Quick (and Useful) Collection Development – Awards & Lists Version

2013 YALSA Best of the Best logoThe spring issue of YALS is all about YALSA’s awards and lists and of course adding titles to library collections for teens is a part of a library’s collection development.

Many (most?) school librarians are placing summer book orders, enabling them to have wonderful new books on display when students return in September (or August, for some of you).  Public librarians are always looking for great new teen reads to help keep up with demand.  What could be better than following the awards and lists and choosing from them?
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And What About Alex (Spring 2013)

alex award logoThe Spring 2013 issue of YALS is all about the association’s awards and lists. This blog post presents an edited conversation with Angela Carstensen, co-editor of SLJ’s Adult Books 4 Teens (AB4T) blog, editor of Outstanding Books for the College Bound [2011] and former Alex Award Committee member about brining the award to teens.

Q: We hear so much about Mock Printz, Newberry and Caldecott programs – why don’t we hear about a Mock Alex program?

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Library Info-Tech: A Joyous Union (Winter 2013)

By Laura Bishop, High School Librarian at Léman Manhattan Preparatory (New York NY)

(or Why You Want to Be a Part of Your Tech Department)

Note from YALS: The winter 2013 issue of YALS focuses on technology and teens. Read this article to learn about more ways that libraries are integrating technology in programs and services for adolescents.

Being a librarian in a new school offers numerous challenges. It also presents opportunities. One opportunity arose for me last year with the creation of vertical departments that bring together our lower (pre-K-4)and upper schools (5-12).  There were numerous reasons for this: cohesion between divisions, creating departmental direction and goals, curriculum mapping for grades K through 12 and more continuity in curriculum.  Naturally, the librarians were slightly apprehensive. We were concerned that our role as information specialists and purveyors of literature would be subsumed by technology initiatives We thought that we would be “swallowed up”.

Compounding this fear is the current trend of technologizing school libraries to the point that school librarians are being tossed out with the books in favor of iPads and “Technologists,” “Technology Coaches,” or “Technology Teachers.” Whatever the title, it seemed to us that administrators, more and more, fail to understand that the work we do as librarians is actually more vital than ever as our society moves forward.  Also, what would being part of a blended department mean for the work we do teaching research skills and fostering literature appreciation? Would it mean we would spend less time involved with these important projects and tasks and be expected to solely teach tech skills out of the context of information gathering and knowledge building? Continue reading

Michigan Makers (Winter 2013)

by Rachel Goldberg, Media Specialist, East Middle School (Plymouth MI)

Note from YALS: The winter 2013 issue of YALS focuses on technology and teens. Read this article to learn about more ways that libraries are integrating technology in programs and services for adolescents.

Michigan Makers is a collaboration between several graduate students at the School of Information at the University of Michigan, a faculty member at that school (Kristin Fontichiaro), and me (a School of Information somewhat-recent alum). During the 2011-2012 school year, I started an after-school computer club at the request of several students who enjoyed coming to the library to play on computers. These students had once taken an ed tech class with me in which I introduced them to Alice. From Alice, I showed them Scratch, and from there, I started teaching them Python. That year, I also taught them about computing basics, like binary code and what it means to “debug.” In order to plan for each week’s computer club, I relied on books and online tutorials (thanks to Dr. Chuck Severance, who made his Python course freely available).

But my students wanted to program and I am not a programmer. I am, however, approximately twenty miles away from the School of Information. I reached out to graduate students interested in community informatics and eventually found a core group of future librarians who were curious about new, inexpensive technologies designed with budding computer programmers in mind. The graduate students and I began to talk about the possibilities that tools like the Raspberry Pi or the Arduino had the potential to afford my curious middle school students and, in short, Michigan Makers was born.

Now, almost one year later, we’re at a place where we can look back, thoughtfully, and see what worked, what didn’t work, and what we can do differently as we move forward.
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Combining Advocacy and Marketing (Fall 2012 Issue)

Sometimes it’s hard to separate advocacy from marketing. Advocacy should focus on the why of what we do for teens. Why the services we provide to adolescents are valuable. Marketing is about selling what we do. The how and when of services to teens. There is overlap between the two and there are ways to combine them to better inform community members, and get the word out, about what you do and why you do it.

It’s easy to forget how important displays are in advocacy and marketing. Displays bring people into the collection, perhaps highlighting books they didn’t know (or had forgotten). They show the breadth of the collection and the range of expertise involved in curating books. They help demonstrate the value of the library to teens because they show the range of what the library can provide. Don’t forget that displays don’t have to just be about books: they can include artifacts, newspapers, local crafts, photographs and more. This helps to market the wide-array of resources libraries connect teens to and shows the library as being more than about books – which helps to advocate for teen services beyond the traditional focus of libraries.
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