Tell Time How Your Library Helps Offset the Summer Slide

This week, Time published “The Case Against Summer Vacation,” a cover story on summer learning loss for children and teens. Author David von Drehle’  focused on how students, particularly those in low-income areas, lose important reading and learning skills over the summer due to a lack of intellectual activity. He highlighted a number of camps, academies, and community programs with fun, engaging activities for kids and teens that encourage achievement and get youth interested in reading, writing, drama, math, science, and other academic areas.

In the article, von Drehle laments that these camps and academies have tuition costs and waiting lists, and those lists don’t even take into account the overworked or disengaged parents who haven’t even thought how they can prevent their kids from suffering from isolation, boredom and inactivity over the summer. And then he worries that Americans have no hope in offsetting the summer slide other than a ragtag coalition of volunteers, entrepreneurs, and camp counselors.

Of course, we know one other group that can make a huge difference when it comes to the summer slide. And that’s librarians. Libraries offer free programs year-round that do exactly what von Drehle calls for and they’re nearly absent from the article, save for a mention of ALA’s homepage as a place to find book recommendations.

As you are finishing your summer reading program — which, as a recent IMLS-funded Dominican University study shows, can make a huge difference in the achievement gap — please take a minute and let Time know about the programs your library offers, how they encourage children and teens to become better, more engaged readers — and how anyone, of any background and from any region, can be a part of it for free at your library.

Time has shut down comments for this article online, unfortunately, but you can still send a letter to

Professional Development with YALSA in August

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

August 2, Fall Course Registration Opens YALSA opens registration for its fall online courses on August 2! The fall session takes place October 4 to November 1, and we have two classes available: Growing, Managing and Defending the Young Adult Budget, taught by Monique Delatte, and Tapping Youth Participation to Strengthen Library Services, taught by Amy Alessio. Both classes last four weeks and cost $135 for YALSA members, $175 for ALA members, and $195 for nonmembers. For details on both classes and to register (after August 2), visit

August 4, YALSA E-Chat In this month’s online chat, Eva Volin will lead a question-and-answer session about serving on a 2012 selection committee for YALSA. Interested in volunteering to be on one of YALSA’s booklist committees? Bring your questions to this session, which will be held in Meebo at 8 p.m. Eastern. You can access the August chat room with the password August4chat.

August 19, Back to the Facts: YA Nonfiction Webinar Join host Angela Carstensen, 2010 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Award chair on Thursday, August 19, at 2 p.m. Eastern. Learn how to collect and evaluate YA nonfiction, and see where the future of nonfiction is headed! Register today! Registration costs $39 for individual YALSA members, $49 for all other individuals. A group rate of $195 is available. Details on this webinar, and upcoming webinars, can be found at

Meet a YALSA Spectrum Scholar!

Library student, Jamie Young is a YALSA Spectrum Scholar from 2009. Each year, YALSA sponsors one scholar. Funds for the scholars come from the Friends of YALSA. From Stevie Kuenn’s previous post, “the Spectrum Scholarship was established in 1997, and 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.” In order to get to know Jamie better, she agreed to an interview here. Continue reading

The YALSA Update: Last chance WrestleMania, Emerging Leaders & More!

This is it! Next week Saturday is your last chance to register for the 2010 WrestleMania Reading Challenge! Remember, the challenge is being held over just one week this year, making it simpler for everyone to implement. Why should you register? In addition to making your library eligible to win books from Penguin and $2,000, it can revitalize your library services and bring in teens that aren’t regular users. Just ask Bambi Mansfeld.

Be a 2010 Emerging Leader! YALSA will sponsor two Emerging Leaders in 2011! Emerging Leaders is a program that fast-tracks promising and new ALA members for leadership roles within the association. The application and guidelines can be found at the Emerging Leaders website.

New Stipend and Contest from YALSA This week, YALSA announced a new stipend and a new contest, both funded by Friends of YALSA. YALSA will award five stipends of up to $1,000 each to attend ALA’s National Library Legislative Day in 2011. In addition, YALSA seeks your advocacy success stories for the Thinking Big about Advocacy Contest, where you can win $500 for your library’s YA program (four runners-up will receive $100 each). Details on both, and applications, are available at

After the jump, find out more about YALSA publications, upcoming webinars, early bird registration for the symposium, and more!

