YALSA is pleased to offer the following professional development opportunities in April. If you have questions about YALSA's professional development, please contact Eve Gaus, YALSA's program officer for continuing education, at egaus@ala.org or 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5293.

April 5, Mentoring Program Applications open: YALSA's new mentoring program will pair an experienced librarian (more than 6 years' experience) with a new librarian (fewer than 6 years' experience) or graduate student in a library science program. YALSA believes that we all have important skills and knowledge that we can share with one another and so this program encourages protégés to share their skills and know-how with their mentor. YALSA will accept applications through June 30. Learn more at www.ala.org/yalsa/mentoring.

April 7, First Wednesdays with YALSA: YALSA's First Wednesdays continue with an online chat this month at 8 p.m. Eastern, this time on programming for older teens, hosted by Penny Johnson, convenor of the Serving New Adults Interest Group. We will again be using Meebo for the chat, but we've made a few adjustments. We've created a private room; the password to log in is available to YALSA members at this ALA Connect post. See you next Wednesday!

April 22, Back to Basics Webinar: YALSA's Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth play a key role in everyday service to young adult patrons. Join Sarah Flowers, author of Young Adults Deserve the Best: Putting YALSA's Competencies into Action, to discuss practical ways to promote and apply the YALSA Competencies to ensure quality library service to the teens in your community. This webinar will take place on Thursday, April 22, at 2 p.m. Eastern. Registration is $39 for individual YALSA members, $49 for all other individuals.'  Register today! Group registration costs $195 and is available by contacting Eve Gaus at egaus@ala.org or 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5293. Learn more about our webinars at www.ala.org/yalsa/webinars.

Do you ever find your conversations with teens veering more toward the personal than the professional?

Are books on sex, drugs, abuse or depression constantly going missing from your shelves?

Have you ever found yourself thinking, "I'm a librarian, not a therapist!" (...or a social worker, or a nurse, or a police officer?)

Would you like to hear how some of the hottest YA authors incorporate tough subject matter into their books--and their interactions with teens?

If you answered yes to any of the above, YALSA's full-day preconference on June 25 is for you!

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I recently attended my first ever Public Library Association conference.'  I consider myself a seasoned veteran when it comes to attending ALA's annual conference, but I had never had the chance to go to PLA before.'  I was excited to see the differences!

One major difference was in the exhibit hall.'  Most of the young adult divisions of the major publication houses chose not to have a conference booth.'  But I still found some great ARC titles' from' Little & Brown, Macmillian, Simon and Schuster, and Zondervan.'  I really appreciated them being there.'  I also had some great chats and made some good connections with representatives from Tor Teen and Harlequin Teen, who made exciting cases for the relevancy of their specialty lines.

I also had a chance to find some new librarian tweeps and even meet one in person.'  It was also, of course, great to see YALSA staff at the booth.'  Conferences are most fun, I think, when you have the chance to make some human connections with your librarian colleagues and friends.

Were any of you there?'  What were some highlights for you?

I attended some great programs and encourage you to check out the available online handouts from the sessions.'  ' ' I'd like to talk briefly here about one session that was especially inspiring to me and that I think will have a lot of appeal to YALSA members, Maryann Mori's Pregnant/Parenting Teens: Promoting Library Services Among the Underserved.

Maryann inspired ME to ask “What does my library have to offer pregnant/parenting teens?” and maybe she can do the same for you.'  Behind the cut, you'll find a session description and links!

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The world championships for this year's WrestleMania Reading Challenge were held on Sat. March 27th at the Burton Barr Library in Phoenix.'  The winners are:

  • For grades 5&6: Gabe Murrell from Courtice, Ontario, who represented the Oshawa Public Library
  • For grades 7&8: Liam Jose from Oshawa, Ontario, who represented the Oshawa Public Library
  • For grades 9-12: La'Quan Deen from Homestead, PA, who represented the Carnegie Library of Homestead

They all won ring-side seats to WrestleMania XXVI as well as $2,000 for their libraries to use towards the purchase of materials for their tween and teen collections.'  Attending the event was award winning author Will Weaver, who served as judge, and four WWE Superstars.'  More information and photos' are available from WWE's web site.' 

Librarians can register to participate in the' next WrestleMania Reading Challenge beginning in April.'  Look for information on YALSA's home page.

The kids at my school are little activists.'  New research by the Girl Scouts Research Institute supports tendencies among today's youth towards getting involved.'  Click through to read about the particular initiatives I've seen and more about this study.

