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


Early bird registration for YALSA's Young Adult Services Symposium, which takes place Nov. 6-8 in Portland, OR is only open through Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. Register now for the best rate!

The symposium will focus on the theme “Bringing it All Together: Connecting Libraries, Teens & Communities” and is a great opportunity for educators, researchers, and library staff to explore the entire spectrum of topics related to providing services for and with young adults.  From the opening session with Aija Mayrock, author of "The Survival Guide to Bullying," to the Book Blitz with over 35 participating authors, riveting programs and events, including a ticketed luncheon with Jack Gantos, and the Teen Poetry Slam closing session, attendees will leave with an unforgettable experience and equipped with newly gained insights and skills to help you better serve young adults.

We hope to see you in Portland!

Thank you to all who ran for positions on the 2017 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 15th, YALSA is collecting volunteer forms for the 2017 Edwards, Nonfiction and Printz Award Committees that will begin work Feb. 1st, 2016 and for the 2016 YA Services Symposium Planning Taskforce 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 15th at

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

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me at

The preliminary schedule for the 2015 YA Services Symposium has been announced!  This year, we’ve expanded our focus to cover the entire spectrum of topics related to providing services to young adults... and boy, do we have an exceptional list of programs for you!

First, there will be three half-day preconferences.  One preconference session, “Hip Hop Dance and Scratch: Facilitating Connected Learning in Libraries,” will focus on resources and best practices for implementing interest-driven coding workshops, with some hands on experience.  More information to come about the other preconferences.

Program topics:

  • Customize to connect - small libraries build participatory learning environments for teens
  • Diverse Teen Fiction: Getting Beyond The Labels
  • Full STEAM Ahead: Lessons Learned From a Library Coding Camp
  • If You Build It, They Will Come: Establishing Teen Services in Public Libraries
  • Lessons from Learning Spaces: Challenges and Opportunities for Maker Programming in Libraries
  • Maker Space Programming without the Space (or How Hollywood Came to Indiana and Brought a Community Together)
  • Moving On Up: Introducing Middle Schoolers to the YA Collection
  • New Adulthood: Literature & Services for NA Patrons
  • Teaching Urban Teens Valuable Skills: A Teen Job Fair
  • Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Connecting School and Public Libraries to Enhance Teen Services
  • Teen Services without Borders
  • Acting and Beyond: Helping Teens and Libraries Establish Connections through Theatre
  • Using Digital Literacy Trends with Teens
  • Elevating Teen Volunteers to Loftier Roles
  • Teens As Parents: Library and Early Literacy Connections
  • Starting From Scratch: My 18-Month Quest to Fill the Library with Teens, Convert my Colleagues, and Keep My Sanity

Paper Presentations

  • Skin Deep:  Hispanic and African American Experiences in Young Adult Literature
  • Teaching digital, media and information literacies to foster youth at a university curriculum materials library
  • Writing within Community:  How Mentoring Works in Online Fan Fiction

See the extended program descriptions and updates at

The symposium will take place November 6–8, 2015 in Portland, Oregon at the Hilton with a theme of: Bringing it All Together: Connecting Libraries, Teens & Communities.  Early Bird registration starts April 1, 2015.

There’s also a stipend available for two YALSA members.  Each stipend offers up to $1,000.  Applications are due by June 15.  To apply, view details at:

Want to help advocate?  Grab a flyer.  Help us promote; tell your colleagues!

Join YALSA as we explore how to connect teens to their community and beyond!

--Jane Gov for YA Services Symposium Marketing and Planning Task Force

Every day, you find ways to connect teens with the resources they need and want. Now it's time to share your experiences and ideas with librarians, educators, researchers, young adult authors and other teen advocates at YALSA's first expanded symposium.

YALSA is currently seeking program proposals and paper presentations for its 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium, Bringing it All Together: Connecting Libraries, Teens & Communities, to be held Nov. 6-8, 2015, in Portland, Ore.

The 2015 theme addresses the key role of connection that librarians have for the teens in their community.

Today's 21st' century teens have unique needs and face significant challenges that they cannot deal with successfully on their own. Library staff are uniquely positioned to help teens by not only connecting them to resources in the library and their hometown, but also to resources from affinity communities that thrive online. How can library staff connect with partners, provide programming, enhance collections, and help teens build both print and digital literacy skills so that they can be successful in the future? How can library staff connect with colleagues to form personal learning networks, increase impact and tell their stories? Join YALSA as we explore how to connect teens to their community and beyond.

