Before my summer is over and I have to go back to school (tomorrow) I wanted to post about something I’ve noticed in my local library.

Recently, I’ve noticed that some ‘classic’ books are being moved into the YA section; titles like To Kill A Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Great Gatsby. I wanted to comment on this because I think it’s a really good idea. Typically, summer reading assignments in high school aren’t something anyone gets excited about. While I’ve read my share of assigned reading that I hated (don’t even get me started on The Awakening) I like that summer reading assignments force you to read outside of your normal choices. It’s a chance to read something you would never pick on your own, and while sometimes you hate them (like Their Eyes Were Watching God) there are always a few that you end up really loving (like Catch-22).

I also like that once you start to read classic novels you realize all of the cultural references that always went right over your head. Having just finished Catch-22, I really can’t believe how many lines in movies or books or songs finally make sense to me. One of my favorites is being able to use the Holden Caulfield complex in arguments about whether or not a character is likable. And, I mean, at the very least, you’ll finally understand what Wuthering Heights or Romeo and Juliet has Bella so excited about (although I still don’t understand that one).

What I’m trying to say, in an apparently really long winded way, is that I’m glad the YA librarian at my library is moving some older, classic novels into the YA section because I think it might get more kids to read them just because they look good and not just because they have to for school. I think it would be cool to see how they’re compared to more contemporary fiction, and moving both into the same section is kind of an experiment I’d like to see the results of. I think librarians encouraging summer reading assignments, even in a small way like this, could be really helpful in the long run. Or, at the very least, all the high school kids might have an easier time finding their assigned reading.

Several months ago I was on a conference call and part of the discussion focused on the role of libraries. (A fairly common conversation these days.) One person said that libraries are about books and another person said that libraries are about space.  As I think about services to teens in school and public libraries, my thought is that libraries are about connections. The concept of connections does not preclude books or space, yet the idea of connections allows librarians to support some traditional services while at the same time leave traditional services behind and focus on new and emerging technologies and techniques.

If libraries and librarians are about connections then they connect teens: Read More →

YALSA is pleased to offer the following professional development opportunities in September. 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.

Now through September 27, YALSA Fall Online Course Registration: YALSA fall online course registration is now open!  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 www.ala.org/yalsa/onlinecourses.

September 1, First Wednesdays with YALSA: YALSA’s First Wednesdays continue with an online chat this month at 8 p.m. Eastern. This month’s topic: Thinking Big with YALSA President Kim Patton. We will again be in Meebo and our room is http://www.meebo.com/room/yalsasept1chat. Password is yalsasept1.

September 9, Ready, Set, Go! 30 Ways to Reach Reluctant Readers in 60 Minutes Webinar Jen Hubert Swan, author of Reading Rants! the popular book review blog for teens offers up 30 quick tips for connecting with reluctant readers in 60 minutes. Get display, booktalk and contest ideas and find out what “Roaming Bookmarks” and “Brown Bag Books” are all about. Participants will come away with some great ideas to kick start their programs and collections and help brainstorm some more! This webinar will take place on Thursday, September 9, at 2 p.m. Eastern.  Register today! Registration costs $39 for individual YALSA members, $49 for all other individuals. A group rate of $195 is available. Learn more at www.ala.org/yalsa/webinars.

This week’s featured program from the Young Adult Literature Symposium is Heroes in International Literature!

This week’s featured presenter is Rosemary Chance.

KH: Can you share one interesting or thought provoking fact from your presentation?
RC:  In a panel four American editors will address the joys and challenges of editing books from other countries. They are the editors of The Shadows of Ghadames, The Century: Ring of Fire, Winter’s End, and Tiger Moon.

KH: Who should come to your presentation?
RC:  Anyone interested in stories with foreign settings, stories of heroes, and stories that will expand the worlds of young adults.

**The complete interview can be found at the YA Lit Symposium Online Community.

The YA Literature Symposium is November 5-7 in Albuquerque, NM. To give everyone a sneak peek into the presentations I be posting portions of interviews with program presenters weekly until the symposium. Full interviews will be available at the YA Lit Symposium Online Community.

Yesterday The New York Times published a series of articles under the umbrella title, Sofa Wars. The focus of the series is on how people watch TV and what might be happening in the viewing/TV industry as more and more viewers move away from cable to other types of services.

Today I read through some comments on a New York Times blog post on the topic of cable vs. other forms of access – Hulu, Apple TV, NetFlix, and so on. I started to think, what does this change in TV access mean to teens? Read More →

After an aborted chat on August 4 due to technical difficulties, Eva Volin and Sarah Flowers led a lively Q&A session on August 11 in Meebo about serving on selection committees for YALSA.

You can read a transcript (PDF) of the conversation. The next YALSA e-chat will take place on September 1 at 8 p.m. Eastern. We’ll be announcing the login information for the Meebo room on ALA Connect and in this blog. The chat will be hosted by YALSA President Kim Patton, who will be talking about initiatives from her theme, Think Big!

The big day is here! Your teens have been reading the 2010 Teens’ Top Ten nominations since last April, and now they can tell us which books are their favorites. Voting for the 2010 Teens’ Top Ten is available  — and this year, we’ve made it even easier for your teens to vote by embedding the TTT survey right on the Teens’ Top Ten homepage at www.ala.org/teenstopten! (If you still want to use a separate link, that’s available too at www.surveymonkey.com/s/teenstopten2010.)

Voting is open now through September 17. We’ll announce the winners at www.ala.org/teenstopten during Teen Read Week, Oct. 17-23.

The Teens’ Top Ten is a reading list chosen entirely by and for teens. The twenty-six official nominations were chosen by fifteen teen book groups from across the U.S. that participate in YALSA’s YA Galley project, in which publishers provide book groups with galleys and the teens provide feedback. Last year, more than 11,000 teens voted for the Teens’ Top Ten, choosing Paper Towns by John Green as their favorite title.

This week’s featured program from the Young Adult Literature Symposium is Doomed to Repeat It: Diversity in Historical Fiction!

This week’s featured presenter is Melissa Rabey.

KH: Who should come to your presentation?

MR: Hopefully, everyone!  But I think this presentation will be most helpful to librarians who work in diverse communities, who would like to find works of historical fiction to recommend to multicultural teens or would like to learn more about the culture of their service area.

KH: Who will be presenting along with you?

MR: After I present on a variety of novels, two debut authors will be joining me to discuss their works of YA historical fiction.  Christina Gonzalez, author of THE RED UMBRELLA, will talk about how she was inspired to write about Operation Pedro Pan, which brought many Cuban children to the US in the 1960s.  Then, Ruta Sepetys will share how she wrote BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY, a novel set in the Ukraine during World War II.

**The complete interview can be found at the YA Lit Symposium Online Community.

The YA Literature Symposium is November 5-7 in Albuquerque, NM. To give everyone a sneak peek into the presentations I be posting portions of interviews with program presenters weekly until the symposium. Full interviews will be available at the YA Lit Symposium Online Community.