What I’m Reading

Yesterday I wrote about the powerful and important work of Nadya Okamoto, social activist and founder of PERIOD. She runs the largest youth-run non-profit in the area of women’s health. Well, Firefox’s Pocket feature must be getting smarter based on my search terms because a pretty good nugget was in today’s recommended articles. Settle in and check out what I’m reading:

Reading #1:

Myriad coming-of-age novels detail the rites of passage that teenagers go through on their journey to adulthood. But what happens when those rites of passage diminish in importance and value?

The number of sixteen year-olds with a driver license dropped from 46.2% in 1983 to 24.5% in 2014. The rise in ride-sharing such as Lyft, Bird scooters, and Zip Car means the percentage will continue to drop.

The current generation of teenagers are less likely to be employed than in previous generations. This is due to the uptick in importance of after-school activities, clubs, and sports. How can we help youth grow steadily into adulthood without these major milestones?

UC Berkeley’s Greater Good website published How to Help Young People Transition Into Adulthood. The author, along with educators and graduate students, developed a prototype of a modern day Rites of Passage project. A young person and their mentor work together to determine the teen’s strengths, interests, and passions. Those are the main factors as the teen completes their project.

Not only does the teen conceive of the project, but they also build a project plan, organize support (volunteers, donors, etc), and implement the project.

One threshold that must be crossed for the young participant is awe. “‘Numinosity,’ or the sense that there is a larger force at work in the world is key to meaningful rites of passage…it is a positive way to catalyze the identity shift necessary to leave childhood and become fully adult.”

Check out the article and tell me in the comments what you think of this contemporary rite of passage, or a memory of your own ROP experience.

Reading #2:

YALSA – the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association – published Transforming Library Services For and With Teens Through Continuing Education. It’s an important read for anyone invested in the theory and practice of youth in public libraries. (Ahem, me.)

Choosing to stay up-to-date in your field is critical. It’s not just cute, it’s imperative. The world is changing around us everyday! Everything from technology, political revolutions, and the emergence of understanding and accepting/welcoming other cultures and ideologies.

I immerse myself in publications because I want to ensure that I stay abreast of topics, and help others do so. Librarians and paraprofessionals – from teen librarians, young adult services librarians, or library generalists who serve teens – are usually the only person on their staff doing the work of serving youth. They likely fight for a teen services line in the library budget, not to mention for the time off-desk to plan and host programs, visit schools, and conduct outreach.

I love helping teen-serving library staff make the argument for their positions and budgets because I get to watch their self-confidence and professional self-esteem soar. The YALSA publication should give them some of that as well.

Cover of the YALSA publication "Transforming Library Services For and With Teens Through Continuing Education"

Reading #3

I’m also reading books. There’s a common misconception that librarians read books at work. Instead, we cram our favorite past time into our lunch breaks, before falling asleep, or on our commute via audiobook. You can follow what I’m reading from my favorite personal book database, LibraryThing.

I prefer Goodreads for the conversation. Find me and let’s talk!

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