The ALA Leadership Institute (Winter 2014)

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graphic showing one person leading the way by creative commons flickr user nist6dhHave you been looking to boost your leadership skills? Perhaps you aim to become a library leader someday. The American Library Association (ALA) Leadership Institute may be just the right thing for you. Led by ALA President Maureen Sullivan and ACRL Content Strategist Kathryn Deiss, this four-day immersion program is meant to improve participants’ leadership skills, and will cover topics like:

  • Power and influence
  • Leading in turbulent times
  • Creating a culture of inclusion, innovation, and transformation

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Midwinter 2014: Badges a New Way to Develop Professionally

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YALSA communications marketing outreach badgeIn the Winter 2014 issue of YALS readers will get the chance to learn about badges in an article by Sheryl Grant, Director of Social Networking for the HASTAC/ MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition. The article provides a great overview of what badges are all about and how you can use them in your own professional development, as well as with the teens with which you work.

But, reading about badges isn’t all you can do to learn about them. At the ALA Midwinter 2014 Meetings in Philadelphia, YALSA is sponsoring a program all about their new badging system. You’ll get to learn how the system works and how you can get involved in earning badges as a part of your own, or your colleagues, professional development. The program is on Sunday, January 26 from 8:30 to 10AM in room 108B at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

YALSA currently has about 35 testers working on the three badges already in place. The testers are providing feedback on what works and doesn’t work in the badge earning process. At Midwinter 2014 if you want to be a tester too, you can let us know at the program that you are ready, willing, and able.

If you want to learn a bit more about badges before you attend the program at Midwinter check out the December post on the YALS site all about YALSA’s project and then also take a look at posts published on the YALSAblog over the last year.

Midwinter 2014: The Future of Libraries For And With Teens

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national forum logoLast week YALSA published a white paper titled The Future of Libraries for and with Teens: A Call to Action. The white paper was the culmination of a year-long process (funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services) that brought a variety of people together to talk about the future of libraries and teens.

Co-author of the paper Maureen Hartman said, “It was so inspiring watching, listening and reading conversations between librarians, partners and teens. While all voices affirmed the great work libraries are doing with teens, they also all pointed libraries in the same inspiring direction–as institutions that, with the right kinds of changes, can lead the way in supporting young people’s success–now and in the future.”

The publication of the white paper is not the end of YALSA’s work on helping library staff work with teens today and into the future. Now the association is starting a new phase in which the association and leaders in the fields of libraries, teens, and education will develop tools, resources, and provide assistance for moving into the future successfully. A first step in this next phase is a program at Midwinter 2014 (Sunday, January 26, Pennsylvania Convention Center Room 103A, from 3:00 – 4:00 PM) on the white paper and ways in which library staff can integrate the ideas of the paper into their work.

White paper co-author Hartman is organizing the Midwinter program which will include opportunities for discussions among participants on successfully using the white paper recommendations in their day-to-day work situations. As Hartman also said, “…it’s so exciting to be at the beginning of new conversations about libraries and teens–reading tweets and seeing quotes that are already causing people to think differently. Participating in The forum and writing the paper was such a great experience, but I’m looking forward to all the conversations to come just as much.”

The Future of Libraries and Teens: A Call to Action (Fall 2013)

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The fall 2013 of YALS is devoted to the future of libraries and teens and complements the white paper released by YALSA today on serving teens in 2014 and beyond.

The white paper is a document everyone should read, ponder, discuss, and gain inspiration from. In the approximately 18 minute Google Hangout below, YALSA President Elect, Chris Shoemaker, and I talk about the white paper, some of the pieces we think are interesting, surprising, and most important, and how YALSA plans to continue working to support and help library staff move into the future. The next step in that process is a webinar on January 16 at 2PM Eastern.

The publication of the white paper and the year-long research project was made possible through funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. You can read more about the project on its website.

Toolkit for Expanded Learning: A YALS Overview

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young people learning while sitting at a tableDeveloped by leading members of Collaborative for Building After-School Systems (CBASS), Toolkit for Expanded Learning is, as the website says, “intended to provide resources for city agencies, school districts, intermediaries and other organizations interested in implementing or strengthening city-wide expanded learning opportunities….”

