It is hard to believe that Annual is less than four months away!  Have you registered?  If you are interested in sharing housing, the YALSA wiki has a page specifically for roommate requests.

Since Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was in February, the Local Arrangements committee thought we would highlight things to do in Washington D.C. that are related to President Lincoln.  One thing you cannot miss is the Lincoln Memorial.  It is free and open 24 hours a day, although it is only staffed with park rangers 9:30 AM to 11:30 PM.  The memorial is a beautiful structure that honors the memory of a beloved president and all he stood for.  It also played an important part in our nation’s history: Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous  “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the memorial.  Lincoln and his memorial even stepped on to the pop culture stage when the statue came to life in the recent movie Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.  One can learn more about the memorial by exploring the National Park Service site dedicated to the memorial.

If you wish to get even closer to Lincoln, Ford’s Theatre is where he spent his last night out.  In addition to still being a working theatre with many scheduled performances, it also houses a museum devoted to Abraham Lincoln.  A visit to the theatre’s museum also includes the Peterson House across the street, where Lincoln died after being shot.  Daytime admission to the museum is free, although tickets are timed and must be acquired in advance, either the morning of your visit or on-line for a small fee.  You can also learn about Ford’s Theatre performances on the website.

Last week I attended the Digital Media and Learning Conference which focused on diversifying participation. The attendees and presenters were a mix of practitioners and scholars working with digital media and youth. Conversations explored diversity not in terms of just the haves and have nots regarding access, but rather the ‘degrees’ of access, differences in obstacles to participation, and new communities and identities youth are forming because of the combination of new media and social and cultural differences. Read More →

In these podcasts, Matt Moffett interviews Molly Raphael and Sara Kelly Johns on their campaigns for ALA President. Raphael and Johns, both YALSA members, share their experience, strategies, and campaign platforms.

ALA members in good standing as of 1/31 should have received an automated email verification regarding the election. Polls open on March 16. For more information on ALA elections, including a schedule and the full slate of candidates for all offices, please visit the ALA website.

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Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

You can also download these podcasts, and others, at YALSA’s Podcasts site.

The YALSA Board of Directors held their winter meeting via conference call on Thursday, February 25. The primary focus of this meeting was to go over post-conference reports from YALSA member group chairs. However, a few other items were discussed and acted on. These include:

  • Establishment of a Teen Services Evaluation Task Force – the YALSA Board voted to form this task force that will be charged with creating a tool that library administrators and librarians can use in order to evaluate an individual institution’s overall level of success in providing teen services. The group working on the development of this tool will use YALSA’s recently revised Read More →

YALSA’s Next Chat in Meebo: YALSA’s monthly chat will take place as scheduled on Wednesday, March 3, 8-9 p.m. Eastern, on engaging the afterschool crowd. But instead of ALA Connect, we’ll be in Meebo. YALSA has a room set up for us at www.meebo.com, but the room will be closed until Monday Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m. to ward off spammers. For instructions on how to log in and use Meebo during the chat, please check out this PowerPoint presentation prepared by Eve Gaus, YALSA’s program officer for continuing education.

2010 Morris/Nonfiction Book Trailer Contest: The winner is in! Congratulations to Emily Fitch of Fort Wayne, Indiana, for her trailer for The Everafter. Watch Emily’s trailer, and learn more about the contest on YALSA’s website.

Annual Early Bird Registration Ends Next Week: Early bird registration for ALA Annual Conference ends a week from today! Register by March 5 and save $25 over onsite registration fees. Registration is also open for YALSA’s preconferences (and remember, you don’t need to register for Annual to attend either preconference). Learn more about our preconferences and see what YALSA has planned for DC at http://tinyurl.com/yalsaac10.  Remember, you don’t need to register for Annual to attend either of YALSA’s preconferences.

Apply for a Spectrum Scholarship: Along wtih all of ALA’s scholarships, applications to be a Spectrum Scholar are due on March 1. Established in 1997, the Spectrum Scholarship Program is ALA’s national diversity and recruitment effort designed to address the specific issue of under-representation of critically needed ethnic librarians within the profession while serving as a model for ways to bring attention to larger diversity issues in the future. Learn more and apply at the Spectrum homepage.

Ready for Teen Tech Week? Tell Us! Teen Tech Week starts in less than two weeks! Tell us what you have planned at your library at the YALSA Wiki. Looking for last-minute inspiration or publicity tools? Visit the Teen Tech Week website.

That’s it for this week’s update! To stay up to date on the latest from the YALSA Office, sign up to follow YALSA on Twitter or become a fan of YALSA on Facebook!

My name is Debbie Fisher and I work at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island.  I began working with students in the high school to create podcasts.  Two  English teachers- Deloris Grant and Alicia Migliore  work with students to write book reviews based on a template we developed last year.  We ask students to review the book (reminding them- no spoilers),  explain what the student  enjoyed about the book and/or who they would recommend read the book.  They also select a short quote from the book  and explain why the quote is meaningful.  The students must also create connections to the book (such as text to text, text to self or text to world).  Another group of students  discussed the issue of violence and this coordinated with a celebration called  A Day of Peace.

