YALSA 2022 Winter Board Meeting

If you’re a YALSA member you’ve likely gotten the information through YALSA E-News or your email that the YALSA Board will be meeting this Saturday 1/15 for Board Meeting I and II. Please register via the information that you were sent and we look forward to having you in attendance!

If you’re not yet a member but want to attend the meeting, now is a great time to join today! It is a great space to see if you’re interested in taking a future role with governance. We will provide a recap here on the blog about what was discussed. The agenda is online here. There are several documents brought forth by the hardworking committees including suggested policy updates for Amazing Audiobooks and Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers. The Board will also be discussing developing reading lists featuring Chinese American writers/characters in order to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Chinese American Librarians Association.

Just a note that the YALSA Board has more flexibility of when to meet as you’ll notice we’re not meeting during LibLearnX which will take place the following weekend.

My First YALSA Conference Experience

YALSA 2021 in Reno was my first opportunity to attend a professional conference in my career field. I graduated with my MLIS in May of 2021, so needless to say, graduate school didn’t end up being the experience I’d wanted it to be. I had so many plans to attend conferences as a student, and build connections with my cohort at the University of Illinois. I had one semester in person, and then my graduate school experience was drastically modified due to the pandemic.
The opportunity to attend YALSA provided me with the experience I had yearned for in graduate school. I had the chance to meet others in my field who are as passionate about advocating for teens as I am. I loved all of the discussions we had, and each presentation I attended was enlightening and informative. This past year and a half was exhausting and I’ve felt myself getting burned out, but the experience I had at YALSA lit my fire again. All this is to say it’s really hard to narrow down what I learned, because it feels like I learned so much, but I’ll give it a shot.

The presentations that focused on serving teens in poverty were extremely helpful to me. In my new position as a Teen Librarian, I’ve moved to a new community with significant poverty rates. An important aspect of my job includes getting to know this new community and the best ways to serve them. Some of the key takeaways I gained from those presentations included training all staff on issues of poverty, and providing equity boxes with a variety of items including socks, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. I love the idea of an equity box and have been considering ways to propose this idea to my administration. I also plan on contacting the public transit in my area to see if they will provide me with bus passes that I can hand out to anyone that may need one. Some other pieces of advice I found helpful were “you don’t know what you don’t know” and “ask the teens”. These may seem somewhat obvious, but I found it helpful to reconsider these points and remind myself that I should always be consulting my teens and patrons in regards to their needs and wants at the library. I won’t know what barriers my teens face unless I ask them directly.

Something I’ve been personally struggling with at my library is feeling like other staff and patrons discriminate against the teens. From the conference discussions, I received helpful advice on how to manage this issue, including advocating for all staff training. When I asked for advice about this issue at a panel, one of the presenters even suggested bluntly asking staff why they are hesitant about working with teens.

Overall, I learned so much at YALSA this year. Each presentation I attended gave me some bit of advice or understanding that I found helpful for my career as a Teen Librarian. I even gained so many new ideas for programming, books that should be in my collection, and more. I’m really grateful I was able to have the experience to go to YALSA and meet new colleagues. I can’t wait to attend again next year!


Kaileigh Oldham is a recent MLIS graduate from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Originally from Michigan, Kaileigh received her Bachelor’s in Creative Writing and Fine Arts from Western Michigan University. She now resides in Danville, IL with her boyfriend, 2 dogs, and 2 cats. She is currently the Teen Librarian at Danville Public Library. When she is not at work Kaileigh enjoys playing video games, watching anime, and hula hooping.

