Abbie Lancaster, Young Adult Services Librarian at Star Valley Branch Library, part of Lincoln County Library System, has been selected as a participant in the second cohort of Future Ready with the Library. The project, funded by IMLS, develops college and career readiness services for middle school students.
“What I’m most excited about,” Abbie said, “is that we get to broaden kids’ horizons at such a young age. Those middle grades can be weird and confusing for a lot of them. We’re hoping to get them excited for the future and all its possibilities.”
She added, “We want them to dream BIG.”
Star Valley is one of 24 libraries selected to participate in the second cohort of Future Ready. As LCLS’s leader on this project, Abbie will participate in a two-day orientation at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Denver in February and take part in a virtual community of practice through the rest of the year. The project requires participating library staff to commit approximately 2-3 hours per week throughout 2018.
In the Future Ready program, local libraries work with a community partner, although the Star Valley branch has not chosen one yet. Abbie’s first planned step is to gain feedback through an easy-to-complete and thought-provoking survey for teachers, special-needs aides, church leaders, and interested community members who spend time with young teens.
“My hope is to find out what parents and teachers and community members and the youth themselves think is needed for ‘adulting,'” Abbie said. “Not just one option, not just one skill set, but really opening up the doors for them. And we want the community to know the library has an intense focus on the well-being of our new adolescents.”
In addition to support for Abbie’s attendance at the orientation at ALA Midwinter, the Star Valley Branch Library will receive funds to put toward college and career readiness activities such as programming, and will receive YALSA materials.