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A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

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 November 6 and November 12 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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2. Anime Club 2.0: How Teens Can Do More Than Watch Anime

Last month, I started an anime club at my branch library because anime is still, and always be, popular. In fact, we had six teens show up to the very first meeting and, needless to say, they are super excited to be a part of this program. During our first meeting, I asked the teens what they want to see in anime club and the first thing they asked me was: “Can we do more than just watch anime? I literally screamed “YES!” because I have every intention of diversifying this program and I will definitely need the teens’ help in making this club thrive.

During our discussion about the club, the teens asked for a variety of programs that would include a cosplay event, a history of manga presentation, a Japanese food program, an anime inspired craft workshop, and other programs that celebrate the Japanese culture. Not only are these ingenious ideas, these will transform an already popular program into something else even more awesome. By taking a different approach to anime club, and asking teens what they want from a program, we, as teen services librarians, are demonstrating what it is to be innovative. According to the Core Professional Values for the Teen Services Profession, innovation “approaches projects and challenges with a creative, innovative mindset. 1” By changing the concept of anime club (aka. sitting around and watching anime), we are adding elements that have the potential to not only bring in more teens, but help us re-evaluate our approach to programming in general. For example, when starting a new service or program, it is absolutely essential to consult our teens; by going straight to the source, we establish the outcomes we want to reach, which will shape how we plan and implement a successful program. Once we get a consensus of what teens want from programs and services, we need to figure out the best ways to get teens into the library, which is why we need to get innovative with our outreach.

Although many of us use social media and other marketing methods, the one method that we can always rely on is reaching out to our community. Whether it’s a concert venue, a teen center, a school event, or even a college fair, we need to meet teens face-to-face and tell them what services are available. If we don’t have the means, or the opportunities to go out into the community, we can easily apply that idea to every teen that walks into our library. In other words, we need to be vigilant in making sure that every teen is welcome and that we are available to serve them to the best of our ability. Furthermore, we need to do everything in our power to establish some sort of contact with them, which can easily start with “Hi! I am the Teen Services Librarian. What’s your name?” By initiating, and creating an ongoing dialogue with teens, they will realize that there are actual adults who are dedicated to serving them, which is not only great for us, but incredibly beneficial for those who need a safe environment to be who they are and for those who feel the need to be a part of something. With this new anime club, my hope is to not only involve the teens in the planning process, but give them the chance to be involved in the implementation. Whether it’s passing out flyers, using their massive social network to promote the program, or setting up the program, teens will experience all the necessary steps to finish what they started. Anything is possible with teens so let’s give them the chance to show the community their passion and dedication to providing something unique and fun!

Along with consulting teens, their involvement is essential. By working with our teens, we are not just encouraging youth participation, which is defined in The Future of Library Services For and with Teens: A Call to Action report, we are getting the feedback we need to get in touch with our teen community to ensure that we are supporting their interests and needs 2. By hosting a variety of events that celebrate anime, manga, and Japanese culture, teens will not only be able to interact with their fellow anime and manga enthusiasts, their excitement will lead to other programs and services. In other words, the teens who built the anime club will want the library to provide other programs that relate to their interests, so why not create an art program? What about a Sushi making class? How about an animation workshop? Another great aspect about transforming the traditional anime club is that teens will learn how to communicate, and work, with teen services staff and one another.

With every program we plan, it is imperative we implement a component that prepares teens for adulthood. In this case, teens will learn the importance of working as a group, the need to respect each other’s ideas, the need for positive relationships, and the benefits of being organized and thorough. Moreover, teens will have the opportunity to interact with us, which is not only rewarding, but necessary for teens as they develop. According to The Future of Library Services For and with Teens: A Call to Action report, teen services librarians are being asked to build relationships with teens to support academic, career, and civic engagement and growth2. By developing programs with teens, it is imperative that we help our teens develop the skills they will need as adults, which is why programming can be a great teaching moment. More importantly, we need to help our teens build the confidence to follow through with their goals, which is why it’s important that we work alongside them instead of telling them what to do. By giving teens the opportunity, and the tools, to change our services, we are not only telling them that they matter, but their interests and well-being matter as well.

With all of the ideas that the anime club members came up with, I am very excited to see how our anime club will develop. More importantly, I am more excited about getting to know these teens, which will help me help them become civic minded adults who are confident and willing to take on the challenges of this world and are ready to do what they have to do to become successful.


  1. http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/YALSA_CoreProfessionalValues.pdf
  2. http://www.ala.org/yaforum/sites/ala.org.yaforum/files/content/YALSA_nationalforum_Final_web_0.pdf

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3. Check Out Your New YALS!

cover_fall_15As a new member of the YALS Editorial Advisory Board I’m excited about the direction of the journal and how it supports the future of teens and libraries.  I’ve just finished reading the fall issue and I can tell you that there are great, inspiring pieces you won’t want to miss. You’ll see the hashtag #act4teens throughout, and that is the focus of this issue.  How can libraries and library staff work with community organizations in new ways to support and promote youth? What I appreciated about each #act4teens feature is that while each is about a fairly large-scale program, they can all be adapted to libraries and communities of different sizes.

As a public radio fan I was really interested in the piece about Radio Active, an amazing program out of Seattle’s NPR radio station which teaches teens how to create radio stories.  The article clearly outlines how you can implement similar workshops and programs in your own library.  It’s a modern take on connecting people to stories and each other.

The article about Sociedad Latina is a great example of reaching out to cultural communities. It is co-written by a teen involved in the organization, yet another example of how the group promotes teen voices. The third community organization highlighted is LA Commons, a public art project, which also reaches out to cultural communities. Youth are engaged in seeking out stories from the community and conducting interviews. And speaking of cultural connections, be sure to read the update from the Cultural Competence Task Force. This new YALSA taskforce has been hard at work for the past year and the results are outlined here, including links to resources.

Have you ever wanted to be a published author? Or had a great library experience you wanted to share with others? 50 Tips for Writing and Publishing with YALSA has everything you need to know to make that happen.

And, finally,  don’t skip YALSA President Candice Mack’s message about shaking up the status quo in libraries.  Her message is both motivational and practical.  There are new ways to reach out to our communities and connect with youth.  You can make that happen and the fall issue of YALS is there to get you started. 

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4. Getting the Grant: A YA Librarians Guide to Grant Writing - Part 3 of 6

Read It!

The most important thing when applying for a grant is to read the fine print. Knowing what will be expected will protect you from signing up for something that is unachievable. Below are several questions to ask when reviewing the guidelines of a grant.

