The Youth Services Section of the Massachusetts Library Association has released the 2010 revision of the Standards for Public Library Service to Young Adults in Massachusetts. The standards are intended to guide the local library in its ongoing evaluation and development of young adult services as a strong unit within the overall services and planning structure. The document was originally created by a statewide committee of teen librarians, children’s librarians, library directors and regional youth consultants in 1994. It was substantially revised in 2005 and is intended to be revised every five years.

Additions to the standards in the new edition include chapters on Young Adult Librarians as Leaders and Long-Range Planning. Technology was also given its own section, and a subsection on social networking was added to the Technology chapter. An extensive bibliography at the end of the Standards will be available soon as a separate standalone web page that will be updated frequently as YSS members discover new, useful resources.

To download a copy of the 43 page PDF document, please visit http://tinyurl.com/mla-yastandards. For more information, contact Maureen Ambrosino, Chair of the 2009-2010 Subcommittee on Young Adult Standards at mambrosino@cmrls.org.

Every year, the Legislation Committees of YALSA, ALSC and AASL take turns presenting a program at ALA Annual. This year, ALSC has organized an exciting,  important, and very timely program. Emily Sheketoff, ALA Washington Office Executive Director, and Stephanie Vance, ALA Advocacy Guru are presenting a program about legislation advocacy relevant to members of all the youth divisions.  This is an amazing opportunity!  Two of the best informed and most savvy legislation leaders will address advocacy for programs for children and young adults in public and school libraries.  Please join us and learn how to advocate with and for your teens!

Title:  Speak Out! Influence Legislators about Programs for Youth in School and Public Libraries
Time:  Sunday, July 12, 10:30 am — 12:00 pm
Location:  McCormick Place West, W-185

Hope to see you there!

Maureen Ambrosino, Chair, YALSA Legislation

For many librarians, one of the biggest obstacles to getting out there and advocating for their teens is simply not knowing what to say. You wouldn’t go out to build a house without tools, right? Right. Well, you wouldn’t go out to advocate for your teens without tools either. YALSA is here to help! There are a multitude of “toolkits” available online that will get you started and equip you with the facts and statistics that will make a great impression.

“Add It Up: Libraries Make the Difference in Youth Development and Education” was just released before Midwinter. This site is packed with talking points for services to patrons from birth to 18. The teen section has two separate entries, one for public libraries and one school libraries. Use these talking points, combined with stories from your own library, when communicating with elected officials to make a strong and vivid case. Read More →

The countdown is over – it’s National Library Legislative Day! Today and tomorrow, let’s support all our colleagues who are in Washington by emailing or calling our Senators and Representatives. There are several pieces of pending legislation that affect teens, and your calls and letters will help! Here are a couple to consider:

  • Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois has re-introduced the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA), which passed in the House in 2006 but died in the Senate. He wants to ban Second Life in schools and libraries due to the “dangers” of virtual worlds for children.
  • Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Vernon Ehlers (R-MI-3) have introduced a bill to address the school library crisis facing the Nation: the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act. The inclusion of the SKILLs Act in the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is vital to school libraries. It is the single most important piece of legislation concerning school libraries that will come before Congress this year.

Talking points and a “find your legislator” link can be found on the YALSA wiki. Don’t wait, do it now! Legislators are waiting to hear from you.

Maureen Ambrosino
YALSA Legislation Committee

photo of lightningThere is a really important event coming up, and we’re looking for help from every librarian who works with teens. We know teens are too young to vote, so we need to speak up for them and with them, to our federal and state legislators. All it takes is a few minutes of your time – if we all speak loudly with one voice, the message will be heard!

National Library Legislative Day is coming up May 13 and 14. We hope YALSA members will turn out to support the event and talk to officials about the importance of libraries to our teenagers. It may seem intimidating or scary to attend an event like this, but be assured that our officials (or, in many cases, their aides) are very happy to see you and hear what you have to say. It’s very impressive to them to actually see us in their offices talking about issues that are important to us and to our teens.

If you aren’t able to go to Washington in May, there are many ways you can participate from wherever you are. Here are a few ideas of how you can help:

  • ALA has created a Virtual Library Legislative Day web page that includes publicity tips and ideas of what to do. Later this month it will be stocked with key messages, so you will know exactly what to say. You can call, write, email or fax your officials using these messages. Your teens can too!
  • The YALSA wiki has great information to help you, including a “find your legislator” locator, talking points, and a legislative advocacy guide.

The most important thing you can do to help is to do something! Writing a quick email to your legislator will take about five minutes and will send a powerful message that libraries are vital to teenagers. Let’s flood their email boxes with stories of how important library funding is to the next generation of taxpayers!

~Maureen Ambrosino, YALSA Legislation Committee
(thanks to Flickr user phatman for use of the photo!)

There’s a new bill that has been introduced in the Mississippi Senate that would affect teens’ use of social networking sites. The text of the proposed law would require owners of social networking sites to:

  • obtain written permission from parents or guardians of users under age 16,
  • give parents access to profile pages at all times,
  • “adopt and implement procedures to utilize independently obtainable information to confirm the accuracy of personal identification information collected from members and the parents or guardians”

So if I want to let my teenager have a MySpace, I would have to agree to let MySpace verify her information, and my own, through a third party? Hmmm …

Interestingly, blogs, photo sharing sites, email, instant messaging, chat rooms, and commerical sites are not included in the bill.

Violation of the proposed law would be a felony, with up to 2 years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. This bill definitely bears close watching. If any Mississippi librarians are reading the blog, it would be interesting to know how they and the teens in their state are reacting to this legislation.

~Maureen Ambrosino, YALSA Legislation Committee