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Thursday, February 8 • 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Session 6.3A - Juried Papers: Co-designing the Next Generation of Education for Children and Youth Librarians: A Research-Practice Partnership.

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Too often, we in the academy rue the division of research and practice. This is often evident in the disjuncture between what is covered in the MLIS curriculum and what is needed in the communities our graduating librarians serve. While the student body of MLIS programs can offer feedback to the LIS schools, these students may not be working at library and/or may have limited exposure to the needs of the communities that they would like to serve. In the youth librarianship area, development in learning, technology, and youth culture is so swift that librarians need to adopt new roles and approaches in working with youth that are quite different from what they have learned in the graduate preparation programs.
YOUTH EXPERIENCE (YX)
In this paper, we take up this challenge of re-envisioning the education of children and youth librarians so that they can better understand how youth learn with technology and promote 21st century skills among youth ages 0-18. Drawing on the latest thinking and research from domains in and outside LIS, four categories of interrelated knowledge and skills sets emerge as potentially needed by librarians to promote learning and innovation among youth:
Transition from expert to facilitator by engaging in active and continuous learning with teens and for teens (Braun, Hartman, Hughes-Hassell, & Kumasi, 2014, Braun & Visser, 2017) to “re-imagin[e] services and spaces” (IMLS, 2015, p. 2).
Apply interdisciplinary approaches drawing on research, methods, and best practices from domains such as the learning sciences to establish equal partnerships and learning opportunities that facilitate discovery and use of digital media.  (ARUP, 2015; Bertot, Sarin, & Percell, 2015; IMLS, 2015).
Develop dynamic community partnerships that reach beyond the library, specifically “building partnerships and collaborations in their communities” (Braun, et al., 2014, p. 23).
Work with youth from non-dominant groups who need the libraries the most (Braun, et al., 2014, p. 23; IMLS, 2015).
We have coined a term to classify these knowledge and skills that children and youth librarians must posses as the Youth eXperience (YX) (inspired by the term User Experience in computing).  We offer YX specialization within our MLIS program and also as a post-master’s certificate program for in-service librarians. Through a series of participatory design activities with children and youth services librarians across the country, we answer the following three questions:
What knowledge and skills do librarians need to possess to excel as YX librarians (in addition to the ones we have identified above)?
How do we bring in approaches, methods, and best practices from disciplines outside of the LIS (if needed) into the YX curriculum?
How do we package these skills into courses (including types of assessments, etc) for pre-service (in our MLIS program) and in-service youth librarians (continuing education certificate programs)?
METHOD
Using the skills and knowledge described conceptually in the reports mentioned above, we tentatively outlined the learning objectives of the four YX required courses using our collective expertise in youth and children’s librarianship, the learning sciences, human computer interaction, emerging literacy, and youth learning/culture. These courses were Facilitating Youth Learning in Informal and Formal Environments, Promoting Rich Learning with Technology, Design Thinking and Youth and Capstone in YX. Course learning objectives were developed with the end in mind - the Capstone course acts as a culminating project pulling all the skills and dispositions together. We conducted participatory design sessions with 57 youth service librarians at both the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) symposium and the American Library Association Midwinter meeting. These sessions drew from a toolbox of participatory design techniques, including “big paper” brainstorming exercises, ideation using sticky notes and presentations by the participating librarians. All activities were designed to solicit unfettered feedback and determine which skills were the most critical and useful for them (Guha, Druin, & Fails, 2013, Walsh et al., 2013). These sessions were documented using field notes, audio recordings, and photographs (see Fig. 1).
Themes, or “big ideas,” (see fig. 2 & 3 in the uploaded document) emerged from these design sessions and formed the basis of refining these courses. A thematic content analysis approach similar to that described by Libarkin, Thomas, and Ording (2015) was utilized to transform these needs into refined learning objectives, which then informed the topics that need to be covered, skills that will be facilitated, and assignments that will measure the achievement of the objectives for each of these courses.
FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION
As a result of the above-mentioned design activities, the needs of the children and youth librarians were adequately captured. In this presentation, we will share artifacts from these design activities to demonstrate how decisions were made. We will also share how we ensured the progression of skills and knowledge from one course to the other. Additionally, we will offer recommendations on how we have structured the courses to ensure that continuous observations of librarians’ acquisition of skills is monitored and informs the subsequent design of the courses and entire YX curriculum (currently the first cohort of continuing education YX certificate program is in progress). We will conclude this presentation by sharing the opportunities and challenges that such research-practice partnerships offer to LIS educators within youth librarianship or other sub-fields within LIS.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors wish to thank the Institute of Museum and Library Services for their generous funding for this project. We would also like to thank our partners (the Office for Information Technology Policy and Young Adults Library Services Association  - both divisions within the ALA) who provided ideas and perspectives on engaging librarians in the design and conception of this project. Our heartfelt thanks to our fabulous advisory board members who provided valuable advice throughout the project and the librarians who participated in our design sessions.


Thursday February 8, 2018 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Meadowbrook I

Attendees (7)