Have you considered writing for YALSAblog or the Young Adult Library Services (YALS) journal but are unsure what topic to write about? The YALSA Publications Advisory Board conducted a survey of blog posts and YALS articles from the past few years. Our results show that some topics get much more coverage than others, creating a need for more articles on certain topics and services. Here is a brief summary of our findings and how you can help fill these holes by submitting to the blog or YALS.
Please note that the purpose of the survey was to identify articles and posts that could be compiled into topic-based publications, so we didn’t include articles that were out of date, that were dependent on a theme such as Teen Tech Week, or were otherwise unsuited for a compilation. All results were finalized November 2015 for the YALS survey and March 2016 for the blog survey.
For our survey of the blog, we looked for the following topic groups taken from “The Future of Library Services for and with Teens”: 21st century skills, connected learning, content creation, and technology; teen participation and workforce and leadership development; and collaboration and partnerships. In terms of volume, the 21st century skills group had the most posts, followed by teen participation; collaboration had the least.
We found that many blog posts provided excellent examples of a service or program but left us wanting a larger take-away or best practice. In our survey, the most compelling posts were those that focused on a method, best practice, theory, etc., and used program descriptions as support or a case study.
The Publications Advisory Board invites YALSA members to submit blog posts focused on best practices, quick tips to get started, important questions to consider, etc. Longer and more in-depth posts would enrich and balance what the blog already offers in breadth. Posts about outreach, content creation, makerspaces, and workforce development would help fill topic holes.
You can apply to be a blogger for the YALSAblog here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to propose a guest post. If you have an idea or topic you want to write about but think it would be too long for the blog, please contact YALS editor Linda Braun at email@example.com.
YALS and the YALSAblog cover similar topics, but as a journal, YALS specializes in long-form articles that explore topics in greater depth. In the YALS survey we used similar Futures categories as we used for the blog survey, but we also drilled deeper to include demographic and programming subtopics. The Futures topics were relatively well covered, although workforce development, library spaces, and cultural competency had the least number of articles. The following subtopics were underrepresented or not written about at all: serving African-Americans, Latinos, teen parents, and/or homeschoolers; American Sign Language; gender identity; gaming; religion; and urban services.
Visit the YALS submissions page to learn more about how to submit an idea for an article.
Amanda Bressler is a member of YALSA’s Publications Advisory Board and Youth Outreach Librarian at the Boston Public Library.