As information provider, a youth services librarian offers reference service, reader's advisory service, and information and referral service primarily to children, teens and adults who care for youth. A youth services librarian is a teacher, as well as an information provider when leading people through the process of searching for information in a variety of formats. The youth services librarian must be innovative and resourceful in providing information service to children, teens and adults.
At the Basic Level, the staff person performing the information provider role is able to:
Provide individuals with appropriate information sources and formats
Use interviewing techniques for determining an individual's information needs and interests, reading ability, and comprehension level (see also Communication-K)
Provide quality youth and adult reference service in a non-biased, non-judgmental
At the Enhanced Level, the information provider is able to:
Provide appropriate materials and services to youth with diverse needs based on knowledge of human development and current trends
Guide individuals through the process of searching for and evaluating information in a variety of formats
Refer individuals to related services, programs and resources
Demonstrate current knowledge and appreciation of materials for youth (see also: Collection Developer)
At the Exemplary Level, the information provider is able to:
Evaluate information resources
Programming is integral as an introduction and ongoing link to library services and resources that provide for recreational, informational and educational needs. The youth services librarian promotes the value and joy of reading, a love of libraries, and lifelong use of library materials to persons of all ages.
At the Basic Level, the staff person as program and events coordinator, is able to:
Be aware of trends I popular culture
Provide programs that meet the library's mission, goals and objectives
Develop an informal learning and recreational environment
At the Enhanced Level, the program and events coordinator, is able to:
Develop networks with community/area organizations
Plan programs that are responsive to community/area demographics and developmental needs
Demonstrate effective public relations skills
At the Exemplary Level, the program and events coordinator, is able to:
Plan, develop, promote, implement, and present a wide range of appropriate activities for diverse populations.
The youth services librarian teaches individually and in group settings. Staff teaches, models, demonstrates and facilitates the process of finding, integrating, using and sharing information as well as enjoying literature and reading. The youth services librarian serves not only youth, but also adults who work with youth. These include parents, grandparents, child care providers and other caregivers, social and health care workers, educators, students and other library staff. Teaching can range from explaining to new parents the advantages of reading to their children, to what to look for when selecting books, to a read-aloud workshop for classroom teachers. The youth services librarian also makes other library staff aware of special characteristics/information needs of young library users and adults who work with youth. The youth services librarian demonstrates to colleagues that library users of all ages are learners and patrons.
At the Basic Level, the staff person, as a learning facilitator:
Promotes reading for self help, information and enjoyment, and for developing higher level (critical) thinking skills.
At the Enhanced Level, the learning facilitator:
Has in-depth knowledge of children's and young adult literature
Understands how to use children's and young adult literature for various purposes
Is familiar with issues, trends and research relating to infant, child and adolescent development, reading, library services, literacy, etc.
Understands the learning process and varied learning styles in youth and adults
Is familiar with techniques for teaching youth and adults
Is able to identify learning needs of target groups
Is able to develop measurable learning goals and objectives
Is able to design, plan and organize learning units
Is able to select and use appropriate aids for teaching
Is able to adapt content and teaching technique to target individual or group needs, knowledge and comprehension level
Is able to use appropriate evaluative measures
The youth services librarian provides resources for problem solving by individuals, refers to other resources in the community or area, and provides information on accessing appropriate community resources. The advisor offers strategies and appropriate referrals in a nonjudgmental and supportive manner. The adviser treats all individuals with respect and in a caring way.
At the Basic Level, the staff person as an adviser:
Is able to help an individual define a problem
Demonstrates and promotes tolerance for persons with problems
Listens empathetically without encouraging individuals to become dependent
At the Enhanced Level, the adviser:
Is able to identify community resources and contacts appropriate for personal assistance or problem solving
Understands when and how to refer an individual to other human services and resources
At the Exemplary Level, the adviser:
Is able to distinguish between facilitating a problem solving process and solving a problem for an individual.
When selecting materials, the youth services librarian serves current needs and anticipates future needs of the library's clientele - children, teens parents and child care givers. That person develops and uses unbiased selection policies. The youth services librarian provides a variety of quality and popular materials in several formats and in sufficient quantity to fill needs of all age groups. The collection developer regularly uses weeding procedures a well as appropriate selection procedures to develop and maintain a well balanced collection.
At the Basic Level, the staff person, as collection developer:
Applies principles and policies related to collection development on a continuous basis
Uses appropriate review sources
Selects resources in various formats for appropriate ages and developmental stages
Uses appropriate assessment and weeding techniques to maintain the vitality of the collection
Is information literate
At the Enhanced Level, the collection developer:
Applies various techniques to evaluate and select print, on-line and media resources
Selects materials that reflect both community and global diversity
Is aware of popular culture
Prioritizes collection development based on budget constraints and community needs
At the Exemplary Level, the collection developer:
Assesses and revises the library's collection development policy on a continuous basis
Influences editors, publishers and vendors to better respond to community needs
Develops and implements intellectual freedom and collection development policies related to youth access to library resources
The youth services librarian plays a key role in bringing together others in the community who work with youth and their families, as well as provides resources and information to agencies and individuals who care for and serve youth. Networking is defined as establishing relationships, mutually promoting programs/services, and assessing needs. An outcome of networking is the development and implementation of collaborative programs. See also Partner-G, Advocate-H, Program and Events Coordinator-B.
At the Basic Level, the staff person, as a networker:
Is aware of and promotes services and programs available to and designed for youth and their families;
Is able to work in and with a group.
