As the Outgoing chairperson of the YALSA Nominating Committee, I wanted to remind everyone that the 2010 ALA and YALSA election season is just around the corner.'  Online voting begins in less than two months on March 16th and ends April 23rd.'  Members who wish to vote in the upcoming 2010 election must have their membership current as of January 31st, 2010 – just 10 days from today.' '  If you are planning to renew your membership, doing so before the January 31st deadline will ensure that you are eligible to vote in the 2010 election. Read More →

In recent years many libraries have invested energy and resources in creating or enhancing teen areas.' '  As author Kimberly Bolan points out in her great YALSA white paper The Need for Teen Spaces in Public Libraries we all know that this investment in physical space is an essential part of successfully serving teens in any library. The significant increase in the number of libraries with teen spaces has been terrific to see, but with the recent economic challenges' many libraries are facing finding the staff, programming budget and general resources to make the most of a teen space can be tough.'  What's a teen librarian to do when you've got lots of teens with lots of energy and a shrinking budget to serve them?

Read More →

Now that conference is over and I've had a chance to reflect on everything, I do have to say that one of the things I am most excited about is the approval by the YALSA Board of Directors for the creation of a taskforce to develop policies and procedures for a new Readers' Choice list (the name isn't finalized - that's one of the many things the taskforce will be working to determine).'  While the Board has approved this list in concept, details for implementing and administering the list need to be worked out to ensure things run smoothly and that the list effectively serves our members.'  Coordinating the nominations, opinions and voting of thousands of members will take some real thought and planning.'  I'm sure current YALSA President Linda Braun, who will be appointing the members of the taskforce, would love to hear from anyone interested in serving on the group charged with developing the specifics for how this new list will work.

Quite a bit of the feedback I have seen over the past several years from our members indicates that many are anxious to contribute to YALSA virtually.'  This new list will offer a chance to do this in a new and exciting way.'  Not only do I think this list will offer all of our members a chance to share their opinions and expertise, on a personal note, after having the opportunity to serve YALSA for three years as a member of the Board of Directors, this is just the kind of participation I'm looking forward to in the future. '  A chance to stay connected without necessarily traveling to conference, reading great books at my own pace, finding out if my thoughts about the books I love are reflected by my peers and friends in YALSA - what a great way to contribute to and benefit from the Association.'  I can't wait to see the fantastic list that I know will be produced by pulling together the collective knowledge of all of our amazing members!

Like many of you, I've been thrilled to see the amazing amount of positive attention libraries of all types have been receiving in the media recently.' '  Librarians across the country are using this media attention as a springboard for advocating and spreading the word about what an asset libraries and librarians are to their communities.'  And it seems so much easier to step into the role of advocate,'  particularly with legislators and decision-makers, when you've got a recent newspaper or TV report featuring lots of people proclaiming their love of libraries in your hands!'  But what about translating these statements of support and appreciation from the people we serve into action?'  What about recruiting individuals outside of the Library community to advocate with us and for us? Read More →

On May 13th and 14th I was fortunate enough to attend ALA's Legislative Days in Washington DC. It was a truly great event - many thanks to ALA, especially the Washington Office, who worked so hard to make this important advocacy event possible again this year. Having never been to National Leg Day it was quite an experience for me as I watched librarians rush from one legislative office building to the next, working to speak up on behalf of libraries and librarians. I spent a lot of my time with the Executive Directors and Presidents of AASL and ALSC as we spoke to legislative staffers about vital topics like the SKILLS act and social networking. Two highlights for me were the offices of Congressperson Judy Biggert and Senator Edward Kennedy. We stopped by these offices and had the opportunity to speak at length with staff for what I felt were very productive and meaningful conversations. Meanwhile, every state delegation of librarians, with the help of a state coordinator, spent much of their time talking to their individual state representatives about various local and national issues of importance to libraries.

I have to admit that after this experience I am feeling a little addicted to advocacy! And so next year, I will find a way to participate in National Library Leg Days again. This participation will likely be virtual and I look forward to that entirely new experience too. I urge everyone to strongly consider being involved in this important annual event. After all, if librarians don't make the case for libraries with our legislators in a loud and clear voice, who will?

