For me, this has been a fantastic, fun class- and I cannot say “fun” about some of my other courses. I have learned a tremendous amount about ya: ya culture, ya literature and authors, technology, digital literacy, credibility of information, censorship, collaboration, creating and managing ya collections, and the future of all types of libraries. I truly appreciate the fact that this course has been taught by someone outside of the “library world”, but who gets libraries and librarians, and who wants to push the “conversation” forward. Dr. Hobbs’ perspective has challenged us to think deeply about our readings and discussions and to question what we are doing as librarians/facilitators and educators. I have truly enjoyed the on-line format; the platforms and tools we have used have enhanced the experience.
Coming into the course, I had some idea of what young adolescents were about – after all I was once a teen and I am currently living with two teens and one tween. This class has delved into many of the aspects of teens and related topics – what is being a teen about in 2014, learning as a teen, reading and ya literature, censorship of that literature, as well as teaching about credible information and other digital literacy issues.
Much of the conflict going on in an adolescent’s life was thoughtfully discussed in Hank Green’s, video Adolescence: Crash Course Psychology #20. This perspective summed up much of what we read and discussed in the beginning of our course and applies as we continue on.
A lot is going on for teens and young adults as they move toward adulthood , as Hayn & Kaplan (2012) identified, “their emotional development craves independence as they seek to form a personal identity” (p. 82). We have read about, watched, and discussed how YA literature helps teens and young adults figure themselves out. “Whether in graphic novels or in more traditional literature, adolescents will search for the words and pictures that portend to define them, no matter how disturbing the image may be” (Hayn & Kaplan, (2012), p. 33). Additionally, for me, although I found the discussion and reading around digital literacy to be fascinating and eye-opening and a great way to motivate youth – “hanging out, messing around, geeking out” (Tripp, 2011, p. 330), and learning skills necessary for the 21st Century,
the book by Penny Kittle, Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers, really grabbed me and spawned my final project about boys and reading.
After reading, reading, and reading, I have discovered that I want to somehow insert myself into this conversation (boys mostly) or cause about getting kids to read no matter what role I end up as a new librarian; even if it is participating as a book group volunteer/leader at my public library. This excitement for getting boys to read has also caused me to re-evaluate the last half of my program of study and to re-evaluate what I want my role to be in library science. At the beginning of this course, I noted that I still was unsure of which direction to go with my library science degree but that I thought I somehow want it to touch adolescents, and now almost 10 weeks later, I am realizing that I think I want to become a school librarian. The fact that I have found this course fun says something for what I have a passion for. Of course I have trepidation about this because, number one I would need to stay in grad school a bit longer (and that really makes me even more tired just thinking about it), but also the fact is that reading about the issues surrounding our schools, our students and teachers is one thing, actually working in that environment is a totally different animal, as is getting a job in the field. The goal of getting this degree is to get a job. All of the topics we have touched upon each week are so interesting to me. Hopefully, after my internship at an academic college this fall, I can use the knowledge from this course to aide me in figuring out my career track and what I want to do.
Additionally, Dr. Hobbs also has introduced us to many leaders in the field of digital literacy, reading and librarianship which has been inspiring and thought-provoking.
I have discovered new knowledge for myself and been able to learn beyond this course and relate it to my own life, but also to my role as a parent. Following many of these thought leaders on Twitter, and now also, Scoop.It, has expanded my world. I have to admit it is hard to find the time to keep up with it all. I have enjoyed reading David Lankes, Expecting More from Libraries and discovering other related information, such as Joyce Valenza’s infographic relating to Raganathan’s Laws of Library Science, which fits nicely into David Lankes discussion.
In addition to the authors and leaders we have been exposed to, the technology and tools we have touched upon have also been invaluable. Experiencing these tools firsthand has given me more confidence in my own technology skills, but it has also opened my eyes to different possibilities for using these in different environments. For instance, for my own research project, Flipgrid might be a great tool for a ya librarian or school librarian to record thoughts on books. Twitter, which most youths utilize, would be also a way for ya or school librarian to tweet about a new book coming into the library or to have a book talk as a group within Twitter. Utilizing these tools has been so much fun, and if they are fun for me they may just be as fun tool for young adults. I want to continue to learn and grow, and many of these tools are great jumping off points to continue that exploration. A graduate class should leave you with this ability to go further if you desire to go further, not simply check the box and be done with it.