May 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

YALSA Wins IMLS Grant to Train Librarians to Better Serve Teens

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to fund its three-year project, Transforming Teen Services: A Train the Trainer Approach.

According to YALSA, to meet the changing needs of teens, along with educating future librarians, strategies need to be in place to give current staff the kind of continuing education opportunities that inform and develop the skills needed to better meet the youth communities’ needs. This project’s goal is to create a program that trains that staff to not only better serve their young patrons but be able to train other library staff.

Granted the full $497,635 requested, YALSA—in partnership with the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)—will run Train the Trainer project for state library agency (SLA) youth consultants and frontline library staff from each state and U.S. territory. The program aims to build connected learning (CL), computer science (CS), cultural competence, and other skills. Using a CL framework, it will allow library staff to run programs that don’t require specific technology or level of CS knowledge.

“By working collaboratively with SLA youth consultants and frontline library staff, YALSA will be able to help library staff implement the elements of The Future of Library Services for and with Teens and YALSA’s new Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff, thus transforming library services for teens across the country,” YALSA President Sandra Hughes-Hassell said in a statement announcing the IMLS grant and Train the Trainer program.

After a pilot session, the project will train 55 SLA staff and 55 frontline library staff through in-person and online sessions. Those 110 staff members will bring the continuing education to other library staff in their state. Those trainees will then provide programs and services for/with youth, especially underrepresented youth.

Following the first two years, each of the 110 originally trained cohort members will plan, implement, and evaluate at least five training sessions in their state. During the course of the project, which runs from July 1, 2018 to June 20, 2021, resources including free webinars and e-courses will be available to the library community.

With this training, YALSA and COSLA hope to “achieve the next step toward developing a coordinated, efficient, and effective process for transforming teen services throughout the United States, so that teen programs and services enhance civic and cultural engagement, facilitate lifelong learning, promote digital inclusion, and support economic vitality.”

To learn more about the project, please visit www.ala.org/yalsa/train-trainer-project.

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