YOUNG ADULT LIBRARY SERVICES ASSOCIATION (YALSA)
In my career as a Youth Services Librarian and Manager, I’ve never worked in a branch with a staff of more than twenty people. Moving from a staff of four in Savannah to eighteen in the semi-rural beauty of Kitsap County in Washington, was a huge transition. To stay abreast of youth trends, find best practices, and well, just talk to someone who cared about the kinds of topics that I was interested in, YALSA was and is my lifeline.
It hasn’t always felt like it, but it turns out that there’s probably a lot of members out there just like me. According to an issue brief by the Institute of Museum and Library Services on Small and Rural Libraries, 77% of all public libraries are small, with a median staff of 2.5 FTE. 45% of all public libraries are rural, with a median staff of 1.5 FTE.
At the upcoming Annual meeting, the Board will be talking about strategies to support staff who work in these environments. The topic is made additionally complex in that many of these libraries probably don’t have a dedicated Teen Services Librarian (remember that 2012 PLDS study?). There are a lot of ideas on the table, but honestly, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around which ones might be best. I know you’re out there so take a look at the board document â€œSupporting Teens Services in Small and Rural Librariesâ€ and share your thoughts in the comments field below or to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Better, yet, if you’ll be attending ALA Annual in Vegas, find me at the YALSA Happy Hour on Saturday night which will take place from 5-7 p.m. at the Peppermill (2985 Las Vegas Blvd) and we’ll connect on this important issue.