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Register for the WrestleMania Reading Challenge!

Maybe you don’t know who the Bella Twins are, or think that the only person who goes by the moniker “Edge” is a the guitarist for U2, but chances are you have young adult patrons who are fans of WWE’s WrestleMania and know that the Bella Twins are a WWE tag team, and Edge won Royal Rumble 2010!’  That’s why you should register for YALSA’s WrestleMania Reading Challenge!

Other reasons you should register:

  • You get free posters and bookmarks!
  • One of your patrons/students could win a trip to Atlanta to see WrestleMania live!
  • Your library could win free books or $2,000!
  • It is a great tie-in to Teen Read Week!
  • You can reach reluctant readers you might otherwise not reach!

The WrestleMania Reading Challenge is really a great opportunity to reach out to the the reluctant readers and patrons you might not see as often. ‘ Bambi Mansfield, a library director in Michigan, found that participating in the Challenge brought new users into her library.

You must register by July 31st’ ‘ to participate in the Challenge, so the clock is ticking! ‘ The Challenge is open to patrons in grades 5 through 12. ‘ The commitment, length, and rules have changed this year, so if you participated in the past and felt it was too difficult, please reconsider.
It is free, and we will provide a toolkit and wiki with lots of ideas to implement the program. ‘ You can put forth as little or as much effort as you have the time, and you do not need to have an interest in wrestling to run it.

More information and the link to register can be found at YALSA’s website.’  If you have questions, we are more than happy to assist, or you can contact YALSA directly.

If you have participated before, please share your experience in the comments.

Good luck!

Serving on the Printz Committee

When I was elected to the 2011 Michael L. Printz Award Committee, I was excited and nervous.’  I was excited to have such a great opportunity, to help recognize the book that made the highest contribution to young adult literature.’  But I was nervous because wow, that’s a big responsibility, picking the best book of the year!

At least, I told myself, I had served on another selection committee in the past and had some familarity with the process: with the YALSA nomination forms, with how the workflow would go, things like that.’  Yet even with that knowledge, I’ve been surprised at what serving on the Printz Committee is actually like.’  So here are some things to know if you’ve ever considered standing for election to the Printz Committee.
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Make Mine Visual

I’ve been thinking about the presentation of information in visual formats for a long time. I’ve been thinking about how visual representations of information helps people to understand content. Word clouds are a perfect example of this. Being able to see a selection of content in a “cloud” so that words used a lot, or not much at all, stand out visually helps the viewer to understand the ideas of the content. Similarly, seemingly simple presentations of content in formats like Apple’s iTunes cover flow, not only makes the content “pretty” to look at, but also provides a simple opportunity to interact with the content by clicking through the covers to see what’s available.

Presenting information visually is not something new, but it is something that, because of advances in technology, is becoming more and more the way to do things. For example: Continue reading

Living in the Cloud

Lately I’ve had a few computer malfunctions in my life. The laptop I used for work was stolen, and the hard drive on my computer at home had a crash that even spin rite couldn’t fix. I lost some documents I was currently working on, but thankfully I’d been saving most of my important documents to a shared work drive. Since these debacles I’ve been making sure I save in multiple places and even invested in a service called Mozy to back up my files at home.

I wanted to share with you what tools I’ve been using to help offset another computer disaster:
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My New YA Job

While many of you were at Annual, I was in the process of moving and changing jobs. ‘ I have gone from being a school librarian in a K-9 school, to a YA librarian in a public library. ‘ Over the course of my budding library career I have worked with teens and I have worked in public libraries, but this is the first time I am working with teens in a public library. ‘ Which is a convoluted way of saying theoretically I know what I’m doing, but in practice I am still inexperienced.

I think the acknowledgement of transitions is important in a profession where many of us have several different jobs over the course of our careers. ‘ ‘ This transition has landed me exactly where I want to be. ‘ Aside from an Anime club that plans to start back up again in the fall, YA services here is pretty much a blank slate. I have a lot of freedom, but I don’t have a lot of direction. ‘ It feels good and I think it will prove useful in terms of growing the YA program, but for the moment, I’m not really sure where to begin.
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