Youth Services Update: October 2023

3 children of visibly different ethnicities reading while laying in the grass.

Upcoming Opportunities

These opportunities are available for free unless otherwise noted. Descriptions are provided by host organizations.

The Best Things in Life are Free!

Rural library training for open educational resources

November 3, 2023  |  2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Central  |  Virtual

Patrons likely know that public libraries provide no-cost access to books. What they may not realize is that libraries can also be a source for quality and free educational resources–and librarians can be experts at finding them. Open Educational Resources (OER) are those materials which are openly licensed, thus allowing them to be reused, reproduced, or even remixed—all at no cost. These materials are readily available and would support the needs of patrons such as: homeschooling parents who are interested in finding quality instructional materials or no-cost textbooks, teachers looking for fresh and relevant assignments to support student learning, high-school students looking for copyright-free media or images, or even college students looking for research materials that aren’t behind a paywall. OER exists solely for the purpose of sharing information–which is exactly what public libraries do best. Librarians will leave this training with the skills to help patrons find, evaluate, and even create OER, thus providing yet another beneficial (and free!) service to their community. While this training is meant for rural libraries, anyone is able to attend. Register now via the event webpage.

I’ll Be There for You!

Rural library training for building friends groups

November 15, 2023  |  10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Central  |  Virtual

Join Megan Mills, retired school librarian and president of her local friends group, as she discusses taking a non-existent or inactive friends group and turning it into a vibrant supporting organization. While this training is meant for rural libraries, anyone is able to attend. Register now via the event webpage.

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Webinar about Engaging Children of All Abilities Outdoors

November 15, 2023  |  1:00 p.m. Central

The Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) is hosting a webinar with author Dr. Ruth Wilson about engaging children of all abilities outdoors. This topic aligns very well with CSLP’s 2024 slogan – “Adventure Begins at Your Library.” The webinar will be on November 15, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. Central. It’s free and open to all public libraries in Texas. Please register via this online form.

The meeting link will be sent to all registrants shortly before the event, and the recording will follow. The webinar will be closed captioned and a transcript provided

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Laura Bush Foundation Collection Grants SCHOOL LIBRARIES

November 27, 2023  |  11:59 PM CT

The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries provides funds to our Nation’s neediest schools so that they can extend, update, and diversify the book and print collections in their libraries with the goal of encouraging students to develop a love of reading and learning. Per the grant guidelines of the Laura Bush Foundation, the grant is to be used to purchase school library books, e-books, and magazine requests as outlined in your grant application. Use of the funds for shelving or furniture of any kind, equipment (i.e.: computers, electronic readers, Kindles, etc.), staffing, software, videos, guides, tests or exams, classroom book sets, or similar items, is prohibited. For more information, visit the grant announcement.

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International Games Month

November 2023

International Games Month is an initiative run by volunteers from around the world to reconnect communities through their libraries around the educational, recreational, and social value of all types of games. First celebrated in 2008, this celebration focuses on the social and recreational side of gaming. Gaming at the library encourages patrons of all ages to interact with diverse peers, share their expertise and develop new strategies for gaming and learning. At the library, kids can socialize with their friends and play board and video games while surrounded by books, librarians, and a real world of knowledge.

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Picture Book Month

November 2023

November is Picture Book Month, a tribute to the enduring importance of the picture book form. Dianne de Las Casas—author and storyteller—and her team co-founded the month-long celebration to champion the power and beauty of picture books by celebrating this print format in an increasingly digital age.

Decorative logo for the texas library association (TLA)

J. Frank Dobie Library Trust

December 15, 2023

When famed Texas author and folklorist J. Frank Dobie passed away in 1964, he left the majority of his estate to create the J. Frank Dobie Library Trust for the purpose of assisting small Texas libraries in purchasing books. Awards are selected annually by a committee and presented at the opening luncheon of the Texas Library Association annual conference (attendance is not required). The J. Frank Dobie Library Trust Awards Committee is accepting applications for 2024 grants through December 15, 2023. For more information, visit the grant announcement.

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Texas Municipal League Director’s Association Award

December 30, 2023

Each year, Texas Municipal League Director’s Association confers awards to public libraries for outstanding contributions to public service. The 2023 Libraries of Excellence Award is now open for applications! Libraries are so integral to their cities, providing much needed resources to support their community. Be recognized as a Library of Excellence to highlight your best work of the year and earn your award. For more information, visit the award announcement.

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Siddie Joe Johnson Award Nominations Open!

Deadline January 5, 2024

The Siddie Joe Johnson Award is presented to a public or school librarian to recognize outstanding achievement in children’s library service. Nominees are evaluated based on outstanding or innovative programs, sustained high performance, leadership ability, involvement in professional organizations, community involvement, and cooperation with parents and other libraries, especially outside their own system. The recipient will be honored at the Texas Bluebonnet Award Celebration during TLA’s Annual Conference. For more information, visit the award webpage.

Ongoing Tools

These tools are available for free unless otherwise noted. Descriptions are provided by host organizations.

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Book Club 

The Talking Book Program (TBP) is excited to announce a new youth book club format that will start in October 2023! Their Read Anything Book Club will take place on Zoom every month, and now you can read ANYTHING! Join to chat about whatever you are reading, or just come to get ideas of what to read next. This program is for our youth patrons only. For more information, visit the TBP Youth Services website.

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Fostering Community Engagement and Dialogue

Bridgebuilding is an approach for promoting engagement and dialog between groups of people with different perspectives and experiences. Recognizing libraries as trusted community spaces, IREX, in collaboration with Shamichael Hallman and with support from More Perfect, created the Bridgebuilding Resource Hub to support and enhance the bridgebuilding capabilities of public libraries, to help combat rising levels of distrust and division in our communities. Join this webinar to learn about the free tools in the Bridgebuilding Resource Hub, including methods for both conducting bridging activities and programs, and for measuring their effectiveness. Public library staff who have offered programs will share their experiences, the partners that they worked with, and what they learned. 60 minutes. For more information, visit the webinar’s website.

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Connecting with TSLAC’s Youth Services

As the new programmatic year is well underway, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is here to help by connecting you to our youth services. For more information on the tools that can help you stay one step ahead, peruse the Tomorrow’s Tall Tales post detailing our resources.

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The Learning Network

The Learning Network is a free online resource that features writing prompts, contests, discussion forums, and lesson plans. The site provides fresh opportunities daily for teenagers to both learn more about what’s happening in the news and raise their voices in response to it. For more information and to access content, visit the New York Times website.

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North Texas Teen Book Festival’s YouTube Channel

The North Texas Teen Book Festival (NTTBF) is a free, one-day book festival created to celebrate teen literature, from both Middle Grade and Young Adult (YA) authors. The festival is hosted at the Irving Convention Center where a number of authors come together for a full day of conversation, book signings, and jubilation. Authors sign books, meet their readers, and discuss their books in over 50 small breakout panels. To access the festival’s online content, visit the NTTBF youtube channel.

Need more support?

Resource Archive

Wish you had access to a repository of all the tools that have been featured in the monthly Youth Services Updates? Check out our Resource Archive for more information.

Training Catalog

In addition, be sure to peruse our Training Catalog for webinars that focus on Youth Services. Our holdings are constantly updated, so check back often.


For more information, visit our youth services page, contact Christina Taylor at, or call 512-463-5465.

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