALSA members, to teen advocates, to youth development experts, to teens – the opportunity to speak-up about the role of libraries in teen lives and in communities in the 21st century. Participants in the virtual town halls will be asked to Tweet, blog, and post on Facebook about the events in order to bring in as many voices as possible. YALSA will also host discussions related to the virtual town halls via their social media channels.
- A Summit that will be held in Seattle, WA just before the ALA Midwinter meetings. This Summit is going to be facilitated by ALA President Maureen Sullivan. It features a jam-packed agenda of speakers and small group discussions. Confirmed speakers include Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and George Needham, Vice President, OCLC Global and Regional Councils. Other speakers will include those from the world of technology, education, and libraries. All of the speakers will help attendees to think about and answer three specific questions:
- Who are teens in the 21st century?
- How can libraries support the needs of 21st century teens?
- What is the future of library services to teens?
Attendees at the Summit include the project Advisory Board and invited guests including museum educators, youth development experts, experts in digital media and learning, high school teachers and college professors, library directors, and library school faculty. Along with the project Board and invited attendees, 15 applicants were selected (from a pool of 68) to attend. These applicants are from a range of settings including school and public libraries, state libraries, and out-of-school time programs.
This project gives YALSA the opportunity to connect, create, and collaborate with a wide variety of stakeholders in teen library services. The white paper that will be published at the end of the project (and which will be open to comment prior to publication) will outline the next big thing for libraries, teens, and communities.
You can keep up with information on the project via its website.
The deadline is quickly approaching to apply for to be the next YALSA Board Fellow – December 1st is two weeks away! Many people have asked me what exactly I have been doing as the Board Fellow thus far. I’m doing several things:
- Serving as a non-voting board member: The Board has worked hard to make sure I know that my voice is just as important as any other board member when topics are being discussed, even if I don’t have a vote. This means I am…
- Attending Board meetings: The Board has quarterly conference calls to discuss committee reports and other YALSA business. These calls last about 90 minutes, but you need to be prepared before the call. We review the committee reports and any other documents related to agenda items. It’s important to be informed so that you can express yourself during the call.
- Attending Board development meetings: This year, the YALSA Board has a Board development discussion each month. The topics vary month-to-month, and different Board members guide the discussion. So far, we have discussed leadership, capacity building, and advocacy. We are assigned some pre-meeting homework that involves reading an article or two and pondering some guiding questions. We have been divided up into small groups and we discuss the readings and questions within our subgroup. I’m paired up with President Jack Martin and Linda Braun, who are both really smart. We have met via Google Hangout and have had some really thought-provoking discussions about what makes a good leader, possible ways to improve YALSA’s capacity, and how to get more members involved in advocacy. We bring our group thoughts to the Board development meetings to share with each other, where we have more awesome discussions about what YALSA does well and how to keep improving.
- Task Forces: I’m currently serving on two task forces. (One started before my Board Fellow term.) Task forces are great ways to continue your involvement in YALSA as they exist for a finite amount of time and have a set mission to accomplish.
Thus far, all of my work has been virtual. I will attend Midwinter and Annual, which I am greatly looking forward to. Keep in mind that Board Fellows receive a small stipend to help pay for this attendance.
The work I have done so far has expanded my knowledge of YALSA and allowed me to think about the future of YALSA. If you believe in the mission of YALSA – the idea of YALSA – think about applying for the Board Fellow. Especially if you have ideas about improving the organization or think it is lacking in someway. As the Board Fellow, you may not have a vote, but you do have a voice, and there are a lot of opportunities to speak up.
Applications are due in 2 weeks – apply! Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments, or you can find me on Twitter @DogearedCarrie.
Platform: iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad – requires iOS 5 or later
It’s back to school time and this month the YALSA App of the Week bloggers are noting that and focusing each week on apps that are good for students and teachers. We’ll cover research, science, math, and staying organized. If you have a favorite school related app feel free to post information about it in the comments on our App of the Week posts. And, don’t forget, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is taking nominations for Best Apps for Teaching and Learning. You can make a nomination on the AASL website.
Anyone who still laments the loss of Google’s Wonder Wheel, or is looking for a tool to help teens to see connections between ideas will want to give Wikiweb a try.
There are two sides to the Wikiweb screen. The left side of the screen shows the map of a search and the connections between terms and ideas. On the right is where articles from Wikipedia (Wikiweb just searches Wikipedia) are displayed that relate to a specific search term or phrase. Check out the video from Wikiweb that provides a good overview of how the app works.
