Go to:
Discussion
Online Doc
File
Poll
Event
Meeting Request
Suggestion
Robert Bittner's picture

Welcome and Introductions

Hello to all of you new members of the YALSA Student Interest Group.  I just wanted to start this discussion off with a big welcome to the group.  I want to thank you for joining and I hope that we will be able to foster some good discussions and find some interesting topics to debate and/or expand upon.

I should probably tell you all a little bit about myself, just to get the ball rolling.  My name is Rob Bittner and I am a graduate student at The University of British Columbia.  I am in the Master of Arts in Children's Literature program and my main research interests include Young Adult Literature and Gay/Lesbian Fiction.  I have a BA in English from Simon Fraser University.  I like sushi and coffee (though not always at the same time) and I read a lot when I'm not working or sleeping. 

So please feel free to introduce yourselves a little bit as well.  Share some thoughts, perhaps, and what you hope this community can do for you.  And if you could provide me with your email address so I can contact you with information about Chats or major events (I promise, no spamming) I would be extremely grateful!  Looking forward to hearing from everyone.

_rob

Tonya Oswalt (non-member)'s picture

Just wanted to say thank you for the welcome, and introduce myself as well.  My name is Tonya Oswalt, and I'm from Northwest Louisiana, in the Shreveport/Bossier City area.  I work for the Bossier Parish Libraries in circulation, reference, and in young adult services.  I am currently the only person in our young adult services department, but I have been steadily growing our teen base. 

I have one more year to go before I'll have my bachelors degree in organizational management, and then I plan to enter a masters program for library and information science, with a concentration in young adult services.  Working with teens at the library is my passion and I have really enjoyed my time doing just that!  I have a great group of teens on our teen advisory board, and that are regulars at our teen programs.  

I look forward to communicating with everyone and sharing ideas and experiences in teen services.

 

Tonya

Robert Bittner's picture

Thanks for the info.  It sounds like you'll be a great addition to our group here.  I'm curious if you'd be willing to share some of your experiences in young adult services.  Would you be willing to give us a few highlights of working with teens at your library?  What are some challenges that come up while working with teens in your library?  What exactly does your teen advisory board do?  Would you care to share how a teen advisory board gets set up for those who may want to instigate such a board in their own places of work or suggest this sort of program to their local libraries?

Thanks!

_rob

Tonya Oswalt (non-member)'s picture

I'd be glad to share some of my experiences with young adult services.

The challenge that I continuously face is in planning programs that the teens find interesting and that they are willing to come to.  My teen advisory board helps me plan programs and comes up with ideas for programs, but then they may not show up to the events.  I have a group of about 6 teens that come to everything, including advisory board meetings.  I have tried to stress to the others that I need their help planning interesting and fun programs, and that if they're not willing to come to them, it must not be very interesting after all.

My most successful programs are lock-ins.  We have four lock-ins a year.  In January, we have one just for Teen Advisory board members, so they can get to know one another and help me plan the summer reading program as well as other events.  At the end of May I have one to celebrate school being out and to promote the summer reading program.  In July, there is another one that is an incentive for those who have participated and reached their goal in the reading challenge part of the summer program.  Then we have one in mid October, to promote Teen Read Week.  We always have new teens come to the lock-ins, and several of them end up coming back to other programs or joining the board. 

I have just recently established committees on our teen advisory board.  I have committees for the design of teens paces, book selection, programming, outreach, and membership.  The design committee will help come up with ideas to make the teen areas of our libraries more appealing to teens.  I have asked the 4-5 members of the book selection committee to suggest two titles each at the monthly meetings that they think the library should get.  I also plan to give them catalogs to look at from time to time.  The programming committee will come up with ideas for new programs and help plan those programs.  The outreach committee will be responsible for making sure our programs are promoted throughout the community.  The membership committee is responsible for recruiting new members and contacting the members to remind them of the meetings.

In the beginning, my most successful method of starting a board and getting members was to ask local school librarians to spread the word about it at their librarians.  Many of them got with their english teachers and honors classes.  Some schools post the applications on their website.   Then I contacted all of the applicants and told them when the first meeting would be.  Since then, the board has grown quite a bit by word of mouth.

If there's anything else anyone would like to ask, feel free!

