The following provides answers to commonly asked questions about YALSA's Badges for Learning. For more information take a look at our Help page screencasts or contact the YALSA CE Consultant, Linda W. Braun.

Q: What exactly are YALSA Badges for Lifelong Learning?

A: YALSA's digital badges were developed under a grant from HASTAC, Mozilla, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and are linked to YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth. They provide a new way for librarians and library workers to gain skills and demonstrate their expertise to employers.

Q: Why do I want to earn a digital badge?

A: These badges are for any school or public library staff member working with teens. The lessons completed in order to earn a badge help staff gain the skills they need to successfully work with adolescents and provide a visual way to show what skills a particular staff member has gained. They can be used on resumes, in social spaces and to show colleagues, administrators and current and potential employers what a staff member knows about teens and libraries.

Q: How do the badges work?

A: For each badge there are a series of activities that you need to complete. Most activities require that you connect with teens and/or community members in order to learn about them, their interests, and their needs. All of the badges require that you submit materials to demonstrate your learning. We suggest that you use Google Docs for the creation of your materials and then you can easily link to the docs you create when you submit your materials for review to the badge earning community.

Q: What is the review process for earning a badge?

A: Once someone submits their materials for a badge, members of the YALSA badge community have the opportunity to review those materials, compare what's submitted to the rubric setup for each badge, and comment and rate what's been submitted. We use a five star rating system for badge review and our Badges for Learning algorithm automatically awards a badge when the required number of stars has been received by a badge earner. We hope that through this system badge earners receive useful feedback on what they've developed and learners get to learn from each other about how best to provide high quality service to teens.

Q: How does the badge rating system work?

A: When a badge is reviewed the reviewer can award between 1 and 5 stars to the badge earner for the materials that have been submitted. The stars should be awarded in connection to the rubric provided for each badge with the following guidelines for that awarding:

  • 1 star: work does not meet the criteria set out by the rubric at all - the badge earner doesn't show any understanding of the concepts presented
  • 2 stars: less then half of the material submitted meets the rubric criteria - there is a lot of room for improvement to demonstrate badge earner understanding of the concepts presented
  • 3 stars: the materials submitted meet half of the criteria setup for the badge and the badge earner needs to demonstrate more clearly their understanding of the concepts presented
  • 4 stars: the materials submitted meet over half of the criteria set out for the badge but are missing a couple of things and/or could be more complete - the badge earner shows a good understanding of the concepts presented
  • 5 stars: the materials meet all of the criteria set out for the badge - the badge earner demonstrates a complete understanding of the concepts presented

We hope that badge reviewers will be honest in their feedback and ratings so to provide badge earners with meaningful information and opportunities for learning.

Q: Where can I learn more about the badges and how they work?
A: Take a look at the About Our Badges page on this website and also check out the screencasts on the Help page for more information about how to use the site in order to earn badges.