YALSA has recently released new Teen Services Competencies along with a set of Teens First resources that the organization describes as a “paradigm shift” for the field of youth librarianship. Central to this shift is YALSA’s description of public librarians as educators and the assertion that public youth services librarians should be planning and leading intentional, equity-based, and youth-centered learning activities. The most recent competencies for librarians serving children in libraries released by ALSC also describe an expanded instructional role for public librarians. But what does (and could) instruction look like in a public library setting? In this session, we will explore that question and share a new open-access resource for public librarians titled Instruction and Pedagogy for Youth in Public Libraries. This text was collaboratively written by the instructor and students in the graduate-level MSLS course Instruction for Youth in School and Public Libraries, offered at UNC Chapel Hill in Fall 2017.
There seems to be little resistance to the idea that children and teens learn in public library spaces. Academic and practitioner journals often highlight the public library’s role in traditional literacy development, information and media literacy, and STEM / STEAM learning. However, many public librarians do not see themselves as teachers. This implies that much of the learning that happens in public libraries is incidental—tangential to the “real” purpose and design of these spaces and programs.
In this session, we will make the case that public librarians should embrace an explicit instructional role as a core part of their professional practice. In making this shift, public librarians would be following in the footsteps of both academic and school librarians, whose instructional roles are widely acknowledged now but are relatively recent additions to their professional responsibilities.
ALA Unit/Subunit: YALSA
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.