In some ways the power of Wikiweb is in the way that a researcher can build a diagram by tapping on various links in a Wikipedia article. For example, I started with a Hunger Games search. Instead of tapping on the hexagon that appeared on the left of the screen I built my own web by tapping on different links within The Hunger Games and related articles in Wikipedia. I tapped on Suzanne Collins in that article and then tapped on Nickelodeon, and then went back to Suzanne Collins and tapped on Katniss Everdeen. With each tap a hexagon was added to the map which showed the connections between the different people, organizations, and so on all related to The Hunger Games in some way. It’s a good way to see how and why connections exist.
Of course it is possible to have Wikiweb build a map for you and that’s accomplished by simply tapping on the hexagon for a particular term or phrase. It can be surprising to see what appears in those maps built by Wikiweb and it could work really well to have teens search a topic of interest, look at the connections Wikiweb shows on their map and talk about the value of those connections. Teens could then create their own map that shows the connections that they think are most valuable related to their topic of interest.
Maps can be shared via email and Twitter. If students are working on a project together they could build maps and share them with each other to show their ideas and what they think their team should focus on.
The app isn’t perfect. I wish that it was possible to have all labels appear. They come and go based on what’s on the screen. (Although when a map is shared all of the labels appear.) But, even with a few flaws, this is an app that can help teens think through their research and visualize ideas.
For more app recommendations visit the App of the Week Archive.
Blog: YALSA - Young Adult Library Services Association
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Even if you don’t work in a school media center, I’m guessing your life still tends to run on an academic schedule when you work with teens. So welcome to the new school year! Here’s what I think might be interesting, useful, or intriguing to you and your patrons this month.
- If your teens are interested in what’s new in the going green movement, have them look more globally to see what’s going on. In coastal Ecuador, young people from farming families are heading up efforts to save, cultivate, and redistribute heirloom seeds to revitalize the environment and help farmers prosper. Part of an organization called FOCCAHL, 20-year-old Cesar Guale Vasquez travels throughout nearby areas collecting seeds from farmers and also hosts swapping events so that farmers can trade seeds with each other in order to have more vibrant and diverse crops. Now take that for inspiration and add to it your own library’s resources on climate change, farming, and nutrition and plan an interesting program that combines science with activism and see what your advisory board wants to do with it. Many libraries now are creating their own seed libraries, and whether they’re for wildflowers or corn, they can be a great way to bring communities together, get young people to work with older people, and freshen up your local environment while doing your small part to keep the world cleaner and greener.
Matthews, J. (2012). Ecuador’s seed savior. World Ark, May 2012: 10-15.
- At the beginning of the school year, many teens are interested in refining or experimenting with their personal style. There is generally no shortage of mainstream fashion and beauty advice in the magazines and books you have in your collection already, but there might be a population you’re missing, and they’re getting bigger and more vocal. While the natural hair trend has been growing for years, the recent O Magazine cover presenting Oprah Winfrey with her hair relaxer-free has sparked a lot of talk. The social news web is blowing up with discussions of hegemony (the prevalence of hair relaxers in the African American community has been linked to unrealistic standards of white beauty), harassment (nearly everyone with natural curls, regardless of race, has experienced strangers touching their hair without asking first), and self image (who decides what’s beautiful, and is it more important to do what you think is pretty on you or to make a political statement with your hair?). Take a look at the reports of the Oprah cover at Sociological Images and Jezebel (it’s worth taking a look at the comments, too, but they’re probably NSFW and can get heated), and then consider hosting a discussion club or making a display of books on beauty. If you’re not sure where to start, I suggest Naturally Curly, one of the premiere websites (with social components, news, and shopping) for natural hair of all textures.
- STEM, STEM, STEM. Everybody wants students to engage with science, technology, engineering and math. Federal money is pumped into it. Grants support it. But do teens and tweens care for it? In a study of middle school students, researchers analyzed both boys’ and girls’ wishful identification with scientists on television shows to see what factors influenced positive feelings (possibly indicating an interest in pursuing a science career or hobby). They found that boys were more likely to identify with male scientists and girls with female scientists, which is unsurprising. What was more interesting is that the genre of the television show affected the positive feelings. Scientist characters on dramas were more likely to elicit wishful identification than those on cartoons or educational programs. What can you do with this information? Plenty. For your next film screening, try a drama or documentary that presents scientists in a good light, like Cool It, And the Band Played On, or Einstein and Eddington. If you want to take a crack at those who think that being good at science or math makes you a loser, connect STEM with the things teens already love, like working out, YouTube, and the Web by taking a look at the 35 fittest people in tech, videos by Vi Hart, who turns mathematical concepts and history into snarky audiovisual narratives, or how-tos at Lifehacker.
