District Days – Call for Personal Stories

It’s almost District Days again, a time when our legislative representatives return to their home states. This is the perfect time to meet and discuss how they can help advocate for your library.

One of the best ways to get your message across to your representatives is by giving them personal stories; Legislators love to hear those. There are many ways you can gather personal stories to share.

1) Show them thank you notes and customer comment cards. Does your library offer comment cards to the public? Has anyone ever left a note in a book or on a desk thanking you or your library for the great services you offer? These are great stories to share with your elected officials.

2) Ask customers for their personal stories. If you have regular users of the library they will probably be just as interested in advocacy as you are. Have them share their story with you or with the elected official. Not sure who that is? Visit the ALA Legislative Action Center to find out.

3) Bring some photos of a library event. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If you have photos of a teen event, program, party, Teen Advisory Board meeting, seminar, etc. bring those to your meeting and show your Legislator that with their support we can continue to offer great programming for teens and keep the libraries as safe havens for them to congregate in.

4) Bring statistics about program attendance, circulation, library group visits and computer use. While numbers may not have as much of an impact to some, others thrive on statistics to help tell a story.

These are just a few ways you can gather and share your stories. I encourage everyone out there to not just gather stories but to make your own stories. You have a great support system with ALA and YALSA and we’re here to help you make your stories truly epic.

Michael Schor – Librarian, Scottsdale Public Library

YALSA Seeks Member Manager for YALSAblog

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is seeking a Member Manager for its YALSAblog. The deadline for applications is Nov. 1, 2012. The Member Manager will be responsible for the content and look of the blog, and will work closely with the YALSAblog Advisory Board to recruit and oversee member and guest bloggers. The mission of the YALSAblog is to provide a virtual space for publishing information about time sensitive issues as well as a forum for members and the library community to explore matters relating to serving teens through libraries.

The Member Manager will be selected by the YALSA Executive Committee by Dec. 1, 2012. The term of the appointment is one year beginning January 1, 2013, with the option to renew for a second year based on satisfactory performance. The Member Manager will receive an honorarium of $500 per year plus $500 towards travel to each Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting while serving as Member Manager. Candidates should send a cover letter and resume, which includes project management, editing and web publishing experiences to: YALSA at yalsa@ala.org. All resumes, etc. must be submitted via email. For further information contact Beth Yoke by email or phone: 1-800-545-2433, x 4391. The deadline for submission is Nov. 1, 2012.’  Please note that this is not a salaried staff position. It is a member volunteer opportunity.

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YALSA Board Minutes

Ever wonder what’s going on with the Division? A ton of great information can be found under the “Working with YALSA” portion of the website.’  The minutes from the YALSA Board and the YALSA Executive Committee meetings (as well as supporting documents) can be found’ there in the Governance section.

Check out the most recent draft Board minutes here

and draft Exec Committee minutes here.

District Days: How to participate

Are you looking for ways that you and your library can participate in the upcoming District Days that are August 4-September 9?’ ‘  We know librarians are being pulled in many directions, so there is no need to plan a new event for the purpose.’  Here are a few ideas that will make it easy for you and your library to join in and promote teen services and ‘ libraries!

August is typically a month where Teen Librarians in public libraries are wrapping up Summer Reading Programs and if your library hosts a wrap up party then why not invite your elected officials to visit during that event?’  What better way to showcase all that librarians and libraries do for teens than highlighting a successful Teen Summer Reading Program.’  This not only demonstrates that teens are reading but using their local library!

While, the summer may be ending…the beginning of the school year may provide another way for both public and school libraries to participate in District Days.’  Do you host a “Back to school bash” or open house at your library?’  Invite your legislator to attend to showcase your services, highlight upcoming activities and even have a teen/student volunteer give them a tour.

Speaking of teen/student volunteers, do you have a Teen Advisory Board that helps plan activities, select materials, and more that meets once a month?’  Invite an elected official to attend the meeting, so they can see the positive impact teens have on your library.

Need some help planning the event?‘  Check out the District Days website, http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/District_Days, it is a great resource for planning, tips, free handouts, and more to assist you!’  Make sure you promote the event heavily and designate a staff person to take pictures at the event.

What if these ideas don’t work?‘  Then participate as an individual by setting up a time to visit with your Congressperson at their local office.’  To find their local office, go to http://capwiz.com/ala/home/ and then enter your zip code in the box on the light right side of the screen.

Whether your Congressperson comes to you or you visit their office, consider having a packet of information that you can give them.’  You may want to include your business card, facts and stats on your library, and upcoming events.’  Also, check out the YALSA’s Teens Need Libraries brochure and the State Fact Sheets‘ (state by state guides with information about how LSTA and Improving Literacy Through School Libraries funds have been used in each state).

App of the Week: Minecraft Explorer


Title: Minecraft Explorer Pro
Platform: iOS
Cost: .99




Tired of switching between windows as you pause your Minecraft game and open your browser to look something up on the Minecraft Wiki?’  This hand-held reference for your mobile device has all of the crafting recipes and mob facts you need, as well as an Enchantment guide, a Skin Studio (in app purchase of an additional 1.99), seed codes to type in for different map results,’  and a list of Minecraft servers, where you can keep track of your favorite places to play.’  The app includes links to the Minecraft Wiki for more detailed information, but is organized visually for quick browsing that is fast and user friendly. Continue reading

Are you ready to get involved? Step up to the plate with a YALSA Selection or Award Committee!