 

Tonya

Katherine Bollenbach (non-member)'s picture

Hi, I also run a teen advisory group that's been going for a little over a year and I have a few questions.

How long have you been running the teen group?  About what ages do you have?

And how do you do the lock-ins and what does that entail?

 

Thanks!

Katherine

Christine Pennacchio's picture

Hi, my name is Christine Pennacchio and I'm an MLS graduate student at Queens College in the City University of New York.  I work in the Children's department of South Huntington Public Library as a Librarian Trainee.  Although I don't work very much with the teens, I'm interested in learning more about working with YA and YA Lit.

Robert Bittner's picture

Great to hear from you Christine.  You don't have to work with teens to be part of this group, just be interested in YA literature and YA issues.  Thanks for joining!

_rob

Jane Gov's picture

Hello everyone!  My name is Jane.  I'm a current MLIS student, a library assistant at a public library, and a library technician at a law firm (among many other titles that I won't bore you with).  I started the MLIS program at SJSU last fall and am now heading into my final semester.  This semester, I am also interning in a Rare Books / Special Collections Dept. in an academic library. 

I love teen services, but I am a larger advocate of higher education and young adult literacy.  I feel that the transitional phase between high school and college is a period that is often overlooked as an opportunity to promote reading and other literacies.  I believe that with the right guidance, encouragement, and books, we can encourage young adults—even after high school—to pursue lifelong learning.

I read obsessively and I also love YA creative writing.  I am a coffee and Jane Austen addict--at the same time works for me!  I'm rather terrible at writing about myself, so I'll stop here.  Nice to "meet" everyone!

--Jane

 

Jane Gov, YALSA FAC Chair
Youth Services Librarian, Pasadena Public Library

Robert Bittner's picture

Hello Jane! Good to hear from you. Welcome to our little (but hopefully soon-to-be big) group. I am also a coffee addict and I do love the occasional Jane Austen. I hope you will feel comfortable here and bring forward your own interests and questions/concerns. Thanks again! _rob

Erin Daly's picture

Hi everybody, I'm Erin Daly and I'll be your co-convener. 

I graduated in 2009 from Simmons College GSLIS satellite program here in Western Massachusetts at Mount Holyoke College. While I was in school, I worked in public and school libraries, any where I could.  After graduating,  I was a school librarian for one year, lost my job due to cutbacks, and then found my potential dream job in being a Young Adult Librarian at a public library.  I've been here two months so far.  Not a lot of teens around yet, but I hear that they will become a more regular presence now that school has started.

I have a BA in Literature from Bard College.   I am a huge sci/fi fantasy geek and a supporter of graphic novels and gaming in libraries.  And in fulfillment of librarian stereotypes, I have a cat and I like to cook.

I'm looking forward to making this community a great resource for library students.  So to echo Rob, tell us what we can do for you.

Judi Tichacek's picture

Hi! My name's Judy and right now I'm finishing up my BA in English at Loyola University Chicago. I've started applying to graduate schools for MLS programs (eeek!) and will probably be starting next summer. I had originally thought I was going to go into special collections/rare books but I started to volunteer at my local library in the Youth Services department and I *love* it!

I do have to admit that because of school, I don't read for fun as much as I would like to. Instead I'm stuck reading theory most of the time, so what I read for fun is always on the morning/evening commute. Right now I'm reading The House of Mirth - not exactly YA lit, but it's something. I'm also a big advocate for literacy & reading education as well as YA literature. Nice to virtually meet everyone! 

Katherine Bollenbach (non-member)'s picture

The House of Mirth is one of my favorite books of all time!  (And it may not be "YA" lit, but I read it as an older teenager so I know it can be enjoyed by that age range.  I read it in one sitting and it was also the first time I ever stayed up all night long.)

Judi Tichacek's picture

As I get more into the book, I'm really starting to enjoy it. It's for an English seminar that focuses on social class. We'll also going to be reading "Nickel and Dimed", "Passing" and some other short novels. I'm excited!!!!

Robert Bittner's picture

Hey there Judy!

I want to start by wishing you the best of luck as you finish your BA in English.  I have a BA in English too!  Though I guess it's not like that's too unique.  Oh well, English is fun!  I remember the days of not being able to read for fun because of textbooks and required readings, but you'll be done soon and then you can read all the books you want!  Until you start another degree...