Steinke, J., et al. (2011). Gender Differences in Adolescents’ Wishful Identification With Scientist Characters on Television. Science Communication, 34(2): 163-199.
- Whether you’re in library school or you’ve been working for years, you might find Hack Library School’s new starter kit series interesting, especially their post on services to children. Anyone want to volunteer to write the starter kit for youth services? On a related note, Teen Librarian Toolbox has a post on what to do about all that stuff they don’t teach you in library school (I’m taking notes).
- If you’ve been trying to find a way to collaborate with nearby schools, see if you can get an advisory group to have a meeting with local teachers (it might be a good idea to make sure that the teachers are not teachers of the teens in your group so as to encourage openness and honesty) and start a dialogue. The topic? Standardized tests. Students may feel like teachers are against them, while teachers probably feel as if it’s administrators who are forcing them to be uncreative. So how do you get all sides to understand each other when schools are still tied to federal standards? For background information, try the journal Rethinking Schools‘ spring 2012 issue, which featured a special section on standardized tests. After a good discussion, maybe everyone can take fun “standardized tests” on personality types, books, or any other fun topics. Then see if students, teachers, and you can work together and form some sort of coalition that bridges the gaps between inside- and outside-of-school education, engagement, and issues. Start a collaborative blog. Take turns hosting book clubs at different places that feel like home to the different stakeholders in your group. What might be an interesting year-long project is to get everyone in the group to develop their ultimate standardized test to replace the ones they’re taking or proctoring in school. What skills do teachers and students think are most important to have before leaving the K-12 system? What topics do people in the real world need to know? Is it better to test knowledge orally? With essays? With student-led, student-designed creative projects? With their perspectives and your skills with information seeking, along with your vast collections, you should be able to create a really interesting partnership. And if you need more inspiration, check out these roundups of education blogs by both students and teachers, both here and here.
What are your plans for this upcoming academic year? As always, your questions, comments and suggestions are welcomed and encouraged!
Do you know if you work in one of the nineteen states that allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections and caucuses if they will be 18 by election day? Might be something to consider if you’re thinking about getting teens more civically involved with 65 days left until the next Presidential election. Even if you’re not one of the nineteen, it’s still a great opportunity to engage teens. If they’re not old enough to vote themselves, they can always encourage their parents or caregivers to vote.
I do admit, the election is a bit on my mind now in ways that it might not be for others. The city in which I work, in fact the block my branch is on and well, frankly the library building itself is playing a role in the upcoming Democratic National Convention. My library building is hosting The Daily Show and a block away is where the current President of the United States will give his acceptance speech.
In both Charlotte, NC where the DNC is being held and Tampa, FL where the Republican National Convention was held, teens and youth organizations are taking so many opportunities to be involved and let their voices be heard in this political landscape. Youth Radio, for example, takes a closer look at Paul Ryan as a Generation X’er on the ticket. Even if your city is not hosting a convention this year, there’s a lot that can be done to encourage teens as advocates in the political arena. Here are a few examples of what we’ve done and that might work or have worked for you:
Encourage civic literacy through developing reading lists. While this might sound like a very traditional response from a library, it’s still important. In my experience we carefully developed several lists that included a variety of political beliefs and shared them with local youth serving organizations such as Generation Nation, to help promote the library and literacy.
Encourage civic engagement through content creation. This summer, Jimmeka Anderson, a co-worker of mine, and I, developed the Teen Fashion apprentice program. Teens attended workshops to build skills around designing and upcycling clothing, entered an outfit they made into a fashion show, and then apprenticed with our partner organization, The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. How this relates to being civically engaged? Aside from fine tuning their job development skills, hearing their stories of the thought process that went behind designing their outfits to fit the theme, would have you convinced that yes, clothes are political too. They represent everything from the color of the landscape to inspiration from rappers and actors. The teens that won the apprenticeship have their clothes displayed at the library. Hopefully it will be an invitation and conversation for visitors to understand the many opportunities libraries have for teens.
Content creation can also mean digital. In this case, a video. My library partnered with several youth serving organizations in the community to share teen voices on camera about what the organization they affiliate with; whether the library or other group, means to them. This project is still in progress and wasn’t quite ready for the convention, but video is always a great medium in which teens can have their own voices heard not to mention develop editing and other technological skills to perfect telling their story.
In looking at the bigger picture of getting teens involved civically beyond your own library is having them participate in YALSA’s District Days. There’s been great information on the blog here about how to get involved, how to get the library involved, and what better way than to get teens involved but ask them to be an advocate for the library.
