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.

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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 shannon.peterson@gmail.com 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 http://yalitsymposium12.ning.com/ 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.

Call for Proposals: Do you know what the Next Big Thing in YA lit is? Tell YALSA! Visit www.ala.org/yalitsymposium to submit your paper or program proposal for the 2012 Young Adult Literature Symposium, The Future of Young Adult Literature: Hit Me with the Next Big Thing, to be held Nov. 2-4 in St. Louis. Proposals are due by Nov. 15. Want updates on the symposium? Join the symposium mailing list. Questions? Contact Nichole Gilbert at ngilbert@ala.org.

Social Media Policy Webinar: Whether you’re new to social media or consider using Facebook and Twitter to reach teens as old hat, a social media policy is key to your success! Join Linda Braun, past YALSA president and consultant for Libraries and Educators Online, and  you’ll learn what a social media policy is, why it’s important to have one, what the policy should include, how the policy can help you support teens, and how you can use the policy as an advocacy tool. Registration costs $29 for students, $39 for YALSA members, $49 for all other individuals and $195 for the group rate (applies to a group of people that will watch the webinar together in one location). Learn more and register at www.ala.org/yalsa/webinars.

Summer Reading Funding: Apply now for a Summer Reading Grant from YALSA and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation! Twenty libraries will receive $1,000 for summer reading 2012. Applications due Jan. 1.

YA Forum: Calling all YALSA members! Next week, we’re talking Banned Books Week in ALA Connect with Krista King and Carrie Gardner, co-convenors of YALSA’s Intellectual Freedom Interest Group. Join the discussion on Tuesday, starting at 10 a.m. EDT and ending Friday at 3 p.m. EDT.  Log on at http://connect.ala.org/yalsa.

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There’ve been some great summaries of sessions at the 2010 YA Lit Symposium here, and I’ve written in detail about all of the sessions I attended on my own blog, but now that I’ve had some time to process everything I heard and talked about over the weekend and what I’ve read about the symposium since then, I thought I’d share some of my overall impressions from the entire conference here to continue the discussion.

One of of the themes I saw come up across multiple sessions was that reading allows us to vicariously experience things that are not part of our own lived experience, so reading books about people who are different from us helps educate us, allows us to test our values, and de-Others people like the character. In “Beyond Good Intentions and Chicken Soup: YA Lit and Disability Diversity: How Far Have We Come?” the presenters mentioned that for a lot of teens, reading a book about a person with disabilities may be their first experience with disability. Making sure that portrayal is balanced rather than stereotypical and that the character’s disability isn’t the primary problem in the story gives teens a more accurate portrayal of what people with disabilities can be like–that is, that people with disabilities are people, too. Read More →

And a great time was had by all!

What an interesting group of presenters and authors.  This Symposium really brought the mind’s focus around to incorporating diversity in all aspects of your collection – print, non-print, and web-based.  I particularly liked the fact that some of the authors gave us lists of their favorite diverse books (Cynthea Liu – http://www.cynthealiu.com) and that booktalks were everywhere.

I came home with lots of lists to use in buying and creating my own more diverse resource lists and in making displays. I came home energized and excited to try my own 30 books in 30 minutes program and Yack and Snack book discussion group.  I came home with determination to promote my audio collection to teachers as well as students.  And I came home with two autographed copies of Pat Mora’s Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems About Love  (Knopf, 2010) for my high school boys who will copy the poems for their girlfriends.

Hurray YALSA!  Conference job well done.

If you’ve never made a presentation at an event like the YA Literature Symposium, watching the speakers might make you wonder how it all comes together.  Those polished, funny, engaging speakers must have done some hard work, but they must also be lucky, right?  Yet the process of crafting the presentation and actually making it isn’t a mysterious one, as this tongue-in-cheek timeline for a speaker at the YA Lit Symposium illustrates.

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