The Great Give Back: Saturday, October 13th, 2018

Is your library participating in this year’s “Great Give Back?” It’s a “great” opportunity for your teens to earn community service and help the library give back to your community.

From the Great Give Back’s website:

The Great Give Back is a community service initiative created by the Suffolk County Public Library Directors Association and the Suffolk Cooperative Library System.

The mission of The Great Give Back is to provide a day of opportunities for the patrons of Long Island libraries to participate in meaningful, service-oriented experiences. You can find out if your library is hosting a Great Give Back event by checking this list or this interactive map.

You can plan to do a program on October 13th, or set up a week-long event such as a food or coat drive. Thank you to Renee McGrath, Manager of Youth Services at NLS and absolute youth superhero, for spreading the word! She also gave some great ideas, in addition to the ones libraries are already doing, such as:

  • Drop-in crafts for housewarming gifts for Habitat for Humanity groups
  • Book Donations for Little Free Libraries
    Create wreathes (cards, stuffed animals, etc.) for residents in nursing homes
  • Hold a community breakfast for charitable organizations in your community
  • Assemble thanksgiving baskets
  • School supply drive
  • Coat drive (it will be getting cold very soon)
  • Blood drive
  • Check with your local religious organization for ideas for needy families – what do they need the most.

Want to see who’s participating? Visit:

Let us know in the comments if you will be participating!

YASD June Luncheon – Thurs., 6/14/18

YASD June Luncheon: “Teen Programs That Work!”

Date: Thursday, June 14th, 2018YASDJuneLuncheon2018
1:00 – 3:00 PM
Uniondale Public Library
400 Uniondale Avenue, Uniondale, NY 11553

Please join us for our annual YASD June Luncheon!

Join our dynamic colleagues Nancy Evans, Kelly Gordon, Jill Holleufer, Syntychia Kendrick-Samuel, and Lisa Zuena, as they share some exciting yet empowering programs that they have developed and mastered.


CEUs will be awarded! Lunch will be served! Prizes & Surprises!

Please click here for the full flyer.

Registration is $25.00 for NCLA members & students, and $40.00 for non-members. Please make checks payable to NCLA.

Please return by June 11th to:

Roseann Podias,
Freeport Memorial Library
144 W. Merrick Road
Freeport, New York 11520

The Inbe-TWEENs: Children Today, Teens Tomorrow

If you were unable to attend this year’s Long Island Library Conference on Thursday, 5/3, here’s a summary of the NCLA YASD sponsored panel, “The Inbe-TWEENs: Children Today, Teens Tomorrow,” presented by Carisse Bormann and Nicole Peters, Teen Librarians at West Babylon Public Library.

The presentation described how Carisse and Nicole created a special Tween Department that exists separately from their Teen Department so that they could better serve the kids in that tricky age group. They define “tweens” as kids in grades 4-7. To better understand what a tween is, they asked a 5th grade boy, who said “you’re not a kid, but you’re not a teenager.”

Carisse and Nicole found that there have been lots of conversations surrounding teens and how to get them into the library. While an important discussion, they found that there was less talk about how to get tweens into the library. Additionally, because they found that it’s easier to get kids to come to the library, it would be a vital step in creating lifelong library users if they were able to get those kids to keep coming as they entered early adolescence.

7 Developmental Needs for Early Adolescence

Citing a 2015 School Library Journal article, “What Do Tweens Want?” Carisse and Nicole outlined the 7 Developmental Needs for Early Adolescence, which they used to help develop programs for tweens in grades 4-7:

  1. Physical Activity
  2. Sense of Competence and achievement
  3. Self-definition
  4. Creative expression
  5. Positive social interaction
  6. Structure and clear limits
  7. Meaningful participation

Public librarians are in the unique position that we are outside of the formal, structured school system, so we have more flexibility to design programs with these developmental needs in mind. For example, we can create fun drop-in programs after school that involve crafts and eating snacks.

How to Get Tweens to Hear You

Creating a new tween department to focus on the needs of 4-7th graders was a great idea, but just because the new programs were there, didn’t mean that the tweens would automatically attend them. To help spread the word, Carisse and Nicole did school visits, posted on social media (Facebook for parents, Instagram for the tweens), emailed flyers, worked with local school media specialists, offered volunteering hours, reached out to their local PTA, offered food at programs, and advertised their tween programs next to their Children’s programs (for grades 3-5) in their newsletter. Additionally, they advertised their tween programs on children’s flyers that were sent to the schools, and to the local SEPTA and PTA.