Stay tuned. . .and feel free to share how you are engaging your teens in relation to the upcoming election.
For some of us, it’s an uphill battle advocating for the teens in our libraries. Budgets are never quite large enough, there’s never enough time to do everything, so if any group gets the short end of the stick, it’s our teens. We all know how important it is to have teen programming and teen spaces and an excellent teen collection, but it can be difficult getting the higher-ups to see it our way. You might find, as I have, that you need to justify your teen programs beyond getting teens in the door.
No one really questions the benefits of Storytime for the kids. It’s fairly obvious how it fits in with the library’s mission. A teen Halloween party, on the other hand, might be subject to more scrutiny. Recently, I found out that the Halloween party I’d been planning for our teens didn’t pass muster in its current state. It wasn’t enough to try something to increase our program attendance. Our circ starts are awesome, but we have an unfortunate floor plan for our teens, so they don’t really have a place of their own to hang out. They get their books and go, which has made it a lot harder in creating relationships and encouraging them to come to programs. There was no way I was giving up on this party. Instead of a Halloween party, it’s now a Favorite Character party, where you must come dressed as your favorite book character (and act the part, if you’re really good). The activities we’ll have will tie in to our collection, like YA horror trivia, and we’ll be more book-focused than Halloween-focused.
The key to justifying a program or a service for teens is two-parted. First, tie it to your library’s mission. Say that your mission statement includes words like informational and enriching your community. There you go. Teens are part of the community and the Favorite Character party will enrich their lives by widening their exposure to the YA collection and allowing them to use their creativity to enhance what they’ve read to a tangible form while testing their knowledge and sparking their interest to seek more information about the horror genre.
Second, beyond the direct result of such a program, look for other possible objectives. For example, providing a program for teens not only accomplishes the objectives of the program, but also gives teens a feeling of being welcome in the library. Teens who feel welcome in the library may be more interested in volunteer opportunities at the library. Teens who volunteer can take over tasks, such as shelving or shelf reading, from staff members, who are then free to complete other tasks. This in turn can lead to improved customer service because staff members will be able to spend more time with patrons and will be less stressed about helping someone with a particularly difficult or time-consuming problem because they will know that they have the time to devote to the problem.
It would be great if we could have teen programs just because they’re fun and it’s what our teens want, but a lot of us are under constraints that are out of our hands. Being prepared to justify your programs might mean that you’ll need to broaden your focus to find the positive outcomes.
I’ve had STEM on the brain a lot lately. (For those of you who haven’t yet become familiar with this acronym, it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.) The library in which I work has fully embraced STEM programming, providing informal hands on science classes for students in Kindergarten through High School. I’m also privileged to be working on the YALSA STEM Task Force. At our library, we’ve done lots of traditional science experiments, held building clubs, and offered teens the chance to learn new technology. But in all this, I find myself asking, “Where’s the math?” I came up with an unexpected answer.
The single place I use math the most, other than basic household bills, is when I craft. That’s right – arts & crafts: here there be math. I am a self taught knitter, crocheter, quilter, sewer and more. I’ve even taught both adults and teens to knit and crochet in classes at my library. So I not only had to figure out a way this stuff made sense to me, but also how to translate it to others. From the simple math of measurements when sewing a garment, to more complex geometry with designing quilt patterns, I constantly am using the math I learned when in school.
I’ll be picking up my crochet hooks again in a few months for the sake of library programs. That also means that I just might be figuring out crazy crafter word problems. An example: I have a pattern that requires X length of yarn that is N in thickness. I actually have yarn that is M thickness and Y length per ball. How many balls of the yarn I have will I need to make the same item in the same size as my pattern? There’s so much going on here between using algebra to figure out unknowns & ratios of length to weight to determine if a yarn corresponds to a pattern.
So how does this all fit together with STEM & the library? Well, most of us do crafts at some time or another. While they may not all be as intricate as my example above, we still have to use measurements (how much stuff do we need), proportions (how much will each person use), and budgeting (how much will this event cost per person) before we implement the activity. My suggestion is that we talk to our participants about the math that goes on behind the scenes. I don’t think we’d gain anything by creating a formal math lesson out of a craft class. However, I do think we can make teens more aware of how math works in every part of their world if we mention in passing that, “It took longer than I expected to get this week’s craft ready. I had to cut 48 paper squares exactly 4 ½ inches square because I needed each final square to be 4 inches after accounting for the necessary ¼ inch to fold on each side,” or “I had to order supplies for this activity before I had a final count of people attending. Since I have a budget of $2 per participant, we won’t be able to use the extra supplies today, but will save them for another activity.” Let our patrons know that math doesn’t just live in their classrooms (or in the 510s!) but is all around them. The more math becomes an integrated part of everyday activities, the more we do to support the formal learning of our patrons.
