Youth Services: Empowering Community, Inclusion, and Active Citizenship through Libraries


  • Rachel M. Magee University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Kerry Townsend University of Missouri
  • Maria Cahill University of Kentucky
  • Bobbie Sartin Long Emporia State University
  • Denice Adkins University of Missouri
  • Lesley S. J. Farmer California State University Long Beach
  • Nitzan Koren University of Maryland
  • Christopher Dwyer VineCorps
  • Diana Acosta VineCorps
  • Elizabeth Marie Bonsignore University of Maryland
  • Marilyn Iriarte Santacruz University of Maryland
  • Julia Burns Petrella University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Gabrielle Salib Drexel University
  • June Abbas University of Oklahoma
  • Denise E. Agosto Drexel University
  • Andrew Zalot University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



censorship, civic engagement, co-design, inclusion, library programs


The ALISE Youth Services Special Interest Group (SIG) presents a panel that explores the ways in which youth services and programs in libraries empower community, inclusion, and active citizenship. The session will begin with presentations of six papers (10 minutes each) and conclude with a themed question and answer at the end of the session, transitioning to open conversation. Attendees will be invited to share their own works in progress and developing ideas on these topics and youth services more broadly during the open discussion portion of the panel. This panel and discussion will connect presenters and attendees in conversation about current trends, future goals, research and pedagogical priorities, and youth and community needs with regards to youth services. 

The panel brings together six presentations reporting on work at a variety of stages, including late-breaking research as well as long term projects in later stages. These presentations include research from Cahill, Sartin Long, and Adkins focusing on library services for young children with disabilities, reporting findings from focus group interviews seeking to identify ways that libraries can and should be serving young children with disabilities and their families. Farmer’s presentation discusses how diverse populations are targeted by fake news and how librarians can help them express their voice to speak to power. Excitingly this year’s panel also has strong representation of doctoral students. Koren will present work developed with Dywer, Acosta, Bonsignore, and Santacruz focusing on how they used the design thinking process to co-design programs alongside young people from communities impacted by issues of power. Petrella will share the preliminary findings of her doctoral research on ways pre-service school librarians are taught about race, racism, and whiteness in their school library professional programs. Salib will share work developed with Abbas and Agosto, detailing their Institute of Museum and Library Services funded Navigating Screens project which seeks to understand the ways parents desire to connect with other parents in their communities to talk about managing family use of digital media. Finally, Zalot will discuss the mislabeling of the Seuss books’ removal as an act of censorship and how the term is often incorrectly deployed to describe books that are evaluated in new contexts.

The breadth of these presentations, techniques, and goals demonstrate how wide ranging the relevance of youth services is to libraries, librarianship, and library and information science (LIS) research and education. This panel will examine how youth services programs and services can support inclusion, nurture active citizenship, and develop community, and prompt an open conversation about how the LIS field can better support these priorities with an emphasis on next steps, research trajectories, teaching innovation, and community building.






Panels (Juried and SIGs)