Read More →

At the Annual meeting, I'll be presenting a discussion item to the Board regarding the possibility of expanding the focus of the Young Adult Literature Symposium to include increased content on teen services and programming. Part a follow-up to a conversation from a Midwinter 2013 discussion regarding member feedback on the Symposium and part a response to an organizational desire to support members with the professional shifts called for in the Future of Library Services for and with Teens report, there are a number of potential benefits to such an expansion including a broader range of member engagement and professional development opportunities.

What do you think, should the YA Lit Symposium expand to become a Teen Library Services Symposium? This full proposal will be posted with other Annual agenda items on Friday June 13th.

Feel free to contact me at @shantasmagoria or with your thoughts!

YALSA Lit Symposium

YALSA is seeking program proposals and paper presentations for its 2014 Young Adult Literature Symposium, Keeping it Real: Finding the True Teen Experience in YA Literature, to be held' October 31 – November 2, 2014' in Austin, TX.

YALSA's 2014 Young Adult Literature Symposium will gather together librarians, educators, researchers, authors and publishers to explore what's ‘real' in the world of teen literature. ' Join YALSA as we discuss what is ‘real' in YA lit.

  • In what ways is young adult literature reflecting the real and amazing diversity of today's 42 million teens and it what ways has it fallen short?
  • Who are today's teens, really?
  • What are the ‘real' issues that they want and need to read about, and how do they want to read about them?
  • Why are realistic teen experiences in books sometimes controversial when they accurately portray a young person's life?
  • How are the evolving areas of identity and sex(uality) being explored in YA literature and nonfiction?'  Read More →

At the YALSA Board's Midwinter Meetings, the Board discussed the YA Literature Symposium and voted to make some changes, on a trial basis. After the next Symposium (Fall 2014), it will become an annual event. Then, after three consecutive years, it will be re-evaluated. In addition to being held yearly, the Symposium will expand its offerings beyond a strict focus on literature to include programming and other teen-focused topics.

There were several considerations for changing the Symposium to an annual event. The Symposium tends to draw people who are not able to attend ALA Annual and Midwinter. Many YA professionals have the opportunity only to attend one conference per year, and in that case, they prefer to attend something that is specifically YA-focused. In addition, statistics have shown that by having the Symposium in smaller venues, and moving it around the country, different people have the opportunity to attend. In St. Louis, 50% of attendees drove to the Symposium. Many of these were first-time attendees who don't normally go to major national conferences. Holding the Symposium annually is one way to meet a need expressed by members to have more regional face-to-face opportunities to meet and engage with other YA professionals. Read More →

I was quite the eager little first-year grad student last year when I submitted my paper proposal for the 2012 YALSA YA Literature Symposium. My subject--biracial identity in YA--was something I had been interested in for awhile, so I was happy to have an outside force encouraging me to turn my informal research into something real and accountable. But that was in February, and lots of school happened in between that acceptance and presentation, including a lot of procrastinating.

But I still made it, and on the Saturday of the symposium, I presented my paper and did not melt, have a heart attack, or run out of the room screaming.

I thought I would end up titling this post either "How NOT to Present a Paper at a Conference" or "How to Be the Best Paper Presenter EVER," but I'm not sure I have the authority to write either. If there are rules other than "don't rush and talk too quickly" (oops--failed that one), please let me know. Read More →

Mark your calendars!'  St. Louis will be hosting the YALSA 2012 Symposium November 2-4.'  The theme is "The Future of Young Adult Literature:'  Hit Me with the Next Big Thing."

There is still plenty of time to send in your proposals for programs or paper presentations.'  We want to know what you believe will be the developing and evolving trends in young adult literature.'  Let your voice be heard about why and how the youth of today will interact with new materials and formats.

Enhance your experience by visiting Updates about the symposium will be posted as they become available.' '  Continue to look for information posted on the YALSA Blog and The Hub.

While in St. Louis, find time to see some of the Downtown attractions, including the Gateway Arch, City Museum' and St. Louis Union Station.'  If you have extra time to explore, take in the grandeur of Forest Park and its many free museums, Missouri Botanical Garden or The Delmar Loop.