The YALSA Update: Free Stuff (and Midwinter News, Too)!

YALSA Is Giving It All Away. Well, maybe not everything. But YALSA is giving out cash, materials and more to its members this winter—all you have to do enter a couple contests.

  • Cash! Got a great idea for Teen Tech Week? We’ll give you $450 in cold, hard cash (thanks to 2008 Teen Tech Week Corporate Sponsor Dungeons & Dragons)plus $50 worth of Teen Tech Week products (courtesy Teen Tech Week Promotional Partner ALA Graphics) to put on your program or offer special resources and services @ your library. Just download the info on the Teen Tech Week Mini Grants from our Teen Tech Week Contests page.
  • Books and a Prize Pack from Simon & Schuster! Not a YALSA member? (You know who you are.) Here’s a good incentive to join up: if you join through our Teen Read Week website, you could win free books or a prize pack from Friend of Teen Read Week Simon & Schuster. Check out the Teen Read Week website to learn more.

Midwinter Update!

While advanced registration has ended, YALSA still has slots open for its Pre-Midwinter Institute (Taking Teen Services to the Next Level) and its third annual Gaming Extravaganza! Find details at the YALSA Midwinter Page. (Already registered? Add these ticketed events at this secure ordering page.)

YALSA is hosting a booth on the Exhibits floor at ALA Midwinter Meeting! Stop by Booth #435 anytime exhibits are open to learn more about Teen Tech Week, and you can enter to win a goodie basket of Teen Tech Week products from ALA Graphics. In addition, Dungeons & Dragons will be meeting and greeting interested librarians from 1-2 p.m. on Saturday, January 12. Make sure to check out a demo of their new Gleemax community for gamers and enjoy some snacks.

Check back to the YALSA Blog every Thursday for a rundown of news and updates from the YALSA Office. Send your questions and comments to Stevie Kuenn, YALSA Communications Specialist, at

Sandpiper Challenge resolved!

What started out as a teen girl refusing to return a school library copy of Ellen Wittlinger’s Sandpiper has been resolved through a mixed reaction school board meeting. Check out the link for a more detailed account. While I am encouraged that the school board decided to keep the book on the shelf–for the 1st amendment rights of the students, I worry about the effects this challenge will have on future purchases and policies at the school system.

Censorship against teen materials is becoming more of an everyday occurrence that teen librarians really need to prepare themselves for. Whether it is impromptu conversations with parents about why there are adult titles in your teen collection, or a formal challenge against a title due to content, please take the time to learn your policies and be able to discuss them intellectually.

I hope that none of us have to go through a public challenge like Sandpiper, but if you do contact YALSA and ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. They can really help!

Kristin Fletcher-Spear
Chair of YALSA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee

Scholarship Towards your MLS

About the Scholarship:
YALSA, through an ALA Ahead to 2010 grant, will be funding one ALA Spectrum Scholar for the 2008 year who is interested in pursuing a career in young adult librarianship or secondary school librarianship. Spectrum Scholars receive a $5,000 scholarship towards the completion of a master’s degree in library science. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2008.

Spectrum’s major drive is to recruit applicants and award scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students. Spectrum/YALSA will provide a one-year $5,000 scholarship and over $1,500 in professional development opportunities to one eligible student planning to attend an ALA-accredited graduate program in library and information studies or an ALA-recognized NCATE School Library Media program for the purpose of securing a job in a public or school library that serves teens.

To be eligible for a Spectrum Scholarship:
•Applicant must be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. or Canada.
•Applicant must be American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander.
•Applicant must attend an ALA-accredited graduate program in library and information studies or an ALA-recognized NCATE School Library Media program.
•Applicant shall have completed no more than a third of the credit requirements toward her/his MLIS or school library media degree at the time of award, June 1st.
•Applicant must be enrolled in an accredited program and begin school no later than September 1st or the Fall Semester immediately following the award.

•Applicants may have full or part time status.

The deadline to apply is March 1, 2008. Apply today via the online form.

For Additional Information:
To learn more about the Spectrum Scholar program, please visit the Spectrum web site.
Please direct questions to Gwendolyn Prellwitz, Program Officer, ALA Office for Diversity & Spectrum, by emailing or calling 1-800-545-2433 ext. 5048.

Podcast #29 – Blogging About Teens & Teen Services

This is the first podcast from the 2008 Teen Tech Week committee. The podcast includes two informative interviews with library workers who run successful blogs. Youth services librarian Crystal Niedzwiadek interviews Stephanie Iser about her Alternative Teen Services Blog and gaming expert Eli Neiburger about AADL’s Gaming Blog. These library workers will inform and inspire you to dive in and try your hand at blogging with your teens!


Topics that are covered:

The YALSA Update: Midwinter & Mini Grants!

Five Weeks ’til Philly!
Midwinter is a mere five weeks away! YALSA has big plans for Midwinter, and you should make sure not to miss out on them.

YALSA in the Exhibits! YALSA will host a booth in the exhibits area. Stop by to pick up cool Teen Tech Week swag, learn more about Teen Tech Week resources, and win a gift basket of TTW products from ALA Graphics and YALSA. We’ll be in Booth #435!