YALSA President’s Report – December 2021

Greetings all! What a year it’s been! We’re a few days into the new year as I wrap up last month. Even in unsettling times, I hope you were able to experience some moments of ease and will continue to do so as we welcome in 2022. Here are some highlights from December:

Membership numbers (reported from August 2021):
Personal members of YALSA: 3,239
Renewals: 201 (this is an 11.6% increase from 2020)
New members: 90 (this is also an increase from 2020)

  • Directed the Board to continue responding to the History of Four EDI Taskforce Report recommendations
  • Submitted a President’s column for upcoming YALS issue. Co-written with social worker. (YALS is a great member-perk! Chock-full of useful information-free to members)
  • Worked on promoting the need for and appointing interested members to YALSA’s Division and Membership Promotion Committee.  (We still have openings to this important committee. Fill out the Committee Volunteer Form if you are interested!)
  • Continuing to seek a Member Manager for the Hub by reaching out to folks and updating call for applicants. Thank you Board Member, Director-At-Large Traci Glass for stepping in as interim!
  • Posted about YALSA’s partnership with Michigan State and Indiana University regarding Artificial Intelligence
  • Met with YALSA President’s Taskforce to develop ideas to continue moving forward on re-building social capital for and with teens
  • Working with AASL/ALSC to determine joint Executive Committee meeting
  • Working with Chairs and Board Members to submit board documents for January meeting (*more information will be shared on this within the next week or so)
  • Called for vote from Board Members for several Board Documents (will be linked here soon) regarding Virtual Option for Award Committees as well as Extension of Evaluating Volunteer Resources Taskforce. Others currently under discussion.

As always, grateful for the passion and work from dedicated volunteers to YALSA! Take a moment to look back on 2021 for all that you’ve accomplished and we’ll continue moving forward-one day at a time! Here’s to 2022!

Any questions or comments, feel free to post below or email: kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com.

Kelly Czarnecki (she/her)
YALSA President
2021-2022

 

“I Remember When the Future was Unevenly Distributed” by cogdogblog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

IMLS National Leadership Grant – Artificial Intelligence (AI)

You may be aware that YALSA is partnering with Michigan State University and Indiana University for an AI literacy program for youth in underserved communities. The libraries involved in the project include the San Diego Central Library (San Diego, CA), Carroll County Public Library (New Windsor, MD), and the Capital Area District Library (Lansing, MI).  The following is an interview with Dr. Heerin Lee and Dr. Kayhun Choi who are leading the project. This will be a great resource for working with teens and AI!

Q: Please introduce yourself and briefly explain how you are partnering with YALSA.

A: Heerin: Hello! I am Heerin Lee, a Principial Investigator (PI) of a project called “AI & Co-design in public libraries: Empowering underserved youth to cultivate symbiotic relationships between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and their communities.” I am an assistant professor in the department of media and information at Michigan State University, working in the field of Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). I design and evaluate robots for social good with the aim of empowering socially marginalized groups, including people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, racial minorities, and older adults.

Kahyun: Hi, I am Kahyun Choi, a co-PI of this project. I am an assistant professor of Information and Library Science at Indiana University Bloomington. I am an expert in AI models for music digital libraries. I bring my experience of developing and teaching an introductory and intuitive machine learning course to this project. When I am not working, I love to spend time with my husband and daughter, do yoga, and listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and music.

Heerin & Kahyun: YALSA as a partner will publicize our open-source education materials developed within this project to librarians all over the US. These materials will include a detailed process of how we develop our program and how we run it including a summary of each session, main takeaways, lessons learned, and suggestions for future literacy programs. YALSA will also help us develop AI literacy webinars for librarians, promote the program, and perform other marketing activities via their outlets, such as social media, weekly newsletter, e-blast and other platforms.

Q: What interests you most about AI, and what led you to it as a course of study?

A: Heerin: While AI influences many people, only a relatively small population of engineers determine how the public interacts with AI in everyday life. The public’s limited access to AI knowledge stems from the fact that it is mostly disseminated by higher education programs. In particular, these programs mostly focus on computational aspects of AI rather than on social and ethical aspects. This could reinforce a digital divide and inequity issues at a national level. Thus, I thought it is crucial to run AI literacy programs through sustainable infrastructures like public libraries where community members, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds, have access to AI knowledge.

Kahyun: About 15 years ago, I got fascinated by powerful emotions coming from music. Instead of becoming a singer-songwriter, I built an AI model that could understand music emotions to some degree by capturing relationships between audio signals and emotions. Ever since, I have developed AI models that can annotate music, song lyrics, and poems with topics, emotions, and genres. While developing and offering an introductory AI course based on music applications to students without technical backgrounds, I realized the importance of intuitive and accessible AI education for the public and, particularly, underserved populations.

