Preparing to serve : some thoughts in anticipation of being on Best Fiction

I don’t know if it was the dizzying prospect of having a part time job, or feeling flattered that someone I respect would suggest that I do it, or simply thriving on being over-committed, but I’m serving on the Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee 2013. Throughout my year of service, I’m going to try to provide a window into my experience sitting on the committee, showing you how the BFYA sausage gets made and hopefully interesting some of you in joining in the future.

When I was formally accepted as a member of BFYA2013, it started to really sink in what I’d gotten myself into. I hadn’t really read a book since the birth of my son in December, preferring to spend my time sleeping or staring at his fuzzy head. I’m used to reading 3-5 books over the course of Shabbat if I don’t have too many social commitments, and 1-2 during the week, so this steep decline was worrying. The email from the chair welcoming us all to BFYA2013 said we would read an average of a book a day for the year, and to see our friends now, because we wouldn’t have any time for them in the future. I pruned my RSS feed and YouTube subscriptions and pulled ARCs that fit in the brief (September 1, 2011 through December 31, 2012) off the shelf to start reading.

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Why Aren’t YALSA Members Voting? Tell Me Why

I’m back, both literally and figuratively. I just attended ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas and with a great group of hard working YALSA members we taped interviews with the YALSA candidates. They have been posted for you to listen to. This is just one more way to give you the information you need to make an informed decision about our potential officers and award committee members.

I followed up Midwinter with a visit to my mom in Washington DC. Now, going to Washington always makes me think about our system of government and the fact that it requires individuals to take action. In fact I think about what Winston Churchill said about our form of government. He said “It is said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried.” Continue reading

January Advocate of the Month

As part of YALSA’s push towards advocacy, the YALSA Legislative Committee has developed a new initiative called “Advocate of the Month.” We are happy to tell you about our first Advocate, Danielle Driggers.

Danielle is a student in Flower Mound, Texas who created a video for ALA’s “Why I need my Library” Contest.’ In her own words, this is her personal advocacy story:

I really became involved with libraries when my mom got her first job as a librarian in 2008. Since then, I’ve helped her set up her school library when she was working, and recently made a video for the American Library Association that shows exactly why I need my library. I hope that it has changed some people’s minds about libraries, and that they think of them as thriving places for things like technology, magazines, newspapers, and much more; they are no longer just for books!

On behalf of the YALSA Legislative Committee, we want to thank Danielle for her work.

If you or someone you know is an advocate for teens and libraries please nominate them at:‘ 


Midwinter YALSA Board Decisions

The YALSA Board of Directors had a jam-packed agenda at Midwinter. Minutes will be available soon, but meanwhile, here are some of the major decisions that we made.

Note that the Board voted to establish several new task forces. If you are interested in being on any of these task forces, please submit a volunteer form right away.’  Continue reading

ALA Annual: It’s All About the Networking

Now that ALA Midwinter has come and gone, you’re probably itching to flip your calendar forward to June in anticipation of’ ALA Annual‘ in Anaheim, June 21 – 26.

Ready to make the most of your conference experience? Network! Don’t be shy. If you can answer reference questions, you can talk to other librarians! Whether you’re a full fledged librarian or still in library school, you have been practicing your social skills by making presentations in class or to the public, Continue reading

Be a Producer: A YALSA Academy Producer

Do you have dreams of producing a video that becomes the next big thing on YouTube? ‘ Have you wanted to help others learn how to be successful in their work with teens? Do you have a skill or area of knowledge that you think would be useful to let others know about? ‘ If you answered “yes” to any of these questions then being a YALSA Academy producer might be just right for you. ‘ You can learn more by attending the YALSA Academy Be a Producer webinar on Tuesday, January 31, at 9PM Eastern. If you plan on attending register by contacting Eve Gaus (The session will be held via Adobe Connect and you can enter the webinar room as a Guest.)

If you aren’t familiar with YALSA Academy, it’s the association’s new initiative that focuses on helping those that work with teens gain skills and knowledge. How? By making available a variety of videos on teen service related topics including collection development, social media, customer service, programming, and technology. ‘ Each video is 3 to 7 minutes long. Technologies used to produce videos include Animoto, Xtranormal, iMovie or MovieMaker, and screencasting software such as Screenr.

See what’s already available by checking out the sample video below or visiting the YALSA Academy on YouTube. Continue reading

Election Season Begins: A Report from YALSA’s Coffee with the Candidates

For the second year during Midwinter YALSA sponsored a Coffee with the Candidates. This event gives members of the association the chance to meet with those running for governance positions (on the 2012 slate) to ask questions about why each candidate is interested in running, what they think they bring to YALSA, and so on. Last year and this year I was impressed both with the questions being asked and with the thoughtfulness of the candidates in answering member questions. The small group speed networking format of the Coffee is perfect for getting to know each other.

At the beginning of the program all of the candidates agreed to be interviewed by members of YALSA’s 2012 Nominating Committee. You can listen to these informal interviews by selecting the links below. (You will also get a sense of the atmosphere of the Coffee via the background noise – including shouts of excitement and laughter.) Continue reading

YALSA Blog Tweets of the Week – Jaunary 27, 2012

A weekly short list of tweets that librarians and the teens that they serve may find interesting.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between January 27 – February 2 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
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App of the Week: SoundCloud

Title: SoundCloud

Cost: Free

Platform: iOS 4.0 or later, Also available in the Android Market.

Launched on January 12th of this year, SoundCloud is not the first sound recording app, but I would argue that it is certainly the most polished. SoundCloud gives users the ability to record sounds, with the choice to then share them publically with friends and followers or keep them private. When you first employ the app, you will be prompted to create a free account by designating yourself a username and password along with the option of adding a photo to your profile. The next step is to choose sounds or people to follow. By searching for people, you can find your favorite music artists and the new sound bites they record. Just like with Twitter, real bands have the “Official” seal of approval on their account so users know that it is, in fact, the actual artist or band behind the account. This is a great way to hear new music that hasn’t even been released yet. Fans can get a sneak peak of what is coming down the pike and musicians have the ability to get their music out before the album is released.

Not only does this app have excellent features for music fans, but it’s also, ideal for aspiring musicians. SoundCloud is the perfect way for budding teen artists to record their sounds and share them with the world. The sharing featuring links to Facebook to help the user locate friends who also use the app as well as to post sound recordings, for others to hear. Within the app there is a tab called “stream,” where you can look at recent activity within your follower community. From there, you can also listen to new sounds complete with timestamps noting when they were originally posted. Continue reading

ALA Midwinter: Observations from a First-Time Attendee

My colleague, YALSA member, ALA Emerging Leader, and first time conference attendee agreed for me to post her observations of Midwinter. I’ve no doubt we’ll be hearing from her more often! A warm welcome to Catherine Haydon! Continue reading