Letter from the Editor

What goes better together—peanut butter and cucumbers or teen groups and movies? Well, if you answered peanut butter and cucumbers, I’d say you were a daring epicurean! If you said teen groups and movies, then you are reading the latest entry of
Young Adult Library Services
(YALS). This issue focuses on two topics: multimedia for and with teenagers, and teen leadership.

If you read the Young Adult Library Services Association’s Youth Participation Guidelines, www.ala.org/yalsa/yalsainfo/ythpartgui.html, you will see the definition is “Involvement of young adults, ages 12 through 18, in responsible action and significant services for their peers and the community.” Now I know there are hundreds of ways to involve teens, from shelving books to performance groups. But one of the most powerful is an entity called the teen advisory group (a.k.a. TAG, TAB, TAC, YAB, YAC, YAAC, TLC, TLB, etc.) No matter what they may be called, one very basic element is common to all these groups: they are asset builders. Based on the Search Institute’s Developmental Assets (www.search-institute.org/assets), teen advisory boards serve a multitude of positive functions. Besides being effective within the individual library’s operations, these groups can blossom into strong advocates beyond the library walls. Involved young adults learn skills that will transform them into tomorrow’s leaders. And they contribute to the library’s role in the community.

This issue showcases several teen library board members and their libraries. You will see just how persuasive teens can be when they want something badly enough—case in point: Strawberry Mansion High School’s new library.

But with all the programs, planning, and hard work that go into youth advisory organizations, sometimes you need a break. So let’s go to the movies! Or
listen to a book at the beach! That’s right—multimedia formats bring essential recreational, “fun” elements into teens’ lives. But how do you plan a film program or a video contest? And what kinds of films are out there for teens? What’s the big deal with audio books? Do we really need them? Read this issue and find out!

Savor the diverse collection of articles presented here. Like peanut butter and cucumbers, it may take a while to develop the taste; but once you do, you can’t go back to the humdrum taste of peanut butter and jelly.

I hope you will enjoy our journey into multimedia presentations and the awesome power of teen leadership. If you have any thoughts about this or other topics, such as teen culture or relationships between adolescents and unrelated adults, please contact me at jfine1@tampabay.rr.com.