A little over a week ago, I packed my bags for the 2016 YALSA Symposium. It wasn’t easy to rip myself away from the Cubs euphoria raging in my hometown of Chicago, but I was excited to share a weekend with people who were passionate about something even more important: serving young adults in the library. The Symposium theme was Empowering Teens, and there was lots of discussion about ways to fostering teen ideas, talent, and leadership in our libraries. Letting teens take charge may feel like extra work, but the benefit to them is worth every bit of effort.
Teen Library Team, assemble!
We’ve all been there – something you hear or read at a library conference gives you that delicious fuzzy feeling of Hey… I could do that! You start jotting down notes about the idea and where it could go, what it could do for your community, and before you know it, the margins of the handout are scribbled with your new plans for world domination.
I love those moments. I always say, if I get just one great idea from a workshop or webinar or conference, then it was worth it. I left the 2016 YALSA Symposium with an entire folder of great ideas, as I was one of the lucky librarians who got to judge the Teen Programming Contest.
That experience on Sunday morning was the absolute highlight of the Symposium for me, and I don’t say that to diminish the rest of the weekend. It was just so inspiring to hear so many amazing ideas – the other judges will agree with me that the decisions we had to make were incredibly difficult. I was impressed by the variety of pitches – some people had powerpoints and handouts for us, while others simply mesmerized us with a story of what they hoped to accomplish. It was clear that everyone had respect and hope for their communities, and wanted to empower their teen patrons in any way they could.
It is my absolute hope that everyone who pitched their idea to us will somehow, one way or another, make their idea a reality (and then write about it for one of YALSA’s publications!) If I learned only one thing while in Pittsburgh (and trust me, I learned a ton), I learned that we have amazingly talented people working in teen services.
At the 2017 YALSA Symposium, I hope that many more people take up the challenge. Make it an even tougher decision next year!
Sarah Amazing is the Teen Services Supervisor at the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library. She blogs at zen-teen.com
At #yalsa16, I presented on a panel focusing on summer learning programs with Emily Samose, Director, Education and Learning Initiatives, Urban Libraries Council; Maggie Jacobs, Director of Educational Programs at the New York Public Library; and Kelly Rottmund, Teen Services Coordinator at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. In particular, we highlighted programs with a “double bottom line” approach, addressing summer slide for youth and peers by engaging teens as program leaders.
Emily began the session with information about Accelerate Summer, an ULC and NSLA summer learning initiative funded by IMLS. She covered their findings after surveying, observing, and conducting interviews at public libraries nationwide.
Next, Maggie covered NYPL’s Literacy Leaders program, a yearlong program targeting high school teens in danger of not graduating. The program begins during the fall semester when teens complete a credit-bearing ELA course and continues with teens working directly with younger students during the spring semester and into the summer.
Then, I presented AHML’s Summer Volunteer Squad program, a teen component of the library’s summer reading program. Summer Volunteer Squad is 8-12 focused groups comprised of teens that complete projects for the library over the summer. I focused on the groups achieving the “double bottom line” through paired reading, mentoring through STEM activities and more.
Two new activities that you don’t want to miss are now scheduled as a part of the YALSA Teen Services Symposium.
Symposium Solutions Desk
Come visit the Symposium Solutions Desk and get feedback and solutions for your burning questions and challenges. We’ll have YALSA members available and ready to talk with you about everything from programs to advocacy and developing outcomes to curating collections. Our advisors are: Continue reading
Thank you to all who ran for positions on the 2018 Edwards, Nonfiction & Printz Award Committees and congratulations to those who were elected!
These award committees are partially filled by elected spots and partially filled by appointed spots, so now through June 1st, YALSA is collecting volunteer forms for the 2018 Edwards, Nonfiction and Printz Award Committees that will begin work Feb. 1st, 2017 and for the 2017 YA Services Symposium Planning Taskforce (held in Louisville, KY) that will begin work later this year.
If you are interested in one of these committees or the Symposium taskforce, the first thing to do is learn all about what the expectations are for members of these groups.
These resources can help:
YALSA is seeking individuals with the highest ethical standards, a passion for YALSA’s mission and expertise in evaluating YA literature to serve on these awards committees.
If you feel you have met the criteria and have the time available to serve on one of these YALSA award committees or the symposium taskforce, you are encouraged to fill out the Committee Volunteer Form between now and June 1st.
In order to be eligible to serve on a YALSA committee, you must be a current personal member.
To learn more about membership, or to join, go to http://www.ala.org/yalsa/join.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at gsarahthelibrarian @gmail.com
Registration for YALSA’s 2016 Young Adult Services Symposium, which takes place Nov. 4-6 in Pittsburgh, is now open. Individuals can register for the symposium with early bird rates now through Sept. 15, 2016.
