Academic musings in summer

By: Carolyn Chen

As we move into the middle of summer and the stirring thoughts of the upcoming school year, libraries become ever more important as resources for students to take advantage of. In this blog, I want to specifically address two aspects of student life, namely summer work and college prep, that local libraries can assist in. Although most schools do not start until August, almost all students generally have some form of summer work, parts of which include book readings that they must finish beforehand. Usually, summer reading books are fairly popular books or classics, and thus can be found at local libraries. Although some teachers require that students buy a copy of their summer reading texts so that the students can annotate or highlight within the pages, many do not. As a student who generally borrows her summer reading books, I think that librarians can help out in the book-finding process. For example, it may be useful for the library to get a list of summer reading books beforehand from nearby school districts, and then put all of those books that the library has in a certain area. That way, librarians will not have to be constantly finding books for teens that cannot find them right away, and rather can direct them to the summer reading books area. Furthermore, teens can come into the library and find their books much more efficiently. In terms of college prep, I know that some teens do not have the resources to buy all the different prep books for different standardized tests (SAT, ACT etc.). Sometimes, this discourages them from attempting to study much for these tests at all. It would be very useful for these teens if libraries can have more than one copy of SAT or ACT study books, as summer is generally the time when upcoming juniors or upcoming seniors have any time to really study or review at all for standardized testing. Just having the chance to borrow and look over the practice tests on one test prep book is definitely better than seeing the test for the first time when taking it, and these books also include some valuable test-taking strategies as well. These two ideas are just something librarians can keep in mind and students can take advantage of. I hope I can address more resources that libraries can provide over the summer into the beginning of the school year in the next installment!

The Great American Museum Advocate 2014

By: Camille Batiste

A young girl was once told, “Defy the impossible. The word itself says I’m Possible.” This quote would mold and shape her into an inspiring and innovative teen she is today. Simone Batiste (16) a Bay Area native spent the majority of her younger years in the great scientific halls of Chabot Space and Science Center and her local libraries. Since the age of five she has been amazed and intrigued by all of the information she has learned. Inspired by the proverb, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” she spent her spare afternoons reading books and learning new things. In the summer of 2013 she had the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong advocating for Chabot’s International Sky Program. Recently, Simone was one of two teens in the nation selected to become the Great American Museum Advocate 2014. Simone and her family were sent to Washington DC to advocate on behalf of all museums, parks, libraries, and public organizations on the West Coast for robust funding from the government. “It was an honor to travel to D.C. and an experience of a life time that I will never forget. I’d like to thank my local libraries and museums for inspiring me when I needed it most and always supporting my education,” said the young advocate in a recent interview. With hard work, deep dedication, and the support of others Simone was able to accomplish more than expected.

As you can see local libraries, museums and other organizations influence the minds of young children that shape and mold them into something inspirational.

From YALSA’s Board Meetings at ALA Annual

The YALSA Board had an extremely full agenda for its meetings during the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas.  Various board members presented items for action and discussion, including a topic on a new national celebration of teen services in libraries.

Coming in at Item #26 on the agenda, Board Director Jennifer Korn proposed that Celebrate Teen Services Day take place during National Library Week in place of Celebrate Teen Literature Day.  Why the change?  As you can see in the rationale portion of the board document, YALSA currently celebrates particular facets of teen services through Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week.   What’s missing is a celebration of the overarching service area – serving teens in libraries.

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YA @ ALA: From the Research Committee

Gearing up for the ALA Conference is exciting, especially as a first timer! I just wrapped up my first year working with YALSA as a member of the Research Committee and will be the Research Committee Chair starting in July. So for me, there is certainly no better time to get out, meet people and learn some new tips, tricks and techniques! However, as this first time ALA conference attendee is quickly learning, there are tons of programs to choose from. So what I’ve gathered here is just a sampling of programs that are relevant to Young Adult services that caught my eye.

Book Time!