To further help spread the word, they created a fun flyer with their Instagram handle, email, and lots of emojis to grab the kids’ attention. They also printed out registration sheets for programs that they could hand out to kids and parents at the library so that they didn’t have to worry about registering online later.

They also advertise their tween programs on the library’s website. Although there isn’t a tween drop-down menu, they put their tween programs on their Children’s and Adult calendars to reach as many parents as possible.

Programs That Didn’t Work

  • Word games (similar to Words with Friends)
  • Yoga “with a Twist” (affirmation rocks)
  • Babysitting (they ran into issues with legal babysitting age requirements)

Programs That Did Work

  • Tween Paint Party
  • Robotics Raceway (using Ozobots)
  • “Tween Nights” (including valentine’s pops and a game night with pizza, a movie, and crafts)
  • Back to School Pencil Pouches
  • “Kandy Kabobs”
  • Workout Bingo
  • DIY Mugs
  • Library Boot Camp (some basic boot camp training and a talk from a Marine)
  • “Welcome to YA” (for incoming 6-7 graders that involved pizza, ice cream, crafts, video games, and sign up for summer reading – hosted by their TAG)
  • Tween Escape the Library (hosted by programmer Michelle Vamos)


How Do They Pay For This?

In the early days of their tween programming (December 2015-June 2016), they used crafts they already had and mostly in-house programming. However, even without a dedicated budget, they were able to show that there was a need for tween programming. In July 2016, they received their own separate tween budget, and as programming and interest grew, so did the budget.

Collection Development

Finding and labeling tween books can be a challenge. Tween books (or middle grade books), are aimed at readers aged 8-12, are generally shorter than YA books, and have more restrictions on violent and sexual content than YA books. As librarians, we can generally spot a tween book vs. a YA book, but to aid parents and kids, they created bibliographies for their reference desks specifically for tween books. They also order multiple copies of these books for their children’s section and their teen section.

Tween Space

Librarians looking to create specific tween programming may also want to consider creating a special tween space. The location doesn’t have to be a static place or room (and chances are that won’t be physically possible in your library, anyway).

Carisse and Nicole don’t have a special, dedicated tween space, but they set up rotating tween book displays. Additionally, they stressed that so long as the tweens have their own programs, they don’t necessarily need an entire room because they feel that sense of ownership during their programs.

To help facilitate that ownership and belonging, Carisse and Nicole split up their existing Teen Advisory Group into a grades 9-12 group and new Junior TAG for grades 6-8. Their junior TAG helps come up with programming ideas and also puts up their own tween displays. Splitting their TAG into an older and younger group has worked out well.


Carisse Bormann can be reached at

Nicole Peters can be reached at

Their phone number is 631-669-5445

Thank you Carisse & Nicole for the great presentation!

Nassau & Suffolk YASD Annual Joint Meeting, February 8th

Join the Nassau & Suffolk YASD for our Annual Joint Meeting! February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and with 1 out of every 3 teens affected by this issue, it’s important for librarians to have the resources they need to tackle this epidemic.

Young adult author Heather Demetrios’ recent novel, Bad Romance, deals with it head on. She’ll be talking to us about her own abusive relationship as a teen and how it inspired her to write a novel that authentically shows how a teen could get into an abusive relationship, and why it’s so hard to get out. In addition to her own story, she’ll be sharing some of the stories she’s heard from her teen and adult readers, and provide resources that will help our libraries be a safe space for teens dealing with abusive relationships.

Please click here for event flyer.

Date: Thursday, February 8th, 2018
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Place: Freeport Memorial Library, 144 West Merrick Road, Freeport, NY 11520

CEUs will be awarded & breakfast will be served.

$20.00 for members of NCLA or SCLA & Students, $35.00 for non-members.

Please make checks payable to NCLA.

Please return by February 1st to Roseann Podias:
Oceanside Public Library,
30 Davison Avenue
Oceanside, NY 11572

YASD December Brunch & Excellence in Programming Awards

Thank you to everyone who attended our annual December Brunch last week – it was great to see you all! The topic of the brunch, teen suicide prevention, was a heavy topic to cover, but it was both necessary and informative. We hope that everyone in attendance left with at least one concrete idea to help prevent teen suicide at your library.

We also presented the Excellence in Programming Awards in a new way this year, by splitting the award into categories. Best Teen Display, Most Innovative Program and Most Successful Community Service Program (no submissions in that category this year).  The Best Teen Display winner of the Excellence in Programming Award was Jody Ruggiero from Levittown Public Library for her Banned Books Display.  The Most Innovative Teen Program Award winner was Bianca Rivera from Long Beach Public Library for pioneering her ground-breaking CoderDojo program.

