Sarah is the Information Services Librarian at Lake Land College, a rural community college in Illinois. She is happily serving as YALSA Immediate Past President. You can follow her on Twitter at @glibrarian.

Follow-up from the Nov. 16 Town Hall on Supporting Youth during Difficult Times

Yesterday over 40 YALSA members met online during the YALSA virtual town hall to discuss ways that we can support youth in our community during turbulent times.  The outcome of the recent election has caused many young people to feel anxious and uncertain about the future of their rights and of our country, and we know that many incidents of bullying, hazing, harassment, and hate crimes have been reported in the past week. Because of this, the focus of the town hall was changed to focus on what we can do create safe spaces for our youth, how to create empathy, and how to empower teens to promote positive change in our community.

Why do need to offer these types of services to our youth? Because it’s our job.  Last year, the YALSA Board approved a document called Core Professional Values for the Teen Services Profession that focuses on nine core values that define professionalism for those who work for and with teens through libraries. Three of those nine are compassion, inclusion, and social responsibility–values that have been extremely important in the past few weeks.

YALSA has created a list of resources on this topic–Supporting Youth in the Post-2016 Election Climate.  We hope that you will find the information useful and share it widely with colleagues and co-workers.  In addition, ALA has created a Libraries Respond web page with further resources.  If you weren’t able to participate in the town hall, you can listen to the audio recordingread through the comments that were posted in the chat, and check out the tweets with the hashtag #yalsachat.  Many members shared what they are doing inside and outside of their libraries, and it was also great to hear what people were thinking about doing in the future.  As a result of the town hall, a YALSA Interest Group hopefully will soon be forming around ideas to help teens understand and empathize with our changing world, as well as to empower them to advocate for change in a positive manner.  Look for more information on that coming soon.  Also, if you’re interested in this topic, watch your YALSA eNews for information about the January YALSA webinar led by Renee Hill on the topic of helping youth recognize their ability to engage in social justice and equity activities.

Yesterday’s conversation was energizing and hopeful–thank you all for caring for the teens in your community!

YALSA Town Hall Nov. 16: Supporting Youth during Challenging Times

Due to the outcome of the recent election, many young people are feeling anxiety and uncertainty, as described in this recent Chicago Tribune article, Soothing Kids Fears about a Donald Trump Presidency. Unfortunately, the fears of these young people are very real, as shown by recent threats and assaults that some young people have experienced, as reported in this other Tribune article Muslim and Latino Youth in California are Targeted following Trump’s Election.

Libraries can play a role in helping youth cope with the challenges, stress and even threats that have arisen for many of them recently. Therefore, I would like to change the topic of the Town Hall I had planned for November 16. Instead of exploring ideas about how YALSA can increase its presence at the state and local level to support members, I would like to explore the ways that libraries can step up right now during this challenging time to support youth.  So far we’ve compiled some resources on the wiki that we hope will be of help to libraries right now, and we expect this list to expand and evolve.

Please join me by phone or by video over the web any time from 5:00 – 6:00 pm Eastern on Wed. Nov. 16th to be a part of this discussion, so as a group we can come together and identify strategies and solutions. While space in the town hall is limited to 100, we will be recording the session and sharing that out. You can also follow along via Twitter with #yalsachat. Members will find the web link and phone number for joining the Town Hall in their Nov. 2, 9 & 16th YALSA eNews.

Also, please don’t forget about the resources we have on the wiki to help you better serve diverse youth, as well as to help you build empathy and understanding among youth. Thanks for all that you do to help the nation’s youth, especially those who are the most vulnerable, and I look forward to a fruitful discussion on Nov. 16th.

President’s Report – October 2016

Hopefully you were able to attend the recent YALSA Youth Services Symposium! If you weren’t, please check out the #yalsa16 twitter hashtag and this blog for posts about the symposium–it was inspiring! Please see below for my October President’s Report.

Accomplishments

  • Wrote a blog post about the current reorganization process of YALSA committees
  • Wrote the YALS President’s Column for the Winter issue
  • Completed documents for the YALSA Executive Committee meeting on Nov. 5 and prepared to lead the meeting
  • Co-led the October monthly chat with the YALSA Board about standing board committee work and prepping for the symposium
  • Completed my registration for ALA Midwinter in Atlanta–have you?
  • Participated in calls with the chair of the Selection List Transition Task Force
  • Filled vacancies on various strategic committees
  • Reminded the YALSA Board of a need to communicate with members–look for YALSA blog posts coming soon from each board member
  • Provided quotes for multiple YALSA press releases, including Teen Read Week
  • Sent the ALA Awards Chair a list of YALSA members to possibly be appointed to ALA juries
  • Reminded jury chairs and board members about the new process for filling juries this year
  • Participated in many phone calls and email conversations with YALSA staff, board members, and committee members

Works in Progress

  • Started discussion with the Board about a new YALSA logo
  • Preparing for ALA Midwinter in Atlanta
  • Preparing to review YALSA committee and task force quarterly reports that are due Nov. 15.
  • Answering questions and working with YALSA board members as they prepare board documents in the standing board committees

Continue reading

Rethinking YALSA: Reorganization for the Future!