Q: Why did you choose public libraries to focus your research?

A: Heerin & Kahyun: As I briefly explained in my answer above, I think it is significant to disseminate AI knowledge through well-developed infrastructures so that many people have access to it regardless of their socioeconomic status. Economically underserved communities, in particular, are vulnerable to AI’s negative consequences as they are largely excluded from the decision-making process of envisioning AI technologies in society. Since the internet emerged in the mid-1990s, public libraries, as early adopters, have long played a critical role in enhancing the public’s technology literacy in the US. As we enter an era of increased AI technology in our society, libraries have tremendous potential for nurturing AI literacy.

Q: Is there anything you hope that youth will gain with AI as a result of your project?

A: The two main components of our program are 1) Module 1—Understanding core concepts of AI, and 2) Module 2—Envisioning AI for local industries. With these two modules, we hope youth not only learn core AI concepts, but also get more actively engaged with their local civic issues as AI co-designers. For example, we will introduce local media stories about AI in their communities and discuss how technological issues are closely entangled with social issues. Our program will develop critical thinking capabilities, enabling youth to understand AI-related social issues in their communities and actively participate in public discourse about AI technologies.

This project particularly adopts an asset-based approach, which is a pedagogy built upon a critical race theory that views students from socially underserved communities not as people with deficits but as people with “community cultural wealth.” We hope this process help students see themselves as people with their own knowledge and position them as people who can utilize AI knowledge. This will also help them more easily become co-designers in our participatory design sessions.

Q: What is the timeline of your project -or when people can expect to see more information?

This is a two-year project that started in Aug 2021. We are currently recruiting youths and their teachers for interviews to understand how they think about AI and their career paths. Based on findings, we will build and evaluate the two AI education modules by Aug 2022. Subsequently, we will run the AI education workshops with the materials in three public libraries one by one, the Capital Area District Library in Lansing, Michigan, the San Diego Central Library in San Diego, California, and the Carroll County Public Library in New Windsor, Maryland, until May 2023. After the workshops, we will disseminate our findings and materials through YALSA, our website, and conferences.

Q: If people want to read more about the grant, where can they find it online?

A: The grant proposal, which includes detailed project design, is available online. https://www.imls.gov/grants/awarded/lg-250059-ols-21 If you want more information, feel free to contact us at heerin-at-msu.edu.

 

 

 

The Hub Member Manager sought for 2022 Term – Interim considered!

We’d like to thank the Hub’s current member manager, Sara Beth Coffman for the tremendous work and dedication she’s put into The Hub the past year.

You may have seen previous posts for this position. We’re still seeking! If you want to try it out short term such as 3 months and see if this is a good fit for you-we encourage you to still apply!

The most common feedback I’ve received from inquiries-and understandably so-is how much time is expected to be devoted per week. If selected, that will be up to you, the manager. You will also have a team you are working with.  A rough estimate from past managers is to plan for 4-8 hours a week. This will ebb and flow throughout the term as well. You will be in great hands with Board Liaison Traci Glass, who has written for the Hub before and can help guide you each step of the way.

The other most common response I receive is the qualifications feel somewhat daunting and folks may feel they are not eligible. While it is true that there is a bit different process to this position than some other volunteer positions in terms of qualifications-don’t let that hold you back from applying even if you don’t think you meet everything 100% perfectly!

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact Kelly Czarnecki, YALSA President (2021-2022); kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com. If you’re ready to apply please send a resume and cover letter to YALSA Member manager; Letitia Smith at lsmith@ala.org as soon as possible.

For qualifications and responsibilities, please review a previous post. Thank you for your interest!

 

 

 

YALS Winter 2022 Call for Proposals

Issue Theme: Endurance

The past two years have been hard.  Teen librarians and teens have been dealing with a worldwide pandemic.  We have been on lockdown, working from home, separated from family and friends.  We have seen video after video of people murdered on the streets and in schools. There have been protests and trials.  And, in the midst of all of this, we have had to continue to function and provide services and resources for our users, often overlooking our own mental and physical health while caring for those we serve in our libraries.