  1. What do you have to provide?
    • Is this a match grant?
    • Do you have to provide volunteer opportunities?
  2. If a grant is through an organization, such as the ALA, do you have to be a member?
  3.  Do you have to advertise? If so, in what ways?
    • Your library may have policy about how they advertise funding sources, such as corporations or for-profit institutions.
    • Some grants require recognition on all publicity materials, including print and digital materials. This may or may not be feasible for you to do.
  4. What statistics will you have to collect?
    • Be sure that you can collect the statistics that are required. It is best to figure out ahead of time how you will collect all necessary stats.
  5. What do you have to document in the final report?
    • If you know ahead of time, it is so much easier!
  6. What is the project’s timeline going to look like?
    • Will this conflict with other responsibilities? Be sure to find out when application and final reports are due.
  7. Is the effort and time worth the outcomes?
    • You know better than anyone if you can handle a project of this scope. Measure whether or not this will be worth it!

After assessing all these factors, one can knowledgably decide whether a particular grant is a good fit for your project. In next week’s post, using statistics in grant applications will be discussed. The hard facts can say it all, so statistics can really illustrate why your project is needed in the community. Stay tuned!

Jaclyn Lewis Anderson is the youth services director at the Madison County Library System.

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5. Making It to Annual Conference: Financially Planning Your Trip

So, ALA Annual Conference to be held in Orlando is 7 months away.  Proposals for presenting have been accepted and presenters have been notified.  Keynote speakers, author events, and preconference workshops have been announced.  And now, reality has set in.  Can I afford to go? Let’s break down those expenses for a full conference attendance.

The expenses breakdown:


Airfare—Flights from select hubs can be as low as $200 round trip.  Plan to book at least four months in advance for the best rates.  Lower your cost with use of frequent flyer miles.


5 nights--$160 to $400 per night depending how early you book and how close to the convention center the hotel is.  Remember there is a reservation deadline for the best conference rates through the ALA website.  Share a room to bring your cost down.


Register by the early bird deadline for the lowest cost.


6 days—estimated $40.00 per day, for a total expense $240.00.    The average cost of a meal from the food vendors in the exhibit hall are $11-$15 and restaurants in the convention area may cost between $20.00 -- $100 per meal.  Lower your food costs by taking advantage of exhibitor presentation meal invites.  Visit the local grocery store (Publix or Walmart on Sand Lake Road) and pick up some inexpensive meals and snacks to keep in your hotel room refrigerator.  Most hotel rooms in the convention area have fridge/mini microwave combos and coffee pots.  Occasionally, giveaway snacks are offered to attendees. Have the snack or bag it for later.

Conference attendance is 7 months away, begin your planning now.  With a savings of $215 per month through June, a full conference attendance is within your reach!


Some other tips to off-set your expenses.

  • Ask your school district or employing institution if there are professional development funds for use.
  • Seek funding from your school’s PTA/PTO or other parent organization.
  • Request support from a community-based organization such as your local Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, or other group that supports education.
  • Graduate students inquire about grants from your institution.
  • Remember conference attendance may be deducted from your taxes as a professional expense. Check with your tax professional.

Vandy Pacetti-Donelson is a Library Media Specialist. She is a library advocate and Board Director for the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME). Find her online at www.eliterateandlevelingup.com or follow her on Twitter @VandyPD.

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6. Instagram of the Week: November 2nd

Unsurprisingly, this month's searches of #yalibrarian, #schoollibrarian, and #teenlit turn up two main themes: Teen Read Week and Halloween. I sought a sub-theme that could neatly demonstrate passive programming, but it felt forced. Instead of fabricating a unifying theme of the week, I decided to zoom out and identify some October trends.

  • Displays are easy and plentiful in October

Between Teen Read Week and Halloween, teen services librarians and library workers easily come up with some of the most creative displays of the year. Fall is also a prevalant theme. Additionally, book awards begin announcing finalists (hello National Book Awards) that can be incorporated into displays.

  • Book talks - also easy

"Easy" meaning "lots of bookish ideas to work with". (If you are like me and get stage fright, book talks are always a *gulp* moment and never "easy".) Summer blockbusters are finished and we are approaching the season of franchise and Oscar-bait films. Considering how many book-to-film adaptations just left theaters, are in theaters, or coming-soon, librarians and library workers are more likely to find a common ground with teens. I tried pushing The Martian several times in the past, with marginal success. Now, it can't stay on the shelf.

  • Passive and active programming - plenty of options for both

The school I work for does not allow for tons of "active" programming time. There are challenging months that don't mesh well with passive programs. However, the features of October mentioned above allow for creative passive programming ideas. If you are a school librarian with little time for active programming, or October is too busy for involved programs, peruse the Instagram posts below for excellent passive program ideas.

I hope your October was busy and fun. Please share your programs and book displays/talks below!


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The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations; populations such as new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, and teens who are incarcerated. As these populations are often marginalized and underserved, it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The President of YALSA, Candice Mack, is focusing her year as President with an initiative, "3-2-1 Impact: Inclusive and Impactful Teen Services," which will focus on building the capacity of libraries to plan, deliver and evaluate programs and services for and with underserved teen populations.  Visit YALSA's wiki to find and share information about serving diverse teens and building cultural competence.

Each month I will profile a teen librarian or staff working in teen services providing outreach services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented teens. The purpose is for us to learn, connect, network and share with each other the crucial work we are doing in this area.

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.  The following is from an email conversation in  September.

J:  What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

In answering this question, I'm including my response as an individual as well as working as a member of a department of seven that serve teens where outreach is part of what we do but isn't all that we do.

In my library system we do have an Outreach department whose job is solely focused on going out into the community to provide library services to those that cannot use the library in a 'traditional capacity' (i.e. homebound, incarcerated, etc.). Though what 'traditional capacity' means could be another discussion in itself. This differs from the outreach that my department provides in that one of the goals is to increase the number of teens that visit the library.

I serve as the Teen Librarian in my department. I have one supervisor and five co-workers who are 'Teen Library Service Specialists'. The kind of outreach I provide typically has been to incarcerated male teens and schools. I have been involved with jails as part of library services since the beginning of my library career. Most recently I ran a podcasting program where the youthful offenders chose their topic of interest or style (gun violence in spoken word, etc.), researched more information by looking through the resources that I provided and recording themselves using Garageband. They enjoyed using the technology though putting it down on paper without just 'freestyling' was sometimes challenging. I am also currently running the same podcasting program, Turn it Up Teen Radio, in a charter school with eight middle schoolers and my co-worker from the Outreach department. We go to the school once a week for ten weeks and give the students the opportunity to record a topic of interest that is related to a theme of their choice. They also get to meet and network with professionals in the industry.

