Transforming Teen Services

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YALSA staff and the teams of trainers in each state have been hard at work over the past few months 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.

Our experienced team of trainers in New York state is comprised of Shauntee Burns-Simpson from New York Public Library, Renee McGrath from Nassau Library System, and Kaye Spurrell, also from Nassau Library System. 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 e-course on Connected Learning will take place from August 10 - August 28 and will be facilitated by T3 Trainers Renee McGrath and Kaye Spurrell. The course format integrates asynchronous online activities and discussions with live 60 minute Zoom sessions every Friday for the duration of the course. Zoom sessions will be recorded and available for later viewing by class participants on the Canvas site. We ask that all library staff who register actively participate in both the asynchronous and synchronous activities and commit to attending at least two of the three live sessions. The expected time commitment is about 2 to 3 hours per week for working on course content and the Zoom sessions.

Registration for all online T3 sessions will be limited to 15 participants, and the August 10 - August 28 session on Connected Learning is already full. We want to be able to offer T3 trainings to as many front-line library staff as possible, and realize there is much interest in training to enhance services to teens. More trainings on Connected Learning and additional T3 modules are being planned for later this year and for 2021.

Youth Services Consultants who are interested in observing one of the T3 training sessions should send a separate email to

Program Overview

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).


  • T3 will be effective from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2021
  • In the first year of the project, a pilot cohort from the State Library Agency (SLA) and staff from AL, ME, MN, RI, and WI received training and began facilitating training for library staff in their states
  • In year two, a second cohort of 109 more SLA and front-line staff will be trained and they will then train others in their states

Expert T3 trainer Shauntee Burns leading a session at NYPL

Shauntee Burns leading the February 12 T3 session.

On February 12, 2020, a Transforming Teen Services training session was offered to a number of Youth Services staff from New York Public Library. Shauntee Burns, one of the expert T3 trainers for New York State and Manager of School Support and Outreach for NYPL, presented an overview of T3 training, and connected learning and computational thinking.

Participants had a chance to work in small groups, do interactive activities, and talk about teen developmental stages and learning styles. More T3 trainings are being planned for various regions of New York State, so stay tuned for details coming soon!

Program Materials

NYLA Conference 2019 Lightning Round Presentation

Meet the Trainers

Shauntee Burns-Simpson

Mrs. Burns-Simpson is currently the Manager, 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

Youth Services Librarian--Mineola Memorial 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.


For more information, please contact Sharon Phillips.

Last Updated: August 3, 2020 -- sm