Thursday, May 11, 2023

Young Adult Library Services Association Core Professional Values

In contemporary society, libraries have evolved beyond their traditional role of providing books. Instead, they have become community hubs offering various services and resources, particularly for young adults. As a result, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has established a set of core professional values that guide library professionals working with teens. These values, developed by YALSA's Professional Values Task Force, provide a foundation for delivering the best possible service to our youth.

Professionals in Teen Services strive to understand the lives of teenagers from their perspective to create genuine connections and place the needs of teens above their own. This approach helps them to build trust and establish long-lasting relationships with their teenage customers.

By taking the time to understand teenagers' unique challenges and experiences, professionals can tailor their products and services to meet their needs better. This benefits the teens and helps the organization build a loyal customer base and stay ahead of the competition.

Compassion is a complex emotion that involves striving to identify with others' experiences and showing concern, empathy, and consideration for the needs and values of others. It is an essential component of human relationships and is often associated with acts of kindness, generosity, and selflessness. Compassion can be expressed in many ways, from offering a listening ear to providing practical support. It is a powerful force that can help to build stronger, more resilient communities and foster a greater sense of connection and understanding between people.

A compassionate professional communicates effectively with others, considering individual differences in learning styles, language, cognitive abilities, etc. This includes both verbal and non-verbal communication. Effective communication is essential in any professional setting, and a compassionate professional understands the importance of clear and respectful communication. A compassionate professional can build strong relationships with colleagues, clients, and customers by being mindful of individual differences and adapting their communication styles accordingly.

Accountability is crucial to any profession, and library professionals are no exception. It entails actively accepting the diverse roles, obligations, and actions that come with the job, including self-regulation and behaviors that positively influence the teens, the profession, and the community. Accountability means taking responsibility for actions and being willing to answer for them. It also means being transparent and honest in all dealings with colleagues and clients. In short, accountability is a cornerstone of professionalism and is essential for building trust and credibility in any field.

A professional who practices accountability responds to the needs of teenagers, seeks and responds to feedback from multiple sources, and adheres to codes of ethics, standards of practice, and other policies that govern the profession. They are committed to providing the best possible service to their clients and are willing to take responsibility for their actions. They understand the importance of being accountable for their work and strive to maintain high standards of professionalism at all times. By doing so, they help to build trust and confidence in their clients and contribute to the overall success of their profession.

Collaboration is crucial in fostering strong relationships within the library and the community, aiming to provide the best possible service to teenagers. By working together, librarians and community members can identify teens' unique needs and interests and develop tailored programs and services to meet those needs. This collaboration can take various forms, such as partnering with local schools, youth organizations, or businesses to provide resources and support for teens. In addition, by building robust relationships with the community, libraries can create a welcoming and inclusive environment that encourages teens to explore their interests and engage with their peers. Ultimately, this collaboration can help libraries better serve teens' needs and promote lifelong learning and engagement.

To deliver services that resonate with the needs and values of the teens, professionals working with teenagers must practice accountability, collaboration, and compassion. Accountability involves taking responsibility for one's actions and decisions and being transparent about them. Collaboration entails working together with others to achieve common goals and sharing knowledge and resources. Finally, compassion means showing empathy and understanding toward the challenges that teenagers face and providing support and guidance in a non-judgmental way. When these three values are implemented, professionals can create a safe and supportive environment for teenagers to grow and thrive.

Creating a vibrant, inclusive, and responsive environment ensures teenagers feel valued, understood, and empowered. This can be achieved by providing opportunities for teenagers to express themselves, encouraging open communication, and fostering a sense of community. When teenagers feel their voices are heard and their opinions are valued, they are more likely to engage in positive behaviors and make healthy choices. Additionally, creating a safe and supportive environment can help teenagers build resilience and develop the skills they need to navigate the challenges of adolescence. By prioritizing the well-being of teenagers and creating an environment that supports their growth and development, we can help them thrive and reach their full potential.

Creating a safe and supportive space for young people to grow and develop is crucial. One of the critical factors in achieving this is by upholding specific values. These values serve as a foundation for the environment that we want to create. By instilling these values, we can ensure that young people feel secure and supported as they navigate life's challenges. Ultimately, it is our responsibility to provide a space that fosters growth and development, and values play a critical role in achieving this goal.

Fostering an environment that prioritizes inclusivity and responsiveness is crucial in helping teenagers feel more connected to their community and more confident in their ability to navigate the challenges of adolescence. When teenagers feel included and valued, they are more likely to engage in positive behaviors and develop healthy relationships. Additionally, when they feel that their voices are heard and their needs are being met, they are more likely to seek support and resources when facing difficult situations. By creating a supportive and inclusive environment, we can help teenagers build the skills and resilience they need to thrive during this critical stage of development.

Prioritizing values is crucial for creating a brighter future for the next generation. We can instill these values in our children and future leaders by prioritizing honesty, integrity, and compassion. This can lead to a more just, equitable, and empathetic society. Ultimately, we must prioritize these values and create a better world for those who come after us.

In conclusion, the core professional values for the Teen Services Profession, developed by YALSA, provide an invaluable framework for library professionals working with teens. These values include accountability, collaboration, inclusivity, innovation, intellectual freedom, and social responsibility. By adhering to these values, library professionals can create a safe and welcoming environment for teens to learn, grow, and explore their interests. Additionally, these values help ensure that library services and programs are relevant, engaging, and responsive to the community's needs. Overall, the core professional values of the Teen Services Profession are essential for providing high-quality library services to teens.

For those interested in exploring the core professional values of the Teen Services Profession, we invite you to visit YALSA's website ( to download the entire document and discover the remaining core values that guide our work with and for teens. Together, we can create libraries that serve as dynamic, inclusive spaces for all our youth.

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