My coworker Jay facilitates a monthly Guys Read program. He works with approximately 7-10 7th grade males who read and discuss a book as well as other topics in their life such as school, their future, and positive behaviors. Some of the popular titles they've read include Inkheart, Iron Man, Crash, and Lightning Thief. The school is chosen by the library as a partner and the students are typically at reading levels below their grade. They do need to maintain positive behaviors in schools in order to remain in the program. Jay is an excellent mentor to the young males and relates to them well by sharing with them that he grew up on a similar side of town as they did and how he succeeded in his life by going to school, reading, and staying positive.

Lastly, my supervisor, Amy, shared with me her approach to outreach for our department. She has been the supervisor for a little over a year and approached outreach by working with the manager of the Outreach department in our system to develop a strategic plan. The goals for the plan include; increasing the number of teens that come into the library, building relationships with other organizations that serve teens and to give staff an opportunity to have more of an impact in the community. Together, the two identified organizations to target as a department. The approach also includes identifying committees in the community that are made up of organizations that serve teens and to serve as a member as the library to have a presence and voice at the table.

Some of the outreach initiatives Amy is or has been involved in including promoting the One Access library card to the local public school system. This is a virtual library card that enrolled students automatically get and it will allow them to check out ten print or audio books and have access to online resources. This approach to outreach mostly involved administrators that serve teens though some student classrooms were presented to as well.

Amy has also been involved with Time Out Youth, the local LGBT center where she informally discussed topics that were teen appropriate such as library resources, the library in general, and modeling that the library is a welcoming place to all.

J: Describe a day in the life of you providing outreach

I approached this question from the perspective of my coworker Pamela who works in my library's Outreach department and her position mainly serves teens. She shared with me that a typical day could include anywhere from 2-4 visits. She also leaves time during the week for planning, writing reports, and networking to continue to find additional partners in the community the library could serve. When her schedule starts, depends on the structure of the organization she is serving. For example, she works with teens in a hospital that receive 'partial treatment' (they are dropped off here during school hours but can then return home). She may arrive at 9am and spend 45 minutes involved in a book discussion. After that visit, she may visit another hospital an hour later, which is a bit more restrictive due to the teens' behavioral and emotional issues. Pamela has to be buzzed into each door, cannot bring her purse, and can only bring pre-approved items. Though in addition to book discussions she has brought such technology as the Makey Makey computer invention kits. After the two morning visits, she may return to the library to write reports, eat lunch, etc. She will then return to the community for an after school visit. One of the organizations are students who need to get their high school diploma but they are not necessarily high school age. They also frequently have children. Pamela will primarily focus on library resources that will help them achieve their goal of getting their GED.

Pamela has said that flexibility in outreach is key in that you might have a program prepared all the way through but because of an unplanned interruption (i.e. a student is called out of the room, has behavioral issues, etc.) you might end up going in another direction and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

J: What resources would you recommend for someone new to outreach to look for ideas for inspiration as well as best practices?

I think the YALSA blog has a lot of great posts from various libraries that provide outreach. I would also look at the Future of Library Services for and With Teens report. It gives a great foundation in understanding how libraries are to be relevant to teens. Outreach is definitely a big part of that, particularly in identifying organizations with similar missions as libraries and teens that are underserved.

J: What are some of your favorite things you have heard from teens while providing outreach services?

From my coworkers and I:

When I provide outreach in the jail and several months later they come to the library and ask me, "do you remember me?"

Are you going to do this next year? (in regards to the Guys Read program)

Can we come to your library?

The library offers that? (mostly in regards to downloadable music, movies, etc.)

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8. YALSAblog Tweets of the Week: October 30, 2015

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

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 October 30 and November 5 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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9. Getting the Grant: A YA Librarians Guide to Grant Writing - Part 2 of 6

Plan It!

The best way to figure out how to get your project funded is to plan out all its details. I like to think of it as "the five W’s”: the who, what, where, when, and why. By thinking through all the details, you kill two birds with one stone.  You end up strategizing how to have successful outcomes, as well as gather all the information typically asked when seeking outside funding.


  •       What age group or demographics will benefit?
  •       What evidence shows how target audience will be affected?
  •       What staff will be needed?


  •    What supplies, equipment, & training are needed?
  •    Of these, what does the library already own?
  •    What needs to be purchased? How much do these cost?


  •    What is the general timeline?
  •    Where will project take place?
  •    Do you have the space that is needed?


  •    What are the start and end dates?
  •    What days and times, if applicable?


  •    Why is this project needed?
  •    What are the expected outcomes?

It may seem tedious, but if you can answer these questions, then you are ready to write a grant. Next week, we will learn how to navigate all the details specific to each individual grant.

Jaclyn Lewis Anderson is the youth services director at the Madison County Library System.

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10. Teen Input needed at the BYFA Teen Feedback Session at YALSA Midwinter

The YALSA Local Arrangements committee for ALA MIdwinter Meeting in Boston, January 8-12, 2016 is recruiting teens for the  Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA) Teen Feedback Session.  This session is scheduled on Saturday from 1-3pm.  All teens who participate in the BFYA Teen Feedback Session will receive a free Exhibits pass to visit the Exhibit Hall prior to the feedback session, and then there is a publisher sponsored lunch (with authors) right before the session.  During the session, teens will be giving their constructive feedback on titles that have been nominated for BFYA.  The books the teens will be discussing are the titles that are nominated for the 2016 list:  http://www.ala.org/yalsa/bfya-nominations  

YALSA takes input from youth very seriously, and in order to get a wide representative of area youth, we are seeking up to 50 teens to visit and participate in ALA Midwinter 2016.  Preference will be given to local teens and groups facilitated by YALSA members. Participating teens are asked to read as many of the BYFA titles as possible, but all titles don’t need to be read by each teen.

Participation consists of teens (ages 12-18) speaking in front of an audience of the committee, publisher representatives, and conference attendees. The Teen Feedback Session runs from 1 PM-3PM.

YALSA Goals for Youth Participation:

  1. To organize and implement youth participation to support division goals,
  2. To collect a wide range of ideas from as diverse a young adult population as possible,
  3. To incorporate youth participation into programs and services in order to provide a richer experience for YALSA members,
  4. To create valuable experiences for the participating young adults in which they can gain knowledge and/or skills useful in future endeavors.

All expenses, other than registration for the day of the Teen Feedback Session, are the responsibility of the group.

DEADLINE EXTENDED : November 9, 2015


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11. Expanded-Learning, Collaborations, and How the Library Can Help

A recent report from America’s Promise Alliance looks at four communities who strove to expand opportunities for their underserved students. With support from the Ford Foundation, these communities leveraged local resources to expand opportunities in a variety of ways.

