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’


Youth Matters: Linda W. Braun

Career Readiness for Teens

January 2, 2019

“Our Teen Squad programs are driven by youth interests while focusing on work readiness and 21st-century skills development,” says Kate Aubin, teen educator at PPL. “With our diverse community partners, we provide interactive and engaging competency-based programming that builds relationships and connects teens to workforce development opportunities.” One such offering under the umbrella of Teen … Continue reading Career Readiness for Teens


Youth Matters

Outside-the-Box Outreach

November 1, 2018

Your youth services staffers may already be doing this outreach. For instance, your library might bring storytimes to local day cares or crafts to after-school programs. But what about reaching the adults in your community as a means of reaching the kids? This outside-the-box approach to youth services outreach can reap results beyond what you … Continue reading Outside-the-Box Outreach


Tom Bober

The Power of Primary Sources

September 4, 2018

My 1st-grade students recently prepared for a trip to the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis by analyzing photographs and films of streetcars to better understand the part they played in our city. Inspired to share their learning, students wrote about streetcars and built their own with simple tools like paper, scissors, tape, and … Continue reading The Power of Primary Sources