Do you already have library programming that would support math education? Can you create some? Please share in the comments.
Here are a few sites I found that might be helpful:
Quiltbug Fabric Calculator
Measure Yourself for Fitting Clothing
Posted on behalf of Julia Driscoll, Member of the YALSA STEM Task Force
Title: Carrr Matey by Lionebra
Platform: Android 1.5 and up / Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Android 1.5 and up
Cost: Free for Android / The iTunes App store says this is Free for a limited time.
Just in time for International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19 for ye scurvy land-lubbers.), my favorite GPS locator app has been released for the iPhone! If you commute to work in a busy city, drive to school, use a park and ride system, find yourself headed to a theme park, or just do a lot of shopping at busy malls, this app will make finding your car at the end of an exhausting day much simpler. The pirate-themed app by Lionebra Studios allows you to save the location of your parked car, you can also:
- Get map directions or use the compass to get back to your vessel
- Share the saved location with your friends
- Make notes about your parking location.
The only true trouble I’ve had is using this in parking garages where my GPS signal is not very strong. To combat this, I just make a note about my location. You must be outside for this app to function at top form, but I’ve been very happy with how quickly my vehicle’s location has been recalled. This app adds a bit of whimsy and fun into the sometimes maddening task of remembering where you parked. A fun download for yourself, it would be also be a great gift for the new driver in your life.
For more app recommendations, visit the YALSA App of the Week Archive.
For the past few weeks, and for the next few weeks, the YALSAblog is talking about badges. This week our focus is on the positive impact of badge programs in school environments.
An example of a school-based badge program is the New York City Department of Education’s course called DIG/IT. This course prepares students for life after high school. “The DIG/IT course provides a context that empowers and encourages learners to develop new real-world skills and knowledge that advance life goals, while engaging with others in a social give-and-take that builds community credibility and connections. Fun, motivating badges demonstrate to the world what the learners know and can do, and how others value their contributions.”
In June Education Week’s Digital Directions blog included a post about badges in which they discussed what advocates and skeptics have to say about badging within the K-12 environment. The post includes this statement, “Advocates of this vision for K-12 contend that such badges could help bridge educational experiences that happen in and out of school, as well as provide a way to recognize ‘soft skills’ such as leadership and collaboration…”
While skeptics might not agree with some of the views expressed in the Digital Directions post, programs like that being piloted in New York City are looking at badge programs and related curricula as a way for students to gain and demonstrate skills and knowledge. As Cathy Davidson wrote on the DML Central Blog, “Let’s imagine a society where the only goal of teaching (it’s a high bar) is to help every child master what they need in order to lead the most fulfilling life they are capable of leading—productive, creative, responsible, contributing to their own well-being and that of their society. No grades. No tests. Just an educational system based on helping each child to find her or his potential for leading the best (Socrates would call it ‘happiest’) life possible.” Badging programs in K-12 environments might be just the way to get to Davidson’s vision.
You can learn more about badging programs and YALSA’s Badges for Lifelong Learning project in previous blog posts.
Interview with Heather Gruenthal, recipient of the Friends of YALSA (FOY) scholarship to attend National Library Advocacy Day in Washington, DC.
By Gregory Lum
I had the pleasure to visit with Heather at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim. Both Heather and I served on YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers selection committee in 2011.
GL: Tell me a little bit about where you work and what your focus is?
HG: I have been a Teacher Librarian in the Anaheim Union High School District in Anaheim, California for twelve years. We are a high school district, so I have been exclusively serving teens in grades 7-12. My main focus in working with teens is to get them to read, particularly the teens who are considered “at risk” and are placed in intervention classes. Many teens do not read because they can’t find anything interesting, and when they don’t practice reading for enjoyment they find it much more difficult to tackle their academic reading. Using YALSA’s selection lists, particularly Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers has helped me find books for teens with a wide variety of interests. My co-teachers have remarked on how much their students’ reading habits and abilities improved because they were actually reading something that was interesting to them. Students who couldn’t be forced to read more than 5 minutes at the beginning of the semester were suddenly begging for more time to read. Some students even confessed that they had never read a book all the way through to the end until that year. These kinds of interactions are what make my job worthwhile.
