YALSA President’s Report – November 2017


I’d like to begin this month’s President’s report by talking about an issue of importance to YALSA and to our members – the search for a new ALA Executive Director.  You may be aware that Keith Fiels, ALA’s Executive Director, retired in July and that an interim director is filling the role until the position can be permanently filled.  In November the ALA Council voted to make the MLIS a preferred degree for the ALA Executive Director position. Prior to the vote, the YALSA Board communicated our support for this decision to ALA Council and the ALA Executive Board in this Board document. Our rationale for this decision can be found in this Board document, approved at Midwinter 2017. Currently, a petition is circulating among the ALA membership, and if the minimum number of required signatures is met, the issue of whether or not an MLIS for the ALA Executive Director position would be preferred or required would be put on the spring 2018 ballot for a membership wide vote.

The YALSA Board strongly favors retaining the ALA Council decision that the MLIS be preferred, but not required.  As we know, the library profession is overwhelmingly white and female; however, ALA has made a commitment to diversity by adding an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion goal to its strategic plan – a decision we applaud.  Yet, by requiring an MLIS, we believe ALA would be narrowing the pool of potential candidates to mainly white, female candidates – a contradiction to ALA’s stated commitment to diversity.  Also, industry best practice indicates that the CEO position of a nonprofit professional organization requires expertise in nonprofit and association leadership, in addition to passion for the organization’s mission and a strong commitment to libraries and library values.

Proponents of requiring an MLIS for the ALA Executive Director position feel that the issue is a matter of professionalism: that not requiring an MLIS de-professionalizes librarianship; however, ALA is not a library.  It is an association.  YALSA’s Board is a strong proponent of maintaining professional standards for librarians and for other occupations.  Professional standards for the leader of a non-profit association like ALA are degrees such as a Master’s in nonprofit management, or certification, such as the American Society of Association Executive’s “Certified Association Executive” designation. It is critical that the person running an association like ALA has the relevant credentials and experience to do an excellent job. YALSA is only as strong as ALA, so it is in our best interest to ensure that individuals who are highly qualified and from diverse backgrounds are eligible to apply for the ALA Executive Director Position.

The previous ALA Executive Director announced his retirement in the fall of 2016.  Earlier in 2017 a search was conducted for a replacement that led to a failed search, caused in part by the fact that at the time the job description stated that an MLIS was required.  During this current political climate, when institutions like libraries are under attack, ALA needs a strong leader.  We cannot afford to be without a leader any longer, nor can we afford to put up unnecessary barriers to highly qualified and diverse individuals to applying for this job.  I hope you will stand with YALSA’s Board and ALA Council and agree that an MLIS degree for the ALA Executive Director should be preferred but not required.

In addition to working with the YALSA Board on this important issue, here are some highlights of my other activities in November.


  • Attended the YALSA Symposium in Louisville
  • Delivered a presentation about the YALSA Futures Report at the YALSA/COSLA National Forum on Transforming Teen Services through Continuing Education
  • Presented the keynote address at the NY City School Librarian’s Conference
  • Prepared for the November Board chat where we discussed the 2017 YALSA member survey results
  • Wrote President’s column for the winter issue of YALS focused on youth activism through community engagement
  • Led YALSA Executive Committee meeting where we discussed YALSA finances and ALA relations

Stats and Data

  • Funds raised in Oct. = $1,346.52
  • Member stats for Oct. = 4,793 (down 3.4% over this time last year)

Don’t Forget!

  • Double your impact!  Between now and Jan. 15, 2018 any donation to YALSA up to $1,000 will be matched dollar for dollar by ALA! Find out more here.
  • The YALSA Board approved a new version of YALSA’s Competencies. Make sure to sign up for the free webinars
  • Check out the YALSA Blog and The Hub for great ideas and the latest on YA services and resources!
  • Check out the Current Projects page to stay updated on what’s going on!

Thank you!

  • To Diane Colson for her 2 ½ years of thoughtful and passionate service as a YALSA Board member! We wish you the best in your new job!
  • To everyone who has donated to the YALSA Leadership Endowment Challenge and who gave on Giving Tuesday!
  • To all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities.

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President 2017-2018

Follow me on twitter @Bridge2Lit


Update on the Transition of Selected Lists to the Hub


As may you know, in January 2017 YALSA transitioned the selected lists, Amazing Audiobooks and Quick Picks, to The Hub. The general goals of this transition were to provide these lists in a more timely, user-friendly way, provide increased opportunities for virtual member and teen involvement, and better address the needs of diverse teens.  You can read the complete rationale in this Midwinter 2017 Board Document.

In early 2017, YALSA members applied for and were selected to serve on an AA Team and a QP team to:

  • Find & read titles (publishers are still providing titles & members are still suggesting titles!)
  • Meet virtually to discuss and nominate titles
  • Write blog posts about the nominated titles
  • Review nominations and vote to create the Best of Lists at the end of the year (the 2018 lists are coming soon!)

Using the processes described in the Amazing Audiobooks Policies & Procedures and the Quick Picks Policies & Procedures the blogging teams have been busy at work! Currently they are choosing the titles that will be included on the year’s Best of AA List and Best of QP List. Stay tuned to the Hub for the announcement!

During the year, when the blogging teams nominated a title for the AA or QP lists, a short description of the title was posted to the Hub using the hashtags #QP2018 and #AA2018. By using these hashtags to search the Hub, library staff have been able to read about the books as they are being nominated, rather than having to wait until the final Best of Lists are compiled and published. This change has allowed library staff to learn about and purchase nominated titles throughout the year, thus putting QP and AA titles in the hands of teens who need them more quickly. It has also allowed library staff to learn about all the titles that are nominated (many of which may be perfect for their teens but may not make it to the Best of Lists), not just the ones that will eventually be selected for the Best of Lists.  Titles that make the final cut will also be added to the Teen Bookfinder Database and app.

