Sharing Success Grant Program Supports Youth Services Librarians

Posted: March 24, 2010

Three GSLIS students have been named recipients of full-tuition scholarships through the Sharing Success program, a grant-funded project providing support to school or public youth services librarians who want to further their education as youth services librarians through the GSLIS Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) program. Maggie Hommel and Ruth Shasteen began their CAS studies in the fall 2009 semester, while Robin Gibson started the program this spring.

The program, “Sharing Success: Educating Professional Leaders in School and Public Youth Services Librarianship,” will fund eight full-tuition scholarships during the 2009-2010 and the 2010-2011 academic years.

The three recipients represent diverse areas of the youth services field, both in their backgrounds and their proposed areas of study. Hommel (MS ’06) spent the last three years working as the young adult librarian at a public library in the Chicago suburbs. While planning services for teens, Hommel realized that the gaming events were by far the most attended programs and discovered that her young patrons wanted to do more than simply play video games, but actually aspired to design and create games of their own. She believes that gaming in the library can offer far more than just a chance to play on the latest console, but also the opportunity to hone literacy skills and provide a source of meaningful engagement for teens. Hommel hopes to focus her CAS studies on the connections between gaming and literacy and how young people interact with media and technology.

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Ruth Shasteen has dedicated the last twenty years of her professional career to education and library work. As a classroom teacher, a public library director, a school district unit librarian, and a high school librarian, Shasteen has found the most satisfaction in helping young children, students, faculty, and adult patrons find the best ways to use library resources to meet their unique informational needs. She also believes that both public and school libraries – and thus the librarians that work there – have to be ready and able to embrace new technology, adapting it to patron needs and developing literate and healthy communities in today’s world. Shasteen plans on focusing her studies on the interaction of technology, literacy and learning, and how to promote responsible digital citizenship through both student instruction and professional development.

Although Robin Gibson took some time off from the profession after serving as a youth services coordinator and children’s librarian in Ohio, she never really left the library world. Working as a volunteer librarian at a local preschool, serving on ALSC’s committee for Great Web Sites for Kids, and reviewing books for School Library Journal have kept her pretty busy. The time she has spent volunteering at libraries and schools has only reaffirmed her belief that librarians are essential to developing a child’s love of reading and learning. Gibson is excited for this opportunity to update her professional skills and explore the changing roles of libraries in communities. She is particularly interested in strengthening the connections between librarians serving youth in both public and school settings and the school teachers working to foster the same goals of literacy.

All three students are excited about the opportunities to collaborate with GSLIS faculty and students as they engage with these new and challenging aspects of the field. As part of their CAS work, Sharing Success students will complete a research project that relates to youth services and develop a continuing education workshop based on this research. They will present their research-in-progress or completed workshops to an audience of GSLIS students and faculty as well as to their target audience of youth services practitioners.

Sharing Success is directed by GSLIS Associate Professor Christine Jenkins and Assistant Professor Carol Tilley and funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as part of the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. Both Jenkins and Tilley are thrilled with the program’s progress so far and believe that the success of these initial recipients will encourage youth services professionals to apply to the program and pursue this unique opportunity to for continuing professional development.

The upcoming deadline for Sharing Success applications is June 15 for students entering in Fall 2010.

Filed Under: Youth Literature, Culture, and Services, Sharing Success, CAS