New York State Library

Transforming Teen Services


Transforming Teen Services: a Train the Trainer Approach (T3) is an initiative run by Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The project focuses on supporting library staff working with and for teens in understanding of how connected learning and computational thinking can work together to build equity based services for and with teens.

For more information, please contact Sharon Phillips.

Transforming Teen Services

T3 Session: NYLA YSS 2021 Virtual Conference


YALSA staff and the teams of trainers in each state have been hard at work since the pandemic to shift the format and content of T3 trainings to an online model, instead of the originally planned in-person delivery. Trainers and staff from State Library agencies have been meeting regularly for the past few months, and the T3 trainers have attended additional sessions to become familiar with the online modules and new format.

We are fortunate to have an experienced team of trainers in New York state! We've had tremendous support from Linda Braun of YALSA throughout the revamping of this project to an online model, as well as excellent project assistance from Elaine Czarnecki, who helps coordinate a variety of State Library projects and initiatives.

The first two e-courses on Connected Learning took place in the summer of 2020 and the winter of 2021. These courses were facilitated by T3 Trainers Renee McGrath and Kaye Spurrell. The T3 course format now integrates asynchronous online activities on the Canvas platform, and participants receive an email with instructions on how to login and access Canvas prior to the first class meeting. Group discussions take place via live 60-minute Zoom sessions each week for the duration of each online course.

Weekly Zoom sessions are recorded and available for viewing on the Canvas site, but participants are expected to attend the sessions at the scheduled date and time. Library staff who register for T3 courses should plan to actively participate in both the asynchronous and synchronous activities and commit to attending at least three of the four online sessions. The expected time commitment for each T3 course is eight hours for working on course content and attending the Zoom sessions. A Continuing Education (CE) Certificate for eight credit hours will be issued to all participants who complete the requirements.

“The four-part session was truly a memorable experience for me. I got to learn the meaning of Connected Learning and how it shapes how we provide Library Services and Resources to meet our diverse patrons' needs. Renee (as always) and Kaye were awesome!”

--Quote from T3 course participant

Attendance for online T3 course sessions is limited to no more than 20 participants. The New York State Library team of T3 trainers hopes to offer training sessions to as many front-line library staff from as many different public library systems as possible. These courses fill up quickly and we realize there is increased interest in working with teens and in enhancing programs and services to young adult library users. More trainings on Connected Learning and on additional T3 modules such as Computational Thinking are being planned as we try to meet the challenge of providing T3 training to all interested library staff who work directly with young adults.


The T3 initiative is scheduled to run through December 31, 2021. Plans are being considered for additional course offerings after the grant period expires.

Meet the Trainers

Shauntee Burns-Simpson

Mrs. Burns-Simpson is currently the Associate Director, School Support and Outreach at the New York Public Library (NYPL) where she has held several positions. She is currently the President of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and is proud to hold the position during the organization's 50th anniversary. She is the former Chair of ALA’s Committee on Diversity, member of the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) & the Young Adult Library Services Association's (YALSA) Train the Trainer project. Past President of the Reference Adult Services Section of the New York Library Association (NYLA) 2012-2013 and New York Black Librarians Caucus 2013-2015.

Mrs. Burns-Simpson holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Long Island University and a Masters of Information & Library Science from Queens College.

Renee McGrath

Renee McGrath is the Manager of Youth Services for the Nassau Library System. In her position for 15 years, she is responsible for consulting, advising, and supporting the youth services librarians and staff that work in the 54 member libraries of Nassau Library System. She has served on local, state, and national library boards, is a member of ALA, YALSA, ALSC, NYLA, and NCLA. She has presented numerous times at local, state, and national library conferences on many topics related to serving children, teens, and their families in a public library. She is currently a training cohort for the IMLS/YALSA’s Transforming Teen Services through CE, a multi-year project that focuses on the continuing education of library staff related to teen services.

Kaye Spurrell

Kaye Spurrell is the Youth Services Librarian at Central Islip Public Library and Brentwood Public Library. Ms. Spurrell has only just started her career in libraries after graduating with honors this past spring from Queens College. She currently holds a position as a Youth Services Librarian in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Ms. Spurrell is in charge of teen programming at Mineola Memorial Library and runs a crochet club for teens and tweens. At Brentwood, she spends her time ordering young adult books, giving recommendations to teens, and running a weekly Dungeons & Dragons club for the teens. Since COVID, many of her in-person activities have become virtual, and so Ms Spurrell has been managing two Discord servers to better reach her teen patrons and continue her programs. Ms. Spurrell is currently a member of the ALA Graphic Novel and Comics Roundtable and produces a YouTube review video weekly promoting young adult literature.

Last Updated: April 20, 2022