Good to hear about your volunteering at your library.  I wish I had a larger library that had a dedicated Youth Services section.  I'm in a bit of a small city, so we don't have much in our local branch.  So keep up the good work!

Anyway, just wanted to welcome you to the group.  I hope you'll find us useful.  Feel free to contact either myself or Erin if you ever have any questions or concerns or if you just want to say hello.

_rob

Katherine Bollenbach (non-member)'s picture

Hi, I'm Katherine.  I've been "recommended for admission" to an MLS program at Southern Connecticut State University & am waiting to hear what they think of my planned program so I can be officially matriculated.  I'm taking all of my courses online and am on my second course now (Introduction to Information Science).  I have a BS in accounting from Southern New Hampshire University.

I first decided I wanted to be a children's librarian when I was twelve, and now I am one. I work 12 hrs a week as a Children's Librarian at Allenstown Public Library in New Hampshire, which is a very small library.  I do a children's story time and run a teen advisory group.  I started the teen group over a year ago as a school project and it's been quite a success (I think).  We have 10 members but only average about 4 at meetings, and only one who's *always* there.  They are always very enthusiastic and have a good time though, and I am getting steadily more organized as I go along.

One of my more interesting challenges is that the girls (there's only one boy and many meetings are just girls) are a little too comfortable with me.  I'm not that old (25) and often feel like a "fake" adult and can easily get drawn into the giggling fits.  Last week I had to figure out how to answer the question "So why won't you be in my band?" and had to instruct one of the girls to get off the floor before someone came in, because the "rock star" dance moves she was demonstrating looked more provocative than (I hope) she was aware.  Also, I have to say "SHHH!" a lot more than I expected to - I thought that was just for movies, but it isn't.  Anyway - I did not initially intend to get involved in teen services, but here I am and I'm planning to stay in this field if I can.  At first I was constantly pulling my hair out but it's getting better as time goes on, and it's certainly never been boring.

I also work part time as a bookkeeper for a small lawn & garden equipment shop and I'm the Treasurer for the library as well.  And I have a 5 year old son who just started kindergarten.  During my spare time, I usually try to catch up on chores & the rest of my life, unless I can't take it, and then I read a book.

I do not drink coffee because it upsets my stomach and makes me jittery but I would if I could.  I do consume a lot of herbal tea though and even make my own blends.

Robert Bittner's picture

Hey there Katherine.  Congratulations on being recommended for admission at Souther Conneticut State!  Sounds like you'll be keeping pretty busy between the library, the equipment shop, and your son.  I'm in an MACL (Master of Arts in Children's Literature) program and that's taking up almost all of my time as it is.  I'm not supposed to drink coffee, but I do because it's my comfort drink.  It calms me mentally (even if the effects aren't always calming.)  Anyway, this isn't about me.  I hope you enjoy our little community here.  Feel free to share with us some of your experiences with the teen advocacy group and children's story time.  You can always post in the general discussions area or give us a list of your favorite books so we can see if we have some common literary interests.  It's great to have you here, and if you ever need anything or have any questions, please contact myself or Erin and we'll do whatever we can to help you out.

_rob

Jessica Alston's picture

Hi I'm Jess. I've just started working on my MLIS this August. I've volunteered to help with the Tenn Advisory Board in the library where I work as a Library Assistant. I'm hoping we can all trade info and tips about teen services! I'm a fan of YA literature and manga.

Robert Bittner's picture

Congratulations on starting your MLIS!  And good for you for getting involved on the Teen Advisory Board in your library.  If you ever have any questions about library stuff, just post a question in the general discussion or research interests sections and we'll get you some answers.  Also, if you have any problems with this site or anything, let me or Erin know and we'll get everything sorted for you.  Nice to have you here with us.