America’s Promise Alliance is an organization, founded in 1997 with the support from former Secretary of State Colin Powell and previous presidents: Nancy Reagan (standing in for her husband Ronald Reagan), Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. The organization strives to create places and situations for students to succeed.

Their report, Expanded Learning, Expanded Opportunities, highlighted the community efforts and the six critical lessons gained from the project as a whole. The four communities that were the focus included:

  • Grand Rapids, Michigan – they created a new network of community collaborations that worked in their school districts to tutor and mentor students.
  • Louisville, Kentucky – where they sought to expand capacity and participation in their community. Through this expansion, they hoped to raise awareness about programs and resources available.
  • Memphis, Tennessee – where they used innovation from the outside to help their schools on the inside. They called it the “Memphis Model” and had programs such as Peer Power.
  • Rochester, New York – schools redesigned the learning day, incorporating community organizations into the normal school day for expanded opportunities for their students.

From these case studies, I think the biggest lesson they learned was about community collaboration and support. Their first critical lesson is that collaboration is key, but it’s a lot of hard work. However, when you leverage the resources you have and work towards a greater goal, there is a better chance of making a sustaining impact.

That’s where libraries can come in. I’ve written a bit on studies about after-school programs during my year blogging for YALSA. I kept asking questions to libraries in the field about how their libraries could play a role in after-school programming. However, after reading this report, I want to flip that question: how does the library become a key collaborator and partner? How do we engage actively with our community, especially our schools, and find ways to work within a district? How can we help raise and expand capacity within our libraries which will hopefully spread throughout the community? That might mean we need to “turn outward” (the buzzword right now) and do engagement outside the walls of our physical library space.

And YALSA has lots to say on community collaboration. From our Wiki section devoted to partnerships, to simply searching the YALSA blog with the tag of “collaboration” brings up great articles and examples from the past. The idea of collaboration even ties into the national campaign ALA is devoting time and energy to, Libraries Transform. (And even more specifically with ALA’s collaboration with the Harwood Institute, Libraries Transforming Communities).

My experience so-far in graduate school and my work experiences show that engagement works best when you are actively present and willing to listen. It seems in these case studies that community involvement was constant and this will hopefully lead to a sustained effort. What is important is that once connections are made, they still require work to keep those relationships vibrant. Every day we can have the choice to strengthen relationships and that takes time and effort. But as we can see from these case studies, it’s worth it.

America’s Promise Alliance also released a study this October looking at mentorships with high school students. There’s an interesting article from Huffington Post about one of the students who took part in the mentorship and I think this study is a nice compliment to their expanded learning report.

What do others think of these studies and how do you see your library engaging with the community as a whole?

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12. Coming to Portland for the YALSA Symposium?

Here are some reasons to get excited.

Everything happens in the same hotel.

If you've been to any big conferences, you know you can spend at least as much time getting from session to session as you do in the sessions. Maybe you made a special effort to trek to a particular program, only to discover that you had the time right, but it was happening in the other Hyatt. The more intimate scale of the Symposium means you'll have an easier time getting where you want to go, and more chances to interact with other attendees.

Everyone attending is interested in teen services.

Have you ever told someone enthusiastically that you work with and for teens, only to have them respond with something like "Better you than me!"? That won't happen at the Symposium! It's a fabulous opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals who are engaged and excited about working with teens. Tip: When you meet someone and exchange business cards, write a note on the card with a bit of what you talked about; it's a good way to make sure you remember them after you get home. Example: "graphic novels + STEAM, shared love of banh mi and Hamilton"

Powell's is great. So are a lot of other places to find books, comics and zines.

Powell's is our fantastic local bookstore juggernaut, but there are a lot of other gems (some walkable, some a public transit ride from the hotel) including Reading Frenzy, Mother Foucault's, Green Bean Books, A Children's Place Bookstore, Bridge City Comics, Floating World Comics, Cosmic Monkey Comics, the Independent Publishing Resource Center. And Multnomah County Library's Friends of the Library operates a store in the downtown Central Library.

The Portland Art Museum is close to the conference hotel and stays open until 8 pm on Fridays. Check out their Seeing Nature exhibit.

It's true: Portland has a lot of super tasty food carts.

Full day at the Symposium isn't enough for you? Consider the Lit Crawl on Saturday night.

Have time to decompress on Sunday after the Symposium ends? Try the Lan Su Chinese Garden, or if you prefer your decompression a little louder, the Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade.

Sara Ryan writes books and comics for teens and others, most recently Bad Houses with art by Carla Speed McNeil, and works as the Teen Services Specialist for Multnomah County Library.

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13. Instagram of the Week - October 26

A brief look at 'grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

The week of Sunday, October 18 through Saturday, October 24 marked YALSA's 2015 Teen Read Week. With a "Get Away @ your library" theme, libraries were encouraged to showcase resources and activities to the teen community and support reading for fun. This year's theme was selected to "help teens escape from the day to day grind of school, homework, family responsibilities, part time jobs and so on by picking up something to read." Started in 1998, Teen Read Week is held every October to encourage teen reading and library use.

From author visits and in-house or social media contests to book giveaways and food, libraries spotlighted a number of creative ways to bring teens into the library. Maintaining connections with current teen library users and reaching out to new, potential users through both physical and digital library channels is important in light of comparisons provided in The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report. Whereas youth participation in libraries was previously a formal library-driven activity to gain feedback on collections or space, the envisioned future of youth participation is much more flexible and informal, with all teens in both the physical and digital library space receiving an opportunity to develop, implement, and evaluate programs and services. Encouraging teens to engage in the library events such as Teen Read Week may be the perfect way to gain insight from those hard to reach teens!

Did you celebrate Teen Read Week at your library? We want to hear from you! Share with us in the comments section below.

For more information on Teen Read Week, please visit the Teen Read Week website.

More information on the envisioned future of youth participation in libraries, please see The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report.

[View the story "Instagram of the Week - October 26" on Storify]


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14. President's Report - September 2015

Happy Fall!

Here is what I worked on in September:


  • After board discussion, called for board to vote to approve location for the 2016 YA Services Symposium
    • The 2016 YA Services Symposium will be held in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Filled various strategic committee vacancies
  • Led second monthly chat with the YALSA Board, where we discussed YALSA’s Brand and Reputation
  • After board discussion, called for board to vote on Rachel McDonald’s board vacancy
    • The board vacancy will be left open until next YALSA election in Spring 2016
  • Met with colleagues at Wattpad, National Writing Project, Connected Learning Alliance, and DeviantArt to discuss possible design challenge partnership in conjunction with Teen Tech Week 2016's theme: Create It @ Your Library
  • Completed bundled registration for ALA Midwinter and ALA Annual 2016
  • RSVP'd to attend ALA Information Policy workshop at ALA Midwinter

Works in Progress

Stats & Data

  • Friends of YALSA raised $0 in September 2015
  • Membership: 5,088 (down -0.8% over this time last year)

Last, but certainly not least -


  • All of our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities, every day!