GL: I agree with you. What did you receive funding for from YALSA/FOY?
Heather in DC for Library Advocacy Day
HG: Friends of YALSA awarded me a $1,000 travel stipend to attend Library Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in 2010. All of my conference expenses come out of my own pocket, so receiving the grant was definitely a big help. I had never attended Advocacy Day before so the $1,000 was a real incentive for me to get up the courage to become involved.
GL: It does take a lot of courage to speak to legislators on the importance of school libraries. How did this funding have an impact on your career?
HG: Attending Library Advocacy Day really changed my perception of Advocacy. Before I attended Advocacy Day, I thought it would be really difficult and scary. I attended a webinar and a workshop session prior to the visit, and felt really prepared afterwards. I had literally no prior experience with advocacy, but YALSA presented so many great materials that it made the experience easy. It helped tremendously to have the support of other librarians to lead the way and set an example for me to follow. The trainings also helped me realize that advocacy isn’t just a once a year event, but there are little things you can do each day to advocate for your programs. As a result, I dedicated the next year towards coming up with one thing to do each day to promote and advocate for my library program. I resolved to “pay it forward” by presenting at my state library association’s conference in 2011. The result was a conference session presented at the California School Library Association joint conference with California Library Association titled: “A School-Year of Advocacy;” featuring 180 ideas to advocate for your program on a daily basis. Also, my wiki has my presentation at the CLSA conference and my blog has my experience in DC.
GL: Wow, Heather, that is impressive. I like how you paid it forward. On another note, what would you tell someone about donating to FOY and the reason it’s important for members (and non-members) to do?
HG: If you serve teens, donating to Friends of YALSA is a great way further support YALSA’s mission. Recipients of YALSA’s scholarships get introduced to leadership roles, and are given experiences that will lead to further involvement in YALSA.
GL: What YALSA committees are you currently serving?
HG: I previously served on the Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Reader’s selection committee and am currently serving on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens selection committee.
Gregory Lum, Library Director at Jesuit High School in Portland, OR, served as admin on the 2012 Michael L. Printz selection committee. He was recently elected to the 2014 Printz selection committee.
If you have a passion for serving teens, advocate for them! District Days is an excellent opportunity to speak directly to legislators and maybe even include your teens in the conversation.
There are many reasons to serve teens at your library, including that you may thoroughly enjoy reading young adult literature and helping teens find a book they might like as well. Did you know that the impact of libraries on teenagers reaches farther than we could ever imagine? Take into account some of the following statistics:
- 25% of all public high school students fail to graduate on time
- 34 million American between ages 6 and 17 are not receiving sufficient developmental resources
- 74% of U.S.eighth-graders read below the proficient level
Libraries are vital but challenged sources of support for the growing youth population in the United States. Census data shows that in 2010 there were over 42 million young people aged 10 -19 (comprising 13.6% of the population) in the US. In 2010, half of the nation’s 14 – 18 year olds reported visiting a library to use a computer. The Opportunity for All study reported that youth ages 14-24 make up 25% of all library users, which makes them the largest group in the study, and that youth were drawn to libraries to use computers, receive help with homework, socialize, and participate in programming. Similarly, school libraries are available to about 62% of youth enrolled in public schools and youth turn to their school libraries for recreational reading, learning support, and technology access. However, critical library resources are endangered by widespread economic impacts on public and school libraries, as noted in the State of America’s Libraries Report 2012 . The 2012 PLA PLDS Statistical Report indicates that just 33% of public libraries have at least one full time staff person dedicated to teen services (down a startling 18% from five years ago).
Teens are likely to suffer most in the absence of library services, yet libraries are key to supporting teens’ learning and development. The impact of library services and programming is astounding: students that are involved in library programs and have a library available to them with extended hours score higher on ACT English andReadingtests than those who don’t.
We also have the opportunity to give teens not only positive reinforcement, but a visible role model who enjoys the pursuit of leisure reading. Other than the educational setting, many teens may not have a person in his or her life who noticeably appreciates the written word. You could be having an impact on a teenager without even realizing it. Isn’t that worth just a little extra effort now and then?
What can you do? At the local level, you could become a Friend of your Library or start a Friends group, volunteer at your local library, sponsor or support legislation that helps libraries, or serve on your library’s board of Trustees. You can participate in National Library Legislative Day, District Days and other advocacy activities sponsored by ALA and YALSA. Check out the advocacy resources on YALSA’s web site for more information.
Do teens need libraries? Of course they do. Keep these statistics in mind when talking to friends, colleagues, and administrators. This is why YOU need to participate in District Days!
