Tag Archive | teens

The Need for Collaboration

I found another crucial work that should be read by all librarians, information professionals,  educators, administrators, parents, ans even politicians. this is major issue that needs to be fixed by the government all the way down to parents teaching in their homes. If today’s children can not read to evaluate, analyze, or comprehend the information that they’ve read how are we to survive as as free thinking society?

Readicide defined by Kelly Gallagher is “the systematic killing of  the love of reading , often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools”(2). This is a extremely harsh and eye opening book about how schools have centered their curriculum around test preparedness and have dropped the necessity of reading.  Gallagher has supported his argument with supplementary studies, research, and even his own experiences as a teacher.  Gallagher points out that Sustained Silent Reading is crucial in developing a habit of reading and also is a form of test investment. Gallagher even uses Stephen Krashen’s the Power of Reading to back up his claim. Krashen’s book is another influential work of the importance that reading can have on a child’s development.

Gallagher’s book is focused toward teachers and how they can implement these ideas into their curriculum however there is a message for librarians to take away from this as well. First off, if librarians understand what is going on in the schools, and how reading is dying then librarians can supplement literacy skills with the library’s materials. Second, librarians can see this as a opportunity to join forces with the teachers to reinforce reading in the schools.

Some of Gallagher’s advice can also apply to librarians as well. Taking a stand- as librarians we can go to parents, educators, administration, and community members and advocate for reading to be reinstated in schools, homes, and how the library can assist them. Use books with real world text- Librarians can acquire materials such as newspapers, magazines, periodicals, and online sources to give children and teens to read as current event material. Fight against summer reading loss-Librarians are instrumental in this situation by providing ample recreational reading for youth and a exciting summer reading program. This can help fight against the loss of reading levels during the summer.

And most of all, with each of these actions it is crucial for librarians and teachers to be collaborating on this subject. In Twenty-first Century Kids,  Twenty-First Century Librarians by Virginia Walter, she also values the collaboration of librarians and educators. Walters explains that there should be goals that the partnership sets like,  producing real benefits, have a network of communication,  and must have more than the exchange of getting something each wants.  Walters and Gallagher’s works go hand in hand for librarians because they both promote the same ideas; collaboration  outreach, reading, and the role of librarians.

If our society wants at all to become better and effectively educate tomorrow’s future, then Gallagher’s advice should be taken seriously. As librarians we should be aware of the impact of reading and include this in our agenda when we coordinate with other information professionals.

Advertisements

Information literacy

This is an important topic for youth services librarians to be aware of. Children and teens are coming in contact with more technology and media than ever. when they come into the library for help or pleasure we can use this as an opportunity  to teach them indirectly or directly.  Pierce’s Sex, Brains, and Video Games instructs librarians that their job is to educate teens and parents on how to be information literate.

The librarian could do this many ways by acquisition of materials, classes for teens and parents on this topic, and instruction at the reference desk or through print or online resources. Librarians should not only provide the resources but the education of it as well in how to use them. It is also critical to work with the people who also interact with teens, their parents or caregivers, teachers, education professionals, and community leaders. With a combined vision of how information literacy should be taught to this group can greatly increase the chance of a  positive outcome.

Pierce also recommends that librarians always be on the lookout of new information and technology so we can stay on the cusp of popular media and are able to provide information and instruction about the newest technology.  It is imperative for librarians to stay ahead of the game. This way we can be the information provider to children and teens, which in turn will lead to more returning patrons.

The Invisible Patron

The underrepresented users in the library are  the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning better known  as GLBTQ. Alexander and Miselis  in their article note that this group is not represented in the library by the amount of materials offered. There are many possible reasons that explain this including censorship.  But why should libraries recognize these patrons?

This user group tends to be teens or young adults and if young adult librarians can reach out to them and offer a welcoming comforting environment then they are likely to become a life long user.  Plus public libraries are public spaces and shouldn’t discriminate against any person or user.  Society has recently become of aware of this group as a member of society and librarians should include them in their collection development as a whole.

As Alexander and Miselis have proved in their study GLBTQ teens have information needs and the library is a logical place for them to acquire them. YA librarians need to be aware of the collection development policy at their library and how they can obtain materials for these users.  Censorship and even self-censorship effects the collection development for GLTBQ material in the library. Administration and YA librarians need to work together to understand the need for materials that can aid these teen’s needs. Because not even considering GLTBQ materials is censorship and librarians have a duty to include all of the different types of users.

There are great materials and book lists provided by the professional organizations that supply great books to add to the collection.  This is helpful because it can aid the YA librarian who is unsure what to add, and it is good evidence to the library board and admistration that librarians as a group are thinking about this user group.

Great books to include in your collection that cover these topics:

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson; Peter Parnell; Henry Cole

Putting makeup on the fat boy  by Bill Wright and Lauren Linn

Money boy by Paul Yee

Sweet like Sugar by Wayne Hoffman

With or without you by Brian Farrey

Pink by Lili Wilkinson

  • 2012 Rainbow list consists of great choices for children and teen                                                                                  http://glbtrt.ala.org/rainbowbooks/archives/953

Alexander and Miselis, “Barriers to GLBTQ Collection Development and Strategies for Overcoming Them,” Young Adult Library Services, Spring 2007, pp. 43-49

my efforts at making a difference

I currently work in a small university library in the Chicago suburbs. It has become clear to me how similar college patrons are to teens.  The typical college age student is 18- 25 years old, and many of them still have similar characteristics that older teens have. Sex, Brains, and Video Games: A Librarian’s Guide to Teens in the Twenty-first Century by Pierce notes that studies have shown the brain doesn’t reach maturity until twenty-five when it is full developed.  This is evidence that proves my assumption that even  young college students can be still exhibiting teenager like behavior.

I work at the Reference desk, and I notice that many younger students tend to use the library but not many ask for help.  And the younger patrons who do come to ask for help seem shy, nervous, or unsure what to say. So, I try to be friendly, comfortable, and use terms they understand.  I know how scary it can be to ask a unknown person at a big desk a complex question in front of your peers. This is why I try to make myself known to them by a friendly smile, and when I do speak I tone down the library jargon.

I have come to believe that the past expediences that these patrons had greatly influenced how they behave today in a library.  This is why it is crucial for all librarians not just in youth services understand the importance of children and teens to have a great experience at the library.  Those visits to the library as a kid, could make or break them as a frequent library user.  I feel that I need to change the opinions of these young minds to think that libraries are not as scary as they seem.  I know it may be a big task, but I will take it on one patron at a time.