About Sarah Debraski

YALSA President, 2008-2009

Spring into a new YALS

yals spring 16 cover showing web with learning related imagesIt’s spring! Wonderful things are cropping up-blooming flowers, singing birds, leafy trees, and a spring issue of YALS. If spring is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts, then the new issue of YALS fits right in. This issue unveils a fresh new layout and design that you are sure to like. As for content? Excellent as always!

This issue’s theme is “Libraries and Learning,” a theme that President Candice Mack acknowledges could be seen as familiar ground, but..has a fresh take on it in line with the YALSA “Futures Report” and the world of libraries today. She encourages us to think about learning at the library not in terms of the “stuff,” but of the learning process the “stuff” enables.

Kate McNair has a great piece, “Creating a Culture of Learning,” that I think will be of interest to many of us. The library as a center of learning is an idea we’re comfortable with, but we typically think of just the library users as the learners. If we participate in learning new things as well, it may be easier to understand the needs and feelings of our users. How can we be part of the culture of learning too? McNair has some terrific suggestions, and I especially like the useful sidebar, “Where to Get Started in your Continuous Learning.”
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YALS Takes on Community Engagement

winter 16 YALS coverYALSA friends, I have just finished reading the winter 2016 issue and I am excited. New features, new directions for YALSA, inspiration, and plenty of practical information abound.  The theme of the issue is Community Engagement and I love what President Candice Mack says about that-it might be quicker to do something on our own, but it’s short-sighted. Community engagement leads to collaboration, long term relationships, and ultimately an increased capacity to reach more teens. (Thanks, Candice for sharing a site where we can input our zipcodes to find out other youth serving organizations!)  The interview with Karen Pittman, a co-founder of the Forum for Youth Investment, is an in-depth look at what collective impact is and how libraries can be a part of it.  While I read that feature as a “big picture” look at community engagement, I read Community Experts Mentor Teens and New Adults by Laurie Bartz and saw some concrete things many of us could implement. She describes a program that is teen driven, part of the community, and supporting 21st century skills, including leadership and technology. Basically, it’s got it all!
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Check Out Your New Issue of YALS!

cover_fall_15As a new member of the YALS Editorial Advisory Board I’m excited about the direction of the journal and how it supports the future of teens and libraries.  I’ve just finished reading the fall issue and I can tell you that there are great, inspiring pieces you won’t want to miss. You’ll see the hashtag #act4teens throughout, and that is the focus of this issue.  How can libraries and library staff work with community organizations in new ways to support and promote youth? What I appreciated about each #act4teens feature is that while each is about a fairly large-scale program, they can all be adapted to libraries and communities of different sizes.

As a public radio fan I was really interested in the piece about RadioActive, an amazing program out of Seattle’s NPR radio station which teaches teens how to create radio stories.  The article clearly outlines how you can implement similar workshops and programs in your own library.  It’s a modern take on connecting people to stories and each other.

The article about Sociedad Latina is a great example of reaching out to cultural communities. It is co-written by a teen involved in the organization, yet another example of how the group promotes teen voices. The third community organization highlighted is LA Commons, a public art project, which also reaches out to cultural communities. Youth are engaged in seeking out stories from the community and conducting interviews. And speaking of cultural connections, be sure to read the update from the Cultural Competence Task Force. This new YALSA taskforce has been hard at work for the past year and the results are outlined here, including links to resources.

Have you ever wanted to be a published author? Or had a great library experience you wanted to share with others? 50 Tips for Writing and Publishing with YALSA has everything you need to know to make that happen.

And, finally,  don’t skip YALSA President Candice Mack’s message about shaking up the status quo in libraries.  Her message is both motivational and practical.  There are new ways to reach out to our communities and connect with youth.  You can make that happen and the fall issue of YALS is there to get you started. 

Running for YALSA Office in 2013

Happy New Year, readers! Do you realize that now that it’s 2012 the YALSA 2013 election is a mere year (or so) away? The Governance Nominating committee is beginning work on identifying candidates for the 2013 election. ‘ We will be seeking people to run for the offices of President and Director on the Board. ‘ These positions are obviously not to be taken lightly and the committee can discuss the positions at length with interested persons and is available to answer questions.

If you are remotely considering running for one of these offices I highly encourage you to sit in on at least one Board meeting during the Midwinter conference next week. ‘ The meetings are scheduled as follows:

  • Board of Directors Meeting I, Saturday January 21, 1:30 to 5:30, convention center room C143
  • Board of Directors Meeting II, Sunday January 22, 4:00 to 5:30, convention center room C143
  • Board of Directors Meeting III, Monday January 23, 1:30 to 3:30, convention center room C143

It is the very best way to understand how the Board works and what the different roles are. ‘ Some committee members may be at some of the Board meetings, so you can feel free if you see one of us to come on over and introduce yourself.

YALSA has so many enthusiastic, dedicated members. ‘ I’m looking forward to seeing who among you will be our newest elected leaders in 2013!