Until next time!

Respectfully submitted,

Candice Mack, YALSA President

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15. YALSABlog Tweets of the Week - October 23th, 2015

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

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 October 23 and October 29 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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16. Collection Development Grant

Do you wish there was extra money to buy more items for your library’s teen section? Are your teens wishing they had a larger selection of materials at their public library? Then this might be your lucky day! The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is now accepting applications for the BWI/YALSA Collection Development Grant. The $1,000 grant, made possible by BWI, will be awarded to up to two YALSA members to be used to support the purchase of new materials to support collection development in public libraries. The grant is also designed to recognize the excellent work of those YALSA members working directly with young adults ages 12-18 in a public library.

The committee is looking for proposals that present innovative ideas on how to expand young adult collections. Applicants will be judged on the basis of the degree of need for additional materials for young adults in their library, the degree of their current collection’s use, and the benefits this grant will bring to young adults. Other criteria, grant information and the application form can be found on the YALSA Awards and Grants website, http://www.ala.org/yalsa/awardsandgrants/bwi. Applications must be submitted online no later than December 1, 2015.

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17. Engaging the Futures Report: discussions with library staff Part 1

The first time I read The Future of Library Services for and with Teens, I was inspired. The second time I read the report, I was overwhelmed. The third time I read the report, I was determined. As I looked at the findings in the report, and the steps YALSA calls out to ready our libraries to serve teens into the future, I felt like I was drowning. How could I implement all of these changes? And then I remembered that I was not alone, I was surrounded by amazing library staff who could, actually they should, come on this journey with me. So I started a discussion centered on the findings in the report and it has been one of the most professionally satisfying experiences of my career. If you feel a little overwhelmed, or want to build support for the actions outlined in the support with your colleagues, I highly suggest starting a discussion group.

First, the report looks deceptively long, don’t let that scare you or your colleagues from diving in. The real meat of the report, that provides the best fodder for discussion is only 33 pages long, that is achievably short, even for the time poor. We broke our discussion up, planning to cover the whole report in three discussions of 30 minutes each (about 10 pages per meeting).

We started small, with a look at the executive summary and the introduction to the report. This generated more discussion than we could cover in 30 minutes (I might recommend at least an hour) but I would rather get the conversation started and have it continue in the staff room, at the desk, and over coffee breaks. I knew we should allow for thoughts of dissent, one of the things I love about my colleagues is our ability to challenge assumptions. We want to really break things down so we can understand them better. You will notice a lot of questions that allow for the voice of dissent.


  • How do recent cuts in school librarian jobs change our role as public librarians serving teens?
  • Does the Library play a role in closing the achievement gap? Are we succeeded at that? What could we be doing better? Is that what our community needs? Is our community defined merely by our serving district, or does it expand beyond city/county/state borders?
  • What are the negative influences on our teens that we can help alleviate or solve?
  • Do you feel prepared to deliver culturally competent library service?
  • What is our role in preparing teens for the workforce and making sure they have 21st century skills and technological literacy?

Executive Summary

  • The report states that libraries are grappling with diminishing resources. How are we facing diminishing resources to serve teens? What resources are diminishing?
  • The report also states that we are serving a changing teen population. How is the teen population of our community changing? What have you noticed?
  • If the diversity of teens is grown everywhere, how are we welcoming to all users? Have we changed anything to meet our new users where they are? What do these demographic changes mean for how we serve teens?
  • How do you see rapid technology adoption impacting our services to teens?
  • Do you feel it is the library’s role to help prepare teens for the workforce with critical skills? What skills do they need? How are we already meeting those needs? Where and how do we need to grow capacity?
  • How do you feel about this statement, “…[The library] needs to evolve into a place, physical and virtual, where individuals can learn how to connect and use all types of resources, from physical books to apps to experts in a local, regional, or national community. Libraries must leverage new technologies and become kitchens for ‘mixing resources’ in order to empower teens to build skills, develop understanding, create and share, and overcome adversity.” How do we already do this? What challenges do we face?
  • YALSA highlights the library’s critical role of providing an education system outside of formal schools. Are we leveraging that opportunity? How so? What would it mean for us to become the center for community education?
  • Who is our audience? How do we balance outreach and serving those who come through the door?
  • YALSA calls for skilled staff to act as mentors, coaches and connectors. How are we primed to do that? What challenges do we face?
  • What do you think about Outreach as a tool to measure need in the community? Is that how we use it?
  • What kind of policies do we have around serving teens? Are they flexible and easy to update as YALSA calls for? How can we impact change?
  • Do we take a whole Library approach to planning, delivering and evaluating teen services?
  • What does “literacy as a social act” mean? Are we serving our community in this way? Are our teens literate by this definition? What can we do to influence that?

With the care of passionate librarians, my colleagues created such a thoughtful and meaningful discussion around the report and these questions. We really came to focus on the ideas of being culturally competent and the changing demographics of our teen community. After our first discussion, several staff dove into Department of Education statistics about the schools nearest their location, and municipal statistics on poverty and race. They prepared reports for our next discussion over pages 4-12 (which will be summarized in part 2 of this series!).

As I continue these blog series about The Future of Library Services for and with Teens, I am curious what conversations you are having around the report? Which one of these discussion questions really piques your interest?

A big thank you to my colleagues who have participated in the discussion. I have the advantage of working for a library system. We have over 300 employees, staffing 13 libraries, serving an county of over 500,000 residents. I get to work with almost 40 passionate youth services staff members who have really embraced our discussions around the support.  We have a wide variety of voices and perspectives in our department, which is one of my favorite things about our staff. Their insights have challenged me to look deeper into the report, think differently about it and notice things I had skimmed over on previous reading.


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18. Getting the Grant: A YA Librarians Guide to Grant Writing - Part 1 of 6

The First Step

Are you interested in applying for grants, but don’t know how to begin? This is a series of weekly posts that will make the grant writing process more transparent. Grants can give you the funds you need for a variety of projects. Creating a new Teen Space, buying additional shelving, investing in technologies, and funding a series of programs are all viable projects for grants.

Before investing a ton of time, check in with your supervisor! See if your project is something that your supervisor will support. Even if your supervisor supports the idea of the project, be sure to convey that you want to seek outside funding and that you are interested in writing a grant. You may or may not be allowed to write a grant, so this bit of clearance is crucial! Once you get the green flag, then you can get started.