Information used in this post was gathered from the YALSA Brochure “Teens Need Libraries.”
With the Hunger Games DVD release this Saturday, your teens may have Panem fever all over again. This guest post offers just one way to celebrate the games before Catching Fire hits theaters.
On July 18, 2012, Stamford teens became tributes as they participated in a library summer event celebrating all things Hunger Games. We offered four teen summer programs this year (the others were a chocolate program, mendhi and ballroom dancing) and all were popular, but the Hunger Games event seemed to generate some special buzz among our teen volunteers and to attract some teens who aren’t regular program attendees. In the run up to the event, a number of the volunteers asked what the party would entail. When I gave them a summary of the planned events (and told them jokingly that no one was going to be killed), they said it sounded like fun, and a number of them registered to attend. An anxious Mom called the day before the program asking if it was too late for her daughter to participate. When she was told that we were happy to have her daughter join in, the mom was grateful and relieved, saying how much her daughter loved The Hunger Games and how much she was hoping to be able to come.
Of the 40 who registered, 28 showed up at the program (not a bad percentage in our experience), to be greeted as they entered the library’s auditorium by music from the Hunger Games movie, a librarian dressed in a Hunger Games tee shirt, a wild hair ornament and Capitol-style makeup (me), and other librarians and volunteers wearing badges identifying them as “Capitol Citizens”.
The teens were gathered and told they would undergoing a Reaping, not to determine who would be a tribute (they were all tributes), but to assign them to a district. Papers were available in a bowl, two strips with each district number. Extras were available so that additional teens could be accommodated. With 28 teens present, we ended up with 14 districts, two more than the 12 in the books. Pairing the teens in this random way meant that they couldn’t work with their friends, and when some of them protested, they were reminded, in the spirit of the Hunger Games, that tributes do not get to choose. As they received their district assignment, each teen was given a nametag, labeling them with the district number and the letter A or B. This became their identity for the Games.
The first activity was a ten-question trivia quiz. As the papers were distributed, the teens were told that we needed to test their knowledge of the history of the Games before they would be allowed to compete. The questions were multiple choice, so that teens who were less familiar with the books and movie would be able to guess, and would not be embarrassed by blank answers. It turned out that the questions were quite easy for the
serious fans; in fact ten of them got all ten questions correct. But there were some, less familiar with the series, who only got a couple of correct answers.
After the quiz, the tributes were assembled and told that their next task would be to style themselves for their parade in the Capitol. While they did this, volunteers graded the quizzes. The two tributes from each district had to coordinate their look and the tributes were reminded that it was important to impress the “Capitol Citizens.” Assisted by the volunteers and librarians, the teens had a lot of fun decorating themselves with the items provided; lipstick samples, garish eye shadows, face paints, glittery stickers, plastic leis
and inexpensive hair ornaments. Photos of citizen of the Capitol from the movie were on hand to give the teens ideas if needed. Even some of the boys got into the act, draping themselves in leis and swiping bars of col
By now it is likely you’ve heard about “District Days” and discovered we’re not talking about Hunger Games programming. If you haven’t heard, though, here’s what you’ve missed and how you can get involved!
District Days are the days when our representatives in Congress are in recess and return to their home districts–where their constituents live! This is a great time to act for teens in libraries! How will our representatives know libraries are important if we don’t tell them? In the digital age, who would even think about teens needing libraries? Now is the best time to let your congressional representatives know that teens do need libraries and they use them, too!
This year District Days run from August 4th through September 9th, which means there is still plenty of time to get the word out. Where do you begin, though? You can visit the YALSA District Days website for ideas at http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/District_Days. You can also find information there on why District Days are important, tips on getting an elected official to come to your library, and links to information and handouts you can share with your representatives. Looking for ideas on what to do other than handouts? Search the YALSA blog for “District Days” or “Advocacy” and get ideas right here! Or look to the wiki and see what others have done successfully. Be sure to share your successes with others, too!
Finding your representatives is easy. Just visit http://capwiz.com/ala/home/ and enter your zip code in the box toward the lower right screen. Be sure to enter your library’s zip code so you get in touch with the right representative!
Don’t feel discouraged if your representatives can’t come for a visit, or if you are unable to make it down to their office for one of your own. The beautiful thing about District Days is that they happen every year, and even a phone call can make a difference.
I am stingy with my hard-earned money. So when I decide to donate to worthy organizations and causes you can be sure I feel confident my money will be used in a responsible manner, supporting causes that match my values and passions.
