YALSA Seeks Board Candidates for 2021

Are you passionate about teens and teen services? Do you want to be an ambassador and advocate for YALSA? Then you should consider taking a leadership role in our organization. The Board Development Committee is looking for dedicated, committed volunteers with the skills and desire to run for several board positions: Director-at-Large, Division Councilor and Vice President/President-Elect.

YALSA’s volunteer members are the driving force behind our organization and make it the innovative, responsive organization it is. Dedicated volunteer leaders run the organization and influence its future.  You can find out more about the responsibilities of Vice-President/President-Elect and Division Councilor positions here and Director-at-Large position here. These positions are elected by the membership for a three-year term.

Each year, specific positions are available, and each opening has requirements based on its description and the current makeup of the Board. The Board Development Committee is looking for the most qualified individuals and broad representation. This includes a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. As the YALSA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Plan states: “The vision for YALSA is to be a diverse, inclusive and equitable organization which flourishes on the exchange of ideas from different perspectives. We believe the diversity of viewpoints that comes from different life experiences, identities, cultural backgrounds, and more enables YALSA to better achieve its mission to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.” Having this kind of representation on the Board allows YALSA to attract new members and retain long term ones, all the while making sure we are innovative, educational, professional and fun.

If you feel you have what it takes for one of these leadership roles, fill out the Governance Candidacy Form. The Board Development Committee reviews all the forms and looks for the best match of skills and background for the available positions. Submit the form by July 31.

Don’t wait to let us know you are interested! The Board Development Committee’s deadline is coming up fast. We only have until the end of the summer to present a slate of candidates to the YALSA board for approval. Successful candidates will run for election in the Spring of 2021 and begin their terms in June 2021 at the Annual Conference in Chicago.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Gail Tobin (gtobin@stdl.org) or Ritchie Momon (RMomon@mymcpl.org), the Board Development Committee Co-Chairs.


YALSA’s 2020 YA Services Symposium to be held virtually

2020 YALSA YA Services Symposium - Now Virtual

YALSA’s Board of Directors has made the decision for YALSA’s 2020 YA Services Symposium to be held virtually November 6-8, 2020 in lieu of the originally planned in-person event in Reno, NV.

The virtual symposium will feature an array of programs, author panels, discussion and poster sessions, and more. New this year, the Edwards Award celebration will also take place at the virtual symposium. The Symposium Marketing and Planning Taskforce is currently working to reconfigure and adapt the slate of programs.

As a result of the format change of the symposium, YALSA is modifying its symposium travel stipends to instead award free registration to ten YALSA members – five to library workers and five to library students. Apply by August 1.

More information regarding registration and programs will be available in the coming weeks. Sign up for updates about the symposium via this form.

ALA and Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission Book Set Giveaway

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, the American Library Association has partnered with the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission to distribute 6000 sets of books for youth to libraries across the country. The books bring the story of women’s struggle for voting rights alive and will be accompanied by an annotated list of additional recommended books about suffrage, along with ideas for displays and programming about voting in the United States. The project examines an important chapter in our nation’s struggle towards a more perfect union and the ongoing fight for access to full participation in our democracy.

Each set consists of three books corresponding to different reading levels: “Around America to Win the Vote” by Mara Rockliff for elementary readers; “The Woman’s Hour: Our Fight for the Right to Vote” by Elaine Weiss for middle schoolers; and the “National Park Service Women’s Suffrage Reader,” an anthology of essays for high school readers.

Learn more and apply by June 15th.

Giving During Hard Times

2020 started great; well, at least we thought it was going to be a great year.  As many of us are sheltering in place during this pandemic (some longer than others), we keep looking to the future for better times and when “normal” life will resume.  Many of us are also wondering when our libraries will reopen and how it will look and feel. But as they say, we’ll get through this together, and I fully believe we will.

