Reading through the articles in the fall 2014 issue of YALS I’m once again struck about the new role that libraries and library staff play in serving the community. That role is one that takes library staff out of their buildings into schools AND a wide-array of community partner locations from homeless shelters to parks to community centers to meals sites to….. Thinking about that external focus and external connections that libraries have with their communities I more and more see that the library is an idea and not a physical space.
I think about the need to focus on the library as more than a physical space every time I hear someone say, “Let’s go talk to teens at the community center so that then they will come into the library to see us.” Or when I see that what library staff bring to outreach events, are materials that require teens, and others, to come into the library. To be honest I cringe a little bit when I hear those statements and see those focus points at outreach events. Why do we have to be so place focused?
After recently reading Dr. Jama Shelton and Dr. Julie Winkelstein’s YALS article (Fall, 2014), Librarians and Social Workers: Working Together for Homeless LGBTQ Youth, I was stunned by the appalling statistic cited in the first line of the article. Although LGBTQ youth make up only 5-7 % of the general youth population, up to 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ. Many of these homeless youth spend long hours in public libraries. Libraries provide a relatively safe haven and allow them access to much-needed information about social services. But libraries have long struggled with how to handle homeless patrons and these teens fear that they will be stigmatized if they spend an inordinate amount of time in the library. Many of them are over 18 years old, which means, in many libraries, they are no longer eligible for young adult services.
So what can librarians do to address this powerful need? The article by Shelton and Winkelstein cites 11 strategies to help homeless LGBTQ youth. One of the most powerful strategies is to be a visible advocate within our communities for LGBTQ youth. Last year, I volunteered to be part of an initiative in my library to reach out to LGBTQ youth in my community. My first step was to contact the high school GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) to make a connection and offer them the library’s support. Through that first connection, I met Logan Sherman, a high school senior and transgender person. I contacted Logan recently to ask if he could share his experience with homeless LGBTQ youth. Here’s what Logan said:
In this interview YALS Editorial Advisory Board member, Nicola L. McDonald, talks with Hennepin County Library’ Youth Services Coordinator and YALSA Board member, Maureen Hartman. The two talk about why partnerships are important, how to make them happen, and some successful examples.
NM – How would you define partnership and how can library services, particularly teen services, benefit from partnerships?
MH – I’ve heard a lot of talk about “collaboration” vs “partnership.” In my head, a partnership is something more formal than a collaboration, but I often use them interchangeably, which is probably incorrect. I define them both as an opportunity for the library and another organization to mutually benefit from a joint undertaking ‘ working together to maximize the resources of both organizations and reach a goal they wouldn’t be able to reach on their own. Libraries in general, but especially teen services, benefit from these partnerships because the library can’t do everything well ‘ we need to cultivate, nurture and rely on partners to reach audiences we wouldn’t already serve, to create services that patrons see a need for but that we don’t have experience with, and to share resources in the community with our patrons.
NM – What are two of the most innovative partnerships you’ve been a part of, how did they develop, and what made each successful?
The digital version of the Fall 2014 issue of YALS is now available under the “Members Only” section of the YALSA website. Please note that you will have to sign into your ALA account to access the issue.
In January 2013 YALSA published their report, The Future of Teens and Libraries: A Call to Action. The publication of that report launched a variety of YALSA activities as well as gave those serving teens in libraries an opportunity to try new things, re-envision their work, advocate for high-quality sustainable teen services and more. The fall 2014 issue of YALS covers success stories that resulted from the ideas published in YALSA’s report.
The Fall 2014 issue of YALS includes an article by members of the Future of Libraries for and with Teens YALSA Task Force. The group was initiated as a way to help library staff working with teens implement many of the ideas in the “Futures” report. Continue reading
YALS subscribers will now be able to access a digital version of each future YALS issue via the “Members Only” section of the YALSA website. Please note that you will need to be logged into your ALA account in order to view the page.
Currently, the Summer 2014 issue is available for access. As each digital issue becomes available, announcements will be made via this site so please stay tuned for updates!
The fall 2014 issue of YALS will land in member and subscriber mailboxes very soon. The theme of the issue is Yes I Can! The journal is filled with articles about the ways in which library staff and community partners are working to move into the future. And, it’s very much the future outlined in the YALSA Report, The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action.
In this issue of the journal readers have the chance to:
- Learn about the work of YALSA’s Future of Library Services for and with Teens Task Force and how their work can help you better serve teens in the community.
- Find out how OK middle school librarian Amanda Kordeliski worked in her state to hold a summit where library staff from across the state had the chance to plan for future services for and with teens. Continue reading
In about a week YALS subscribers and YALSA members will find the newest issue of YALS in their mailboxes. The theme of the issue is Connecting and Collecting and feature articles on:
- How the Weinberg Foundation is helping to re-invent Baltimore Public School libraries by providing funding to re-envision space, collections and staffing at elementary and middle school libraries.
- The amazing ways that library staff working with teens have used Best Buy funding to develop technology-based programming for and with teens. Continue reading
They were announced at Midwinter 2014 – YALSA’s awards and lists. Now you can download reproducibles for each of the lists and customize them for your own library. We’ve got them right here on the YALS site. You can download each of the lists separately, OR, there’s even a file that contains all of the lists in one handy place. Check them all out below (all files in pdf):
Learn more about all of YALSA’s awards and lists on the association website and in the spring 2014 issue of YALS.