This year is a time of transition and YALSA staff and the YALSA board have been busy since Annual revamping the organizational structure. We’ve written about what’s going on before, but I wanted to post another update. Check out this PowerPoint slideshow to see how the Board is re-envisioning YALSA to support our new mission. The difference between the current organizational structure on Slide 2 and the future organizational structure on Slide 3 is big!   Would you like to be a part of it? Are you interested in advocacy, cultural competence, diversifying & expanding the membership, fund and partner development, leadership development, leading the transformation of teen services or state level outreach and engagement? If so, complete this short form. After the organizational realignment is complete next year, we’ll be looking for members to participate in short-term opportunities in those categories–if you have an idea, be sure to share it on the form. Look for more information coming soon on this blog!  While the reorganization involves more than just committees, most of the questions I’ve received are about those, so here is some information that may be helpful:

Continue reading

YALSA Executive Committee Update

This weekend is the exciting YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium in Pittsburgh and I can’t wait to see 500+ library staff, teen advocates and authors!  Follow the action on Twitter via #yalsa16.

But the YALSA Executive Committee is also preparing for our Fall Meeting that will be held Saturday, Nov. 5, from 9 am – 4 pm in conjunction with the Symposium.  The meeting is held in the Cambria Room on the second floor of the Westin Hotel and is open to symposium attendees.  Executive committee meetings focus on discussions, not decision making (that is the Board’s role)–you can see that by reading the 2016 Fall Executive Committee Meeting Agenda & Documents. We’ll be discussing how the Executive Committee will be taking a larger role in developing a closer relationship between YALSA and ALA, as well as delving into ALA and YALSA finances.  Look for another blog post after the meeting with more information about what was discussed.  Do you have any questions about any of the documents? Feel free to contact me at gsarahthelibrarian@gmail.com or reach out if you happen to be at the Symposium.

Who is your YALSA Executive Committee? It changes every year, and this year I’m joined by these fabulous people: President-Elect Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Immediate Past President Candice Mack, YALSA Division Councilor Todd Krueger, Fiscal Officer Nick Buron, Secretary Crystle Martin, and Executive Director Beth Yoke.

Next YALSA Town Hall: Help YALSA Get Local!

Join me for the next Member Town Hall discussion on Wednesday, November 16, from  5 pm to 6 pm Eastern Time via the online Zoom platform.  We’ll discuss how YALSA can be more active in your state and build stronger ties with regional and state organizations.  One of YALSA’s strategies in the new organizational plan is to “leverage relationships with state and regional associations to promote the transformation of teen library services.” How can we help you within other organizations? What role should we take at your local conference? Are YALSA interest groups and meet-ups at local conferences meeting your needs? How else can YALSA help you in your location?

Look for Zoom access information coming soon in the November enews or email yalsa@ala.org for login information. Hope to “see” you on Nov. 16!

 

President’s Report – September 2016

Fall Greetings! The YALSA board is busy preparing for the Symposium and the Executive Committee meeting. Please see the report below about my activities over the past month.

Accomplishments

  • Advocated for libraries at an ESSA listening session for the Illinois State Board of Education
  • Lead the September monthly chat with the YALSA Board about membership survey results, strategic committee task lists, and quarterly reports
  • Completed my registration for ALA Midwinter in Atlanta–have you?
  • Filled the Selection List Transition Task Force and participated in calls with the chair
  • Followed up with the YALSA representative to the annual IFLA conference–look for a blog post coming soon!
  • Wrote welcome for printed symposium booklet
  • Interviewed by a student for the Columbia Chronicle for article about the stigma of young adult literature
  • Filled vacancies on various strategic committees
  • Reminded the YALSA Board of a need to communicate with members–look for YALSA blog posts coming soon from each board member
  • Led a YALSA board vote about recommending but not requiring a MLIS degree for the next ALA Executive Director

Works in Progress

  • Developing the transition plan for the new way juries will work. Are you a YALSA member with time to serve on a virtual jury over the next few months? Volunteer here!
  • Preparing for YALSA’s YA Services Symposium & Fall Executive Committee meeting
  • Preparing for ALA Midwinter in Atlanta
  • Answering questions and working with YALSA board members as they prepare board documents in the standing board committees

Stats and Data

  • August Membership: 4973, down 2.2% from last year at this time
  • August Donations: Raised $480 for Emerging Leader program

Join me for the next YALSA Town Hall meeting!  It will be on Weds., November 16, from 5-6 ET via the online Zoom platform.  Look for access information coming soon in the November weekly enews or email yalsa@ala.org for login information.

