Risky Business: Taking and Managing Risks in Library Services for Teens

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the Authors

Do we add that edgy urban novel to our teen collection? Should we initiate social networking? What about abandoning Dewey for a bookstore arrangement? Change is risky business, but librarians must be prepared to initiate change to best serve teens. YA service innovators Linda W. Braun, Hillias J. Martin, and Connie Urquhart explain how to be smart about taking risks without shying away from them. They offer concrete advice for

  • Laying the groundwork for change in key areas such as collection building and programming
  • Including technology components as part of traditional services, such as booktalks, information literacy instruction, and book discussion groups
  • Effectively gaining support from administrators and colleagues

A resource list highlights articles and websites about risk in libraries, risk management, and teens and risk taking. In addition, appendixes offer YALSA's competencies for serving youth and YALSA's white papers, which discuss the importance of teen literature, the need to include young adult services in library school curricula, and the need for dedicated space and teen services staff in public libraries. Real-world examples of risky change in action from librarians and authors of YA lit enrich this exploration of a topic rarely discussed in depth, but central to YA services in school and public libraries today.

Introduction: A Risky Theme

Chapter 1 The What and Why of Risk Taking in Teen Services
Chapter 2 Risk-Worthy Collections
Chapter 3 Risk-Worthy Collections: What Authors Have to Say
Chapter 4 Risks in Programming: A Necessity
Chapter 5 Technology: A Risk Worth Taking
Chapter 6 Selling Risk to Administration and Colleagues
Chapter 7 Risky Career Moves
Chapter 8 Teens as Risky Role Models


A Meet the Risk Takers
B Risky Decision Making: Assessing Risk Readiness
C Risky Decision Making: Is This a Risk Worth Taking?
D Forty Developmental Assets for Adolescents Ages Twelve to Eighteen
E Resources That Support Smart Risk Taking
F YALSA White Papers
G Young Adults Deserve the Best: YALSA's Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth


Linda W. Braun

Linda W. Braun is an education technology consultant with LEO: Librarians & Educators Online. She provides training and consulting to schools, libraries, and other educational institutions on how to integrate technology successfully. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science, where she teaches courses on Web development and teen services. Linda has written books for ALA Editions, Neal-Schuman, Libraries Unlimited, and Information Today. She is also a TAG Team Tech columnist for Voices of Youth Advocates, and was blog manager for YALSA from 2006 through 2009.

Hillias "Jack" Martin

Hillias "Jack" Martin began working in libraries at the age of 13 when his mom volunteered him to work for his local public library in Cornelia, Georgia. Since then he has worked in Athens, Georgia, and in Providence, Rhode Island, leading him to his current position as assistant director for public programs and lifelong learning for children, teens, and families at the New York Public Library. He's an adjunct professor at Queens College and Pratt Institute, and is the coauthor of Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Teens: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Libraries. He lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with his husband and two bad cats.

Connie Urquhart

Connie Urquhart is teen services coordinator for the Fresno County Public Library System, where she provides services to teens in all communities within Fresno County, California. She received her MLIS from the University of Washington's Information School and has presented workshops on booktalking, school and public library partnerships, and technology. An active YALSA member, Connie has served on several committees and task forces and is also a YALSA blogger. This is her first book.

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is a national association of librarians, library workers and advocates whose mission is to expand and strengthen library services for teens, aged 12-18. Through its member-driven advocacy, research, and professional development initiatives, YALSA builds the capacity of libraries and library staff to engage, serve and empower teens.