The NCLA YASD would like to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year!

Teen Community Service & Special Needs Programming: A Discussion with Christa Lucarelli

As Teen Librarians, we are always striving to provide interesting and relevant programming for our teen patrons. One type of programming that is always in demand is community service: our teens always seem to need it, and never have enough.

But how can our community service opportunities give our teens a truly meaningful experience that impacts their own lives and the lives of those in the community?

A large but often under-served population in our libraries is the special needs community. After listening to her community, Christa Lucarelli, the Assistant Director and head of Youth Services at the Farmingdale Public Library, developed the Triple P Program for children with special needs and teens looking for community service.

What is the Triple P Program?

The Triple P Program stands for “Peer Pal Program.” It is held every Monday at 7:00-8:00 p.m. during the school year, and is designed to match children with special needs (ranging in ages from 5 – 21) with neurotypical teen buddies (in grades 6-12).

The matching process is not an exact science, but it’s not random either: teens and children with special needs are matched together based on grade, gender, and/or interests. While they put a lot of thought into each pair, not every match is perfect, so sometimes pairs must be changed. However, generally, kids meet with the same teen buddy each week.

This is the 3rd year of the Triple P Program, and they currently have 39 kids with special needs and 55 typical teen volunteers signed up.


How is the Triple P Program Run?

The activities for the Triple P Program vary from week to week, and are planned in advance. The entire year’s schedule is available to parents and posted online. Christa, her co-worker Victoria, and three pages are typically present for each session. Christa stressed that having two librarians in the room is important because of the amount of kids that attend each week. Pages are on hand to watch the doors while Christa spends the hour circling the room to make sure everything’s running smoothly.

What Kind of Activities Are There Each Week?

The magic of the Triple P Program is that each week is different, with a new activity going on, but there is never any pressure to do the scheduled activity. The program takes place in a large room that is divided into two sections: one for the scheduled activity, and one dedicated to other activities.

If kids are not interested in a week’s event, or are feeling overly stimulated, a cart of board games, a cart of books, and a cart of crafts are always on hand in the other section of the room as alternative options. Kids are also welcome to bring in their own board games as well.

The goal has been to choose activities that have a wide appeal because they are dealing with a large age range. While challenging, it has been successful.

Activities have included:

  • Ice breaker games for the first two weeks of the year to get to know each other
  • Art therapy
  • A Halloween party (at which they played a game, did a “mummy wrap” in toilet paper, and watched a movie at the end)
  • “Physical Fun” – (a gym teacher in the district comes in and the kids play with scooters, a parachute, castle ball, and have relay races)
  • Ceramics painting
  • A holiday party
  • A magic show
  • The Harlem Wizards
  • Dancing
  • Tae kwon do
  • Soccer Stars
  • Radio Bingo (playing bingo to songs)
  • Carnival games
  • Movie nights
  • Drumming
  • Jason from Green Meadow Farm for a pet show
  • The “Daler Dance” (a mini-prom, because many of the kids may not get the opportunity to go to prom)

Also, at the end of the year, they hold a party for the kids, teens, and the parents of the kids and teens.

The magic of the Triple P Program is that each week is different

This program is not just about providing consistent and excellent programming for children with special needs, it’s also about giving teens a wonderful opportunity to earn community service credit. Christa feared that she would never see teens again after they completed their required hours, but she was pleasantly surprised. Teens kept coming back, even during school breaks and on nights when their buddies didn’t attend.

It wasn’t just about earning community service hours for the teens: it was about spending meaningful time with their buddies.

How Do the Teens Participate?

The teens meet with their assigned buddy and help them during each week’s activity. Beyond that though, and perhaps even more importantly, the teens are there to be their buddy’s friend. When a child isn’t interested in the activity or just needs some quiet time, their teen buddy is there to just hang out and talk. Many teens will even carry their friendship over to school and exchange phone numbers so they can text each other after class.

Christa found that the teens kept coming back, but even better, she reports a 100% activity participation rate among the teens. Because of the constantly changing nature of the program, and the fact that there’s always something to do besides the weekly activities, nobody is ever bored.

In school the teens naturally gravitate toward insular groups, but on Monday nights at the library, they’re all part of the Triple P Family according to Christa. From day one it’s made clear to the teens that they are entering a “no judgment zone” toward their buddies and their peers. Christa said that the program “allows them the chance to be themselves,” and that they are able to let loose in a way they might not at school.

The teens are there to be their buddy’s friend

How Were Teens Recruited and Trained?

