Stories of 2007

Over the past few days I’ve been reading blog posts that provide a review of 2007 from a particular perspective. Depending on the theme of the blog, the recaps focus on trends over the past 12 months related to technology, libraries, news, music, etc. While reading the posts I’ve been thinking about what are the teen/YALSA/library trends from the past year. A review of the past 12 months of posts on the YALSA blog led to the following list of a few of our own trends in 2007:

  • Social networking – web 2.0 didn’t show any sign of letting up as an important tool for teens to use in all aspects of their lives. Forrester, OCLC, National School Boards Association, and The Pew Internet in American Life Project (to name just four) published important reports on the role of social networking in teen lives.
  • Library programs & services – librarians serving teens continue to try out new and exciting ways to meet the needs of their adolescent customers. Some librarians are looking at virtual worlds as a way to connect with teens. Other librarians are focusing on music to make connections. And, there are librarians who are finding new and innovative ways to connect with teens using a traditional format – the book.
  • Copyright – digital rights management (DRM) continues to be a topic librarians need to keep up with in order to serve teens effectively. This year major leaders in various entertainment industries took action in order to stop what they deemed illegal use of digital music and video files. Librarians serving teens need to continue to find the best way to help teens understand the legalities of using digital content. At the same time librarians need to advocate for legal decisions that support teen use of that content.
  • Advocacy – librarians working with teens continued to work to educate their colleagues, administrators, and community about the value and importance of serving teens in the public and school library. While there’s been lots of progress in this area over the past several years, there are still instances in which librarians find themselves working with staff and community members in order to make sure that teens get the quality service they deserve. A key aspect of a teen librarian’s job is to be an advocate for the population she serves.

Did you notice a trend in 2007 related to teens and/or teens and libraries? Let us know with a comment to this blog post.

The YALSA bloggers were busy in 2007 writing posts that explored the world of teens and of libraries. Thanks to each of them for keeping readers up-to-date on a wide-variety of topics. I’m looking forward to reading what they have to say about the stories of 2008.

Promote YALSA and its Awards

I guess I am a little spoiled and maybe a tad complacent. In November, I had the chance to sit for two days at the ALAN conference and listen to the best and the brightest in the field of YA literature talk about books and reading. Chris Crutcher, Sherman Alexie, E Lockhart, and Laurie Halse Anderson and dozens of others spoke about their own writing. Breakout sessions focused on reading motivation and the use of YA literature in classroom and libraries. Several YALSA leaders were in attendance and on the program including Bonnie Kunzel, Mary Arnold, Ed Sullivan, and Michael Cart.

Why am I waxing nostalgic now? Well, it seems that YA literature takes a back seat sometimes within ALA. As I prepare to attend the Midwinter meeting, I am reading all about the awards press conference in the recent news releases and online newsletters (AL Direct, January, 2007, and the latest issue of American Libraries, for instance), Newbery and Caldecott get top billing. I understand that. They have been around since 1922 and 1938 respectively. However, not to mention the Printz, ALEX, and Edwards awards as part of the ceremony seems to me to consign the YALSA awards to a less important category. Maybe I am guilty of assisting this slight. I will occasionally define the Printz as the YA Newbery. That’s wrong, and one of my New Year’s resolutions is to promote the YALSA award winners even more in presentations, articles, and speeches.

Adolescent literacy is at the forefront of our attention in education right now. It seems to me that ALA should be hyping what it does to keep teens immersed in books and reading. Instead, it elects to focus on the past and is, therefore, ignoring a golden opportunity to promote one of its prime initiatives in the battle against aliteracy. Highlighting YALSA awards would bring some national attention to the field of YA literature which (IMHO) is the best hope we have of creating teens who read for pleasure and who become lifelong readers and learners.

However, this does not help remedy the slight within my own professional organization. YALSA is one of the fastest growing groups within ALA and yet we take a back seat at the awards ceremony. Our winners do not appear on The Today Show (according to the ALA PIO, the show is not interested in adding the Printz winners). Last year we were encouraged by YALSA to show up Tuesday morning in New York and carry signs about the Printz. We need to do more this year. What can we do to bring this to the attention of our leadership in the organization? Why is our leadership not interested in making a moe concerted effort to get Printz winners on the show?

First, as many of us as possible need to communicate our displeasure to those in charge. Send letters to ALA Direct, American Libraries, and to the leadership of ALA. At Midwinter, be sure to talk to our leaders about the need to make YALSA awards visible. Here are some key email addresses for you: the email address for letters to the editor of American Libraries: The Director of ALA’s Public Information Office (PIO) is Mark Gould, and the CEO of ALA is Keith Fiels, Attend the press conference and make some noise for the YALSA winners if you are planning to be in Philly.