And as you make your schedule, remember to save time for the following YALSA events:

  • Pre-Midwinter Institute: Taking Teen Services to the Next Level. To kick off YALSA’s 3-year advocacy campaign, YALSA is offering this full day institute on January 11 at a special price! This institute will give you the tools you need to advocate for the teens in your community. Registration is open and just $100 for YALSA members, students and retirees—and it includes lunch! Come on! Learn more at YALSA’s Midwinter Meeting page.
  • YALSA Happy Hour. Join YALSA from 5-7 pm on Friday at McGillin’s Olde Ale House to catch up and network with your fellow members. Find out more about Happy Hour at the YALSA Wiki’s Midwinter Meeting page. (The YALSA Student Interest Group will hold its meeting at McGillin’s concurrently.)
  • The Gaming Extravaganza! You don’t want to miss the third annual Gaming Night! This event kicks off our Teen Tech Week celebration and gives you a chance to sample the latest and greatest in tabletop, role-playing and video games. Make sure to sign up; space is limited (and it costs just $40). We’ll also be picking our avatar contest winner—you could win $100 worth of books and materials for your library. Learn more at YALSA’s Midwinter web page.

Teen Tech Week Mini Grants!
YALSA is giving out twenty mini grants for unique, fun Teen Tech Week services, resources, and programming, courtesy TTW 2008 Corporate Sponsor Dungeons & Dragons. Tell us why you deserve a mini grant for your Teen Tech Week celebration, and you could win $450 in cash plus $50 worth of TTW products from ALA Graphics. See the official rules and download the application at the Teen Tech Week Web site! (And don’t forget to register while you’re there.)

Check back to the YALSA Blog every Thursday for a rundown of news and updates from the YALSA Office. Send your questions and comments to Stevie Kuenn, YALSA Communications Specialist, at

Poster Session Proposals

The Technology for Young Adults Committee is still accepting proposals for the Teens & Technology Poster Session at the ALA Annual Conference in June-July 2008 through January. For more information, visit here. If you have questions, contact Kelly Tyler, Technology for Young Adults Committee Chair: kellyts at

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

It’s That Time Again!

Each year, the Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults Committee develops themed lists of popular and relevant paperback books for teens. In January, we will release the four lists we’ve spent the last year slaving over, and begin the cycle over again.

We have some ideas percolating of what themes we should focus on next year, but we’d like your input. What topics are your teens crazy about? What booklists would you like to see? What kind of books do you find yourself wracking your brain for, to no avail? What lists are so outdated that they’re in desperate need of updating? You can see our past lists here — and don’t forget, it’s all about the popular!

Our lists are developed for your use, so make sure we know what you need!

Karen Brooks-Reese, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
2009 PPYA Chair

Book Discussion in the Greek Theatre

Tomorrow at 2pm CST and Thursday at 10am CST and 8pm CST, the Alliance Library System in East Peoria, IL and partners are hosting a book discussion of Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis in Whyville’s Greek Theatre. Whyville is a virtual world primarily for tweens and teens (their median age is 12 1/2) with many 13-16 year olds as members that is ‘learner-centered, hands-on, and inquiry-based’. Adults are able to sign up as well. For more information visit here (note the times in this YALSA post are the correct times for the discussion). Consider setting up a projector and computer to show people at your library what libraries are doing and can do in Whyville. Chances are, you’ll have a few teens and tweens share their own stories of being in Whyville.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Philadelphia freedom…

I am so looking forward to the Midwinter meeting in Philly. The highlight for me, aside from the committee meetings (yes, I love the meetings, too) is the announcement ceremony. For the first time this year, you will see the Odyssey Award announced at the press conference. This award, for distinction in audiobooks for children and young adults, is a joint ALSC/YALSA award.

The business of the organization takes place in part at the All Committee meeting. Those who wish to become more active should make plans to come to this meeting.

What else? Take some time to do some tourist-y stuff. Last time I took a few hours and went with a friend to see the Liberty Bell. For lunch one day another pal and I headed out to a neighborhood for a lovely French bistro meal. Meetings might keep us busy, but there is always some time to see the sites and eat a cheesesteak.

See you in the city of Brotherly Love.

Posted by Teri Lesesne

Tweens & Cell phone usage.

In September of ’06 I wrote a post about using cell phones to access the web. Today Nielson released a report about the cell phone habits of tweens, that I wanted to share as a follow up to that post.

While most of the report shouldn’t be surprising, what struck me is that it said 5% of those age 8-12 (tweens) used their cell phones to access the internet monthly. Most of the articles I’ve read have also been stating that tweens aren’t using the internet as much as their teen counterparts, however they are frequent downloaders. There is a trend to download not only music, but TV shows.

What does this mean for libraries? Has any library created a catalog search for a cell phone? Is there a library out there where I can place a hold from my phone?

Official Report

* 35% of tweens own a mobile phone.
* 20% of tweens have used text messaging.
* 21% of tweens have used ring & answer tones.
* 5% of tweens access the Internet over their phone each month.

* 41% of tween mobile Internet users say they access the web while commuting or traveling (to school, for example

* 6% of tween mobile Internet users say they access the web while at a friend’s house and
* 17% of tween mobile Internet users say they access the web on their phones at social events.

* 58% of tweens who download or watch TV on their phone do so at home;
* 64% of tweens who download or play music on their phone do so at home;
* 56% of tweens who access the Internet on their phone do so at home.