Abby Johnson

Leadership in Librarianship

September 1, 2017

These questions have been on my mind since I attended Power Up: A Conference in Leadership for Youth Services Managers and Staff at the Information School of the University of Wisconsin–Madison in March. This amazing event had a dynamic array of presenters who talked about topics such as empowering teens to be leaders, finding your programming style, … Continue reading Leadership in Librarianship


Getting Teens “Real Ready” for the Future

June 27, 2017

The case studies that were shared with YALSA membership at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago on June 26 were sterling examples of the impact young adults can have—on their neighborhoods, their futures, themselves—when libraries and local organizations support their needs, interests, careers, and visions. The library projects profiled spanned the … Continue reading Getting Teens “Real Ready” for the Future


The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools and the National Education Association organized national I Am Jazz school and community readings in May. Photo: Human Rights Campaign

Standing Up for Our Communities

June 21, 2017

Underserved communities need libraries now more than ever, and among the most vulnerable communities are youth who identify as LGBTQ+. Unfortunately, library services to this group are, at the moment, “woefully inadequate,” despite the social and legal progress the community has made over the past several years. Yet libraries must take on and live up … Continue reading Standing Up for Our Communities


Megan Roberts

Inclusive Storytimes

June 1, 2017

The month of June, which is both Pride Month and the American Library Association’s (ALA) GLBT Book Month, is a perfect time to celebrate the voices and experiences of the LGBTQ community. I founded Family Storytime at the LGBT Center of Raleigh (N.C.) Library with Director Erin Iannacchione in 2012, after noticing there were few … Continue reading Inclusive Storytimes


Abby Johnson

Summer Reading Reboot

May 1, 2017

It’s understandable. Summer is a busy time at the public library, and repeating a program saves work, even if it’s not the best thing for your youth participants or staff. Though your plans for summer reading are probably set, now is an opportune time to take inventory of what you’re doing, what is and isn’t … Continue reading Summer Reading Reboot



Ashley J. Cooksey

Partnerships Beyond Four Walls

January 3, 2017

Sometimes collaboration is accidental. I’ve had lessons that just happened to coordinate with the curriculum. For instance, our library at West Magnet Elementary in Batesville, Arkansas, was able to give students a “virtual field trip” via live stream to see President Barack Obama answering questions at DC Public Library’s Anacostia branch. Our 4th graders were … Continue reading Partnerships Beyond Four Walls


Abby Johnson

’Tis the Season …

November 1, 2016

In recent years, there has been much discussion among children’s librarians about whether to provide—and how to execute—holiday programming. I think the answers to those questions depend on your community, and the first step is to stop and think objectively about what you’re offering and why. Start by reading “Librarians—Check Your Holidays at the Door,” … Continue reading ’Tis the Season …


Youth Matters: Linda W. Braun

Ready to Code

September 1, 2016

The OITP–Google project, Libraries Ready to Code, launched in April 2016 and will continue through the fall of this year. The team working on the project hosted focus groups and one-on-one interviews and conducted site observations in order to learn what’s going on across the country. As project researcher for this initiative, I wanted to … Continue reading Ready to Code


Shelver Kara Van Muyen (left) and librarian Karissa Alcox at the Kitchener (Ont.) Public Library escape room. Participants had 15 minutes to complete all puzzles. Photo: gr8 Escape

Libraries on Lockdown

September 1, 2016

“Anytime I experience something cool in my real life, I think, ‘How could I bring this to the library?’” says Karissa Alcox, escape room aficionado and youth librarian at Fort Erie (Ont.) Public Library. “It takes place indoors, and you don’t need much aside from some locks and props—a library can afford to do it.” … Continue reading Libraries on Lockdown


Fifth-grader Evan Sass asks NASA astronaut Jeff Williams a question via video chat while Denise Raleigh, Gail Borden Public Library's division chief of public relations and development, holds the microphone. The Elgin, Illinois, library was one of eight nationwide selected for the traveling exhibit, Discover Space: A Cosmic Journey. Photo: Jason Brown

Houston, We Have a Library Program

August 8, 2016

His appearance was part of Discover Space: A Cosmic Journey, a traveling exhibit that teaches library-goers about topics such as stars, planets, and gravity. The program was offered by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Public Programs Office in collaboration with the Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and the Afterschool Alliance. … Continue reading Houston, We Have a Library Program


Linda W. Braun

Using Design Thinking

May 31, 2016

What if I said that that’s not how that program—or any library program—should work? By running a program in that way you aren’t really supporting youth learning. Imagine instead if you: Start by asking youth to talk with one another, in small groups or in a full group, about what they like and don’t like … Continue reading Using Design Thinking