All of us are facing different struggles. But if you’re here, we still have one thing in common. We have a passion for working with teens, and we are committed to YALSA and YALSA’s mission. We do this by giving to YALSA, whether it is financially or with our time volunteering. In preparation for the future, YALSA launched a fundraising campaign aimed to encourage YALSA members and the library community to give $20 in 2020 in order to increase sustainability and strengthen Friends of YALSA to fund member awards and grants.

During these unusual times, we’re asking for you to donate what you can. Little donations add up, and they will help our colleagues in the future. It might even help your library or coworker when life begins again. Everyone’s financial situation is different, especially while the library world is working virtually.  In this challenging time in history, lets come together. We must remain positive about the future. If you are able, we kindly ask for your support. Learn more at http://www.ala.org/yalsa/give-20-2020.

-Franklin Escobedo
Financial Advancement Committee member

Vol. 11 N. 2 Issue of Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults

Volume 11, Issue 2 of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults (JRLYA) is now available online at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/. This issue features research papers that focus on issues of censorship in public libraries and the perceptions of teachers and librarians about the use of teen literature that features school shootings.

Shannon M. Oltmann and Stephanie D. Reynolds explore the absence of challenges in their article, “When Libraries Aren’t Challenged: Librarians Discuss a Lack of Patron Challenges to Their Collections.” In order to better understand these librarians’ perspectives, the authors interviewed youth services librarians who have never dealt with a challenge from their community.  Oltmann’s and Reynold’s research explores an aspect of intellectual freedom not often addressed in literature regarding youth services.

The question of whether or not to use teen literature that features school shootings as a central plot line was the focus of research conducted by Kjersti VanSlyke-Briggs, Sarah Rhodes, and Jenna Turner.  In their article, “The Darkest Themes: Perceptions of Teen-on-Teen Gun Violence in Schools as Portrayed by Teen Literature,” the authors explored this question with librarians and teachers to understand how these two groups of professionals approached engaging with teens about violence in schools.  Their research uncovers willingness but also hesitancy on the part of teachers and librarians to use this literature with teens.  This paper puts into perspective the importance of providing teachers and librarians the tools with which to engage teens about challenging contemporary issues.

JRLYA is YALSA’s open-access, peer-reviewed research journal, located at: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya. Its purpose is to enhance the development of theory, research, and practice to support young adult library services. JRLYA presents original research concerning: 1) the informational and developmental needs of teens; 2) the management, implementation, and evaluation of young adult library services; and 3) other critical issues relevant to librarians who work with teens. Writer’s guidelines are located at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/author-guidelines/.

Robin A. Moeller, editor, JRLYA

Making Face Shields with Maker Hardware at the Great Neck Library

This is a guest post by Adam Hinz, Youth Services Coordinator at the Great Neck Library in Nassau County, NY.

The Great Neck Library is located in Nassau County, NY, and is right on the border of Queens, NY. By the end of the day on March 13, we were advised that the library was going to be closed through the end of the month (obviously much longer at this point).

About a week or two after the library closed, another library professional reached out to me and a colleague about a 3D printing project to create personal protection equipment (PPE) for medical personnel. We were all in!

The files and designs for the project are all open-source. I looked them over and everything seemed straightforward. There were already several options designers had put out there, but the face shield we ultimately decided to use was one that did not require any foam or elastic. This would help alleviate having to worry about ordering additional components. The only additional piece besides what is 3D printed is an overhead transparency. The 3D printed piece goes around your head, and the transparency connects to it to create a shield.

Once the details were worked out, I asked my supervisor for permission to take home a 3D printer from our STEM Lab and to use the laser engraver to cut the holes and round the edges of the transparency film. She agreed and we were in business! My colleague Chris helped tweak the design files for the transparencies to accommodate letter size paper, as the original design was in A4. After this hiccup was cleared, I cut as many transparency films as I could, grabbed a 3D printer, and headed home.

Over the last month, my dining room table has been a production center for making the shields. There have been issues to troubleshoot throughout. When I ran out of laser cut transparency films, I had to borrow a Silhouette from a friend to continue making more. Another friend started the project on his own 3D printer and gave me the head pieces he 3D-printed so that I could add the transparency films.