This first post will review what types of outside funding are available. By knowing more about the options, you can find the funding that best suits your project. There are two major types of funding outside of a library’s operating budget: grants and sponsorships. Within those options are a variety of subsets.

Table 1:

Table 2

Although there is always the exception, there are basic differences between grants and sponsorships. Knowing these differences will also help you better decide which path to take.

Table 2: Grants vs. Sponsorships

Grants Sponsorships
Applications typically must be turned in months in advance Depends on the sponsor, but can usually be requested a few weeks in advance
Applications can be long and tedious Can be as simple as writing a letter of request or attending a board meeting
Almost always needs supporting statistics Sometimes will require supporting statistics
Almost always requires a detailed final report, documenting expenses and results Letting sponsors know the results of funding is always a good idea, but not always required.
Can provide amounts of funding that are larger than what most sponsors can provide Can be for large or small amounts, depending on the sponsor.

Great way to obtain small amounts of funding without too much trouble.

Is a great option when sponsors have no additional funding available Is a great way to bring in community groups (FOL, DAR, Rotary Clubs, etc.)

After reviewing which types of funding are available, you may decide that a grant is best for you. Next week, we will review how to lay out all the details of your project. Knowing these details are imperative in the actual grant writing process. Even if you decide to go with a sponsor, this information is still very helpful! See you next week!

Jaclyn Lewis Anderson is the youth services director at the Madison County Library System. 


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19. Boston Bound: Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten-Free Options Around Boston

Picture of Boston

Boston by Jeff Gunn. CC By 2.0.

Boston is a great city with a lot of great food options, but if you have special dietary requirements, it can still be difficult to find places to eat. That’s why YALSA has compiled information about restaurants that are great for vegetarians, vegans, and those who need to ensure that their food is gluten-free.

Lucy Ethiopian Cafe - Located right near the Symphony T-stop on the Green Line, this is a small Ethiopian restaurant that offers tasty food and many vegetarian options.

Tanjore - If you find yourself near Harvard Square, Tanjore offers an extensive menu, including a range of vegetarian options. Their daily lunch buffet always includes vegetarian options as well.

Clover Food Lab - Including locations in Brookline, Harvard Square and Kendall Square, as well as a food truck, this restaurant has many vegetarian options. Most of their food can also be made vegan.

Veggie Galaxy - Located in Central Square a short walk from the T-stop, this restaurant has a menu of entirely vegetarian and vegan dishes. They also have a vegan bakery.

Grasshopper - Offering an entirely vegetarian and vegan menu, this restaurant has been a long time staple on the vegan scene in Boston.

MJ O’Connors - This restaurant, which is very close to the convention center, offers a wide variety of food including pub food, salads, and a gluten-free menu upon request.

Boloco - Offering a wide range of wraps and smoothies, this restaurant offers something for everyone with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options available. It also has locations dotted throughout Boston and Cambridge.

Bon Me - This Vietnamese chain has multiple locations and a food truck that travels around Boston and Cambridge. It offers vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

Hopefully these restaurants will give you some good lunch and dinner options during your stay in Boston. If you want to find out about more dining options (including restaurants that offer Halal or Kosher options) and other sightseeing information, check out the YALSA Midwinter 2016 wiki. (Note: While we will make every effort to keep the wiki up-to-date, restaurants change their menus frequently, so you may want to call in advance to confirm that they haven’t changed their options).

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20. YALSA Members on ALA and Council Committees? Yes!

A huge thank you to everyone who volunteered by the Oct. 1 deadline to serve on YALSA selection, award, and strategic committees and task forces! I'm still busy reading through hundreds of committee volunteer forms and hope to have the process finalized by the end of the month.

In the meantime, don't forget that as YALSA members, you're also a member of ALA! And that means that you can apply to be on an ALA or Council committee. Serving on an ALA or Council committee provides members with leadership training, networking opportunities and experience in working on specific association topics.  Additionally, your service on ALA committees strengthens YALSA by ensuring that the Division is well-represented throughout the organization.

Express your interest in​ ALA ​committee service by filling out a volunteer form. When you click “submit” at the end, your completed form will be sent to ALA President-Elect Julie Todaro for consideration by either the Committee on Appointments (for ALA and Joint Committees) or the Committee on Committees (for Council Committees). The committees will carefully review your completed form and consider your requests and preferences. This form closes on Friday, November 6, 2015, and appointments are made throughout the spring of 2016, with terms starting July 1, 2016. To volunteer, please complete and submit the form electronically (be sure to select ALA in the drop-down menu on the main form to volunteer for both ALA and Council committees).

Potential ALA Committee members should:

  • Consider whether they can attend Annual Conferences and Midwinter Meetings while serving on a committee in order to participate in the F2F meetings and activities of the committee.  Check with the current chair to see if attendance is required.
  • Have an interest in the work of the committee, and relevant experience or skills to contribute to the group.
  • Have the time and skills needed to work between conferences via email, conference calls, Google docs, Skype, etc.

Additional information:

  • Committee descriptions are found on the ALA website.
  • Members may serve on no more than three committees (across ALA, Divisions, etc.) at a time, and may only serve on one Council committee at a time.
  • Consider volunteering as an intern! Serving as an intern is a great way to gain valuable ALA experience. The Intern Program is open to any ALA member who has never been appointed to a position on an ALA or Council Committee, nor held an elected office within ALA or any unit of ALA (including Divisions, Round Tables, etc.).
  • Please note that the italicized committees below have specific requirements. Please review the text in parentheses before volunteering for these committees.

The ALA Committees are:

  • Accreditation
  • American Libraries Advisory
  • Awards
  • Chapter Relations
  • Conference
  • Constitution and Bylaws
  • Election (members responsible for travel costs to ALA Headquarters in Chicago one day per year in late April or early May)
  • Human Resource Development and Recruitment Advisory
  • Information Technology Policy Advisory
  • Literacy
  • Literacy and Outreach Services Advisory
  • Membership
  • Membership Meetings
  • Public and Cultural Programs Advisory
  • Research and Statistics
  • Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds
  • Scholarships and Study Grants
  • Training, Orientation and Leadership Development
  • Website Advisory

The Council Committees are:

  • Budget Analysis and Review
  • Council Orientation (current or former ALA Councilors are desired)
  • Diversity
  • Education
  • Intellectual Freedom
  • International Relations
  • Legislation
  • Library Advocacy
  • Organization
  • Policy Monitoring (only ALA Councilors with terms through 2018 are eligible)
  • Professional Ethics
  • Public Awareness
  • Publishing
  • Resolutions (must have experience as an ALA Councilor or have served on a Council Committee)
  • Status of Women in Librarianship

The ALA Joint Committees are:

  • ALA-Children's Book Council (meets twice a year in NYC and members cover their own travel costs)
  • ALA Society of American Archivists/American Association of Museums

For technical assistance or for more information on the committee appointments process, contact Kerri Price, staff liaison to the Committee on Appointments and the Committee on Committees.

