Getting Ready for Winter in Boston

As some of you may know, last year Boston got hit with snow for weeks on end. However, all Boston winters are cold, windy and wet, and here are some quick tips on what to pack to prepare for the beautiful winter wonderland we don’t stop complaining about until spring thaw.

Must Haves:

-Winter Boots

You want to bring boots that are warm and waterproof. You don’t have to take snow boots if it’s not going to snow or you don’t already own them, but DO NOT think you can get away with packing what one would wear in a California or Florida winter. Most likely it will snow, and most likely your feet will get wet. So at the very least, waterproof your boots, and do not plan to wear heels unless you plan to change when you get to the convention center. If you’re not familiar with waterproof spray, it’s very easy to find online, and will keep your boots from letting in all the lovely wet on the ground. Also, you’ll want to bring extra socks. Even if you have waterproof shoes, you never know, and they don’t take up much space in your suitcase.

-Winter Coat

This one is a gimme. You need a real winter coat, one that will cover your whole torso, and can put up with Boston winter temperatures. Typical January temperatures are 30 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can get colder, so make sure you have something that will keep you warm and toasty.

-Scarves, mittens and hats

You DO need a scarf, and gloves, and a hat. Boston weather is not only cold and windy, but it can also change mid-day. You might leave your hotel thinking it will be mild and dry, and then realize it’s snowing and you wish you could just wrap a towel around your head. IT’s not cute, but no one looks cute outside in Boston in January. You won’t be the only one who looks like a stuffed toy version of yourself.

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Getting the Grant: A YA Librarians Guide to Grant Writing – Part 3 of 6

Read It!

The most important thing when applying for a grant is to read the fine print. Knowing what will be expected will protect you from signing up for something that is unachievable. Below are several questions to ask when reviewing the guidelines of a grant.

  1. What do you have to provide?
    • Is this a match grant?
    • Do you have to provide volunteer opportunities?
  2. If a grant is through an organization, such as the ALA, do you have to be a member?
  3.  Do you have to advertise? If so, in what ways?
    • Your library may have policy about how they advertise funding sources, such as corporations or for-profit institutions.
    • Some grants require recognition on all publicity materials, including print and digital materials. This may or may not be feasible for you to do.
  4. What statistics will you have to collect?
    • Be sure that you can collect the statistics that are required. It is best to figure out ahead of time how you will collect all necessary stats.
  5. What do you have to document in the final report?
    • If you know ahead of time, it is so much easier!
  6. What is the project’s timeline going to look like?
    • Will this conflict with other responsibilities? Be sure to find out when application and final reports are due.
  7. Is the effort and time worth the outcomes?
    • You know better than anyone if you can handle a project of this scope. Measure whether or not this will be worth it!

After assessing all these factors, one can knowledgably decide whether a particular grant is a good fit for your project. In next week’s post, using statistics in grant applications will be discussed. The hard facts can say it all, so statistics can really illustrate why your project is needed in the community. Stay tuned!

Jaclyn Lewis Anderson is the youth services director at the Madison County Library System.

Making It to Annual Conference: Financially Planning Your Trip

So, ALA Annual Conference to be held in Orlando is 7 months away.  Proposals for presenting have been accepted and presenters have been notified.  Keynote speakers, author events, and preconference workshops have been announced.  And now, reality has set in.  Can I afford to go? Let’s break down those expenses for a full conference attendance.

The expenses breakdown:


Airfare—Flights from select hubs can be as low as $200 round trip.  Plan to book at least four months in advance for the best rates.  Lower your cost with use of frequent flyer miles.


5 nights–$160 to $400 per night depending how early you book and how close to the convention center the hotel is.  Remember there is a reservation deadline for the best conference rates through the ALA website.  Share a room to bring your cost down.


Register by the early bird deadline for the lowest cost.


6 days—estimated $40.00 per day, for a total expense $240.00.    The average cost of a meal from the food vendors in the exhibit hall are $11-$15 and restaurants in the convention area may cost between $20.00 — $100 per meal.  Lower your food costs by taking advantage of exhibitor presentation meal invites.  Visit the local grocery store (Publix or Walmart on Sand Lake Road) and pick up some inexpensive meals and snacks to keep in your hotel room refrigerator.  Most hotel rooms in the convention area have fridge/mini microwave combos and coffee pots.  Occasionally, giveaway snacks are offered to attendees. Have the snack or bag it for later.