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YALSA offers two preconferences before Annual YALSA is coming to Washington, DC! In addition to our special events at ALA's Annual Conference, we have two pre-Annual workshops on Friday, June 25 that you can attend without registering for Annual.

It's Perfectly Normal: Dealing with "Sensitive" Topics in Teen Services (Ticketed Event-- YALSA Member: $195; ALA Member: $235; Non-Member: $285; Student/Retired Member: $195.) Friday, 9-5. Have you ever found yourself worrying about how best to address critical but sensitive adolescent topics through your teen services and collection? Topics like sexuality, abuse, privacy and others can be difficult for librarians to address with teens &/or their parents and caregivers. Hear from experts in the field of adolescent development, along with authors and librarians, about how they have managed to successfully maneuver this difficult landscape. Explore strategies for collection development, services and programming relating to these sensitive issues. Authors participating: Ben Saenz, Laurie Halse Anderson, Nina LaCour, David Levithan, and Ellen Hopkins.

Promoting Teen Reading with Web 2.0 Tools (Ticketed Event-$99) Friday, 12:30-4:30. The participatory web has transformed adolescent literacy, as young people create and consume a new range of online content. Are you ready for it? Learn how libraries can use free web 2.0 tools to connect teens with reading and writing opportunities within and beyond your library collection. Librarians, reporters, and academics will explore teens' daily use of technology and the interaction of digital and print reading channels, including fan fiction and gaming. YA authors will discuss leveraging readership through social networking channels. Authors participating: Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Malinda Lo, John Green, David Levithan.

If you are planning to attend ALA Annual Conference, you can add either event to your registration at www.ala.org/annual.

If you have already registered and would like to add this special event to your registration, you have two options: (1) By phone: Call ALA Registration at 1-800-974-3084 and ask to add a workshop to your existing registration; (2) Online: Add an event to your existing registration by clicking on this link. Use your log in and password to access your existing Annual registration and add events in the “Your Events” section (screen 6). Then simply check out and pay for the events you have added.

To register only for either of the pre-Annual workshops, please fill out the form at http://yalsa.ala.org/annual/event.pdf (skip Section I) and either mail or fax it to 800-521-6017 or mail it to: ALA Registration and Housing Headquarters, 568 Atrium Dr.
Vernon Hills, IL 60061.

After the jump, learn more about our webinar series, the next YALSA e-chat, our new mentoring program, the symposium's program list, and more!

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YALSA will offer travel stipends of up to $1,000 each to five YALSA members to participate in ALA's Library Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. on June 29, 2010, held in conjunction with ALA Annual Conference.

Applications are available as a PDF or Word document. They can also be downloaded at YALSA's Awards and Grants page and must be sent to yalsa@ala.org by April 30. Applications must be sent electronically.

Funding for this stipend is provided through the Friends of YALSA. Friends of YALSA was created to ensure excellence in the association's traditional programs and services to library workers serving teens and to support growth in new directions as our profession meets the exciting challenges of the twenty-first century. Learn more about the Friends of YALSA.

After the jump, learn more about how to apply, eligibility, and criteria for selection.

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It's time to vote in the ALA/YALSA Election! On March 16, ALA began emailing ballot information to all members whose memberships were current as of Jan. 31 of this year. The email contains the URL and login for your specific ballot. It is the only way for you to access your ballot.

If you haven't received your election information via email, contact ALA at membership@ala.org or by phone at 1-800-545-2433,'  ext. 5, to verify your eligibility and get your ballot information sent to you.

Voting will be open until April 23, and results will be available on April 30.

As you prepare to vote, you may find the following links helpful:

Yesterday morning one of my students sidled up to the circulation desk before first bell and asked, "Were you, by any chance, at roller derby this Saturday?"

I was, in fact, and I had a great time--but instead of thinking about what fun I had with my friends, inwardly I started panicking.

Had I been drinking? Was I swearing publicly? Did I wear something I wouldn't wear to school?

(For the record? The answer is "All of the above," although we happened to be surrounded by small children so the swearing was probably at a minimum--instead we entertained the other adults in our area by gruffly shouting polite encouragement, like "I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!" and "I LIKE WHAT YOU DID THERE!")

Running into a teen you serve in your library when you're both somewhere else can be lovely, weird, or some combination of the two. Whether it's at the grocery store or a roller derby bout, you're suddenly off-duty and the dynamic shifts. What if you run into teens while they're doing something you wouldn't allow in the library? What if teens run into you while you're doing something you wouldn't do in front of your boss?

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