Letters are one place to begin. We need to go further. The psters for Printz did not generate a great deal of sales. Show your support this year with a purchase of the bookmarks and ask one of your library vendors if they will produce a poster each year with cumulative lists of Printz winners. How about some professional books about using the Printz winners in school and public library settings? (and we do have one coming: the Official Guide to YALSA Awards is scheduled to be published by YALSA with Neal-Schuman in June 2008. It’s been edited by Tina Frolund and has sections on Alex, Edwards and Printz). How about using our votes to speak as well? Look at the candidates running for ALA Board. Think about endorsing those who are YALSA members and/or who support YALSA’s initiatives. Dora Ho, the 2008 local arrangements chair for our annual conference, is one of the YALSA people running for ALA Executive Board.

YALSA should share the spotlight with ALSC when it comes to the awards presentation. Make your voices heard. It is time to demand more from our professional home. Instead of sitting us at a separate table, ALA needs to invite us to sit at the head table at the banquet.

Posted by Teri Lesesne

Additional Thoughts on Midwinter Meeting

Hello YALSA members:

The recent Dec. 29th post about the upcoming Midwinter meeting is a great example of how many people are gearing up for the upcoming meeting in Philadelphia. I hope to see many of you at the meeting and know that those not able to attend will find plenty of excellent information about the meeting right here on YALSA’s blog!

The latest edition of American Libraries also features Midwinter-related information, including a Midwinter Preview section. Page 62 of this preview discusses the Youth Media Awards Press Conference (Monday, Jan 14th from 8-9 a.m.) While it is always great to see the Youth Awards receive the attention they deserve, this preview mentions several awards by name (including the new ALSC/YALSA Odyssey Award) but does not specifically mention YALSA’s prestigious Michael L Printz, Margaret A. Edwards or Alex Awards.

I encourage all YALSA members to continue to advocate for the importance of the Printz Award, Young Adult literature — the fastest growing segment in publishing – and YALSA’s awards in general. There are more than 30 million teens in the country–the second largest generation after the Boomers. Drawing attention to YALSA’s excellent award-winning books for this large teen audience is an important task for those of us working to serve teens in libraries every day.

I also encourage all YALSA members to read through the list of candidates for ALA’s Executive Board (also on page 62 of the American Libraries Midwinter Preview) and begin thinking about which candidates fit your priorities for our Association. ALA Council will consider this slate of Executive Board Candidates at the Midwinter meeting. The candidates are Frances R Roscello, Diane R. Chen, Thomas L. Wilding, Dora T Ho, Pamela C. Sieving, Em Claire Knowles. There will be a Candidates Forum featuring these candidates at the Midwinter meeting on Jan. 14th from 11:30 to 12:30 in Ballroom B of the convention center.

General information about ALA’s Executive Board

Roster of current Executive Board members

Paula Brehm-Heeger
YALSA President, 2007-2008

resolutions for 2008

I plan to begin 2008 with a few resolutions:

1. to keep active in YALSA through the listservs, the symposium, and the conferences
2. to make new connections to my colleagues via the blog and listservs
3. to participate in the discussions rather than lurking so much
4. to make my voice heard, especially on matters of intellectual freedom

5. to continue to connect colleagues from YALSA to NCTE and IRA so that the conversations about adolescent literacy will include as many voices and perspectives as possible.

I invite all of you to join in. Look for postings here from ALA Midwinter (which is just around the corner). I will be blogging from the press conference. Remember that you an join us live as the awards are announced.

Posted by Teri Lesesne

Coming Up @ Midwinter

Every year when I write a blog post about what I’m looking forward to as I prepare for ALA Midwinter Meeting (or Annual Conference) I mention the same thing – getting to see people with whom my main mode of connection is virtual. These are people I talk with all the time on Twitter, via email, via text. But, when conference time comes around I actually get to see them face-to-face. That’s always great.

In this post I’m going to go beyond extolling the joys of connecting with others at this year’s Midwinter Meeting and mention some specific events. In date/time order:

  • The YALSA Happy Hour – at the 2007 Annual Conference YALSA hosted their first Happy Hour. They are hosting another at Midwinter in Philadelphia. Since the Happy Hour is on the Friday evening of the Meeting weekend, it feels very much like the school hallways the first day of school after a vacation. You get to see people for the first time after a bit of time away from each other and catch-up in a casual environment. The Happy Hour takes place at McGillins Olde Ale House from 5 to 7 PM
  • YALSA Student Interest Group Meeting – well, this isn’t really a formal meeting, but during Happy Hour students are invited to get together and talk about needs, interests, and simply have a chance to get to know each other. If you would like more info. about the SIG and the Happy Hour Meet-up you can contact me (I’m the fairly new Convener) at
  • Gaming Extravaganza – for the third year in a row YALSA is sponsoring a gaming night. This year’s new and improved version includes game playing – games are made available through the generosity of Game Crazy – voting on entries in the avatar contest, game contests hosted by Eli Neiburger, machinima demonstrations, and prizes and giveaways. Wizards of the Coast is sponsoring the event. Registration for the Gaming Extravaganza, which takes place from 8 to 10 PM on Friday night, is required.
  • YALSA Saturday Morning Meetings – Leadership Development and All-Committee meetings take place on Saturday AM. Over the past few years YALSA Board members and staff have made quite a few changes to how these meetings work and are run. At Leadership Development – which is geared specifically for Committee Chairs – there will be a roundtable round robin so that attendees get to learn about various YALSA projects in small groups. The All Committee meeting is a noisy experience but it’s also the place where the work of the various committees gets accomplished. If you are interested in joining a YALSA committee, but aren’t sure what to volunteer for, All Committee is the place to be to get a sense of what the various groups are working on and where your talents might best be used.
  • Strategic Planning – this year YALSA Is beginning their strategic planning process. Committee chairs are invited to a special strategic planning session on Saturday afternoon. This is a good way to be a part of the future of the Division.
  • Board Meetings – yes I know this might sound really crazy, but if you want to get a sense of how YALSA works and what projects are in the works, attending a part of a Board meeting is a good thing to do. You can find out what’s on the Board agenda and plan to attend when a topic you are interested in learning more about is scheduled for discussion. Board meetings are scheduled for Sunday, 1/13, 4 to 6 PM and Monday, 1/14, from 10 AM to 1:30 PM.
  • Youth Media Awards – If you are going to be in Philadelphia and have never been to one of the youth media awards announcements, which takes place on Monday AM January 14, be prepared to be part of a very large crowd. Don’t forget if you aren’t in Philadelphia and are interested in the announcement you can join via the webcast – that’s crowded too and with limited space so you’ll want to show-up online early.
  • Joint Youth Division Reception – this annual gathering takes place on Monday evening of every Midwinter Meeting. It’s usually a crowded event and as the Friday night Happy Hour is similar to a school hallway after a vacation, the reception is like the end of the school year when you are excited about getting to the end of another year and want to celebrate a job well done.

Find out more about YALSA’s events and meetings on the Division’s Midwinter Meeting wiki page. And, don’t forget, if you can’t be at the meeting you can still keep up via this blog, podcasts that will be posted here, and Twitter messages. (On Twitter track YALSA and you’ll see what those in Philadelphia are saying about Meeting events.)

Professional Development Opportunity

Global Kids, based in New York, is offering a professional development workshop to get started in Second Life 101, January 22, from 10am-4pm, EST in New York. Registration here:

Global Kids are the leaders in Teen Second Life in terms of the funding they have received for their projects, and the programs and projects they are able to mobilize youth with. Check out some of their activities on their blog. Almost all of their activities translate into programs appropriate to offer at a library for youth as they are focused on a youth participation model and this is a great opportunity for continuous learning especially in a medium that is an effective learning space for teens.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Gaming at Midwinter

-The YALSA Gaming Discussion group is meeting on Monday, January 14, 4-6pm at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in room 202A. All are welcome to attend. We will be discussing the presentation for Annual conference, engaging in games, and topics related to gaming that you would like to talk about.

YALSA’s Gaming Extravaganza, January 11, 8pm-11pm. Prizes, contests, networking, and exercise!

-an ALA Member Interest Group on Games and Gaming is in the works with Scott Nicholson. Signatures are needed and more information about the group can be found here.

-In addition to your YALSA member ribbon, be sure to pick up a ‘gamer’ one for Midwinter if you identify as such.

-Open gaming Monday January 12 through Monday January 14 at Midwinter with Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, and the Wii. If you want to volunteer to provide coverage or just to check it out and ask questions, contact ALA’s Internet Development Specialist and Strategy Guide for more information at jlevine at

-Know of another gaming related event? Feel free to leave a comment or post on the ALA wiki here.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Year of the Teen

A couple of weeks ago Maureen Ambrosino, Youth Services Consultant for the Central MA Regional Library System, spoke with a group of library school students about the LSTA grant she received in 2007. The grant project titled Year of the Teen focuses on providing training and professional development for librarians on how to successfully meet teen needs in the library.

In her presentation, Maureen mentioned that during the grant year someone asked her, “Is this an international thing, The Year of the Teen?” Maureen’s answer was, “No, it’s something I decided.”

