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@MLS Youth Services

Resources for school and public youth services library staff.

Youth Services Training Resources Archive

Looking for program handouts or recorded presentations from past Youth Services trainings? You have come to the right place!

Visit MLS Continuing Education Guides to view resources from our in-person workshops and check out our archived webinars on our Vimeo page.

Summer and Storytime Training Materials

Read & Bead: Innovations for Summer Reading

Discover an innovative system for your library's Summer Reading Program that will encourage intrinsic motivation, increase word-of-mouth promotion, and reduce expenses while being fun and easy to learn for your patrons and staff. The 'Read and Bead' system personalizes the SRP experience for each participant, reaching and supporting both struggling and advanced readers in your community. Presented by Melissa McCleary, Youth Services Librarian at Pembroke Public Library, and Katrina Ireland, Children's Services Librarian at Northborough Free Library.

Girls Who Code

Thinking of starting a Girls Who Code Club at your library? Here is a pre-recording of a webinar that provides an overview of Girls Who Code and the Clubs program. When you are ready to launch a Club, please take 5-10 minutes to fill out the Clubs application. Be sure to choose Massachusetts Library System as your community partner organization to receive partner benefits such as priority consideration for field trips and Club Funds. After your application has been approved, you will have access to everything you need to get started! If you have questions you may contact Amy Layman, regional partner coordinator for Massachusetts. 

Play: Putting the Pieces Together

Play: Putting Together the Pieces looks seriously at play by reintroducing participants to the concept of play; increasing the understanding of play in the context of the second edition of Every Child Ready to Read® and the seven essential life skills every child needs from Mind in the Making; highlighting the important role played by parents, caregivers and librarians; and offering developmental tips to share with parents and caregivers. This program we presented in February, 2017 by Betsy Diamant-Cohen.

Fusion of Play & the Five Early Literacy Practices webinar

Fred Rogers from Mister Roger’s Neighborhood said, “Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” Research has shown that play helps young children develop important kindergarten readiness skills, and play is one of the five early literacy practices of ALSC’s Every Child Ready to Read initiative.  In this webinar you will see how Hennepin County Libraries have created hands-on, multi-sensory learning environments without hiring a designer. You will learn tips and best practices on how to achieve a successful play space that engages parents/caregivers as well as their children. No matter the size of your library space or the size of your budget, you can create opportunities for playful learning for the families in your community. This webinar will show you how! Presented by Tracy Hvezda-Lehtola, Youth Services Librarian and co-chair of the Early Literacy Traveling Team for Hennepin County Library.

Buy lists and powerpoint presentation from the Fusion of Play webinar.

Detangling Dyslexia: What it is, and what we can do to help

Detangling Dyslexia: What it is, and what we can do to help

What is dyslexia? Why is it suddenly a hot topic? Nationally, dyslexia is getting new attention, both in schools and in legislatures. What does this mean for libraries? How can we best serve dyslexic readers and their families? This session will define dyslexia, share the latest developments in brain science, and provide referral resources and best practices for accommodations and collection development. Presented by Suzanne Myers Harold, Astoria Public Library and independent consultant. February 1, 2017.

Mass Media Literacy

Recorded webinar from August 16, 2016 with speaker Allison Butler, a representative from Mass Media Literacy (MML). She discussed the concepts of media literacy and how librarians can make use of media literacy to support students, families, and community patrons. Handout includes resources and tools for media literacy inclusion.

Minecraft Club Startup

This recorded webinar is designed to introduce you to the game Minecraft and show you why hosting Minecraft programming is a great fit for your library. It will also walk you through the more technical side of running a server and keeping your patrons entertained. 

Presented by Alex Cline, a college student who has been playing Minecraft since 2012. She, along with her build team, engineers maps both for private use and for libraries such as Newton and Natick, to use for their Minecraft Clubs.

Making in the Youth Library

Making in the Youth Library March 17, 2015

If you’ve heard or read about makerspaces, chances are 3D printers were part of the pitch. But did you know that there are a range of activities and spaces that fall under the “maker” umbrella? At its core, the maker attitude is not about the space or the shiny, specialized equipment; it’s about facilitating open-ended exploration and creation. And when it comes to making in the youth library, providing access to tools and techniques is paramount. In this webinar, we’ll explore the maker spectrum, focusing heavily on low- and medium-tech makerspaces and maker activities. These are maker programs and services for youth that can be implemented in any library, regardless of size or budget. We’ll examine a range of successful maker activities and programs from libraries across the United States, and participants will leave with the knowledge and inspiration to create excellent maker opportunities for their libraries. This webinar will be led by Amy Koester, Youth & Family Program Coordinator at Skokie Public Library, and author of the Show Me Librarian blog.

Process vs Product Art ~ March 6, 2015

Tired of cutting out a million little pieces of paper for your storytime crafts? Looking for more open-ended projects to do with preschoolers? Wondering if there is life after of paper bag puppets?

On March 6th Children’s Librarian Amy Greil presented an exploration of process art and breaking free from “crafts.”  We learned why process art is important for children’s development, saw lots of examples from Amy’s own programs and got a chance to make some art of our own! 

Check out Amy's presentation here

Pinterest pages: Art Supplies & Process Art

Unprogramming Webinar with Amy Koester

Unprogramming for Youth February 25, 2015

Have you fallen into a rut with your programs for school-age children and teens? Are you looking for ways to be more efficient in your program planning? In this webinar, we’ll start to rethink programming by getting back to the roots of why we offer programs for youth in the first place. After discussing some of the pitfalls that make programming for these ages difficult, we’ll explore unprogramming--a programming style and philosophy that lets you offer engaging, library-connected programs without putting undue stress on you, your budget, or your planning time. Unprogramming is all about high-impact programs with low-stress planning. To make sure you’re fully equipped to start offering unprograms at your library following this webinar, we’ll explore a number of ready-to-modify unprogram ideas and go-to planning resources. We’ll conclude with ideas and strategies to help any staff adapt to this new programming style. This webinar will be led by Amy Koester, Youth & Family Program Coordinator at Skokie Public Library, and author of the Show Me Librarian blog.

Museum & Library Collaboration

Materials based on a panel discussion from the 2014 New England Museum Association program on library and museum collaboration. Be sure to check out the compilations from MA youth services librarians for fantastic ideas on working together with community organizations.

Visit, a wonderful resource on intergenerational programming.

Creative & Enticing Booktalks & Displays for Youth

Spring 2018

Display Ideas on Pinterest

Reference for Youth Services Resources