One teacher of English Language Learners- Michael Paul- also worked with me on podcasts.   His students  discussed issues facing teens today.  Many of the ELL students were too shy to actually do the recording, so they had to be coached on public speaking.   Once the students completed their writing, they came to the library.

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In January, YALSA and ALA announced the winners of the 2010 Youth Media Awards. As you begin highlighting the award winners at your library, be sure to take advantage of promotional tools from YALSA:

  • Downloadable bookmarks. These bookmarks (PDF) include all of YALSA’s literary award winners, including the Alex, Edwards, Morris, Nonfiction, Odyssey, and Printz awards. Each bookmark lists the winner and honor books. They also allow you to add the location of the titles in your library and to customize the back of the bookmarks with your library’s logo and contact information.
  • Customizable press releases. You can also spread the word on your library’s website or blog, your school or public library newsletter, or even in your local newspaper. Just download a customizable Word template for each of our awards — the Alex, Edwards, Morris, Nonfiction, Odyssey, and Printz.

How do you promote award-winning books at your library? Tell us in the comments.

Eighteen teens and tweens from across the United States and Canada have been selected as finalists in the WrestleMania Reading Challenge, sponsored by YALSA and World Wrestling Entertainment, with support from Mattel and DK Publishing.

These young readers will be going to Phoenix next month to compete for ringside tickets to WrestleMania XXVI. Congratulations to the finalists!

Grades 5-6
Andrew Hall, LaPorte, Texas (sponsored by librarian Anne Farley)
Melissa Rafet Dennis, Phoenix, Arizona (sponsored by librarian Taunya Pappenfus)
Cindy Leung, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (sponsored by librarian Michelle  Papineau-Couture)
Gabriel Murrell, Courtice, Ontario, Canada (sponsored by librarian Tiffany Balducci)
Jordan Piekarski, Lansing, Illinois (sponsored by librarian Rebecca Malinowski)
Ricki Roberts, San Diego, Calif. (sponsored by librarian Leticia Direen)
Sailesh Srinivas, Hicksville, N.Y. (sponsored by librarian Judith Messler)

Grades 7-8
Katherine Bensburg, Mahopac, N.Y. (sponsored by librarian Rita Covelli)
Elmaz Mahmutovic, Sioux Falls, S.D. (sponsored by librarian Mary Peters)
Daniel Davila, Avandale, Ariz. (sponsored by librarian Kristin Fletcher-Spear)
Sofia Eury, Phoenix, Ariz. (sponsored by librarian Jill Harrell)
Kyle Duane Hoskins, Louisville, Ky. (sponsored by librarian Phyllis Bergant)
Nicholas Luz, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (sponsored by librarian librarian Michelle  Papineau-Couture)
Liam Jose, Oshawa, Ont., Canada (sponsored by librarian Tiffany Balducci)
Valarie Winkleman, Whiting, Ind. (sponsored by librarian Montserrat Ingladas)

Grades 9-12
Brian Keith Chest Jr., Phoenix, Ariz. (sponsored by librarian Jill Harrell)
Tiffany Chu, Greensboro, N.C. (sponsored by librarian Jenny Shepherd)
La’Quan Deen, Homestead, Pa. (sponsored by librarian Emily Salsberry)
Brian Gastelum, San Diego, Calif. (sponsored by librarian Leticia Direen)
Emz Hunsley, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (sponsored by librarian Michelle  Papineau-Couture)
Samantha Luck, Sault Ste Marie, Ont., Canada (sponsored by librarian Matthew MacDonald)

I came back from the February break schools get up here in New England to a surprise: they had updated the firewall. I discovered this when I sat down to do my morning routine on the computer: log in to GMail, open up my GoogleCalendar and GoogleDocs, and log in to Twitter. But thanks to our newly robust firewall, Twitter was blocked.
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I have been a member of USBBY (The US Board on Books for Youth) for some several years. I served as YALSA’s liaison to the Board and now serve as the NCTE rep. It is the American arm of IBBY (The International Board on Books for Youth). The focus of USBBY and IBBY is to bring attention to literacy throughout the world and to celebrate literature from other countries. Each year, USBBY sponsors lists that include books for children with disabilities and outstanding international books. You can read more about the organization at its web site (www.usbby.org).

You are invited to join a new Community on ALA Connect open to people interested in promoting international understanding and good will through books and literacy services to children and teenagers. Once you join the
community (you don’t need to be an ALA member) you can post pertinent information, register information about upcoming conferences of interest to the community on the calendar, post documents or open online discussions and chats.

Hope you will check it out at:

http://connect.ala.org/node/94955