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Two Reminders

15 Mar

Just a few weeks to go until the Teen Book Giveaway ends, so enter now for a chance to win!

The Hunger Games opens on the 23rd of March. Is your library ready for an influx in interest? Take a look at these Hunger Games film and event ideas in order to prepare.

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Hiatus Update (and a Few Good Reads on Youth and Libraries)

5 Mar

Weekly posts will resume on 2 April 2012. Thank you to everyone who sent a note after my previous post!

The deadline for the Teen Book Giveaway has been extended until 2 April, so enter in (and spread the word!). Winners will be announced by Friday 6 April.

No doubt you miss YA Library UK terribly and are dreading the empty, empty month of March. Never fear, for in the interim you can read a few other wonderful blogs:

I highly recommend the February issue of Teen Librarian Monthly, which (among many exciting things!) includes a fantastic introduction to Nerdfighters and a information on Speak Up for Libraries. Teen Librarian also recently posted an article about John Green and Nerdfighters.

Author Janet Dickey provides a free (and teen-tested!) outline for running a teen writing workshop.

Teen Librarian’s Toolbox is one of my favourite blogs for inspiration. A few interesting recent posts include projects for getting teens involved with poetry, an introduction to Pinterest, and a giant list of craft projects.

Did any of you give books away to young people for World Book Day? What are your plans for World Book Night next month? Will any of you be handing out books to or with young people?

YA Library UK Hiatus

15 Feb

As of today YA Library UK is on hiatus due to a death in my family.

Update 16/02/2012: the contest is still open, but it may take longer to select winners and mail prizes.

The Future of YA Library UK: A Conversation

25 Jan

I used to work at a public library. I don’t anymore. In fact, right now I don’t work in any library at all.*

Last year, the local council cut my (former) library’s budget exponentially. The library was allowed to cut any aspect of its services except one: we couldn’t close any branches. It was decided that meant cutting all of our enquiry desk staff and reallocating them to outreach positions (at a pay cut for those who had been librarians). After minimal training, library assistants were reallocated to the few remaining reference desks.

The local council knew branch closures are such a hot-button issue. They were likely aware that both staff and the public would put up a fight if they closed a branch. So instead, they went for something without a public face: cutting staff essential to providing a quality service.

The cuts were announced around the same time that certain necessary government services went online. The government failed to provide training programmes for those with low or no computer literacy skills, so local council employees referred the baffled and upset to the library with the vague words, “they might be able to help you.” New patrons flocked to the library. Demand increased while staff numbers began to dwindle. It was disheartening and put a tremendous strain on all of us. I had no idea what to do about it, or whether I could do anything at all. In the end I left.

YA Library UK will continue to run, some changes need to be made. This site was created for people who had the enthusiasm to provide teen services in their library, but who faced barriers like inexperience, limited budgets, and staff resistance. People who needed a demonstrable outcome to get real support for teen services, but didn’t have a clue where to start, or any guide to teach them. People who were doing the YA ordering and trying to figure out how to get the books young people actually wanted to read.

In many cases these concerns have become subordinate to cuts and closures. Without a library, a staff, or a budget, how can we provide a service to anyone, let alone teenagers?

I want to hear from you: what are the main challenges you’re facing in your library? Closures? Budget cuts? Staff cuts? If you’re still running a teen library service, what are your challenges there? Budget? Local (dis)interest? Colleagues who laothe teens? In some libraries, I know that many of these issues intersect.

In response to your feedback, I will formulate new directions for YA Library UK that respond more effectively to the current climate in public and school libraries. So please comment below (anonymous commenting is on!), tweet or email me and let me know about the challenges you’re facing.

*If you’re wondering what I’m up to these days, you can visit the updated about page.

New Year

1 Jan

There’s going to be some new YA Library UK content in 2012, including more requested posts and interviews.

In the meantime, please email me if you have any successes with your teen library projects or challenges you’d like help with. If you’re interested in guest posting, or know someone who I should interview, please let me know.

Happy 2012!

One Year Anniversary of YA Library UK!

21 Jul

16 July marked the one year anniversary of YA Library UK! Hooray for one year and over 10,000 views so far! To celebrate I have made YA Library UK a proper domain. From now on, please find us at www.yalibraryuk.org. (If you still use the old WordPress address, no worries – it will redirect automatically to the new URL.)

In the past year I have learned so much about teen library services in this country. There is more enthusiasm than I realised, and also more challenges than I initially dreamed. I hope this blog will continue to hope harness the former in order to overcome the latter.

Although there haven’t been many updates recently, I have been thinking about directions to take YA Library UK. I want it to respond to the needs of all you faithful readers. I’ve been considering ways that I can answer some of the serious requests I’ve received (advice on quality programmes libraries can provide for teens; ideas for dealing with disruptive young people without alienating them) while also getting back to what makes working with teens exciting in the first place: challenges and fun.

Working with teens isn’t just about connecting with young people, or organising well, or being kind but assertive; it’s about fun: having fun and showing young people how fun and important reading, information, and self-education are. In fact, fun is perhaps one of the most subversive things libraries can do, partly because they are seen as dry, dull, and lifeless.

So, expect two things: more posts responding to your requests, and more fun!

I aim to have a regular posting schedule, but I can’t always post as often as I like, so if anyone out there is interested in writing for YA Library UK regularly, occasionally, or even just once, I would love to hear from you.

A Welcome to New Subscribers (and A Few Updates)

20 May

Greetings to all of my new subscribers and readers! I’ve noticed quite a few of you going in the past few days. Please take a minute to fill out this short poll to help me improve YA Library UK. (Previous subscribers and readers, I urge you to take the poll if you haven’t already!)

Please take a look at Resources for YA Library Services for some posts on setting up core teen library services, getting funding for your projects, and general advice for working with teens.

View the Links/Where to Find page for other blogs and websites dedicated to teen library services. There’s a lot of great stuff out there!

A few other updates: Teen Librarian (teenlibrarian.co.uk) just had its FIFTH Anniversary! Teen Librarian was the first ever teen library services blog. Its author, librarian Matt Imrie, is an excellent teen librarian and inspiration. Three cheers for Teen Librarian!

Regular posts on this blog should resume next week (I have a huge backlog!). I’m going to put up a new vlog, too.