Working Towards More Ethical Behavior

Many of our libraries have diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. I counted five sessions at the 2018 OLA Annual Conference that were related to the DEI work Oregon libraries are doing. We are at different places in our learning and growth around DEI. Wherever you are at in your DEI learning, I hope you will watch this video and think critically about the main points no matter how uncomfortable it may feel.

TEDTalk

How to let go of being a “good” person—and become a better Person
Dolly Chugh at TED@BCG
October 2018

Here are a few things from the video I want to remember:

  • “Bounded rationality is the Nobel Prize-winning idea that the human mind has limited storage resources, limited processing power, and as a result, it relies on shortcuts to do a lot of its work.”
  • “At any given moment, 11 million pieces of information are coming into your mind. And only 40 of them are being processed consciously.”
  • When we make mistakes that threaten our attachment to being a good person, like mistakes that hurt other people or promote injustice despite our intentions, we explain them away rather than learning from them.
  • These types of mistakes make us fight for our good person identity. Whereas other types of mistakes, like in accounting or parenting, make us seek out help from others, training, and books and articles so we can learn from our mistakes and improve.
  • Most of the time no one calls us out on these kinds of mistakes. Most of the time no one challenges our good person identity. This means we don’t think much about the ethical implications of those mistakes and we spiral towards less and less ethical behavior.
  • When someone notices us make these kinds of mistakes and points it out or asks us about it, it feels like they are challenging our good person identity. In these cases we have to think about the implications of our mistake and we begin to spiral towards more and more ethical behavior.
  • “We have this definition of good person that’s either-or. Either you are a good person or you’re not. Either you have integrity or you don’t. Either you are a racist or a sexist or a homophobe or you’re not. And in this either-or definition, there’s no room to grow.”

Here are a few of the questions I am thinking about:

  • How can I practice finding my mistakes when people don’t call me out on them?
  • How am I going to work through the instinct to fight for my good person identity so my response doesn’t end there… so I can identify my mistake and start the work to learn from it?
  • How am I going to invite colleagues to call me out? If you notice a DEI mistake in this blog, please provide constructive feedback. We are at different places in our DEI learning and growth, and you may be ahead of me. If so, share some of your resources please!
  • How am I going to deal with the discomfort and embarrassment the next time someone calls out my mistakes so I can learn and improve?
  • What am I going to do next time I notice a colleague make a DEI mistake? If I address it, can I help them work through the instinct to fight for their good person identity and deal with the discomfort and embarrassment to foster learning instead of defensiveness?
  • Circling back to a previous post about being good enough, how do we library professionals support each other in being good-ish and good enough? How do we help each other through our mistakes, acknowledging that they have “real costs to real people,” in a way that fosters growth and improvement without feeding into the perfectionist tendencies many of us have? If we wait to implement DEI initiatives until we think we have the perfect plan, we will never do it and we’ve already waited too long to address institutional and historic racism in public libraries.

What is Klamath County Library doing for teens? By Stephanie Goodwin

In recent years, the Klamath County Library has struggled with getting teens involved.  It’s not unusual for us to get 20 or more teens in the library after school, but they are not interested in taking part in any activity we plan even when it’s something they suggest we do.  About 2 years ago I read about the Breakout EDU escape the room kit and thought this would be a fun addition to our library so ordered one.  It didn’t take long for my staff to begin writing their own mysteries and doing special after hours dinner for our teens.  The teens have to pre-register and we limit our participation to 10-15 teens.  They are encouraged to dress up either as a specific character, in a certain time period, or just in their fanciest.  For those who don’t come dressed up we have a box of random items they can use.  Our mysteries have been everything from vampires, to Dr. Diabolical infecting the world, and everything in between.

We have had a great response to this program from our teens.  Often they request we do it every Friday night instead of the monthly/bimonthly schedule we are currently following.  Some of our teens are very creative and come dressed up and others just come for the pizza.  In the end, they are learning how to work in a team (often unsuccessfully), use the library, and tune their critical thinking skills.

