If you work in a public library and care about young adult services, there is something simple you can do to help advocate for teen services.
March 30 is the deadline for the 2012 PLDS (Public Library Data Service) survey. Published yearly by PLA, the PLDS Statistical Report contains a wealth of information about public library finances, collections, annual use figures and technology. If you’ve never looked at the PLDS Statistical Report, it’s worth checking out. Your library director probably has a copy.
In 2007, the PLDS survey included a series of questions about young adult services. This was the first national survey about young adult library services since 1994, when the National Center for Education Statistics did a survey. In 2007, 1,672 libraries received the survey, and 904 responded. Of those, 890 responded to the YA services questions. This was good information, but we could do better, and we have a chance, because PLDS is including the young adult services questions again in this year’s survey.
There has been some discussion on blogs and in the Twitterverse about a recent change on YALSA’s website.
First, let me state that all of YALSA’s awards and annotated lists are open to anyone for free. YALSA members simply log in to the site (which you have to do anyway if you are going to access ALA Connect, for example). Non-members are asked to provide their name and email address, and answer two questions about their interest in YALSA resources.
The purpose of this change, which is not expected to be temporary, is three-fold. On the one hand, one of YALSA’s Strategic Plan goals is member recruitment. Obviously people who are already coming to our website are candidates to become members. By collecting their email addresses, we can send them information targeted to their areas of interest, and perhaps gain some new YALSA members in the process. The second purpose is to find out more about who is using the website and how, so that we can do an even better job of serving both members and non-members. The third purpose is to identify and cultivate a list of advocates for teen services. Now more than ever we need to reach beyond the library community to engage people in advocating on behalf of libraries. Advocacy and activism is another goal in YALSA’s strategic plan, and organizations such as NTEN (The Nonprofit Technology Network) identify what YALSA is doing—collecting email addresses of those who support our cause—as a best practice for not-for-profits. (more…)