When the program was started three years ago, the first teens were recruited by reaching out to the Farmingdale “Moms” Facebook group. Many of those original teens continue to participate in the program, and they get first preference when registering.

There is a mandatory training session for teens every year, even those teens who have participated before. In the past two years they’ve done Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Training with the teens, but this year they decided to do the training themselves.

The training session is an hour long and held the Monday before they start. The rules are reviewed and the teens are reminded that every kid is different and that they’re attending the program to make friends. The teens are instructed to treat the kids as their peers and to not talk down to them. The teens are also reminded to not get offended: sometimes kids say and do things that they don’t really mean.

They’re all part of the Triple P Family.

Besides the required paperwork that needs to be filled out (which includes photo and video releases), teens who have done the program before also talk about their experience, what they’ve enjoyed about the program, and why they came back to do it again.

How is the Triple P Program Advertised?

Librarians who see that the Triple P Program has attracted a total of nearly 95 participants are probably wondering how Christa achieved that fantastic number. Beyond advertising in their newsletter, updating their Facebook page, and reaching out to the “Moms” group on Facebook, much of the advertising was more informal.

Christa has been running special needs programming at Farmingdale for 14 years, so she has gotten to know many of the parents with kids with special needs in and around the community. She also knew many of the teens from library programs as well, so spreading the word was more personal than just simply passing around flyers.

While Christa finds it difficult to say no to anyone who wants to participate, she says that she may have to cap the program at 100 participants because of space restrictions.

Advice for Librarians & Final Thoughts

The Triple P Program has been a labor of love for Christa. She advises that librarians need to be dedicated and prepared for the amount of work that necessarily must go into a program series like the Triple P Program. A  certain amount of chaos is to be expected, and it can be overwhelming, she admits, but it’s more than worth the work.

Scheduling the activities, while very involved, is the easy part according to Christa. Matching the kids and teens is the tough part because it’s not always a simple formula to see who will click and who will clash.

Next year Christa is planning to have new kids and teens go through more formal screenings to aid in the pairing process. Christa advises trying to match kids especially by grade level when possible because then they’d be more likely to see each other beyond the library walls. Her greatest success stories involve buddies who meet outside of Triple P.

The Triple P Program has been a labor of love.

Librarians who run a program like this must be comfortable with constant tweaking. Scheduling the activities for a year and pairing kids and teens together is great, but not everything is going to work out perfectly. Activities will need to be changed and pairs will need to be switched: it’s part of working with people, after all.

For librarians who are starting from scratch, Christa suggests listening to what parents want. The parents in her community wanted a consistent buddy program, and it worked out wonderfully, but the parents in other communities may be looking for something different. However, Christa cautions that many parents may find it more difficult to commit to sporadic programming as opposed to a more consistent program series.

Her greatest success stories involve buddies who meet outside of Triple P.

Speaking of parents, it’s worth noting that while the Triple P Program undeniably benefits teens and kids with special needs, it also gives parents the rare opportunity to socialize and network with other parents. They are not asked to stay in the room while the program is going on, so they have the chance to sit outside and chat. Christa points out that there are just not enough free programs out there for children with special needs. The Triple P Program has made parents feel supported and welcomed at the library.

Christa would love to see other libraries take on the challenge of creating a program series for children with special needs and their teen buddies. It is time-consuming but, in Christa’s words, “if you can make a difference in one child’s life, it’s worth it.”

If you have questions for Christa, she can be reached at the Farmingdale Public Library at 516-249-9090 ext. 226.

The NCLA YASD would like to thank Christa Lucarelli for spending nearly an hour talking about her amazing and inspiring Triple P Program. We hope that librarians find the information useful should they wish to build a similar program in their libraries. – Lisa Zuena, Massapequa Public Library.

This Librarian Did a Podcast…and So Can You!

My name is is Lisa Zuena, and I’m the Young Adult Librarian, and half of the Teen Department, at the Massapequa Public Library. In addition to maintaining this blog for the YASD, I also do tons of teen programming at my library. One of my most recent, and most rewarding, programs has been my Teen Podcast Club. We recently debuted our first podcast episode, and I couldn’t be more proud of my teens.rg1024-old-microphone-800px

I’d had the idea to do a teen podcast for a while, but made my dream a reality over the last several months. I began the club knowing very little about podcasts (other than the fact that they exist, and I enjoy a few), so if you’re intimidated by the idea, don’t be! I learned, and so can you!

Here is an outline of the program, and how it became what it is today:

Program: Teen Podcast Club

Summary: It’s a club that officially meets once a month, but also has shorter, informal meetings sporadically so that teens can come in to record podcast segments when they’re free. We record short segments with the teens talking about things they enjoy that are edited together to form podcast episodes that are released every month or so.

