Youth Services

Inclusion, Community, & Resilience


  • Rachel Magee University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Kerry Townsend
  • Maria Cahill
  • Soohyung Joo
  • Luke LeFebvre
  • Antonio Garcia
  • Averi Cole
  • Mary Kelly Burns
  • Jacqueline Kociubuk
  • Rebekah Willett
  • Amber Matthews
  • Jamie Campbell Naidoo
  • Joi Mahand



library programs, children's literature, inclusion, crisis librarianship


The ALISE Youth Services Special Interest Group (SIG) presents a panel exploring ways youth services in libraries empower youth and families and builds resilience to respond to crises and social issues. The session will begin with presentations of papers (15 minutes each) with a question and answer portion to conclude. Attendees will be able to share their own experiences and work in progress on these topics in the discussion. The presentations include research from Cahill et al., Kociubuk & Willett, Matthews, and Naidoo & Mahand.  

In their presentation “You may be at your home and I'm at mine. But we are in this together”: Children’s librarians’ motivations for virtual storytime programming during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cahill et al. discuss findings from an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) nationwide survey focused on public library virtual storytime programming. This study examines the motivating factors influencing librarians’ decisions whether to adopt virtual storytime programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Preliminary findings suggest that children’s librarians acted quickly and of their own volition to provide virtual storytime programming to children and families. The top three motivating factors were to (a) maintain a connection with patrons, (b) support children’s early learning, and (c) reduce children’s feelings of isolation. 

Kociubuk & Willett’s presentation Parents’ and Caregivers’ perceptions of the value of public libraries during the pandemic shares an analysis of interviews with 26 caregivers about their use and perceived value of resources provided by public libraries during the pandemic, focusing on the provision of resources, the role of libraries in communities, and promotion of social capital. The authors will discuss how their findings have the potential to inform future decision-making processes concerning resource provision, particularly during times of crisis.

Matthews’ presentation The Forgotten Ones: Anti-Black Racism, Public Libraries, and Black Youth in Canada shares how anti-Black racism has far-reaching and long-lasting impacts on Canadian Black youth. Her presentation identifies how these tensions impact library services and how libraries can better address structural barriers. Matthews’ study, grounded in Critical Race Theory and anti-racism frameworks examines how current approaches to library service may perpetuate systemic racism. Community-based research is also in this study to work with Black youth and community organizations to envision new service trajectories for public libraries. 

Naidoo & Mahand’s presentation From the LIS Classroom to the Stacks: Examining Social Justice Education in Practice for Youth Library Professionals, spotlights the transition youth library professionals make when moving from an LIS student to a working professional. Professional youth services competencies created by ALSC, YALSA, and ILFA provide suggestions on particular skill sets needed for successful youth librarians as they bridge the gap between theory and practice. This presentation will discuss a case study of a racist incident that occurred during a conversation about Black stereotypes in children’s literature. 

Youth services can nurture youth, community, and inclusion and mitigate crisis and social issues. These presentations and attendee discussion will explore the ways that the LIS field can work to address these urgent community needs.