Paula Brehm-Heeger, YALSA President

As I mentioned briefly in my January President's Report, YALSA's new Endowment received quite a boost at the recent Midwinter meeting when several Past-Presidents led the charge at the All-Committee meeting to help us reach our $10,000 goal for creating an Endowment Fund. The response was overwhelming at that meeting and has continued in the weeks since Midwinter, too. Just to update everyone on where that fund stands, we have now surpassed that initial $10,000 goal and have received a total of $11,300 to date! The funds will go toward establishing leadership programs such as scholarships and institutes.

Thanks to all the members who have supported this effort and to so many of YALSA's dynamic and dedicated Past-Presidents and leaders for giving our division the push and support to make the Endowment a reality. Please check the YALSA webpage and this blog for more information as we move forward on this important project in the coming months.

Since the announcement that the 2008 recipient of YALSA's Margaret A. Edwards Award is Orson Scott Card for his novels 'Ender's Shadow' and ‘Ender's Game,' YALSA has received feedback that has made it clear additional clarification of the criteria and terms of this award are necessary. I've provided a brief statement, that hopefully provides this clarification.

Thanks again to the 2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee for their hard work!
Paula Brehm-Heeger
YALSA President, 2007-2008

Hello YALSA members:

The recent Dec. 29th post about the upcoming Midwinter meeting is a great example of how many people are gearing up for the upcoming meeting in Philadelphia. I hope to see many of you at the meeting and know that those not able to attend will find plenty of excellent information about the meeting right here on YALSA's blog!

The latest edition of American Libraries also features Midwinter-related information, including a Midwinter Preview section. Page 62 of this preview discusses the Youth Media Awards Press Conference (Monday, Jan 14th from 8-9 a.m.) While it is always great to see the Youth Awards receive the attention they deserve, this preview mentions several awards by name (including the new ALSC/YALSA Odyssey Award) but does not specifically mention YALSA's prestigious Michael L Printz, Margaret A. Edwards or Alex Awards.

I encourage all YALSA members to continue to advocate for the importance of the Printz Award, Young Adult literature -- the fastest growing segment in publishing – and YALSA's awards in general. There are more than 30 million teens in the country--the second largest generation after the Boomers. Drawing attention to YALSA's excellent award-winning books for this large teen audience is an important task for those of us working to serve teens in libraries every day.

I also encourage all YALSA members to read through the list of candidates for ALA's Executive Board (also on page 62 of the American Libraries Midwinter Preview) and begin thinking about which candidates fit your priorities for our Association. ALA Council will consider this slate of Executive Board Candidates at the Midwinter meeting. The candidates are Frances R Roscello, Diane R. Chen, Thomas L. Wilding, Dora T Ho, Pamela C. Sieving, Em Claire Knowles. There will be a Candidates Forum featuring these candidates at the Midwinter meeting on Jan. 14th from 11:30 to 12:30 in Ballroom B of the convention center.

General information about ALA's Executive Board

Roster of current Executive Board members

Paula Brehm-Heeger
YALSA President, 2007-2008

YALSA has recently received great news -- we are receiving funding from ALA for a 2008 Diversity Campaign!

This funding means YALSA will be able to fund a Spectrum Scholar, start a conference scholarship for a member with a diverse background to attend ALA's Annual conference and also exhibit at an ALA affiliate conferences in 2008.

A task force will soon be established to help implement this exciting campaign. As the current YALSA President, I will be making the appointments and would love to hear from any YALSA member interested in possibly working on this task force.

Paula Brehm-Heeger
YALSA President, 2007-2008

paulabrehmheeger@fuse.net

Be a Candidate for ALA Office

The 2009 ALA Nominating Committee is already at work and the 2008 election hasn't even started, but it's never too soon to plan ahead. With that thought in mind, I wanted to remind all our members to think about running for ALA Office. The 2009 ALA Nominating Committee will begin its work at Midwinter 2008 in Philadelphia by discussing possible candidates. That work will be enlarged upon at Annual, with a final list due to the ALA Executive Committee in the fall of 2008.

How does that affect you? Well, it's time to start thinking about running for Council or ALA President. The Committee will submit two names for ALA President and 34 names for ALA Council and you could be one of those names. If you would like to be considered for one of these spots, please send your name, a brief bio, and a paragraph as to what you have to offer for either the Councilor or the President's position to Pam Spencer Holley [pamsholley@aol.com] by Monday, January 8, 2008. Questions can be sent at any time to Pam at the same e-mail address