The Future of Library Services for & with Teens: A Call to Action


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This presentation provides an overview of YALSA's 2014 report "The Future of Library Services for & with Teens: a Call to Action.

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  • What other issues have you seen with the teens in your community?
  • Are we meeting these needs well right now?
    Do we have the resources we need to address these things?
    If not, then are we in agreement that some changes need to take place in libraries?
  • So we do what we do because we want to help young people, and we now recognize that we aren’t in an optimal position to do that, so change needs to happen. The question, then becomes what needs to change and how do we need to do it?
  • Here are the key areas that the report identified as in need of change, and you’ll see that they are aligned with your own observations and recommendations
    Audience: according to 2012 census data, there are over 433,000 young people ages 10-19 in the Seattle area. Are all of them being served by the library? Probably not. Libraries need to work with community organizations to identify and reach out to those who aren’t being served
    Collections: are these driven by primarily teen needs and wants, or by review sources that librarians read? Are they comprehensive in terms of formats? Not just print and digital, but physical objects—think about tools for makers. What about community experts? Is there a listing of individuals who can be tapped as a resource on particular topics? That’s a good segue into the next item:
    Staffing: librarians are being called upon to let go of the idea that they have to be an expert on all things—instead librarians should embrace their role as community connectors who can find the right expert, coach or mentor to meet a patron’s needs.
    Space: is the space for teens flexible to accommodate different types of activities? Is it to scale with the size of the community’s teen population? Since teens use all parts of the library, are all those spaces welcoming to teens?
    Youth participation: are teens being engaged in all parts of the planning, implementation and evaluation process? Are there formal and informal processes in place to gather teen feedback from all segments of the teen population?
    Outreach: to what degree is the library connected with community agencies and working as partners to meet the needs of the teens in your area? We all need to understand that outreach is about working together to solve problems. It’s not about the act of contacting local agencies and telling them what we think the library has that might be of use to them
    Policy: an inventory of existing policies should be reviewed to make sure they do not put barriers in the way of effectively serving teens. Additionally, libraries are being called upon to adopt a ‘whole library’ approach to serving teens. Teens use all parts of the library, so all staff—not just youth services experts—need to be called upon and trained to serve teens
    Change is going to continue to happen, and librarians need to be committed to continuing their personal growth in order to be able to serve the teen population effectively
    Programming: the key here is to think purposefully about programming—how do we design them to meet specific teen needs and take the step to measure the outcome in order to ensure teens are getting what they need out of programming? Also how do we best use the outcomes to demonstrate the impact and value the library programming has upon the community? We’re also being called upon to think more strategically about programming and to leverage the unique attributes that only libraries can bring to bear when designing activities for and with teens. This helps build the relevance of the library in the eyes of the community and positions the library so that it’s indispensible. For example anyone can offer a duct tape wallet program– a school, a community center, a parks & recreation dept., a religious organization, boys and girls clubs, an afterschool center, and so on. Instead, what can libraries offer to teens that these groups can’t? That answer ties directly back to slide 4, when we discussed what teens need from libraries
  • Ok, so we just walked through quite a long list of changes that need to happen. Getting started can be daunting. But we know that the status quo isn’t sustainable, so we have to commit to change and moonwalk boldly into the future
  • The key to getting started is to reduce the larger, abstract idea of change, into manageable chunks of actionable steps. Focus on something achievable that you can do NOW. Leave the bigger issues that will take longer to work through for later down the road.
    Also, get yourself into the right mind-set. This is exciting. It’s an opportunity. You have the power to improve the library and to help give teens a brighter future. And in the process, you’ll be making your work more meaningful and your job more fulfilling. Haven’t we all daydreamed about ways that something could be done better in our library, if only we had the chance? Well, now is the time. This call to action gives you the opportunity to try new things, let go of outmoded processes, make a real difference in your community and to love what you do.
  • The Future of Library Services for & with Teens: A Call to Action

    1. 1. THE FUTURE OF LIBRARY SERVICES FOR & WITH TEENS Changing to better meet teens’ needs Beth Yoke, @yalsa_director
    2. 2. What We’ll Cover Today  Overview of the “Future of Library Services for & with Teens: a Call to Action” report  Implications for libraries  Getting started with change  Discussion, Q&A
    3. 3. The Issues Highlighted in the Report  Teens make up a significant portion of library users  Library services and resources for teens are in jeopardy  The demographics of teens has changed significantly  Technology continues to have a large impact on communication, teaching and learning  Teens are entering the workforce without critical skills
    4. 4. What Teens Need from Libraries  Bridge the digital and knowledge divides  Leverage teens’ motivation to learn  Provide workforce development training  Serve as the connector between teens and other community agencies
    5. 5. I feel a change comin’ on “There is nothing so stable as change.” - Bob Dylan
    6. 6. Impact on Libraries  Audience  Collections  Staffing  Space  Youth Participation  Outreach  Policy  Professional Development  Programming
    7. 7. Wanna be startin’ somethin’
    8. 8. Getting Started with Change  Work with colleagues to determine what change(s) is needed  Prioritize  Plan  Experiment/implement  Evaluate & re-tool  Create a learning plan  Build a personal learning network  Join the larger conversation Change at Work Personal Change Celebrate accomplishments!
    9. 9. Ideas, Comments, Questions  Any ah-ha moments?  Any comments or ideas to share?  What would you like to know in more detail?  What ideas or skills did you learn today that you’ll apply in your job or bring back to your institution for further conversation? Thank you for participating!
    10. 10. Selected Resources  The Future of Library Services for & with Teens: a Call to Action, report  4 Ways to Surf the Wave of Change,  6 Must Have Skills for Leading in the Middle, or @yalsa_director