Course Syllabus

Winter 2014


Instructor: Jennifer Bisson
Phone: 206-419-1984
Classroom: SIG 225
Meeting time:Thursdays from 1:30 - 4:20PM

Course Description

This course focuses on practical discussion of services, outreach, community partnerships, programming, and reader’s advisory tools for working with youth (0-20) specifically in a public library setting. The goal of the class is to work on the type of assignments/presentations you may have to do in a public library setting. We will also host several guest lecturers who are library professionals from around the state working with youth of all kinds in different capacities. The readings and student led discussions focus on youth developmental assets, brain development, early learning, programs/services, and outreach.
3 main goals of the class:

  • Get a basic grasp on what a public youth librarian job is really like day to day and an introduction to many of the main skills you will need in the field. You will learn from me, each other, your own observations, and network with library professionals from around WA (not just Seattle).
  • Learn about serving youth and their information behaviors, developmental stages, programming, outreach, community partners and aspects of being a youth advocate.
  • Have some practical deliverables.

3 main expectations of you:

  • Ask questions, steer the conversations where you want, fully engage with me, the guests and the material. Everyone should plan on speaking during every class.
  • You are responsible for getting the quality class experience you want. If you want something speak up, I will tailor the class to your needs and interests as much as possible.
  • Do your stuff on time, and put your heart into it. If you have an emergency or trouble talk to me, we are all human.
Academic Policies and Conduct (for information on grading, academic conduct, and other general academic policies)

Week 1: January 6th-10th


Developmental Assets and Brain Development

  • Introductions
  • Class goals and over view of projects
  • Developmental Assets
  • Early Literacy and brain development
  • Public Library Lingo 101


Readings/assignments to be done for class on January 9th

  1. Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming
  2. What’ll I do With the Baby-O? by Jane Cobb -page 27-49
  3. Literacy and Baby Brain Development
  4. The 40 Developmental Assets - read the lists of assets for all four age groups
  5. Raising the Bar in Public Libraries: Literacy, Adolescent Development and Young Adult Services

Week 2: January 13th-17th


Community Partnerships/Outreach: children

  • Sensory Story Times                                                                                                         
  • Guest Speakers:
    • CiKeithia Pugh, Early Learning Program Manager SPL
    • Maren Ostergard, Early Literacy/Outreach Librarian KCLS
    •  Mandy Gonnsen, Youth Services Librarian Washington Talking Book & Braille Library                           
  • Pick groups and library for group project


Bring 3-5 picture books to class

Observe a Story Time


Readings/assignments to be done for class on January 16th

  1. Maximize the Potential of Your Public Library - ICMA
  2. Family Language Kit Program: Connecting with Immigrant Families
  3. Library Services to Children, Teens and Families Experiencing Homelessness
  4. Chicago Stories of Community Building - Asset-Based Community  Development 
  5. Library may top Mill Creek's Target store


Week 3: January 20th-24th


Early Learning/Literacy 101

  • Early learning workshop with Blythe Summers and Betsy Kluck-Keil from the children's department at Central, SPL



Story Time Plan and Presentation


Readings to be done for class on January 23rd

(please note there are no readings for class next week so this reading is really two week's worth)

  1. From the Six Skills to the Five Practices
  2. What is Early Literacy -read all the links about Read, Play, Sing, Talk, and Write
  3. Ten Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for Racism and Sexism
  4. High Quality Early Learning Fights Crime 
  5. Getting the Most Out of Picture books
  6. Programming for Children with Special Needs – read all 5 parts 
  7. Language-Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K
  8. Characteristics of Good Story Time BooksPreview the documentView in a new window
  9. Baby Story Time OverviewPreview the documentView in a new window
  10. Preschool Story Time OverviewPreview the documentView in a new window
  11. Toddler Story Time Overview Preview the documentView in a new window

Week 4: January 27th-31st


Early Learning/Literacy 101 cont.