A few things we have learned from doing these programs is

  1. A smaller group is better
  2. Have 1 library staff member who is a lifeline to help teens solve the puzzles. Typically teens can ask 3 questions.
  3. Teens do not always catch on as fast as we think they should. The first few we did were way too hard.  We have had to make the puzzles easier.

Written by Stephanie Goodwin

 

Klamath County Library’s 2016-2017 statistics from the State Library of Oregon:

  • County: Klamath
  • Population: 67,410
  • Registered borrowers: 38,617
  • Total library visits: 315,231
  • Total library hours in a typical week: 52
  • Total paid staff: 33.36

Learn more about Klamath County Library via their website and facebook page.

Want to share what your library is doing for teens? Contact Katie Anderson.

 

 

Being Good Enough

 It’s Okay to Be Good and Not Great (Brad Stulberg, Oct. 16, 2018, Outside) is an important reminder that it’s okay not to be perfect and provides some helpful advice.

Here are my key takeaways from the article:

  • This [good enough] mindset improves confidence and releases pressure because you don’t always feel like you’re coming up short.
  • It also lessens the risk of injury—emotional and physical—since there isn’t a perceived need to put forth heroic efforts every day.
  • The result is more consistent performance that compounds over time.
  • Research shows that sustainable progress, in everything from diet to fitness to creativity, isn’t about being consistently great; it’s about being great at being consistent. It’s about being good enough over and over again.

Here is the advice from the article that I think is particularly relevant to teen librarians and teens:

  • Accept where you are
  • Be patient
  • Be present
  • Be vulnerable
  • Foster an “in-real-life” community

 

What is Creswell Library doing for teens? By Nick Caum

CreswellLibrary

Two Fridays a month teens gather in our little library to play Dungeons and Dragons. We call our program Teen Tabletop. While this may seem like a complete waste of time to many, the program is actually wonderful at developing four key skills identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning. Those skills are collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking, also referred to as the 4CS. Perhaps the biggest gain for me is the face to face interaction that the game requires.

Teens have responded by spending a ton of time in the library. Seriously, they are here using our books and chatting about their D&D grams. We’ve also had a lot of new teens join the library community using the D&D program as their gateway which is reflected across the board in teen programming attendance. The program has also facilitated the development of lasting relationships between library staff running the program and the teens participating. The popularity of the program has increased dramatically, when we first started we had six teens attending, we now consistently have 20+ teens at each event.

5 tips and lessons learned:

  1. Know what you are doing. Don’t try to fake it, play the game first or find someone in your community who will help facilitate the program. There may even be a teen or two who can help out!
  2. Make the teens stick to the rule book. At least while they learn to play, then let them do whatever they want.
  3. Play with the teens. This is a wonderful way to develop lasting relationships.
  4. Pencils. Get those things on Subscribe and Save because they are going to disappear like ice on a hot day. It isn’t anyone’s fault, it just happens.
  5. Let them be silly. This is a great chance for teens to be silly and creative and themselves. This is the chance they have to do all the things that race through their minds through the school week that they know they shouldn’t do.

Written by Nick Caum

 

Creswell Library’s (Lane Library District) 2016-2017 statistics from the State Library of Oregon:

  • County: Lane
  • Population: 8,434
  • Registered borrowers: 2,781
  • Total library visits: 84,601
  • Total library hours in a typical week: 45
  • Total paid staff: 3.70

Learn more about Creswell Library via their website and facebook page.

Want to share what your library is doing for teens? Contact Katie Anderson.