That is why I donate to Friends of YALSA every year. Like you, I am passionate about teens and teen library services. I actively seek out the ideas, inspiration, and motivation YALSA provides through blogs, listservs, publications, conferences, etc., etc. I also want to support my colleagues in their efforts to provide excellence for our young people. The grants, scholarships, and awards offered to members by YALSA enhance our entire profession.
I invite you to donate to Friends of YALSA along with me. Your support will be a positive influence for teens and those who serve them. Your money will indeed be used in a responsible manner as YALSA continues to give us the capacity to engage, serve and empower teens.
Please donate today. If we can raise $2000 by the end of August we will receive an additional $1000 from a generous donor. So each of your dollars will actually be worth $1.50!! What a great deal!!
Any amount is welcome, and it will only take a moment of your time to donate. The URL is: www.ala.org/yalsa/givetoyalsa/give
Thank you so much for your support.
In our ongoing series of blog posts on badges, this week we thought it would be interesting to gaze into our crystal ball and look at what experts are saying about the future of badging and professional credentials. What will happen to resumes, college transcripts, and other traditional forms of credentialing in a world of badges? Read on to find out.
Dr. Martha Kanter, Under Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education, believes badges are very valuable and have great potential as “microcredentials.” In a podcast interview with Jonathan Finkelstein, founder of LearningTimes, and director of BadgeStack project, Kanter spoke about employers moving from looking at paper to learn about the skills and knowledge of potential employers to reviewing digital information about what a potential employee is capable of. Her comments focused on the fact that badges are an excellent way, in this new environment, to document and demonstrate what someone knows and can do.
- Badges will be “an index of your learning biography,” said Quinnipiac University instructor Alex Halavais. He “began implementing digital badges in place of a traditional grading scale last spring. The new system enables him—and his students’ prospective employers—to better gauge the specific skills his students master.”
- A Future Full of Badges is what the Chronicle of Higher Education wrote in an article from April of this year. Two key statements in the article highlight the value of badging systems.
- “Each badge would allow the employer to click through to more detailed levels of evidence and explanation—documents, assessment results, hyperlinks, video, and more.”
- “Compared with the new open badge systems, the standard college transcript looks like a sad and archaic thing.Its considerable value is not based on the information it provides, which is paltry. What does a letter grade in a course often described only by the combination of a generic department label and an arbitrary number (e.g. Econ 302) really mean? Nobody knows, which is why accredited colleges often don’t trust that information for the purposes of credit transfer, even when it comes from other accredited colleges.”
Additionally, as CBS Moneywatch noted in the fall of 2011, “The traditional college degree may not be as necessary in the future if the concept of so-called digital badges takes off. People who earn digital badges signify to employers what their skills and knowledge are regardless of whether or not they possess a degree.”
As YALSA continues to develop their badging project, the idea of providing those working with teens in libraries opportunities to learn and demonstrate knowledge and skill within this new credentialing environment, is at the forefront of planning and development.
You can read all of YALSA’s posts on badges and the association’s Badges for Lifelong Learning Project.
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(It was recently marked down to 4.99 when it was included on the “App Store Essentials” list, but the discount price has ended.)
Most photo apps give you a selection of filters to choose from, with Process you can make your own. There is something reminiscent of darkrooms and f-stops as you turn the dial of each of several possible image adjustments. Each time you make adjustments to a photo you can easily add and remove different effects and see your changes in real time. Once you create a combination you like, you can save your “process” and apply it to other images.
The evil kitty and my godson are both enjoying a “process” I called Blue.
Your filters don’t have to be ostentatious. I also created a “process” to touch up brightness and contrast, which is one of the first things I would do to retouch an image in Photoshop (the program I used in my High School photography class) or another photo editing program. More serious digital photographers could create various filters for subtle adjustments like this.
If you don’t want to make your own “process”, you can use one of many choices. Some are featured by the app, others are made popular by its users. This gives you a really huge selection of filters to choose from, which will be a draw for teens and librarians who love Instagram. There are also various sharing options for the social photographer to post to their networks.
Something I did not much like about Process was that it ran slowly and then it crashed my phone. Be sure to turn off the high resolution option in the info menu (the icon that looks like an “i”) to avoid this. Process warns that using high resolution can affect performance. But even after I turned it off it was not always showing the changes I made to my images in real time.
This app is fairly expensive and while I was intrigued enough to purchase it when it was on sale, I’m not sure if I would have spent the 9.99. It would be a great app for a collection of shared photography resources, perhaps on a classroom or library iPad. Does anyone have a photography club at their school or library?
For more app recommendations visit the App of the Week Archive.