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21. YALSAblog Tweets of the Week, October 10-16

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

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 October 17 and October 22 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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22. Teen Research Trending: Serving Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Bress, Andrea.  “Making Your School Library More Functional to Individuals with Autism.”  Library Media Connection, 32 (Aug./Sep. 2013):  46-7.

Though not a research article, strictly speaking, this practitioner-oriented essay makes ample use of research on autism and library services for people with autism.  This article is one of several dissemination activities that grew out of the recent PALS Project, a Florida State University (FSU) project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  The principal investigator was Dr. Nancy Everhart, a professor in the FSU School of Information, and the co-principal investigator was Dr. Juliann Woods, a professor in the FSU School of Communication Science and Disorders and associate director for research to practice at the Autism Institute.  (In the interest of full disclosure, I should acknowledge that Drs. Everhart and Woods and colleagues of mine; however, I was not involved in this project.)  Andrea Bress was a student in the School of Communication Science and Disorders and a member of the PALS Project research team at the time this article was written.  Three other members of the team were doctoral students Amelia Anderson and Abigail Delehanty and Lezlie Cline, project manager for the Florida Center for Interactive Media.

Bress’s article does not mention Project PALS specifically nor does it focus exclusively on young adults, but all of the information and advice provided certainly can apply to any young adult with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  She notes that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, one in every eighty-eight children is diagnosed with ASD, and she adds that libraries have the potential to be safe, comfortable places for individuals with ASD.  In order for that to happen, librarians need to be aware of the kind of environment these individuals need in order to function best.  Specifically, a quiet place with low lighting, good signage, accessible technology, and no clutter is an optimal environment.  Routine is highly valued by individuals with ASD, so keeping materials, furniture, and technology in their regular, predictable locations is important.  Because interacting with others can be stressful, making self-checkout kiosks available can help make borrowing materials more user-friendly.

Bress offers specific advice, and, in a handy call-out box, conveys the point of view of an individual with ASD.  For example, “I like things to be the same” and “I am most comfortable when I can access a quite space.”  She concludes by pointing out that making these kinds of modifications to libraries can help “all students who need structure and routine” (47).   Though her focus is on school libraries, the information on serving young people with ASD is potentially useful in public library settings as well.

More about Project PALS . . .

The purpose of Project PALS was to develop and evaluate training for librarians on providing services to people with ASD.  The result was a series of four modules, each lasting an hour, which can be accessed for free through Webjunction.  A Webjunction account is needed, but there is no fee to register.  The link to Webjunction, as well as a list of other resources, is available on the project website: http://pals.cci.fsu.edu/.  

The modules are:

  1.      About Autism in the Library
  2.      Arranging the Library Environment
  3.      Communicating with Individuals with Autism
  4.      Interacting with Technology

The modules are self-paced, and clear learning objectives are provided with each one.  Any librarian who works with young adults, whether in a school or public library setting, will benefit from completing these modules and learning more about serving teens with ASD.

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23. Global Goals

In 2000, the world’s leaders joined together to establish the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. They selected 8 issues that impacted the world, and set a deadline of 2015 to address. In 15 years humanity joined together to reach most of the goals.

Now they have set new goals  for us to reach by 2030. They may seem huge, but humanity can be amazing! Everyone will need to reach beyond themselves to help reach these goals, but as providers of service to young adults we can help inspire and encourage everyone to think about these issues that impact the whole world.

To help promote awareness of these issues Global Goals has created resources and lesson plans  for educators to use to engage youth in discussions about these issues and inspire them to become active in helping to reach these goals.

At the heart of libraries we already work hard to address several of these issues every day, but like the video said, let us not stop halfway.

For example Good Jobs and Economic Growth is an area I see libraries all over addressing. Some are partnering to offer technology and other workforce training to the public. Others are out in the community helping to support small businesses. Lastly libraries have resources and materials like Test Prep books, Wifi, and computer printing will help support job seekers.

I recently met Elaine Harger, a middle school librarian, who was incorporating the life cycle of technology into her digital literacy lessons with students. She showed images of children mining for the minerals in cellphones, and computer recycling centers in India. This helps teens understand the true cost of throwing away outdated technology and meets the goal of Responsible Consumption.

Libraries are open welcoming places for everyone. We help reduce inequalities by exposing people to new ideas, solutions, and experiences. In some communities the library can be the only place that minorities feel welcomed and accepted. We encourage people to read, watch, and do things just outside of their comfort level, especially teens. At the heart that is why we fight for intellectual freedom and Banned Books Week.

So we know that libraries are already doing great things, but we need to be more deliberate about making the things we do more visible. Even if you focus on one goal, you can help make a difference in the lives of everyone on the planet by being a role model and advocate for global citizenry.

So as you think about your school year, displays, collection development, or the future libraries, try to incorporate the global goals into your libraries’ services or your vocabulary.

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24. Looking to Create a Makerspace in your Library? Here are some ideas


Makerspaces are popping up everywhere and the definition of makerspaces is constantly evolving like the spaces themselves. Makerspaces, sometimes also referred to as hackerspaces, hackspaces, and fablabs are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. The focus, actually, is on the type of learning that goes on, not the stuff.  Making is about learning that is: interest-driven and hands-on and often supported by peer-to-peer learning.  This is often referred to as connected learning.  Also, you don't need a set space to facilitate this type of learning.  You can have pop up makerspaces at various library branches, afterschool programs, community centers, etc.  Or you can set up a 'maker cart' that can travel anywhere in the library.  Perhaps what your teens need most are maker backpacks that are stuffed with resources and activities they can do at home.

Why focus on maker programs and spaces in your library?  These types of activities help teens explore their interests and build skills that they need for college and careers.  The Institute of Museum and Library Services has a great two page informational sheet (.pdf) that talks about making and libraries. Share this with your supervisor to help them understand why these types of learning activities are important.

If you are thinking about ways to bring in some maker programs into your library, begin with  identifying what kind of  learning activities your teens want/need the most.  Digital, craft, technology, a mix?   Maybe your teens want you to work with them to create activities to do a little  bit of the above.  What do you need to get started?  First, build your knowledge of connected learning.  Your one stop shop for that is the Connected Learning Alliance.  Be sure to check out their free webinar archive.  Another very good connected learning resource to explore is remakelearning.org

Here are some other resources and ideas to help get you started.  