 

Superpower Girls

Superpower Girls: Female Representation in the Sci-fi/Superhero Genre

A study by Women’s Media Center and BBC, October 2018

SuperheroStudy

Key take-aways:

  • “Every demographic group we spoke to expressed a strong desire for more female superheroes…”
  • “Female sci-fi/superheroes are more impactful sources of inspiration for girls than male heroes are for boys, empowering girls—and especially girls of color—to believe they can achieve anything they put their mind to.”
  • “Teen girls are significantly less likely than teen boys to describe themselves as confident, brave, and heard. And these challenges are even more pronounced for girls of color.”
  • “Despite notable campaigns to boost women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), we still see a 23-point gender gap between teen boys and girls with regards to interest in STEM careers.”
  • “1 in 3 teens [including boys] agree that girls have fewer opportunities than boys to be leaders.”
  • “If you can’t see her, you can’t be her,” BBC America President Sarah Barnett

Library considerations:

  • How many sci-fi/superhero movies for teens does my library show featuring strong female leads?
  • How many strong female leads does my library emphasize when we have sci-fi/superhero fandom events?
  • Looking at displays of TV and movies for teens in my library and at my library’s online presence, how many items feature a strong female lead?
  • What percentage of my library’s teen advisory council (or similar) are girls? Is this representative of the percentage of regulars who are teen girls?
  • Looking at the leadership opportunities my library offers teens, what percentage are offered to teen girls? Is this representative of the percentage of regulars who are teen girls?

What is Newport Public Library doing for teens? By Stacy Johns

NewportPublicLibraryTeenRoom1

Newport Public Library created a new Teen Room in 2016 when our director and supervisor kindly surrendered their office space. It compressed the staff, but made a huge improvement for teens, who had previously had only a corner of the main fiction area with limited shelving and no “hang out” area. The Teen Room is relatively small, probably 30′ X 15′, but it has a door that closes, a Playstation, a whiteboard, a Teen Art Display, and a genrified collection with a large area for graphics.

We went from  having no regulars, to having a dozen to sixteen or so kids, probably 75% boys, coming to hang out after school each day, with new kids popping in regularly as well. Our circulation numbers jumped at first, but have leveled out. It’s a safe and parent-friendly place for kids to plan to go meet their friends after school, and it’s popularity highlights that there’s more of a need for this in our community than we can provide for! The kids are required to interact with library staff and security guards, and some of our long-timers have definitely showed improvement over time in understanding how to share a public space and how to communicate with adults.

NewportPublicLibraryTeenRoom2

We’re learned a lot from our experience, and consider it a success, but noise and rambunctiousness have been an issue with the staff overall, as the room is poorly insulated and right next to the staff work area. We tried to find attractive, teen friendly furniture, but have found that kids are rougher on it than we expected–they want to sit on the edges of tables, and move the cafe stools up and down so that the metal supports bend and fiberglass pieces snap. We’re starting to consider switching to indestructible vinyl couches and a low, solid coffee table. The paw and hand chairs and the vinyl hassock pieces have help well, though. The cameras are indispensable–sadly, we’ve had a couple serious behavioral issues where reconstruction of events was key.

Written by Stacy Johns

 

Newport Public Library’s 2016-2017 statistics from the State Library of Oregon:

  • County: Lincoln
  • Population: 17,254
  • Registered borrowers: 12,173
  • Total library visits: 160,390
  • Total library hours in a typical week: 62
  • Total paid staff: 11.9

Learn more about Newport Public Library via their website and facebook page.

Want to share what your library is doing for teens? Contact Katie Anderson.

 

Nominate Books for the 2019 Book Raves

Nominate Books

Book Rave is an annual list produced by the members of the Oregon Young Adult Network and announced at the Oregon Library Association’s annual conference in April. Books nominated should be written and marketed for readers of middle and high school age (generally 6th-12th grade) and be published between November 1, 2017 and October 31, 2018.

Nominations will be collected until early December 2018. Members will then be invited to vote on the nominated books through mid-January 2019, narrowing the list to approximately 20 OYAN Book Rave selections. The list is further discussed at the winter meeting of the Oregon Young Adult Network.

Please nominate early and often!

Access past Book Raves on the OYAN website.

Book Raves Project Lead, Sonja Somerville