  • Story Time presentations
  • Group Project work time
  • Work on questions for school librarians


No readings as last week was double


Week 5: February 3rd-7th


Community Partnerships/Outreach Teens

  • Guest Speakers:
    • Rekha Kuver, Youth Department Manger SPL
    • Hayden Bass, Teen Librarian SPL
    • Carol Lo, Teen Librarian SPL
  • Teen voice in your library, TABS/TAGS, blogs, and displays
  • Teaching databases and library resources for school support


School Librarian Interview


Readings/assignments to be done for class on February 6th. This is a fairly light week so please consider reading ahead.

We will discuss the reading this week as a group. These readings are food for thought readings, please bring your thoughts on how these readings (and other things you have read and studied) influence library services for teens as a whole.

  1. "In Corvallis, homeless youth that make library their home creates conflict" by Daphne Carlson and Andre Yu Dalton
  2. Gay and Transgender Youth Homelessness by the Numbers
  3. Providing library service to incarcerated youth 


Week 6: February 10th-14th


School Success

Guest Speakers:

  • Ken Gollersud, Teen/adult librarian SPL
  • Nancy Garrett, Teen librarian SPL  
  • Alicia Craven Programs Manager
    826 Seattle
  • Presentations of school librarian interviews



Readings/assignments to be done for class on February 13th

  1. All Aboard!: Implementing Common Core offers school librarians an opportunity to take the lead. Discussion leader #4
  2. Collaboration Between School and Public Libraries Best Practices Discussion leader #1.
  3. School and Public Library Relationships: Essential Ingredients in Implementing Educational Reforms and Improving Student Learning Discussion leader #1.
  4. Parents, Children, Libraries, and Reading - Discussion leader #3

Week 7: February 17th-21st



  • Programming Panel: TBD
  • Kitchen Sink questions
  • School Librarian Interviews cont.


  1. Chapter Three: Communication, Marketing and Outreach from Young Adults Deserve the Best: Yalsa’s Competencies in ActionView in a new windowDiscussion leader #2.
  2. Chapter Four: Administration from Young Adults Deserve the Best: Yalsa’s Competencies in Action Discussion leader #2.    
  3. Chapter Seven: Services from Young Adults Deserve the Best: Yalsa’s Competencies in Action Discussion leader #3.
  4. "The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action" (PDF) or the Executive Summary (PDF). - I am asking you all to focus on the executive summary except the discussion leader should read the whole report. However,  the full report is of value to you all, in case you want to read it.Discussion leader #5
  5. Elsworth Rockefeller, “Striving to Serve Diverse Youth: Mainstreaming Teens with Special Needs through Public Library Programming,”View in a new window Public Libraries 47, no. 1 (Jan./Feb. 2008): 51. Discussion leader #4.

Week 8: February 24th-28th


  • Kitchen Sink: The topics YOU want covered
  • Discuss your Next Five results


Sign up for Your Next Five Books


This is a light reading week so you can catch up on any readings you may have missed.

  1. Younger Americans’ Reading and Library Habits
  2. Why Hasn’t the Number of Multicultural Books Increased In Eighteen Years?


Week 9: March 3rd-7th


Readers Advisory

  • Guest Speakers: Teen and Children's librarian demo book talking
  • Readers Advisory in all it's forms: Displays, Highlighting all parts of the collection, Your Next 5, Book Lists, Reviews



Community Analysis Executive Summary

Presentation (Graded as a Group)

Program Plan



Readings/assignments to be done for class on March 6th

  1. ALSC Awards, Grants & Scholarships
  2. YALSA's Book Awards & Booklists
  3. Cindy Orr's Golden Rules of Readers' Advisory Service
  4. Readers' Advisory for Youth
  5. Indianapolis Library Refuses to Censor Erotic Novel
  6. The Pitfalls of Reader Profiling

Week 10: March 10th-14th


Community Analysis Presentations

  • Group Presentations
  • Evaluations


No readings please spend the time

making your projects excellent!

Finals Week: March 15th-21st

Course Summary:

Date Details Due