The Toolkit site is broken down into three different categories and a set of sub-categories. In each section there are downloadable resources aimed at giving users the skills and information needed in order to succeed in expanding learning in out-of-school-time settings. Categories covered include:
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Badges: Working Hard for Professional Development (Winter 2014)

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YALSA's communications marketing outreach badgeIn the winter issue of YALS members and subscribers will have the chance to read about badges as a form of demonstrating knowledge and skills. As the author of the article, Sheryl Grant, states, “Badges for learning are digital
credentials that recognize a personís skills and achievements” I think that this is something that people often miss when talking about badges and learning. The badge is the “proof” of learning it’s not the learning. What do I mean by that? Well, to earn a badge requires work of some kind, whether that work is comprised of reading a series of books or completing a series of lessons. When it comes to professional development badges aren’t just given out willy nilly. They take work to earn

As readers probably know, YALSA has been working on a badging project for just over a year and those working on the initiative have learned a lot about what it takes to build a successful badging system. This includes gaining understanding of what badge earners will have to complete in order to successfully earn a badge. In the next week or so YALSA is soft launching some of its badges to a group of fearless testers who have volunteered to try out what the association developed. These testers will discover that to complete the different badges they will have to go out into the community, talk to teens, talk to community members, talk to colleagues and staff. They will have to develop “artifacts” that demonstrate what they learned by going into the community and actively learning. These artifacts will range from presentations to Twitter accounts and posts. And, actually, earning a badge could take a few weeks, it’s not just an hour or two and you are done. (Learning takes time, we all know that.)
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Coming Soon the Winter 2014 Issue of YALS

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When YALSA members (and YALS subscriber) open up their mailboxes in mid-January they will find the winter issue of YALS. And, even though the issue won’t be in mailboxes for a few more weeks, it’s definitely time to let you know what’s going to be worth reading in the issue.

2014 Teen Tech Week logo - theme DIY @ your library

The winter 2014 YALS theme is Teens, Tech, and Learning (just in time to help you get ready for Teen Tech Week (TTW) 2014: March 9 – 15):

  • The theme for TTW 2014 is DIY @ your library and TTW Committee members Carla Avitabile and Christie Gilbrich write about a host of ways to celebrate the week with teens at your library. All of the ideas give those working with teens the chance to have teens participate in planning TTW programs. They also connect DIY ideas to learning. For example, building a makerspace and maker projects with and for teens gives everyone the opportunity to gain critical thinking skills, problem solving and troubleshooting skills, as well as skills related to STEAM topics.
  • Tiffany Williams, another TTW 2014 Committee member, writes about the value of integrating technology in library programs and services for teens. She discusses the digital divide that separates those who have tech skills from those that don’t, and the library’s key role in helping to bridge this divide so that teens are able to succeed in academic and career pursuits. Continue reading

Diversity in STEM (Fall 2013)

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image of girls working on a science project by creative commons flickr user rdecomFor the past couple of years STEM has been more and more the focus of conversation in the United States. One thing that you might not hear talked about that much is the importance of making sure that those going into STEM fields come from diverse backgrounds, In an effort to ensure that diversity exists in the STEM workforce, some organizations have chosen to focus on this area. This includes The Center for STEM Diversity and the STEM Diversity Institute (SDI) at the University of Massachusetts African-American, Latino/Chicano, first-generation populations and low-income students are just a few of the groups that these institutions serve.

You can learn more about diversity in STEM in the Fall 2013 issue of YALS, in Tiffany Williams’ article Being Diverse in Our Support for STEM. One of the areas Williams’ covers is access to STEM related courses and content that might not be available in a local community. Williams’ suggests using educational opportunities such as:

YALSA Public Library Evaluation Tool – Just for You (Fall 2013)

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woman thinking photo by the italian voiceIn her fall 2013 article on using the YALSA Public Library Evaluation Tool, Sara Ryan (Teen Services Specialist at Multnomah County Library) provides a great set of tips and practical ideas on how to successfully evaluate teen library services AND how to use information from the evaluation in order to plan for the future. Her article covers how to:

  • Convince administration that evaluating teen services will benefit the library
  • Conduct the evaluation
  • Communicate the results
  • Create change based on what the evaluation reveals

Ryan makes it clear in her article, that the evaluation is not something that can be accomplished alone. It actually takes the whole library – from the administration who need to understand and support teen library services evaluation to colleagues who help to perform evaluation activities and analyze data collected.
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