Conference attendance is 7 months away, begin your planning now.  With a savings of $215 per month through June, a full conference attendance is within your reach!


Some other tips to off-set your expenses.

  • Ask your school district or employing institution if there are professional development funds for use.
  • Seek funding from your school’s PTA/PTO or other parent organization.
  • Request support from a community-based organization such as your local Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, or other group that supports education.
  • Graduate students inquire about grants from your institution.
  • Remember conference attendance may be deducted from your taxes as a professional expense. Check with your tax professional.

Vandy Pacetti-Donelson is a Library Media Specialist. She is a library advocate and Board Director for the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME). Find her online at or follow her on Twitter @VandyPD.

Getting the Grant: A YA Librarians Guide to Grant Writing – Part 2 of 6

Plan It!

The best way to figure out how to get your project funded is to plan out all its details. I like to think of it as “the five W’s”: the who, what, where, when, and why. By thinking through all the details, you kill two birds with one stone.  You end up strategizing how to have successful outcomes, as well as gather all the information typically asked when seeking outside funding.


  •       What age group or demographics will benefit?
  •       What evidence shows how target audience will be affected?
  •       What staff will be needed?


  •    What supplies, equipment, & training are needed?
  •    Of these, what does the library already own?
  •    What needs to be purchased? How much do these cost?


  •    What is the general timeline?
  •    Where will project take place?
  •    Do you have the space that is needed?


  •    What are the start and end dates?
  •    What days and times, if applicable?


  •    Why is this project needed?
  •    What are the expected outcomes?

It may seem tedious, but if you can answer these questions, then you are ready to write a grant. Next week, we will learn how to navigate all the details specific to each individual grant.

Jaclyn Lewis Anderson is the youth services director at the Madison County Library System.

Collection Development Grant

Do you wish there was extra money to buy more items for your library’s teen section? Are your teens wishing they had a larger selection of materials at their public library? Then this might be your lucky day! The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is now accepting applications for the BWI/YALSA Collection Development Grant. The $1,000 grant, made possible by BWI, will be awarded to up to two YALSA members to be used to support the purchase of new materials to support collection development in public libraries. The grant is also designed to recognize the excellent work of those YALSA members working directly with young adults ages 12-18 in a public library.

The committee is looking for proposals that present innovative ideas on how to expand young adult collections. Applicants will be judged on the basis of the degree of need for additional materials for young adults in their library, the degree of their current collection’s use, and the benefits this grant will bring to young adults. Other criteria, grant information and the application form can be found on the YALSA Awards and Grants website, Applications must be submitted online no later than December 1, 2015.

Getting the Grant: A YA Librarians Guide to Grant Writing – Part 1 of 6

The First Step

Are you interested in applying for grants, but don’t know how to begin? This is a series of weekly posts that will make the grant writing process more transparent. Grants can give you the funds you need for a variety of projects. Creating a new Teen Space, buying additional shelving, investing in technologies, and funding a series of programs are all viable projects for grants.

Before investing a ton of time, check in with your supervisor! See if your project is something that your supervisor will support. Even if your supervisor supports the idea of the project, be sure to convey that you want to seek outside funding and that you are interested in writing a grant. You may or may not be allowed to write a grant, so this bit of clearance is crucial! Once you get the green flag, then you can get started.

This first post will review what types of outside funding are available. By knowing more about the options, you can find the funding that best suits your project. There are two major types of funding outside of a library’s operating budget: grants and sponsorships. Within those options are a variety of subsets.

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Teen Research Trending: Serving Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Bress, Andrea.  “Making Your School Library More Functional to Individuals with Autism.”  Library Media Connection, 32 (Aug./Sep. 2013):  46-7.

Though not a research article, strictly speaking, this practitioner-oriented essay makes ample use of research on autism and library services for people with autism.  This article is one of several dissemination activities that grew out of the recent PALS Project, a Florida State University (FSU) project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  The principal investigator was Dr. Nancy Everhart, a professor in the FSU School of Information, and the co-principal investigator was Dr. Juliann Woods, a professor in the FSU School of Communication Science and Disorders and associate director for research to practice at the Autism Institute.  (In the interest of full disclosure, I should acknowledge that Drs. Everhart and Woods and colleagues of mine; however, I was not involved in this project.)  Andrea Bress was a student in the School of Communication Science and Disorders and a member of the PALS Project research team at the time this article was written.  Three other members of the team were doctoral students Amelia Anderson and Abigail Delehanty and Lezlie Cline, project manager for the Florida Center for Interactive Media.