Ultimately, a patron from the community helped us connect with the right people at Northwell Health for donations. They have advised us that the face shields meet their specifications and are usable. I have provided a link to the model we are working with at the end of this post. In addition, the National Institute of Health also has provided specifications for 3D printed PPE that hospitals, doctors, and other medical personnel can use. At this point, many hospitals and municipalities have instructions for donating PPE on their websites. In addition, you can reach out and donate PPE to other essential employees who are dealing directly with the public such as transit employees, grocery workers, and delivery personnel.

At this point, we are more than a month into the shutdown. COVID-19 has been relentless in Downstate NY. We are tremendously thankful to the medical personnel who are working hard every day, and we are just glad to help!

Useful links:

National Institute of Health 3D PPE: https://3dprint.nih.gov/discover/ppe

Open Source Face Shield Files: https://3dverkstan.se/protective-visor/

– Adam Hinz

Serving Teens During COVID-19

Like many of you, my anxiety levels are high due to all the changes in our current world. In Illinois, most K-12 schools have been closed since March 16, and the transition to e-learning is in full swing.  My community college moved to the online environment on March 23 after an extended Spring Break. I’m privileged and thankful to be able to work from home, but it’s difficult to keep my teenager on track with e-learning and to balance the home and work duties, especially on the lovely Spring day last week when it was 70 degrees outside!

My library was in a fairly good place to transition all services to the virtual environment.  We already use LibGuides and have subscriptions to many databases. I’m able to update everything from home, and login to my work computer through a virtual machine. But the quick transition to virtual meant learning to use quickly purchased campus-wide technologies like chat, Zoom, and Skype. All of these technology updates were sorely needed, but the learning curve was steep for many faculty and staff members! But we’re surviving. And serving our students the best way that we can.

And I know you all are, too.  I reached out via Twitter to see how YALSA members were serving their teen patrons, and heard from two Illinois librarians. Tracey Virrorio, Teen Services Librarian at Plainfield Public Library District, utilized the teen-focused Instagram account (@plainfieldteens) to issue a call for a Virtual Teen Art Show.

Plainfield Public Library Virtual Teen Art Show

Screenshot from @plainfieldteens Instagram

Tracey is posting one piece of art daily and will be showcasing a gallery of images on the library’s Facebook account. What a great way to showcase teen quarantine creations!

School librarians are facing an uphill battle in some school districts. Worksheet packets and e-learning can only go so far. Belleville Public Schools are parking their wifi-enabled buses around town so that more people can use their wifi, but what about those students who have no one to drive them to a bus? Or don’t even own a device?  How do we tackle issues like equity when the state orders e-learning to occur?

Mariela Martinez Siegert, School Librarian at Westfield Middle School, addressed the concerns that many of us have about equity:

“I think one of the things that concerns me so much as a school librarian is the elitist idea that everybody has Internet access or devices to participate in e-learning, remote learning or virtual learning. Or even the time. We have some students who are taking care of their younger siblings because their parents are working still or working from home. We have families whose only internet access is their phones data plan. We have families in rural areas that have no internet access and devices might be limited depending on the needs of the family. And, yes, there are some programs out there for free internet access, but there are some serious flaws with these programs. Our lower- and middle-class working families who are on a tight budget, or even a tighter budget now, can’t afford the Internet or the larger phone data plan at the moment.”

The stay-at-home edicts are widening the learning gaps that already exist and librarians are finding ways to help. Many educators in my professional learning network are stressing that the internet needs to be a public utility, available to all. Broadband needs to be everywhere and all students need to be equipped with a learning device to take home. Why are some districts more privileged than others?

YALSA has already been working to remove inequities within its own organization.  An Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Statement and EDI Plan guides our work and much of our work already exists in the online environment. But how do these documents apply to your own library during COVID-19? How can libraries strive to eliminate inequities? How can YALSA help you do so? If you have any suggestions, please post in the comments!