I am always up for spending time with books or talking books and there are some sessions lined up that look to be interesting. Blurring the Lines of Books, presented by Erin Reilly-Sanders from Ohio State University is presenting on books that “blur the lines between media, form, and genre, transcending tradition and setting expectations on edge.” I’ve certainly stumbled across some fantastic books that are unique and hard to categorize, so I’m intrigued to learn more!

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Staying fit during ALA Conference

One of the most difficult aspects of traveling is trying to maintain your normal health and fitness routine while you’re away from home.  Staying in a hotel and eating out at every meal can be fun but can also deter you from exercising and eating healthy. For those of you who want to squeeze in a workout session or try a new fitness activity while in Vegas, this post is for you.  Some simple planning ahead can help you find fun ways to stay healthy during your time at ALA Conference.

studio class

Courtesy of Review Journal

Las Vegas has some wonderful opportunities for staying fit.  Though we may be known for our countless buffets and dining options, most locals take pride in living healthy and active lifestyles.  Local Las Vegans enjoy everything from yoga, golf, hiking, running; the list goes on and on. There are many unique and fun ways to get some exercise in Las Vegas.  Whether you join the early morning joggers along the Las Vegas Strip or train like a Cirque du Soleil acrobat, take advantage of the countless fitness options that Las Vegas has to offer.

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YALSA Board @ Annual Preview: Member Access to Virtual Board Space

Ensuring that YALSA is a transparent organization so that the whole membership is aware of what is happening and how it is happening has been at the forefront of many recent YALSA Board discussions. The Board has worked hard to maintain open lines of communication with the membership in several ways, including holding Town Hall meetings with the membership several times throughout the year, posting Twitter handles on the Board contact page, and posting blogs (like this one) about action items and decisions so that the membership can stay informed.

YALSA Board meetings are also open meetings at both Midwinter and Annual conferences, and any YALSA member is welcome to attend and see what is going on in them. But, did you know that the Board holds regular meetings and engages in ongoing discussion and voting throughout the year? To help members engage in the governance process and provide increased access to information, the YALSA Board will be discussing a proposal that would allow any YALSA member access to the YALSA Board’s ALA Connect space.

What does this even mean? It means that if the proposal passes non-Board YALSA members could log onto ALA Connect and see all the work that the YALSA Board does in between conferences in what has traditionally been a closed group. Some of the benefits to doing this include:

  • Giving YALSA members who want more information about how decisions are made and tasks are accomplished that information in one convenient place,
  • Allowing many more members than could fit in a face-to-face meeting the ability to see the Board in action,
  • Keeping the majority of the YALSA Board’s work all in one place.

The Board has been doing a lot to make the organization as transparent as possible, and this could be another step in that process. To learn more about this proposal, visit the link for all the Board documents for ALA Annual in Las Vegas here (It goes live June 13th.)

To add your thoughts to the discussion or ask a question, please leave a blog comment post or contact us!

Carla Land- @AnimeGoddess or

Shannon Peterson- @shantasmagoria and

YALSA Board contact page:

Carla Land, YALSA Board Fellow 2013-14

YALSA Board @ Annual Preview: YALSA Business Plan

This document is actually more interesting than one might think from the title as it provides a great overview of YALSA’s financial needs and accompanying revenue sources while also giving you a good idea of the many activities in which YALSA is involved.

After reading a brief executive summary [I] and YALSA’s mission [II], the Plan launches into some background about the division and its governance structure [III]. But then you reach some of the meat as all the YALSA products are listed and described from seals for award books to the continuing education items, including institutes, the dues structure [did you know that our dues pay for only 30% of YALSA’s needs?], periodicals, books and other publications, TRW and TTW products, event tickets and so on [IV].