Bress’s article does not mention Project PALS specifically nor does it focus exclusively on young adults, but all of the information and advice provided certainly can apply to any young adult with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  She notes that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, one in every eighty-eight children is diagnosed with ASD, and she adds that libraries have the potential to be safe, comfortable places for individuals with ASD.  In order for that to happen, librarians need to be aware of the kind of environment these individuals need in order to function best.  Specifically, a quiet place with low lighting, good signage, accessible technology, and no clutter is an optimal environment.  Routine is highly valued by individuals with ASD, so keeping materials, furniture, and technology in their regular, predictable locations is important.  Because interacting with others can be stressful, making self-checkout kiosks available can help make borrowing materials more user-friendly.

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Adventures in Amazing Audiobooks

For me, the bright spot of every winter happens after the Midwinter conference, when YALSA releases its list of Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults. This list is compiled by the Amazing Audiobooks Committee, which listens to many hundreds of hours of audiobooks and engages in spirited debates in order to select the very best titles for the list. This committee is composed of nine voting members and one incredible administrative assistant. In 2016, the committee will undergo some exciting changes, as it will be transitioning into a virtual committee. This means that committee members will not be required to meet during the Annual and Midwinter meetings but will instead conduct their business in an online environment. Hopefully, this change will make it possible for more people to participate in this dynamic group.

As the committee chair, I am often asked how our committee works. How do we receive titles? How do we share our votes and our reviews? How do we decide what titles are the very best?

As far as titles are concerned, we seek out and receive regular submissions of CDs, MP3s, and digital downloads from various audiobook publishing houses. We also actively seek out suggestions from our members and the public. In fact, if you’d like to suggest a title, please do! The form is here.

Our committee typically considers between 350 and 400 titles a year. That’s a lot of listening! In order to get through all of these titles, we ask that each member commit to an average of 2 hours a day of listening. In addition to listening, we also write reviews and discuss the merits of the titles with our fellow members. We maintain a robust set of spreadsheets, where we list our assignments, voting history, and nomination details. We share our evaluations on ALA Connect, where we are able to carry on discussions about the audios that we’re considering. We also have occasional online meetings and information sessions.

When we first receive a title, it is assigned to a single committee member. That first listener decides whether the title is good enough for further consideration. If it is, it is assigned to five more members. All nominated titles will be listened to by six committee members, all of whom will participate in the year-end discussions in order to decide whether that title is good enough for the final list.

Beyond these nuts-and-bolts details, one question remains–What is it really like to be a member? Debi Shultz and Charlene Hsu Gross, both new members to the committee, share their thoughts:


As a lifelong lover of audiobooks, I thought this committee would be fascinating to join. I have not been disappointed.  I have learned so much about evaluating the production of an audiobook and discerning that almost undecipherable element of “amazing.” After many months of experience and gaining insight from other committee members’ evaluations, I gained some confidence and can now usually tell within the first 15 minutes if the title is going to be a yes, maybe, or no. I find that maybe votes are the hardest because there are lots of positive aspects to the production and content, but they might lack that obvious mark of a “yes!”  This is when a second listener helps to confirm the pieces that make the decision to go forward with a title or to leave it behind.

I’m really looking forward to our final discussions in January when we work toward delivering a list that is the absolute best we can offer and celebrate the wonder of listening to good books for young adults.


I have been a HUGE fan of audiobooks since the early 1980s when I drove 300 miles every weekend for a job in another state. Audiobooks kept me entertained, engaged and awake while they allowed me to keep up on some of my favorite authors and genres. Since then audiobooks have come a long way from simply being read-alouds to now becoming performances.  Multiple voices, multiple narrators, music, and sound effects are fairly commonplace and serve to not only support the text but also often enhance the story.