Why: I was looking to start something “different,” beyond the usual craft and gaming programs we typically offer. I also give the teens community service credit for each formal meeting they attend. Most importantly, this club gives the teens something they “own.”

Goal: Create and publish short (15-20 minutes long) podcast episodes semi-regularly, with teens being the ones to create the content. Ideally, we’d be on a strict once a month schedule, but with the teens’ erratic schedules, that’s probably not realistic.

Age group: Teens in 6-12th grade

Facilitated by: One teen librarian (me!) who oversees the meetings, edits the podcast, and makes sure everything runs smoothly. I also got the podcast’s blog up and running, and designed the logo, but would love for a teen to redesign the logo one day!

Budget: Technically, this could be done for free so long as you have access to a laptop or computer, but it’s not advised.

So far we’ve spent approximately $285.00.

That covered the cost of two USB microphones (Blue Yeti). These were actually bought on sale on Amazon Prime Day, but usually retail for $128.90 each.  I love these mics, but you could also use the cheaper (and still great!) Blue Snowball microphone for $69.00 each. Both microphones allow for different recording settings (such as one-directional (cardioid) or omni-directional to capture multiple people at once).

I also purchased two windscreens for $12.95 each to improve the audio quality of the recordings. While not required, I suggest them if you’ve got the money.

Additionally, and I’ll talk about this further down, but you might need to pay for hosting and a domain name, but that’s definitely not required in the beginning.


How the Program Runs: 

  • We officially meet once a month, but I also schedule informal meetings when possible to give the teens more opportunities to record segments.
  • The teens pick the topics they want to discuss, but I suggested some places to start (mostly review segments where they get to talk about things they love, such as books, TV shows, and movies). I’m open to their suggestions, and would only say no if the subject was insensitive, political, or too dark. Also, of course I don’t allow cursing or hateful speech. I tell them to keep it light and fun, and they’re happy to oblige.
  • The teens either write scripts and then I record them reading, or they have an informal discussion between two or more of them. We record using the Blue Yeti mics that hook up to a laptop.
  • I record and edit the files using the free program AudacityI taught myself how to use Audacity, and it’s not terribly difficult. There are also plenty of video tutorials out there to help!
  • If you want people to listen to your finished product, you’ll need to upload and host it somewhere. I chose a free Soundcloud account to host it. The free account won’t work for us as we upload more content, so I’ll have to explore paid options in the future, but it’s a great place to start.
  • I also use a free WordPress blog to house the podcast. If you want a domain name ( you’ll have to pay for it. I like free, so I picked the WordPress blog option!
  • Once you upload your podcast somewhere (ie. Soundcloud), you can upload your podcast to iTunes so that people can listen to it on their mobile devices. Many podcast apps pull from iTunes, so even if your patrons don’t have iPhones, they can still find your podcast! This step is optional, but easy to do.
  • These articles were incredibly helpful to me: and


Tips & What’s Next:

  • All you really need to start is:
    • one microphone (I suggest the Blue Snowball microphone for smaller budgets, or the Blue Yeti if you can splurge a little more)
      • Technically you can record if you have an internal mic on a laptop, but the sound quality won’t be very good.
    • a laptop or computer with a USB input
    • Audacity to record and edit the podcast
    • From there, you’ll need to upload and host your podcast somewhere (such as with a free Soundcloud account) and a website or blog (such as a free WordPress account) will help you get the finished podcast episodes out into the world.
  • How much time you have to edit the podcast will be a big factor. You need to be off-desk to do this, because you need to be listening to your recordings with headphones and a full attention.
    • Full disclosure: I took a lot of this home with me, but don’t feel that you should have to do this!
    • Alternatively, if you have teens with technical experience or the willingness to learn, you can have them edit and compile the podcast episodes
  • I will probably have to consider paid hosting in the future. The free Soundcloud account supports up to 3 hours of content, and I’m hoping to surpass that eventually, so when that times comes, I may need to look into a paid account at Soundcloud, or elsewhere.
  • I may also consider a paid WordPress subscription to eliminate ads and to get a custom domain name. This, however, is a low priority for me.



I could go into further detail about how to edit using Audacity, how to create a logo, and so on, but I hope the information above helps librarians out there determine if they’re able to make a podcast, and if so, how to get started.

Please also note: this is not the only way to make a podcast. There are other options out there, including more professional set-ups, analog mics, better editing software, etc… this is just the way I chose to go about it. If you have any comments or suggestions, please add them below!

Have questions? Please feel free to leave a comment, or email me at !