THANK YOU to the awesome YALSA Board members who have been hard at work in their standing board committees to make positive changes that will result in improved library services to teens!

THANK YOU to all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities!

Respectfully submitted,

Sarah Hill, YALSA President 2016-2017

Advocacy in Action: Speak Up for School Librarians with ESSA

What’s happening in your state with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)? This federal plan replaces No Child Left Behind, and includes language regarding “effective school library programs,”  thanks to your advocacy!

In Illinois, the State Board of Education (ISBE) is charged with creating the plan for implementing the ESSA. The Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA), with the help of John Chrastka from the nonprofit group EveryLibrary,  worked hard over the summer to develop a plan to ensure that the ISBE includes school librarians as they implement ESSA. Now, as the ISBE holds listening tours all over the state, ISLMA asked for volunteers to speak up.

So I did.

Why?

Because my daughter needs a certified school librarian in her school with dedicated funding for library materials and services, not a paraprofessional trying her or his best with funding only from book fairs.

Because I want my community college students to come to me from high schools with certified school librarians–too many of them don’t. And I can tell by the research questions they ask me at the reference desk and during library instruction sessions that they are seriously lacking in information literacy skills.

Because I want to live in a community that values libraries of all kinds because of their ability to improve lives.

Each speaker at the event could talk for 3-5 minutes, so I made my story personal.  I’m a member of ISLMA, and, once registered to appear at a listening session, received talking points from the current ISLMA President, Patti Fleser.  I was able to coordinate with other speakers before the session I attended at Effingham High School so that we didn’t duplicate each other.  Because of my experience as a high school curriculum specialist, I discussed how school librarians are valuable to school improvement, serving as the natural curriculum and professional development experts in their schools, especially the small schools downstate. School librarians and a retired high school principal spoke concerning school libraries and how they support the concept of the whole child and promote the Illinois Learning Standards.

Guests at the ISBE Listening Session also received updates about what’s happened lately.  At its September meeting, ISBE adopted a college and career framework that consists of a benchmark for declaring a student “ready” for college and career:  a 2.8/4.0 GPA, a readiness college entrance score on the SAT, two or more academic benchmarks or an industry credential, and two or more behavioral and experiential benchmarks.  This led to several school administrators voicing their disagreement with this proposal, with one giving the example of a student who is an expert welder as a teenager. That student won’t be considered college and career ready according to this new proposal (especially if he’s a poor test taker), yet he’s already secured a career with a salary that will eventually pay more than most teachers.  In reply, the ISBE officials reiterated that they welcome feedback, and provided an email address for citizens to send comments and concerns. If you’re concerned about the teens in your communities, these are the meetings that librarians need to attend!  Superintendents, principals, teachers, librarians, the press, and local business leaders were in attendance, and the conversation before and after the event was uplifting and important.

As members of YALSA, we #act4teens. We know that effective school library programs make a school more successful in preparing students for college, career, and life. In the new YALSA organizational plan, one of the three priorities is advocacy to policy makers at all levels to increase support for teen library services. By attending this meeting, speaking up, and emailing comments to ISBE, I was able to advocate for libraries to employees of our state board of education. It didn’t hurt that I was able to build connections with community members concerned with the education of children and teens either.

What’s happening in your state? Check out this blogpost from EveryLibrary to find an ESSA calendar for school library stakeholders and to find more information about ESSA in your state.  What can you do to advocate the teens in your community?

President’s Report – August 2016

Wondering what the Board has been up to? Read the president’s report below!

Completed

  • Held a board meeting August 1 to complete work from Annual about transforming member participation
  • Organized and led a Member Town Hall on August 17
  • Filling strategic committee vacancies as they become open
  • Board created a new YALSA Los Angeles County Area Interest Group. To join, see here.
  • Board approved the location of the 2018 YA Services Symposium–Salt Lake City!
  • Board’s three standing committees (Advocacy, Funder & Partner Development, Leading the Transformation of Teen Services) met to discuss committee task lists and quarterly reports
  • Held September monthly board chat to discuss member survey results and committee reports and task lists
  • Nominating committees completed roster for Spring 2017 ballot
  • Appointed Crystle Martin to be the YALS editor, as Linda Braun is stepping down. Crystle has done an excellent job managing the YALSAblog, and is looking forward to this new role.   Look for an announcement soon about the search for a new YALSAblog Manager.

Works in Progress

  • Selection List Transition Task Force invites have been sent
  • Applications being reviewed for Member Manager for Teen Programming HQ
  • Preparing for YALSA’s YA Services Symposium & Fall Executive Committee meeting that will be held in Pittsburgh

Continue reading