Also, if you haven’t already, please consider donating to YALSA’s Give $20 in 2020 campaign. We want to continue to strengthen Friends of YALSA to fund member grants and awards because these help to eliminate inequities between our own members.

Stay safe,

Sarah Hill, Financial Advancement Committee Member

YALSA President 2016-2017

Kelly Czarnecki wins 2021-2022 YALSA presidency

2020-2021 YALSA President-Elect Kelly CzarneckiKelly Czarnecki, Teen Loft Manager at ImaginOn in Charlotte, NC, has been elected as YALSA’s 2020-2021 division president-elect. Czarnecki will begin her three-year term as president-elect in June of 2020, becoming president starting in June of 2021, and remain active on the board for one year as past president in 2022. Voting took place March 9 – April 1.

“It is such an honor to be elected to this position by the members,” said Czarnecki. “I am grateful and look forward to continuing to get their input to move toward YALSA’s future. In these unchartered times during this pandemic, I am hopeful that in working with the board, along with past presidents, we will continue to seek solutions to inevitable shifts we’ll see in library services. In allowing ourselves to listen and engage with teens, we’ll continue to be a viable organization that will meet their needs.”

Highlights of Czarnecki’s involvement in YALSA include:

  • Serving as a content expert for the YALSA Programming HQ
  • Serving on the YALSA Programming Guidelines Development Task Force
  • Serving on the YALSA Advisory Board
  • Serving on several YALSA committees including Technology, Gaming, and Outreach to YAs with Special Needs

In addition to the president-elect position, YALSA members have also elected Kate Denier as Fiscal Officer and both Susannah Goldstein and Dawn McMillian as Directors-at-Large. All three positions will serve three-year terms.

Learn more about YALSA elections at www.ala.org/yalsa/workingwithyalsa/election.

2020 YALSA Election: An Interview with President-Elect Candidate Kelly Czarnecki

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2020 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 9 through April 1. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out a sample ballot!

The President-Elect serves a three-year term — first as the President-Elect, then as the President during the second year, and finally as the Immediate Past President during the third year. The President-Elect is a member of the Executive Committee alongside the President, Immediate Past President, Division Councilor, Fiscal Officer, Secretary, and Executive Director. The Executive Committee works with its ALA counterpart to build ties between the two organizations and helps with the fiscal oversight of YALSA.  A full description of the President-Elect’s duties and responsibilities can be found here .You can learn more about ALA elections here.

What is your name and current position? Kelly Czarnecki, Teen Loft Manager at ImaginOn

What best qualifies you for being President-Elect?
As an accomplished librarian, I offer a track record of success in developing, implementing, and managing new programs to attract targeted audiences and serve the community. This includes rolling out multiple specialized programs to reach and serve teens for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in North Carolina.

From a leadership perspective, I excel in managing and developing employees, facilitating career advancement opportunities while training them in polices, processes, systems, tools, and customer service protocols.

I feel these skills translate well to the position of President-Elect in leading others and the organization to continuing to be relevant for teens. As a strong advocate on a local level, I will continue to make the needs of teens and library workers known through the organization and the public at large.

Some of the highlights of my involvement with ALA and YALSA include:

  • Serving as a content expert for the YALSA Programming HQ
  • Serving on the YALSA Programming Guidelines Development Task Force
  • Serving on the YALSA Advisory Board
  • Serving on several YALSA committees including Technology, Gaming, and Outreach to YAs with Special Needs
  • Serving a term as an ALA Councilor-At-Large

Being an active member of both ALA and YALSA has helped me to better understand the structure of the organization and give voice to issues that are important in working with teens which will be needed for the President-Elect position.

I am also an employee of a shelter serving families experiencing homelessness. I have worked at a shelter longer than I’ve been a librarian. My work with these non-profit agencies definitely gives me needed insight to challenges that teens face and better prepares me as a President-Elect of YALSA.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
Making sure that we’re including their perspective as much as we can in the decisions that are made and the content delivered. If we’re not getting a lot of participation in the ways that we’re trying to solicit their opinions, then what can we do differently? I’d like to continue to grow opportunities for them to be an active part of YALSA and help drive the agenda—not just give feedback and ideas. Being a part of trainings, online content, writing opportunities, research, and more to share their voices!