At the Enhanced Level the networker:
Participates I community literacy initiatives with agencies working in areas of literacy
Is committed to school/public library cooperation
Networks with professional colleagues at local, state and national levels
At the Exemplary Level, the networker:
Works with social services staff, health care providers, educators and others;
Participates in regional, state and national organizations (both library and youth service related.
As a partner* (or collaborator), a youth services librarian cooperatively designs, plans, executes and evaluates a program or project with personnel of one or more other agencies to meet a need, address an issue, or adopt an initiative I a community. As a partner, a youth services librarian is a decision maker with others I a community, o within an organization or government agency, to foster community well being, organizational goals, initiatives at various governmental levels, etc. Such activities may include, but are not limited to, co-sponsoring programs with community agencies, organizations or schools that serve youth and/or adults; establishing or participating in an advisory committee to plan and design projects that serve youth and their families or caregivers; contracting services; and developing and implementing joint grant writing projects. The partner is also an active networkers (see Networker-F).
At the Basic Level, the staff person, as a partner or collaborator:
Assesses targeted audience and their needs
Articulates the library's mission and goals
Exhibits an attitude of mutual respect and cooperation
At the Exemplary Level, the partner or collaborator:
Builds consensus using group process techniques appropriate to a situation;
Cooperates with persons from other agencies or organizations with diverse goals.
*Partner, Partnership - used for any of the following levels of cooperative effort:
Cooperation - collective action for common well being or progress
Coalition - a temporary alliance of distinct parties or persons for joint action or to achieve a common purpose
Collaboration - a work jointly with an agency or group with which one is not immediately connected often in some political or economic effort
Partnership - a relationship which may be legal and which usually involves close cooperation between parties having specified and joint rights and responsibilities (as in a common enterprise)
The youth services librarian respects all youth and acknowledges their rights to library materials and services to meet their needs and interests. The youth services librarian respects diversity in cultures, situations and abilities of youth and their families. To protect these rights, this person speaks for youth within the library and the larger community and is willing to participate with others in advocacy.
At the Basic Level, the staff person, as advocate:
Advocates for youth services within the organization
Supports equal access to material and services for youth
Demonstrates that youth are patrons and learners
Promotes the rights of youth
Understands organizational structures and political processes
Articulates issues and strategies clearly and tactfully
Promotes levels of parental involvement in youth selection and use of materials
Uses public relations techniques
At the Enhanced Level, the advocate:
Represents the library in youth advocacy concerns
Observes ad understands trends and patterns in issue development
At the Exemplary Level, the advocate:
Understands which decision makers are involved in an issue or situation
Uses various and effective strategies to build recognition and support for youth issues
>Is familiar with coalition building techniques
Is knowledgeable about legal issues affecting youth and families
All youth services staff perform some managerial functions, such as planning services, operating within a budget, supervising and training others.
At the Basic Level, the staff person, as manager is:
Able to use appropriate planning processes
Able to organize a project from planning through implementation and evaluation
Able to develop and work within a budget
Able to supervise, train and encourage others
Able to use appropriate measurement and evaluation methods
Able to work with individuals, local media, and other groups, using appropriate techniques, to promote youth services
Knowledgeable about the organizational structure and operations (see J)
At the Enhanced Level, the manager is:
Able to develop policies, guidelines and standards
Familiar with financial management theories and methods
Able to develop grant proposals
Familiar with personnel management and human resource development principles and Practices
Youth services staff should have appropriate technical and organizational knowledge for the assigned job. If each library staff member has this knowledge, library operations are likely to be efficient and patrons are more assured of receiving quality service.
Every youth services staff person demonstrates knowledge of:
The library's mission, goals and objectives
The library's philosophy of service
The library's policies and procedures;
The library's structure, governance and funding
The functions of the various library departments and/or services
The library's materials and collections
The influence of architecture, traffic patterns, signage, displays, etc. on library atmosphere
Laws currently affecting libraries and pending legislative changes
Budgeting methods and processes
Various techniques for assessing individual or community needs
Listening skills and the ability to communicate with the public and with other staff are fundamental to respect and understanding. Staff dealing with youth must be especially aware of these skills so they project the appropriate demeanor to children and youth.
Every youth services staff person:
Communicates appropriately with the user
Speaks clearly and effectively one-to-one, within groups, and in presentations to groups
Uses appropriate interviewing techniques for determining an individual's needs
Approaches others with poise, confidence and self control
Is comfortable with a diverse community of individuals and audiences
Writes clearly and effectively
Recognizes nonverbal communications
Responds to all tactfully
Youth services staff demonstrates positive personal characteristics and traits. Every youth services staff person:
Has a sense of humor
Is able to make appropriate decisions, i.e., initiates and uses effective problem solving techniques
Is able to use calm, logical approaches to problems
Admits the need to confer with, or refer a patron to, another person or agency
Is able to set priorities
Likes children and teens
Takes responsibility for her or his actions
Is accurate and pays attention to detail
A youth services staff person develops and demonstrates professional attitudes, as well as understands the functions of library service to youth in both public library and school settings. This person is committed to equal service for all patrons, to high standards of personal and professional ethics, and to the protection of patrons' privacy and their rights to intellectual freedom in their pursuit of knowledge. This person also is willing to participate in activities to improve job performance and to grow professionally.
Every youth services staff person:
Understands the purpose of library service in society;
Is committed to equal service for all patrons;
Is committed to protecting patrons right to privacy in their search for information;
Defends the right of children and teens to access of information;
Maintains a high standard of personal and professional ethics;
Participates in professional activities;
Participates in continuing education activities;
Keeps informed concerning trends, topics, research and issues in librarianship, youth services, youth development, reading, library materials, literacy and education.