That question and response got me thinking. What if every library around the country – or the world perhaps – decided that 2008 was the year of the teen? What might that mean for teen services? Would it mean:

  • All library staff, teen devoted staff and non-teen devoted staff, would be trained in order to be adept at serving teens successfully. All library staff would not pre-judge teens and know to treat them in exactly the same way as they treat other library customers.
  • Budgets for teen materials would be on par with the budgets of other departments in a school or library. Teen library staff would be able to spend the $ provided for materials that teens want and need without fear of reprisal for purchasing something that might be controversial or not of the highest literary quality.
  • Every library would have a space (or work towards a space) that shows teens in the community that the library is a place for them to hang-out, be themselves, be comfortable, work on school assignments, collaborate, etc.
  • Teens with interests beyond those related to books would be welcome and served by the library. Teens whose main interest is music. Or teens who are interested in technology. Or teens that want to create media-based content. All of these teens, along with those who are lovers of the book, would find programs and services to meet their needs available from their school and public library
  • Teens would have access to full-time staff devoted to serving teen needs and interests. All of the hours that a library is open there would be a librarian available just to teens and their services.
  • Technology available to teens in the library would be up-to-date and of the caliber required of teens living in the early part of the 21st century. Hardware and software would be available that supports gaming, social networking, media creation, and other teen technological needs.
  • Librarians serving teens have the ability to act quickly in order to keep up with the current and rapidly changing needs and interests of teens. When a new technology, form of literature, form of entertainment, etc. that is of interest to teens appears, librarians can integrate these new tools and materials without having to jump through extensive bureaucratic hoops.
  • Library staff is able to meet teens where they (the teens) are and do not require that teens come to where the librarian is. Services are available in a variety of formats in order to meet the needs of teens who can and can not visit the physical library space.
  • Every librarian develops programs and services for teens with input from the teens in the community. No library service for the age group is initiated without teens being a part of the development and implementation process.

It’s possible to go on with the list of what a year of the teen might bring in terms of programs and services from a library. What if you were to name 2008 the year of the teen in your library? What would you be able to achieve?

Of course, every year should be the year of the teen but why not start with 2008 and then keep it going for 2009, 2010, 20011….

Podcast #31 – Tech-Based Youth Participation Projects

In this podcast, Stephanie Iser talks with two teen librarians about the technology-based teen participation projects in which each is involved.


Interview I: Sarah Kline Morgan, teen librarian at Cheshire Public Library
Sarah and Stephanie discuss the process of mentoring teens to create a library podcast. They discuss the technical aspects of creating a podcast as well as the administrative aspect from content guidelines to promotions. The Cheshire Public Library Podcast is a teen-driven cultural magazine featuring teen writers, musicians, reviewers, commentators, and more.

In the podcast Sarah and Stephanie discuss:

  • The software and hardware used to produce the podcasts – GaragBand is used to produce the podcast and a Snowball Blue microphone to capture the recording.
  • Distribution mechanisms for the audio files – the podcast is available thorugh iTunes and promoted on the Cheshire Public Library Facebook page. It can also be downloaded from the Cheshire Public Library web site.

For more information about the Chesire Public Library teen podcasts, contact Sarah Kline Morgan via email at

Interview II: Rosemary Honnold, Teen Services Coordinator, Coshocton Public Library

Rosemary and Stephenie discuss the teen Plugged and Unplugged tech program that takes place weekly at Coshocton Public Library. Teens who attend meetings play video games, surf the internet, and engage in other technology related activities. Teens work in an advisory capacity with Rosemary to plan the Club’s activities.

Rosemary and Stephanie discuss:

  • Rosemary’s book – Get Connected: Tech Programs For Teens.
  • Grants Rosemary received from Wal-mart and the friends of the library to support the tech program.
  • How to establish structure in a tech-based youth participation program for teens in order to enhance value to the teens.

For more information about the Plugged and Unplugged program contact Rosemary Honnold at

Visitors welcome


My ears are bleeding! It’s down to the listening wire for Selected Audiobooks — I’m taking the next ten days off, hoping to finish up the nominated titles remaining on my list. Let’s see: Six books. Hours of listening: 44:22. So, that’s four hours and 42 minutes of listening each day. You understand about the ears?

Here’s your invitation to come observe our committee’s deliberations at Midwinter next month. Last year (my first year) we talked away for hours without any visitors! Of course, the room we were in was way overheated and a hardworking and painfully squeaking escalator was right outside our door. There were a few people willing to brave the conditions — mostly from publishers, so we’d love it if we had a few fans from the listening public sitting in.

Here’s our schedule:

Friday, January 11. 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. (possibly winding up early)
Saturday, January 12. 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 13. 8 a.m. to noon.

We’re at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (Number 4 on your hotel map) in the Delaware Room.

No RSVP required.

Happy New Year, everyone!