Youth Matters, by Jennifer Casa-Todd

Making Time to Check In

January 4, 2021

We’re in a crisis unlike any other, so we must make time to check in with our students. Similar to the way we hold icebreakers and getting-to-know-you activities in our classrooms at the beginning of each school year to familiarize ourselves with our students, we can find ways to gauge wellness and build connection amid … Continue reading Making Time to Check In


Youth Matters, by Becky Calzada, Anita Cellucci, and Courtney Lewis

Reset and Reconnect

November 2, 2020

This past summer, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) created a document and chart titled “School Librarian Role in Pandemic Learning Conditions” to assist K–12 librarians as they encounter a variety of situations this school year. The document analyzes the five key roles that we fill—instructional partner, teacher, leader, information specialist, and program administrator—in … Continue reading Reset and Reconnect


Youth Matters: Linda W. Braun

From Reactive to Proactive

September 1, 2020

I noticed that youth library workers were, understandably, operating in reactive mode. But a quote from Bob Johansen, the author and futurist who introduced the VUCA Prime model in 2007, helped me realize this may not be the best method: “You have to be very clear where you’re going but very flexible in how you … Continue reading From Reactive to Proactive


Youth Matters, by Leigh Fox

Partners in Crisis

June 1, 2020

As youth librarians, our most important partners are schools and educators, which these days include many caregivers who have been thrown into homeschooling for the first time. In my system, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library (BPL), staffers have been busily figuring out ways to provide resources that our students, parents, and teachers may need as they … Continue reading Partners in Crisis


Youth Matters: Linda W. Braun

Give Teens the Lead

May 1, 2020

As Luke Kirkland, teen department head at the Waltham (Mass.) Public Library, describes teen-driven services, they are initiated by youth: “Adults are invited to support teens in executing their ideas. Teens retain power of decision making and agency throughout execution.” It’s important that our libraries progress from a teen-centered to a teen-driven model. The latter … Continue reading Give Teens the Lead


Youth Matters, by Larissa Clotildes

Waste Not, Want Not

March 2, 2020

I am not denying the educational value of crafts. They stimulate creativity, develop fine motor skills, and engage multiple senses in a learning experience. But I challenge myself to find activities that do not produce single-use waste, without sacrificing everything that makes crafts so great. I use the five Rs as my baseline: Refuse. Reject … Continue reading Waste Not, Want Not


Youth Matters by Tricia Bohanon

Making Room for Inclusion

January 2, 2020

Despite interest from the communities I have served, numbers have been consistently low—usually one to two families attend the monthly program. Recently, Akron–Summit County (Ohio) Public Library, where I work, made the decision to discontinue these storytimes. When sensory programming may not be feasible—whether because of low attendance, inadequate staffing, or lack of administrative support—we … Continue reading Making Room for Inclusion


Youth Matters: Linda W. Braun

Contract Concerns

November 1, 2019

The American Library Association–Allied Professional Association’s Library Worklife site states: “Union contracts often provide for fair and flexible working hours, better pay for overtime and work on evenings and weekends, more paid holidays, paid family and medical leave, and employer help with child care and elder care.” These conditions are undoubtedly important. But when talking … Continue reading Contract Concerns


Youth Matters, by Joquetta Johnson

Empower Student Voices

September 3, 2019

Inspired by the 2015 protests following the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who fell into a coma in Baltimore Police Department custody, I developed Lyrics as Literature. The program is a series of four lessons designed to support the district curriculum, amplify student voices, and bring awareness to social justice issues. Each lesson is … Continue reading Empower Student Voices


Youth Matters, by Julie Stivers

Building Inclusive Libraries

June 3, 2019

One way I’ve been fortunate enough to do this in my middle school library has been through an initiative called the #LibFive. With 8th graders Cesar Falcon, Jose Gomez, and Jaida Morris, the #LibFive has leveraged teen insights and experiences to create a student-driven professional development program for youth librarians—initially in our district and eventually … Continue reading Building Inclusive Libraries


Youth Matters: Linda W. Braun

Connect to Connected Learning

May 1, 2019

“Library staffers still are uncertain what the [CL] framework actually encompasses and how to integrate it into library services for and with teens,” says Lance Simpson, youth services director at Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Public Library. Simpson is a member of the project Transforming Teen Services: A Train the Trainer Approach (T3). A joint endeavor of the … Continue reading Connect to Connected Learning


Maricela Leon-Barrera

Spreading ‘Bookjoy’

March 1, 2019

Conceived in 1996 by author Pat Mora, with support from Reforma and the Association for Library Service to Children, Día is a celebration of children, literacy, and diversity. This year will mark 20 years that San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) has been proudly supporting Día in our community, with the goal of connecting kids to … Continue reading Spreading ‘Bookjoy’