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
If I was asked this question before COVID-19, I might have answered differently. I think because so much is in a state of flux right now with quarantines, job loss, and other hardships, we’re going to see shifts in the organization and in the needs of teens in ways that can’t necessarily be predicted, but that we need to anticipate. The mission of supporting library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face is relevant now more than ever. Being a viable resource as the landscape continues to unfold is an area YALSA is very strong in and will continue to do so no matter what the challenge(s) may be.

What else would you like voters to know about you?
That I’m grateful for your support. I thank you for the trust you’ve given me if elected, and I care about how we can make YALSA a better place for you and the teens that we serve.

2020 YALSA Election: An Interview with President-Elect Candidate Franklin Escobedo

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2020 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 9 through April 1. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out a sample ballot!

The President-Elect serves a three-year term — first as the President-Elect, then as the President during the second year, and finally as the Immediate Past President during the third year. The President-Elect is a member of the Executive Committee alongside the President, Immediate Past President, Division Councilor, Fiscal Officer, Secretary, and Executive Director. The Executive Committee works with its ALA counterpart to build ties between the two organizations and helps with the fiscal oversight of YALSA.  A full description of the President-Elect’s duties and responsibilities can be found here .You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Franklin Escobedo, Library Director of the Larkspur Library

What best qualifies you for being President-Elect?
I have been an active member of YALSA for the past twelve years. Serving on committees, juries, selection lists, the Printz Award committee, and serving three years on the YALSA Board. Before running for the Board, I really wanted to learn about our association, and over this time I have seen the association grow and change. While our association has changed in many ways, it’s still focused on serving and supporting our members. 

What do you see as the primary role of the YALSA Board?
I still believe the primary role of the YALSA Board is to speak for the membership. Part of the role is to help guide the association to develop resources and services for our members and those working with teens on a daily basis. The Board’s role is also to oversee the financial health of the association to assist the Executive Director in making decisions that ensure the continued viability of YALSA.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
The concept of “teens first” has been around for few years now. As librarians, it’s a parallel to outcome-based programming. For every decision we make about programming, readers advisory, and professional development, “teens first” is the ultimate outcome. How will the decision impact the teens we serve and how do the decisions we make empower the teens we serve?

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
The most pressing issue is the same one facing ALA itself: member retention. The association cannot work without the support of its members. For many members, we’re paying our own dues without the support of the libraries we work for. YALSA needs to continue to innovate and create resources that our members can use to develop their careers.  

What would be the most exciting aspect of this position? The most challenging?  
The most exciting part for me is the opportunity to lead YALSA and to help guide the future of our association. When I first became involved in YALSA, I was the YALSA liaison for the GLBT-RT (now the Rainbow Roundtable). I did this for four years early in my career. As an observer of the Board, it was always hard to hold back when issues were being debated and decisions were being made. As a member of the Board while serving as Secretary, it was exciting being able to be part of the decision-making process. I loved this part of the work. The most challenging part is anticipating the future and the future needs of our teens. While many of us are currently at home due to the ongoing health crisis, I worry about the immediate future. How can we continue to provide robust services to teens through the online environment and how do we reach teens in the age of information overload? What resources and tools can we provide to our members to help them work with teens via online resources? 

What else would you like voters to know about you?
While I may be a Library Director now, I began my career as a Young Adult Services Librarian. As I always remind colleagues that have moved up in their organizations, we still work with teens. We have the opportunity to help shape the library and library services that impact teens by developing a library-wide “teens first” attitude.

What are you reading? What are you watching?
I’m currently reading a few books: Docile by K.Z Szpara, The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, and The King of Crows by Libba Bray. I’ve just started watching Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. I’m loving it!