Early bird rates are as follows:
- $199 YALSA Personal Member
- $199 Pennsylvania Library Association Members
- $199 Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Members
- $249 ALA Personal Member
- $310 Nonmembers
- $59 Students (enrolled full-time in a library program)
Register early to take advantage of up to $50 in savings. Registration includes:
- Opening session and reception Friday evening
- Educational programming Saturday and Sunday
- Option to register for additional events
- Access to a free webinar
- Certificate of participation with your contact hours
- Snack breaks Saturday and Sunday
- Symposium tote bag
On Nov 7-8 YALSA brought together librarians, authors, and other professionals passionate about serving teens. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the YALSA Literature and Young Adult Services Symposium, but for those of you who had to remain at home, here are some themes from the event:
Here are some reasons to get excited.
Everything happens in the same hotel.
If you’ve been to any big conferences, you know you can spend at least as much time getting from session to session as you do in the sessions. Maybe you made a special effort to trek to a particular program, only to discover that you had the time right, but it was happening in the other Hyatt. The more intimate scale of the Symposium means you’ll have an easier time getting where you want to go, and more chances to interact with other attendees.
Everyone attending is interested in teen services.
Have you ever told someone enthusiastically that you work with and for teens, only to have them respond with something like “Better you than me!”? That won’t happen at the Symposium! It’s a fabulous opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals who are engaged and excited about working with teens. Tip: When you meet someone and exchange business cards, write a note on the card with a bit of what you talked about; it’s a good way to make sure you remember them after you get home. Example: “graphic novels + STEAM, shared love of banh mi and Hamilton”
Powell’s is great. So are a lot of other places to find books, comics and zines.
Powell’s is our fantastic local bookstore juggernaut, but there are a lot of other gems (some walkable, some a public transit ride from the hotel) including Reading Frenzy, Mother Foucault’s, Green Bean Books, A Children’s Place Bookstore, Bridge City Comics, Floating World Comics, Cosmic Monkey Comics, the Independent Publishing Resource Center. And Multnomah County Library‘s Friends of the Library operates a store in the downtown Central Library.
The Portland Art Museum is close to the conference hotel and stays open until 8 pm on Fridays. Check out their Seeing Nature exhibit.
It’s true: Portland has a lot of super tasty food carts.
Full day at the Symposium isn’t enough for you? Consider the Lit Crawl on Saturday night.
Have time to decompress on Sunday after the Symposium ends? Try the Lan Su Chinese Garden, or if you prefer your decompression a little louder, the Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade.
Sara Ryan writes books and comics for teens and others, most recently Bad Houses with art by Carla Speed McNeil, and works as the Teen Services Specialist for Multnomah County Library.
This year’s YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium has an awesome program filled with presentations, panels, and papers covering many different aspects of YA services. Plus, there are over 30 YA authors that will be attending the symposium. I will be traveling all the way from St. Petersburg, Russia to Portland just for the symposium and there is one more aspect that absolutely makes it worth the trip: the attendees!
As a solo librarian, I welcome every opportunity that I get to interact with other librarians in youth services. Through my involvement in YALSA and use of Twitter, I have had the chance to get to know quite a few librarians throughout the U.S. At last year’s symposium in Austin, I got to meet many of these librarians in person for the first time. There is so much to be learned by spending time with other librarians in a social setting. After the panels ended for the day, our professional development did not end. Over drinks and delicious food, we discussed books, library programs, blogging, and life. It’s awesome to find that your friends are just as awesome IRL as they are online.
Don’t worry if you are new to YALSA or the symposium either! In my experience, the community of attendees is incredibly welcoming. I attended the opening night meet-and-greet with one friend, but by the time we left for a taco run, we had grown to a group of ten – the majority of which we had never interacted with before. By connecting with fellow librarians I got new ideas right away and also found ways to stay in touch throughout the year. I am able to regularly check in with YA librarians to see what programs they are running, what books they are promoting, and how they are making a difference for their patrons. I cannot wait to see who I will meet this year.
The more pro-active you are, the more you will benefit from being surrounded by awesome librarians. It’s never too early or too late to start. Get online before you leave for Portland and follow the Symposium’s hashtag #yalsa15 to see who else will be attending. When you are there, don’t be afraid to compliment someone on their cat-patterned cardigan or awesome haircut. Say hello to the person next to you in line for coffee. Ask someone which author they will visit first during the Book Blitz. I know how difficult these interactions can be for some people, but I promise they will be worth it.
The 2015 YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium will take place November 6-8, 2015 at the Hilton Portland & Executive tower. Register today!
-Jessica Lind, find me on Twitter before #yalsa15 and say hello! @sadrobot