This fall, with the help of a stalwart taskforce, I’ll be making appointments to the following selection list and award committees, which will begin their work on 2/1/13:

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults
Best Fiction for Young Adults
Fabulous Films for Young Adults
Great Graphic Novels for Teens
Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults
Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
Great Graphic Novels for Teens
Alex Award
Morris Award
Odyssey Award

Outstanding Books for the College Bound

I’ll also be appointing to these other awesome groups
2014 Midwinter Marketing & Local Arrangements Taskforce
2014 Midwinter Paper Presentation Planning Taskforce
Readers’ Choice List Taskforce

The 2014 Midwinter Meeting is in Philadelphia, Jan. 24 – 28

What do you need to bring to the table?
Experience in selecting and evaluating Young Adult materials as well as the time to volunteer your skills. We look for broad representation of our diverse YALSA members on all of our committees.

Below is some of the fine print to help both new and seasoned members get started in this year’s process.

How does the appointments process work?
To serve on a committee, you must be officially appointed by YALSA’s President-Elect. YALSA is collecting volunteer forms from now through Sept. 30 for members who would like to serve on selection and award committees that begin work on Feb. 1, 2013. If you are currently serving on a selection or award committee and you are eligible to and interested in serving for another term, you must fill out a volunteer form. This is the only way that I’ll know for certain that you’re interested in continuing on the committee. Also, please note that except for the 2013 and 2014 Popular Paperback for Young Adults committees, these selection and award committee members are required to attend both Midwinter and Annual conferences. Please ensure that you can travel to both conferences before you volunteer.

What do volunteers need to know?
Before you volunteer to serve on a committee or taskforce, you’ll want to learn what the group does and what your responsibilities will be. YALSA has created a free webinar with information about what it’s like to serve on a selection or award committee. Be sure to take the time to view it. You can also contact the chair directly to let him/her know you’re interested in serving and to ask questions about what your involvement will entail. Names and contact information for all the committee chairs are available from the Governance page on YALSA’s website. From the Get Involved page on YALSA’s website you’ll also find information about each of the committees’ functions, size, etc. Lastly, be sure to read through YALSA’s Handbook, especially the sections that list responsibilities for committee members.

In order to be considered for a selection or award committee, you need to fill out a Selection Committee Volunteer Form by Sept. 30.

What else? What’s next?
To learn more about volunteering for committees and taskforces, as well as the appointments process, visit the Get Involved section of the YALSA website. You can also feel free to get in touch with me with any lingering questions at smpeterwork@gmail.com.

Are you awesome for reading through to the end of this detailed post? Definitely.


YALSA Blog Tweets of the Week – July 20, 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 July 20 and July 26 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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The lost jobs of Summer

Restaurants, Parks, Beaches and retail used to employ teen in bulk.

I’ took my first job at the age of 14. It wasn’t by choice. I had gotten into enough trouble during the school year that my dad decided it was a good idea to keep me busy.’  I worked as a student aid for the New York City Board of Education. My dad ran summer school every year, for as long as I remember.’  Every morning we would wake up before the sun rose, and we would drive in. We would grab breakfast, and we would talk mostly about the previous day.

That first job is special to me. Not just for the obvious reasons above, but because I still vividly remember my failures, struggles and successes. I remember my mentors who showed me what it meant to lead. I also remember the bad bosses who accomplished everything through verbal abuse.’  Do you remember the first person who talked down to you at work?’ ‘  I learned some of the most important lessons of my life at that job, and at the other summer jobs I held as a teen.’  My summer jobs provided me with the opportunity to make mistakes at work while the stakes were still low. Continue reading

District Days!

District Days are fast approaching! For those that don’t know, District Days refers to the time that congressional representatives are on recess and are able to return to their home districts. This year, the break is from August 4th through September 9th 2012.’  During this time, representatives often hold town hall meetings, office hours, and meet with a variety of constituents to get their perspectives on current issues.

District Days are a great time to advocate for your library and especially your teens.’  ‘ This is a great occasion to demonstrate how vital libraries are in our communities.’  If Congress members do not hear about how important libraries are from their voters back home, it is likely the will not show their support when the return back to D.C.

Not sure what to do?’  Visit’ the District Days Website, http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/District_Days.’  The site offers tips on planning a library event, free handouts, training and tips on how to get an elected official to your library.

Offer the invitation-a quick step by step on how to invite your members of Congress.’ 

‘ Step 1.’  Contact their local office.’  To find out where their office is located and how to contact them, visit http://capwiz.com/ala/home/ (enter your zipcode in the box toward the lower right screen).’  Please make sure to give them as much advance notice as possible.

Step 2.’  Keep the invitation simple: invite them to something that you are already planning.’  State on the invitation whether you would like to have the elected official speak , observe or participate in a special way.’  If you are inviting the press please make sure to let your elected official know before the event.

Step 3.’  Make sure to give your elected officials have an incentive to come!’  If your Congressperson is running for reelection remind them that this will be a wonderful occasion to meet with voters and a good photo opportunity.

Most importantly, do not be discouraged if your Congressperson turns down the invitation, just remember to try again.

Help elected officials learn about your library – contact them today!