Since becoming a member of the Amazing Audiobook committee I have been listening to a wide variety of YA genres.  Books I wouldn’t read in print I find I will listen to (and enjoy) on audio.  My listening habits now go beyond just when I’m driving and include listening while I get ready for work, as I do routine cleaning, when I’m knitting or sewing, and of course when I’m outside gardening. My work on the committee has also fine-tuned my ears.  I now listen critically for uniqueness of voices, quality of speech, wet mouth sounds, p-pops, and audible breaths I had always considered myself a fan of audiobooks but since joining the Amazing Audiobook committee, my fan status has changed to that of an addict.

Sarah again:

I think that Debi says it best, and most of our members would heartily agree: “While my work with Amazing Audiobooks is intense and often time-consuming, I love being part of this group.” We hope that if you’re thinking about volunteering for YALSA, you consider joining us and helping to create the next list of crazy good audiobooks. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

To learn more about participating on a YALSA committee, visit the FAQ on the web site.  To learn about volunteer opportunities other than committee work, visit the Get Involved page on the web site.

Good Eats & Drinks in the City of Rose

If you didn’t know by now that the City of Roses (Portland, OR) has been named best city in the world for street food, now you do. However, these options will strictly focus on the non-food truck options. That being said, if the street food is good, the eateries without wheels have to be off the hook! Of course they are! Here’s a smorgasbord of eats and drinks one can indulge during the #yalsa15 Symposium:

La Panza Cafe is good for breakfast/brunch and dinner, but this option should be reserved for when time can be spared because of possible long waits. According to our peer reviews, this is definitely a spot to experience for “True New Mexico Cuisine”.  The Waffle Window is an option if you are looking for your waffle fix.  The Darkest Desire, The Bee Sting, or The Whole Farm, but if those don’t convince you, then maybe a peanut butter chocolate dipped waffle will.

Considering a lunch pick-up? Call, email or drop by Elephants Delicatessen to pick a sack or box lunch. Add a little swankiness to your dinner and try Bamboo Sushi, because according to Willamette Week, it’s the best sushi in Portland! Or veg out at Veggie Grill. The dining choices in Portland are varied and the options nearly endless.

It’s been noted that Portland is known as Best Beer City in the world. They have a booming craft beer scene with many local breweries and brewpubs.  Not a fan of beer? Then have no fear, because there are plenty of other poisons to choose from. Here are a few mentionable watering holes–one is even referred to as a library: Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library, also known as “whiskey dreamland in beervana” is a great choice.  They even have a Friends of the (Whiskey) Library membership! If you’re thirsty for creative mixology, the Teardrop Lounge should not disappoint you.

There is another thing Portland is well known for: coffee!  Coffee and I go way back, hopefully besties for life. If you have the same connection, try these for your caffeine boost.  If you haven’t registered yet for the YA Services Symposium, there’s still time!

–Annie Snell, YA Services Symposium Marketing and Planning Task Force

P.S. Can’t attend this year?  Then mark your calendar for the next YA Services Symposium, which will be Nov. 4 – 6, 2016, in Pittsburgh, PA!


Dhonielle Clayton @ #yalsa15

The Young Adult Services Symposium is not only great for networking, broadening your horizons but as well as meeting great authors! The author I would like to talk a little about is Dhonielle Clayton. Clayton has recently released her first novel, which she wrote with Sona Charaipotra entitled, Tiny Pretty Things. Clayton will also be releasing a fantasy book series, The Belles, in 2016. I am certain that if you are a teen librarian, you have heard the hot topic about needing more diverse teen books. Well, that’s where Dhonielle and Sona Charaipotra’s expertise comes in handy. They have cofounded CAKE Literacy. CAKE Literacy is described as a “commitment to creating delicious and diverse concepts for middle grade, teen and women’s fiction readers”.

Why CAKE? Well, usually when these two ladies would meet to discuss books and writing, they always had a slice of cake with their discussions. CAKE Literacy came about because they both shared love for the TV series The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars and noticed how there wasn’t any diversity in those shows. Come to think of it, nearly all the fantasy genre books I have read, also lack diversity. With that in mind, I agree with Dhonielle and Sona and support CAKE Literacy! If you haven’t check out their website, please do! It’s visually stimulating. Don’t forget to visit Dhonielle Clayton at the 2015 YA Services Symposium.

The 2015 YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium will take place November 6-8, 2015 at the Hilton Portland & Executive tower. Register today!

–Annie Snell, YA Services Symposium Marketing and Planning Task Force