My favorite parts were the market [V] and competitor analyses [VI]. It was interesting to read the demographics of our target audience for sales, which pretty much tells us the demographics for librarians. To read the competitor analysis piece of the plan makes you realize that there are others in a similar field, such as VOYA or School Library Journal, who also look for subscribers from the same small community. There are even competitors within ALA as PLA, ALSC, AASL and YALSA have some similar programs leaving our members always having to make decisions as to what event to attend or what publications to buy. Results of the actual sales are found in the section titled Marketing Sales [VII] with some of the problems and concerns of various items described. Most informative is a chart showing the trends in sales and, after looking at it,  it becomes obvious that some products and services need to be removed or modified.

Take a look at ticket sales for events at conference and it will become very obvious, based on the decline in these sales, that there needed to be changes. Not as many people can attend conference and many of them go home late Sunday or early Monday morning, so why do we have the Printz program and reception on Monday night?  Time for a change to see if the Friday night time works better. Meals at hotels are only going up, thus why not try the Edwards Award celebration as a brunch instead? This way the price of a ticket can be kept down.

The last three sections illustrate YALSA’s Operations [VIII] and staff structure as well as the interwoven relationship of ALA and YALSA. A look at YALSA’s finances beginning in 2007 is provided; 2007 finances do not show the effect of the 2008 recession that hit America[IX]. Financial information for both the Morris Endowment fund and the Leadership Endowment fund are also provided. And the final section of Evaluation and Assessment [X] cites YALSA’s financial goals and ways members can learn about the financial pieces through such documents as the Executive Director’s Monthly Reports.

I strongly recommend you read Board Document #20 Business Plan FY014 to FY017. It’s only 15 pages and reads very quickly. Learn about YALSA – you’ll appreciate our division even more.

Happy Hour Vegas Style

Everyone loves a good happy hour and Las Vegas offers plenty of options.  Whether you are on the Strip, Downtown or any of the surrounding valley neighborhoods you can find a great happy hour nearby.

Courtesy of Yelp

Courtesy of Yelp

If you’re staying on the Strip, head to the Fashion Show Mall across from the Wynn. The Fashion Show has several great restaurant options, like El Segundo Sol, Maggiano’s, and Ra Sushi that offer special happy hour deals.  If you’re in the mood for some south of the border cuisine, stop in at El Segundo Sol between 4pm to 7pm for their “Loco Hour.”  The Loco Hour menu features tasty street tacos and bottomless margaritas to quench your thirst on a hot summer evening in Las Vegas.

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YALSA Board @ Annual: Fiscal Officer Report

Because my partial term as YALSA Fiscal Officer ends at the conclusion of this Annual Conference, I wanted to share some ideas for the Board of Directors to keep in mind as new projects arise. YALSA has a very ambitious agenda with new projects likely to arise based on the paradigm shift noted in The Future of Library Services for and with Teens.  Knowing this, my report reminds the directors to be sure there are sufficient finances available to take on a new project, or grant money already promised, or decide the project is so important, they’re willing to take it on and fundraise as they go.

Although it is easy to find the revenue generated from different projects, it is harder to determine the expenses, especially the staff time involved with various activities, and it is suggested to try to determine staff time on some random projects.

Board members can help to “advertise” some of YALSA’s Continuing Education offerings by citing a specific product on their signature file. In addition, they should get in the habit of always bringing handouts about YALSA products to their local and state conferences.

This past year one of the Board conference calls was devoted to finances and I recommend that practice continue with one call per year devoted to YALSA’s financial picture. Although financial information is found in each Executive Director’s Report, it would also be useful to spend 10 to 15 minutes once a quarter to discuss these finances via conference call, being sure to allow time to answer questions.

YALSA Board @ Annual Preview: Creating awareness via a national celebration

The Board is exploring the possibility of a designated day celebrating all aspects of teen library services. With such an event, teen library services would be celebrated across the country as a way of advocating
these essential services to library administrators, community-members, and legislators.

This Board document, along with all others, will be live on June 13.

We’d love to hear your thoughts! You can email or tweet (@korncakes) me, YALSA President Shannon
Peterson (email or @shantasmagoria), or any of the Board members.