YALS wins fifth APEX Award for Publication Excellence

Communications Concepts honored Young Adult Library Services (YALS), the quarterly journal of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) with its fifth Award of Excellence from the APEX Awards for Publication Excellence.

YALS was recognized in the category of Print Journals and Magazines over 32 pages. The journal won for its Winter 2012 issue, which focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) content in libraries. Megan Honig edited the issue.

YALS is the official journal of YALSA. It serves as a vehicle for continuing education for librarians serving young adults, ages twelve through eighteen. It includes articles of current interest to the profession, acts as a showcase for best practices, provides news from related fields, spotlights significant events of the organization and offers in-depth reviews of professional literature.

The APEX Awards are chosen based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the success of the entry in achieving overall communications effectiveness and excellence. More than 600 journals and magazines entered the annual competition. Fifty-eight journals and magazines, including YALS, were honored in its category. A full list of winners is available at www.apexawards.com.

Learning More About the Juvenile Justice System

The following is a guest post by Whitney Winn of YALS‘s Editorial Advisory Board.

In the winter issue of YALS, Barbara Roos writes about her experience with outreach to teens in the juvenile detention center in her Baton Rouge library’s service area. With large numbers of young people incarcerated in such facilities — there were about 70,000 youth in juvenile detention facilities on a single day census conducted in 2010 — this is an issue that librarians working with teens in all capacities should make themselves aware of. Here are some further resources to explore this topic:

  • To connect and share resources and ideas with others who work with teens in the juvenile justice system, join the YALSA-Lockdown listserv. According to the group’s description, discussion can include any issues related to incarcerated youth, including youth in juvenile halls, group homes, treatment centers, mental institutions, etc. The group will address issues such as working within several systems with differing values, issues of censorship within a structure that may or may not acknowledge ALA or its guidelines, issues of providing services to youth with mental health issues, serious criminal charges, etc. The list’s archives dating back to 2007 are also available and searchable, even to non-subscribers.
  • The paper selected for this year’s Trends Impacting Young Adult Services presentation at the Midwinter Meeting was also about juvenile detention center librarianship. Jeanie Austin, project coordinator for Mix IT Up! at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science, presented her paper, “Critical Issues in Juvenile Detention Libraries,” in Dallas. According to the press release, she explored the tensions present in juvenile detention center library services, such as institutional limitations and access to technology and how youth and librarians can navigate these tensions within the library setting. Look for the print publication in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults. You can also read more about Extending Library Services to Empower Youth (ELSEY), the outreach group with which Jeanie is involved at their blog.
  • Looking for more outreach groups? Books Beyond Bars consists of graduate students, faculty, and alumni from UCLA’s Department of Information Studies that are committed to bringing high-interest books to young people living at the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Detention Center in Sylmar, CA. Does your library or library school have a juvenile detention center outreach program? Let us know in the comments.
  • For a literary perspective on life in and around the justice system, take a look at the Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults 2006: Criminal Elements list.
  • The ALA has also collected some resources for librarians or students currently working with or considering working with the incarcerated population.
  • If you have access to back issues of YALS, check out “Dream It Do It: At the Library! Technology Outreach at a Juvenile Detention Center” by Kelly Czarneck
    in the Winter 2009 issue (Vol. 7 Issue 2). In the article, the author explains how her libraru collaborated with several partner organizations on a technology project with five incarcerated teens.
  • For more numbers about juvenile justice, The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, part of the U.S. Department of Justice, collects all kinds of data in its Statistical Briefing Book.

Get Excited About STEM!

The following is a guest post by Cindy Welch of YALS‘s Editorial Advisory Board.

STEM is a relatively new educational initiative to create excitement and energy around engaging with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. For those old enough to remember – or for those, like me – who love history, it kind of reminds me of the jumpstart science and math education got in the 1960s as a result of the launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik and America’s race to regain its technological preeminence in the world. Interestingly, one result of that race was Arpanet, which later became the Internet and our World Wide Web.

Teens today are already engaged with technology, and YA librarians are right there with them, but how do we work with the remaining letters of that acronym? The Winter issue of YALS gives some great tips for getting started with collections and programming, and YALSA has a STEM task force that will release a STEM toolkit in conjunction with Teen Tech Week (March 4-10, 2012). According to a YALSA Board Document from MW 2012, the task force also has plans for a STEM wiki and a programming contest! You can already check the YALSA Blog for posts related to this initiative and follow up on the STEM It Up! Webinar scheduled for Feb. 1. If you missed it, just know that all Teen Tech Week registrants can receive a free copy of the recording, so if you register now – or if you’re already registered – you’ll be able to get a copy. YALSA members will also be able to access the webinar in the Webinars-on-Demand area free of charge.

In the meantime here are a few ideas for science, engineering and math programming, from the sublime to the silly (in no particular order):

  • “Found object” invention contest;
  • Draw or construct a thingamajiggy from your favorite sci-fi novel;
  • Discussing – or re-creating! – the science behind our favorite sci-fi books and movies;
  • Spy toys and tools – create, discuss, draw, get an expert in to talk about them;
  • Re-create engineering contests in your neighborhood; team up with high school physics teachers, or local college faculty to drop eggs, build flying machines (or models), or create mini go-kart races;
  • Host a science-fair extravaganza that has everything from local geeks as consultants, to actual experiments;
  • Create a loop of YouTube or SchoolTube videos that show actual experiments in progress and let it run during the 3-6 p.m. blitz; better yet – get teens to put it together for you;
  • Consult with teens to create a consumer math contest or awareness day, including cost comparisons, budgeting, practical uses of math.
  • Create a geo-cache in or around your library;
  • Host a “Big Bang Theory” night at the library; come as your favorite character? Or, perhaps a “What Would Sheldon Do?” quiz.
  • Partner with recycling agencies, environmental groups, or citizen action groups to raise awareness about the environment;
  • If you have a blog or radio program, consider interviewing or featuring local mathletes or science fair winners;
  • Contact outstanding science students to act as consultants during science fair season;
  • Create book displays based on YALSA Popular Paperbacks lists like the environmentally-conscious “Change Your World … or Live to Regret It,” or “Get Your Geek On
  • Get crazy with Legos, K’nex, or dominos.

As we shift to more inquiry-based learning, more and more people in schools, museums, and colleges are exploring all sorts of ways to make math and science concepts tangible and hands-on, so you don’t have to go it alone. We know about collaboration, so push the boundaries and talk to science and math teachers during your next school visit. Get to know the teen geeks in your neighborhoods – if you don’t already – and ask them what they’d recommend to get people excited about STEM. Most importantly, experiment! (Literally.) As for me, I’m going geo-caching!