But, here we are.  We made it to the other side. In this issue we’d like you to share your experiences with the hard parts of the last two years..  What were they? Did you overcome them and how? Did you fail? If you failed, what lessons were learned?  How have your teens coped? What success stories do you have? Are there things you started doing during this time that might stick around?

Let’s share our successes and our failures. Below are just a few of the examples of what we are looking for:

  • Serving teens in a work from home situation
  • Finding and keeping employment in bad times (budget, covid, etc.)
  • Keeping teens encouraged
  • Keeping yourself encouraged
  • Trying new methods/approaches to services and/or resources that were successful
  • Trying new methods/approaches to services and/or resources that failed
  • Taking on more responsibility in your library
  • Giving teens more responsibility in your library
  • Handling book challenges and bans
  • What does self care look like for teen librarians? For teens?
  • What was a struggle? What worked?

Please send your proposals to us by January 3, 2022

https://www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/4ua66O6Sd8Yz1J4E

YALSA President’s Report – November 2021

Greetings all! Sending some fall energy your way! The highlight of this month has definitely been the YALSA Symposium in Reno. So much hard work went into what was a phenomenal event. Thank you all for making this hybrid (virtual/in-person) learning and networking opportunity a huge success!

This time of year means different things to everyone depending on what traditions (if any) you may participate in. I know I typically feel the winter months gain speed though for others it might be ‘normal’-just a bit colder-again dependent on where one resides. At any rate, whatever your unique experience may be, thank you for your involvement with YALSA and your continued work to help teens have quality access to library programs and services!

Contributions I made this month as YALSA President:

  • Assisted with the YALSA Symposium; recorded several introductions, attended virtual sessions and participated in the virtual Board info session. Called to vote on Symposium 2022 location (Baltimore here we come!)
  • Connected over email with Sam Helmrick, YALSA Liaison for ALA Executive Board
  • Held meeting for Presidential Taskforce to re-build teen social capital! So excited to work with such great volunteers!
  • Extended the Hub Manager assignment for one more month. Grateful for Sara Beth!
  • Connected with the Chair, Melissa, and Board Liaison, Carrie, for the Teen Civic Engagement Committee
  • Met with AASL/ALSC Presidents to develop a charge for the Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation. Thank you Jennisen and Lucia!
  • Wrote an article for the Presidents Column for the upcoming YALS issue on Adulting
  • Contributed to updating the DMP charge along with Board Member Karen Lemmons and YALSA ED, Tammy Dillard-Steels
  • Created EDI timeline draft for the Board as a recommendation from ODLOS Director, Kevin Strowder, to see our progress
  • Appointed a new Chair, Rebecca Denham, for the Evaluating Volunteer Resources Taskforce
  • Supported the ALA Statement on Censorship

Any questions or comments, feel free to post below or email: kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com.

Kelly Czarnecki (she/her)
YALSA President
2021-2022

 

Photo Credit: “Deer” by Kelly Czarnecki

Support YALSA for Giving Tuesday!

Today is #GivingTuesday – a movement that celebrates giving and encourages more, better and smarter giving during the holiday season.

Please consider donating to Friends of YALSA, and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do the same. Each year, donated funds support over $16,000 in member scholarships, grants and stipends, including a Spectrum Scholarship and Emerging Leader.

This year, YALSA’s Giving Tuesday goal is to raise $5,000. We are offering a raffle for everyone who donates to FOY on Tuesday, November 30th.  Every donation will be entered into a raffle for one of the following prizes.

  • A Virtual Visit for your classroom from author Jennifer Mathieu. She is the author of Devoted, Afterward, The Liars of Mariposa Island, and The Truth About Alice, the winner of the Children’s Choice Teen Debut Author Award. Her 2017 novel Moxie is being developed into a film by Amy Poehler for Netflix.
  • A set of signed books from author Brenden Kiely which include All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds), Tradition, The Last True Love Story, and The Gospel of Winter. His most recent book is The Other Talk: Reckoning with Our White Privilege.