YALSA's 2014 Makerspace Resources Taskforce put together this awesome (and free) Making in the Library Toolkit

YALSA's wiki on Maker and DIY Programs has resources, funding opportunities, program ideas and more.

The Makerspace Lab has a good starting list of websites of hackerspaces, list of starting supplies/resources/costs as well as videos so you can get a sense of what some of the spaces look like and what they do.  

Tech Activity Ideas

Makey Makeys are an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It's a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything inbetween.  Kits start at $49.95

Little Bits DIY electronics for prototyping and learning.  Kits begin at $99.  The Little Bits site has a forum for people to share, lessons that you can download and you too can share your work and get ideas for programs.  Lots of great stuff and a community of people!

Raspberry Pis are a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. It’s capable of doing everything you’d expect a desktop computer to do, from browsing the internet and playing high-definition video, to making spreadsheets, word-processing, and playing games.  The Raspberry Pi website has a lot of helpful videos and resources you can explore to help you and your teens get started.  The Pi’s are $30 a piece.  Youtube has lots of videos to see them in action and get adept at what you can do with them.  Recommended to play with them before breaking out for makerspace.

Squishy Circuits The goal of the project is to design tools and activities which allow kids of all ages to create circuits and explore electronics using play dough.  

What about low tech or tech maker ideas?

The Instructables website has lots of maker programs that are craft based, low tech, no tech and more.  Each of the projects are complete with pictures and instructions.

The Make it @ Your Library website Make it @ Your Library came together in association with ALA in 2012 as part of ILEAD USA, an IMLS grant funded library program, with the intention of helping librarians realize makerspace projects in their communities.

Some free stuff

Code Club World is a worldwide network of coding clubs for youth, they have some great resources and curriculum that can be used for your own code clubs.

Scratch is a free programming language and online community where you can create your own interactive stories, games, and animations. Scratch can be used with Makey Makeys, Raspberry Pis on its own and more.

Check out the YALSA Blog post in September that shared a bunch of free sites and resources.


What about finding funds to help support your maker activities?  

Here’s an article that can help get you started from Edutopia 

Here’s a list of makerspaces, resources, funding ideas, hashtags and more

IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) has a lot of grant information for small and large grants 

LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) is the only federal program for libraries and is administered through the IMLS.  These funds are distributed to libraries through their state library agency.

State library associations and state library systems will have grant resources available as well, look at your state resources.

YALSA has awards, grants and stipends and you could apply for to help with your maker programs for Teen Tech Week or a Summer Learning Grant 

How are you supposed to learn how to do all this making stuff?

YALSA has some free archived webinars to help get you started, but don't forget that you don't have to be the expert on everything!  Be sure to identify teens who can help you plan and carry out maker programs, as well as experts out there in the community who could be retirees, business owners, artists, teachers, hobbyists and more.  Use the Map My Community Tool to find other youth serving organizations in your area and connect with them.




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25. Teen Programming: Building Teen Futures with Community Partnerships

In our last Teen Programming post, we outlined the importance of outreach and how to integrate it into your programming arsenal. Since “outreach” can translate to a wide range of ideas and actions, narrowing it down will help you take your next step towards effective methods of community engagement. This is where partnerships come in! This, however, opens a whole new can of worms. How does one establish positive community partnerships? How do you ensure that your goals aren’t lost in translation? How do I secure beneficial opportunities for teens through partnerships?

When I first began working in my position, I was immediately overwhelmed by the need my community has for the library and its community organizations. During my first few months, I had grand plans to “do it all” and open up so many more opportunity and learning experiences for my community’s teens. What actually happened was that I got burned out and became discouraged. I realized very quickly that I was not going to be able to accomplish many of my goals alone. I needed support from others who were positioned in the community to help me achieve what needed to be done.

So let’s break it down. YALSA’s Future of Library Services report states that today’s teens need libraries to connect them to other community agencies, but how do you establish these connections? Network, network, network! This may sound simple, but community leaders need to know who you are. Start by attending committee and board meetings to get a sense of the issues and climate of your community. PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) meetings are another community body that is important to engage with as they are directly connected to the teens that your services will affect. Are there task forces or coalitions that are specifically directed at alleviating a specific need? Don’t be hesitant to insert yourself into the community conversation because you have your library’s resources to back you up. As a library representative in the community, you are an integral voice in the larger network of organizations that are committed to improving the lives of teens. Pinpoint individuals whose resources are in line with your goals and begin a dialogue with them.

When starting this dialogue, how do you make sure that your goals don’t get lost in translation? Communication is so important when you are making efforts to partner with an outside agency. Before any communication begins, make sure that you have your goals and plans clearly defined. What is it that you want to accomplish? What role do you see this partnering organization offering? Additionally, offer your resources and begin a dialogue about how this partnership would benefit both organizations mutually.

How do you make sure that your partnerships bring beneficial opportunities to teens? Last month we discussed ways to discover your community through outreach. During this discovery process, locate areas that your community needs more from your library. Is there a group that’s being under-served? Who can help you bridge that gap? A few months ago, I recognized a gap in the services that we were offering. At the time, we had reached out to just about every group of teens to make sure that our programs and services were reaching our diverse teens’ needs. However, we hadn’t reached out to teen survivors of domestic violence. I made a connection with the director of a local organization that acts as a transitional agency for teens and families who are leaving abusive situations. They offer temporary housing, counseling, and resources to help them take control of their futures and I wanted the library to be a part of this transition. My goal in partnering with this organization was to bring enriching programs to the teens at this facility, as they might not have access to these opportunities during this transitional period of their lives. Upon meeting with the director, my goals were clearly defined and I listened as she described how our organization could benefit these teens. We agreed upon a plan and programs were implemented at their location. We also offered books from our collection that we had discarded. We wanted to give the teens that she serves the opportunity to continue reading since many of them were temporarily not in school. This partnership was a simple way of offering integral library services to a new demographic while still connecting to the larger community.

Ultimately, libraries must work with partners to alleviate their community’s needs. Start small, make connections, and be diligent about following through. YALSA’s Futures Report pinpoints the shift that libraries are experiencing in the 21st century. We have gone from quiet, solitary locations that provided relatively uniform services to spaces, both physical and virtual, that offer a broad range of resources that empower teens and grow their skills, interests, and goals. Partnerships are integral to meeting this standard because they allow us to continue to broaden the services we offer, bridge gaps in your community, and build a better future for teens.

What are your partnership success stories? How do you bridge the gap in your community with partnerships?

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