Every Teen Deserves a Place in the Library (Winter 2014)

image by NYCDOTMany teens find that they are categorized by their peers, friends, teachers, and even family members. They might find they are thought of as goth or jock or overachieving or underserved.

Being professionals serving teens means making sure to serve all teens no matter what category they place themselves in, or are placed in by others.

The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action, published by YALSA, offers a look into information focusing on how we need to serve all teens today and tomorrow. Some of the quotes that jumped out at me as highlighting this need to actively work towards serving as many teens as possible include:

  • “There are currently 74.2 million children under the age of eighteen in the united States; 46% of them are children of color.” p. 2
  • “Today more than one-fifth of America’s children are immigrants or children of immigrants.” p. 2
  • “The number of unemployed youth ages 16-24 is currently 22.7%, an all-time high.” p.2
  • “More than 1.3 million children and teens experience homelessness each year.” Family alcohol /drug abuse, physical/sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, and homosexuality are reasons for them leaving. p.2
  • “Issues like poverty, homelessness, failing schools, and bullying have physical and psychological ramifications for teens.” p. 4 Continue reading

Midwinter 2014: The Future of Libraries For And With Teens

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)

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.

The Future of Libraries & Teens – White Paper Open for Comments

national forum on libraries and teens logoThe fall 2013 issue of YALS compliments the work YALSA has been doing over the past year as a part of the IMLS-funded National Forum on Libraries and Teens. The outcome of the project is a white paper that outlines findings from the year-long project and helps libraries, stakeholders, teens, community members, and others to think about and envision the future of library service to adolescents.

For the next two weeks YALSA is making it possible for anyone, yes anyone, to comment on the draft of the white paper. That means you, and those you work with – both inside and outside of the library. The association wants to make sure that the paper resonates with those working in the field and sets out a view of the future that is clear and well-articulated. The authors are also looking for your, yes your, examples that can help to expand and support what’s included in the document.
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When Teen Read Week Leads to Questions (Summer 2013)

image of group research by Flickr user NWAPRGiven the increasing demands placed on today’s teens, people often wonder how much time young adults really have for recreational reading. Courtney Lewis, Director of Libraries at Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School in Kingston, Pennsylvania, wondered what teens bought and read in their recreational time. In her article, “Seek the Unknown for Teen Read Week 2013: Using Action Research to Determine Recreational Habits of High School Students,” Courtney explains how she used Teen Read Week as an opportunity for finding out more about her library population.

Research is an important component of YALSA’s strategic plan and a key focus of the association’s year-long IMLS funded The Future of Libraries and Teens project. As YALSA’s work demonstrates (the association also developed a research agenda), learning about the reading interests and habits of teens is just one important area of the research library staff working with teens, and youth-oriented researchers, need to focus on. Action research and Courtney’s techniques, experience and suggestions can be adapted to any area that needs exploration. I asked a few YALSA members what they wanted to learn more about:

“When do teens like to read books in e-form and when do they like to read books in physical form?” Diane Fuller, Director of Libraries/Upper School Librarian at Gilman School, Baltimore, MD

“What mobile device do teens primarily use to read ebooks? Continue reading