Individuals can donate to FOY in the following ways:

  • Credit card via the ALA’s secure site. (pre-populated with the default amount, but can be changed)
  • Mail: use the printable form (PDF). Mail it with your donation to – Friends of YALSA, 225 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60601.

I am giving to Friends of YALSA today to support an organization that has done so much for me and the teens I serve. I have greatly benefited from all the resources available through membership, including serving on committees and YALSA’s Board of Directors. YALSA has directly impacted and improved my ability to serve teens at my organization and my ability to lead. Please join me in donating today!

Kate Denier
YALSA Fiscal Officer

Progress Report on Committee Appointments

While I know many of you who have submitted applications to volunteer have been waiting with bated breath. As part of my duties as YALSA President-Elect is to make those appointments. Before I ran for President I had talked to several Past-Presidents about the process, which seemed very overwhelming and very difficult. Having to sort through lots of volunteer applications finding the right fit for each committee. However, the opposite has happened and after talking to the current president Kelly Czarnecki and past-president Amanda Barnhart over the past several years we’ve had fewer and fewer members volunteering. 

We the three Presidents of YALSA have seen that the pandemic has affected membership and staffing in all our libraries making it very difficult.  Since the beginning of the pandemic YALSA membership and ALA membership has declined.  Many libraries suffered budget cuts and we all have friends who lost their jobs or who have left the field all together.  Many of us who remained have had more duties assigned to them to cover the staffing shortages.  I myself found myself taking on another department besides the library when my City began cutting the budget.  Both Amanda and Kelly have had to seek out members to fill in unexpected vacancies on committees, taskforces, and juries due to members having to withdraw from serving because of the pandemic and job stress.

This has also delayed appointments since I’ve been trying to track down volunteers, with the help of the YALSA Office.  The other obstacles have been around for a while, but I feel that they often get forgotten or unless it’s affected you as a member you might know what those are.     

These are three obstacles that have been a challenge for making appointments or for volunteers able to commit:

ALA’s 3 Committee Rule: This rule is in place to ensure that ALA members who are in other Divisions or Roundtables are not over committing themselves. A lot of times members like myself will volunteer with a roundtable or another division, and with YALSA. Whichever group gets you first, once you are on three committees you won’t be able to serve on something else until that appointment ends. While you might be rolling off the committee before the term begins, this sometimes blocks us from appointing someone.  

YALSA’s 3 Year Cooling Off Period for Award Committees: This rule was instituted back in 2014 with the hopes of making the Award committees accessible to more of the membership. This also brought us into line with the other divisions who also have a cooling off period from serving award committees. However, with the lack of volunteers highly qualified members have been turned away from serving when we could use their expertise. I’m currently working on a proposal to shrink this down to two years.  

Conference Attendance: This has been one of the biggest barriers for many members who want to volunteer. The cost of attending a conference is large, especially for librarians who have to foot the bill. A lot of libraries are also still restricting travel for members. This past summer the YALSA Board voted to make the summer attendance virtual for the award committees. Which I had also thought covered the winter conference. There is currently a proposal under discussion by the board to make the winter attendance optional. This would allow members who want to attend the YMAs can go, but other committee members who cannot attend will not be obligated to attend. We’re hoping this will open volunteer opportunities for members who cannot attend the conference but want to lend their expertise. 

This last one is currently holding up the invitation to members who have volunteered for the Award Committees. We’re hoping to change the language of the invitation to reflect the change if passed. ALA considers the invitation a binding contract and we cannot change the language after the appointment has been accepted.  

I’m also still looking for volunteers to serve on the Quick Picks and Amazing Audio blogging teams. For those of you who have volunteered invitations should be going out soon.  

If you’re interested in serving on the blogging teams, please fill out the volunteer form: https://www.ala.org/yalsa/getinvolved/getinvolved .  

If you have questions just send me an email at: fescobedo@cityoflarkspur.org

Thank you again for volunteering. 

Franklin Escobedo
YALSA President-Elect 2021-2022