_rob

Anna Doyle.geek (non-member)'s picture

I'm Anna Doyle, an MLIS student in my second year at the University of British Columbia's School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies (SLAIS).  I'm planning to go into youth services in public libraries and I'm particularly fond of YA.  I'm a huge geek.  I'm interested in superheroes, comics, graphic novels, manga and anime, young women who kick butt, young men who think, participatory media and fandom, steampunk, humor, fantasy (urban and non), non-sexy supernatural creatures, sci-fi adventures, historical fiction, epistolary fiction, and queer lit.  Tamora Pierce, Terry Pratchett, Holly Black, and Garth Nix are made of awesome.  I like dressing up in costumes at the slightest provocation and playing with the Society for Creative Anachronism.  I spend far more time than is healthy on the internet and I own a sword, which is sadly at home in Missoula, Montana.  I decided at age twelve that I was going to be a librarian as it was clearly the most awesome job in the world that did not involve copious amounts of exercise (astronaut) and haven't looked back since.

Robert Bittner's picture

Hey Anna,

Thanks so much for joining up here.  It's still a small group with a growing amount of activity, but I hope you'll feel free to contribute whenever you want with any kind of discussion, questions, whatever.  I love steampunk and some good, strong female protagonists.  Have you read Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore?  They're quite good and the main characters are pretty kick-ass girls/women.  Also, have you picked up Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan?  It's on the cusp of steampunk with some darwinist tendencies.  I like it a lot.  Anyway, I hope you'll feel comfortable here and that you'll get something out of our little community!

_rob

Anna Doyle.geek (non-member)'s picture

Hiya.

I haven't got around to Kristin Cashore yet, but I'll check her out.  I hadn't heard about Leviathan, is it new?  I thought I was up to date on Scott Westerfeld.

Sara Douglas's picture

Hi! My name is Sara Douglas. I grew up in Ohio, got my BA in Education at BGSU and my MLIS at Kent State. I worked in university libraries for 7 years while getting my degrees and upon graduation took a position as Library Media Specialist for grades 5-12 at a private school in Las Vegas... so that's where you can find me today! I love working with teens, but I am constantly frustrated at the lack of support the library gets here. I fight and fight and fight every year (for new books, for me to be able to teach library/media skills, etc) but no one seems to value the library and I end up just being a study hall monitor by another name. I support my students in every way I can and hope I can make a difference here! 

Sara Douglas
Director of Libraries
St. Andrew's Episcopal School 

Robert Bittner's picture

Hello Sara,

Sorry that it took me a bit to finally respond to you here.  I'm glad to hear that you're fighting the good fight!  I see the same sort of thing happening here in Canada too.  There is just too little support for the library systems around here.  I was just talking to a woman today, in fact, who witnessed a school library that was closed to students for an entire semester because there was no money for a librarian.  They now have a library tech who works part-time, but there is still no support for the library to get new materials or anything.

If you ever have any frustrations, or words of wisdom, feel free to share them here and we'll see what we can do to help.  Feel free to email me as well should you have any questions, feedback, or advice regarding this community.  I wish you the best of luck in supporting your students!

_rob

Kelsey Cole-Burns (non-member)'s picture

I am currently an MLS student at Indiana University. I will be receiving a specialization in Children's and Young Adult Services and I plan to work with teens or children's in the not-so-distant future.

While I may not have the wonderful experience many of you have, I have an immense passion to help the disenfranchised and underrepresented. This is perhaps my biggest pull towards young adult services due to their lack of representation in the library world when it is so desperately needed. It is not hard for me to be respectful, understanding, and helpful towards young adults and these are their greatest desires from adults. I also am a huge supporter of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questionning) community and immigrant communities and I intend to provide proper and supportive information sources to both groups.

I believe in the library as a community center that promotes self-education, learning, enjoyement through enrichment, cultural exposure, and intellectual interaction. I believe that Young Adult Services and YALSA are one of the most innovative fields in library science and I look forward to participating.

Robert Bittner's picture

Hi Kelsey!

Welcome to the YALSA Student Interest Group.  I hope you might find some part of this community helpful to you as you move on from being a student to becoming a librarian in the "real world."  I really like the way you describe the library as a community centre that promotes self-education, learning, etc.  That's how I like to think of libraries as well, though I haven't used such eloquent phrases before.

Feel free to post any time you want, about anything, and I or other SIG members will hopefully get back to you soon to join in discussion.  If you ever want to chat about LGBTQ issues, feel free to message/email me.  My field of interest is LGBT issues and Queer YA Literature.

Anyway, that's it for now.  Thanks for your post and I hope we can make you feel welcome.

_rob

Anna Doyle.geek (non-member)'s picture

Hola!  Welcome.