Young Adult Library Services

Vol 13 No 1_Fall 2014

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11 Fall 2014 Young Adult Library Services YALS K-FAI STEELE is an artist who managed the Maker Jawn initiative at the Free Library of Philadelphia. She is an advocate for creative technology education for both youth and library staff in commu- nity libraries. T he Maker Jawn Initiative (http:// at the Free Library of Philadelphia brings together a team of artists, engineers, designers, and thinkers who work in libraries. We are united in our dedication to mentoring nondominant youth in creative technology at Philadelphia neighborhood libraries. We cheerlead latent enthusiasts by providing resources, tools, and an encouraging space for interest-driven projects that develop skills, build persistence, and open up new trajectories. Maker Jawn experiments with creating replicable, scalable spaces and programs that prioritize the creativity, cultural heritage, and interests of diverse communities, embedded directly within the fabric of the library. Maker Jawn also holds professional development workshops for Free Library staff . We were invited to lead a breakout session during All Staff Day 2014, a professional development workshop that happens once a year for the 700+ employees at the Free Library of Philadelphia. The Maker Jawn team managed one of the breakout sessions, an hour-long "Maker Sampler" where all departments, from custodial to development to executive, were invited by 14 Maker Jawn mentors to engage in activities staff had seen teens and youth involved in at their neighborhood libraries; they soldered together their own artbots, created a DIY version of the MaKey MaKey, contributed to an interactive pencil drawing, and participated in a green screen video where they ran alongside Rocky, through the Italian market and up the art museum steps. It has been amazing to see how this STEAM-focused, community-embedded innovative programming has grown in Philadelphia since its start in 2013— and, without librarians having a hand in running any of these maker programs. The Maker Jawn Initiative is built on a model that diff ers from youth service programs in other libraries. We have received many questions about how we develop and staff our maker program, as well as questions about institutional logistics, particularly after presenting a program, Teaching Teens How to Fail, at the ALA Annual Conference in 2014 in Las Vegas. All Maker Mentors are artists, musicians, designers, and educators. They work for 20 hours a week in 10 library locations, primarily in North and West Philadelphia, teaching community youth how to combine technology with crafting and storytelling. The Maker Mentor position is part- time/temporary and is city funded (with the exception of two or three work study students and interns). I hold a grant- funded position at the Free Library of Philadelphia, and I am the only one on the Maker Jawn initiative who is full time. No Maker Mentor has a degree in library science. People who ask us questions want to know: Why weren't librarians a part of the program from the start? Why aren't librarians running it? How does this program integrate with library services as a whole? How did an initiative like this get started without the help of librarians? Is this "legal" in the library world? Will librarians be replaced by self-check-ins, MOOCs, Google, and… artists? The answer to that last question is "no," but the very existence of the Maker Jawn initiative in Philly raises interesting points that the YALSA report on the future of library services with and for teens also addresses: the notion of embracing a nontraditional staffi ng model, and the shifting roles not only of libraries in the The Future of Libraries and Nontraditional Staffing Models By K-Fai Steele feature Hot Spot: Yes I Can

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