Sarah Debraski, chair 2013 Governance Nominating Committee ‘ (slcornish@gmail.com)

2013 Governance Nominating Committee members are: Francisca Goldsmith, Kim Patton, Maria Gentle, and Michele Gorman

The Hub: YALSA’s Teen Reads Blog

I’m very excited to announce the launch of YALSA’s newest blog, The Hub. ‘ If you like to read teen books, talk about teen books, listen to things about teen books, this blog is for you. ‘ Sure, there are thousands of blogs out there chronicling what people read in teen literature (heck, I do one myself!), but this new blog is a bit different. ‘ We’ll include book reviews by member bloggers, but we’ll also be directing you all over the web to interesting, funny, relevant sites, posts, videos, podcasts and more. ‘ We hope you’ll visit The Hub daily for a peek into what the online world is saying about YA books. ‘  We’ll also be writing about YALSA’s awards and selected lists (2011 awards announced this coming Monday, January 10!).

Please stop by and see what we’re all about!

Sarah Debraski
Member Manager, The Hub
http://www.yalsa.ala.org/thehub/

Call for Bloggers

Hello readers! As many of you may already know, YALSA is at work on launching a new blog dedicated to young adult literature. While our award winning YALSA blog will still be the place to turn for great posts about young adult librarianship, advocacy, YALSA, and more, this new blog will be solely focused on young adult literature.

The Hub, as it will be called, will be your stop for interesting posts, interviews, links, and more about the world of ya lit. One of the ways the new blog supports YALSA’s Strategic Plan is by promoting and supporting YALSA’s awards and lists.’  In addition to original content it will also connect readers to sites, videos, podcasts, and images relevant to teen literature already on the web.’  You can read the original announcement here.

If you are a YALSA member and interested in writing for the blog, please contact me, Sarah Debraski, at slcornish@gmail.com.’  Thanks, and I’ll see you at The Hub!

Sarah Debraski
Literature Blog Manager

Life on the YALSA Board: A President-Elect/President/Past President Perspective

This week YALSA Board members are writing about their experience serving on the Board.’  This post is one in that series.

The unique thing about running for YALSA President is that, if elected, you will fill three distinct roles in three years. All of the things that Sara Ryan mentioned in her perspective as a Board member hold true, plus there are additional responsibilities.

As President-Elect you will spend the year working hard on making committee and task force appointments.’  This is no small task, but it is a great way to get to know many YALSA members.’  You will also be serving on the Executive Committee and have those meetings (including an in-person meeting in the fall), in addition to regular YALSA Board meetings.’  There is a lot of observing and learning during this year, as well as developing a working relationship with the President and Executive Director.

What skills do you need to be President-Elect? An attention to detail, a willingness to learn, and a good system for organizing your work. Continue reading

Worth a Thousand Words

Like many people digital photography has opened up a whole new hobby to me: photography.’  I love being able to take as many pictures as it takes to get just the right shot and when I learned how to use the macro setting on my camera, well, suddenly all my photos were extreme close ups.’  And, like many of you, I share my photos with friends, family, colleagues, and strangers via email, photo album sharing (i.e. Picasa, Flickr, Shutterfly, etc.), Facebook, and my personal blog.’  Just yesterday I noticed that WordPress had a new theme specifically for photoblogs (Duotone.)’  Hmm…a blog that is simply a new photo each day.’  I had thought about doing a “365” project for a while and this was the incentive I needed.’  I signed right up for yet another blog. Perhaps you’re wondering what this has to do with teens and libraries? Well, after I posted my first two pictures I started thinking about how much fun it would be to do something like this at the library. I like it that it wouldn’t take up extra space on your website.’  You could just have a link on your front page to your “Picture of the Day” that would take you to the photoblog.

You could photograph all kinds of things at your library: people doing different activities (reading, using the computer, etc.),’  beautiful or unusual parts of the building, staff and patrons interacting, children responding to programs, and whatever else might capture your eye. ‘  And why not get teens involved in this? What a great way to empower the teens who use your library and support their point of view and art.

Aside from just being a cool project, this is a great way to show the many facets of the library and your community.’  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words! Have a 365 project? Why not leave a link in the comments?

Sarah Debraski

YALSA Immediate Past President

Dollars and Sense #11: Staying Professionally Active

It’s no news to anyone that when library budgets get tight and cuts need to be made, one of the first things to go is the travel budget. Follow that with any continuing education budgets, then staff cuts that make even using personal time to take a day to go to a workshop difficult, and before you know it librarians can find themselves feeling isolated, cut off, and downright grouchy about it.
So how can you remain involved when you’re stuck at home (so to speak)?

  • Right now you are doing one great thing-reading the YALSA blog! This is a good way to keep abreast of trends, news, and topics of interest (such as weathering the economy!). Much as I love the YALSA blog, though, it is not the only one out there. There are many blogs and sites about young adult librarianship and literature. Find an online library community you enjoy (a blog or even a group on ALA Connect) and fresh content and voices will help keep you in the library loop and excited about what you’re doing. Continue reading

Let’s Give YALSA Members a Voice

One of the things that struck me the most about the many comments on YALSA’s new readers’ choice list, is the opposition some people in the field have had to the idea of creating a list based on input from YALSA’s 5,700 members.



One of the key messages I emphasized to the press during my year as president–something I said over and over again–was that teens and their caregivers should turn to their local school or public librarians for guidance in choosing reading materials.’  YALSA works hard to show that young adult librarians are the experts in the field–not just a few, but all librarians.’  It’s an important message and YALSA even has a white paper on the topic.’  Continue reading