In September I organized a call with the Hub Member Manager, QP and AA Blogging Team Coordinators and staff to talk about how the transition was progressing.  During this discussion we learned that due to a miscommunication nominees weren’t being posted regularly, and both teams had a backlog of nominees to go online.  We addressed this and some other issues, and have learned from this year’s first attempt so that next year will progress smoothly.

Beginning in January 2018, Best Fiction for Young Adults and Great Graphic Novels will be transitioned to the Hub, too. The volunteer form was open from Aug. through Sept. for YALSA members to volunteer to serve on the QP, AA, BFYA, and GGN Blogging Teams. Stephen Ashley, the Hub Member Manager, is currently working to select the Blogging Teams and orient them to the process. As the teams nominate titles for AA, QP, and BFYA and GGN lists, short descriptions will be posted to the Hub using the hashtags #BFYA2019, #GGN2019, #QP2019, and #AA2019 to facilitate ease of access.

YALSA staff and I continue to work with Stephen, the Hub advisory Board, and our members to ensure that the transition to the Hub of the YALSA selected lists continues, and to work out any challenges that arise.  Per a Board directive, I will also assemble a group of members in January 2018 to formally evaluate how the first transition year went and to submit recommendations for the Board to review and act on.  We are confident that working together the changes to the selected lists are benefiting teens, our members, and libraries!  I’d like to extend a big thank you to Molly Wetta, Stephen Ashley, the Hub Advisory Board and the AA & QP Blogging Teams for all of their hard work this year to make the transition as smooth as possible.  I’d also like to thank our members for their patience as we worked through these changes.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, 2017-2018 YALSA President

Exploring Youth Activism and Civic Engagement with the Writing Our Civic Futures Project

by Casey Rawson

This post is part of the YALSA Presidential Theme: Youth Activism through Community Engagement

Who defines civic engagement? Who are civics for, and what does civics mean in the lives of young people who are redefining activism and participation for a new generation? These are some of the questions that you can explore by participating in Writing Our Civic Futures, a collaborative project by the National Writing Project and Marginal Syllabus. They are also central questions for this year’s YALSA presidential theme, Youth Activism through Community Engagement.

Writing Our Civic Futures combines online annotation software, livestreamed and archived presentations, and webinars to foster social reading and public conversation around a variety of resources focused on youth activism. The project, which began in October and will continue through May 2018, includes conversations about voice and participation, critical literacies, civic and political dialogue, and inquiry (among other topics). These topics should be familiar to youth services librarians who have read YALSA’s Futures Report, its most recent research agenda draft, or the YALSA’s competencies document.

I attended the most recent webinar for this project, titled “Reimagining Youth Civic Engagement,” hosted by Remi Kalir and Joe Dillon and featuring the work of scholars Nicole Mirra and Antero Garcia. The webinar focused on Mirra and Garcia’s recent Review of Research in Education article, “Civic Participation Reimagined: Youth Interrogation and Innovation in the Multimodal Public Sphere,” which is November’s shared text for the Writing Our Civic Futures project. Mirra and Garcia talked about the need for educators and researchers to find new ways of capturing and measuring emerging forms of civic participation that are being created and led by youth, such as Twitter hashtag campaigns and the Dreamer movement. They also talked about the important role that adults can play in helping young people develop the skills and knowledge they need to make lasting change. Connected learning and Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) were discussed as two primary tools that educators can use in this work.

As librarians, we have a unique perspective to contribute to conversations such as this. We also have much to learn from classroom teachers, scholars, media makers, and youth themselves about how we can best amplify youth voices and prepare young people to take action on the issues that matter to them. Participating in the Writing Our Civic Futures project is an easy, fun, and free way to connect with a learning community that shares a passion for youth engagement.

December’s Writing Our Civic Futures topic is “Critical Literacy In and Out of School.” The shared text for next month, “Critical Literacy and Our Students’ Lives” by Linda Christensen, offers a wealth of opportunities for librarians to plug into the conversation. The article will be accessible for public reading and comment December 4 via the Writing Our Civic Futures syllabus page, and a webinar discussing the text will air December 5. Between now and then, you can catch up with the October and November conversations: Voice and Participation and Reimagining Civic Participation.

YALSA President’s Report – October 2017


I just returned from the YALSA Symposium in Louisville. It was great to meet so many YALSA members!  Here’s some of what I was up to in October. If you have questions, please make sure to get in touch!


  • Led joint AASL/ALSC/YALSA Executive Committee meeting where we talked about opportunities for collaboration.
  • Prepared for and co-led October Board chat about how Board members serve as ambassadors for YALSA  and the monthly President’s phone call with Past and Incoming Presidents.
  • Attended YALSA webinar: “Youth Voice: Adult/Youth Partnerships.”
  • Connected with YALSA reps and liaisons to talk about opportunities to strengthen ties with ALA and other organizations  with which YALSA is affiliated.

Stats and Data

  • Member stats for September = 4,797 (down 3.7% over this time last year)

Don’t Forget!

  • Double your impact!  Between Nov. 1, 2017 and Jan. 15, 2018 any donation to YALSA up to $1,000 will be matched dollar for dollar by ALA! Find our more here.
  • The YALSA Board approved a new version of YALSA’s Competencies. A quick and dirty free .pdf version is available now, and later in November 2017 they will be available as a web page and as a more formatted .pdf.
  • YALSA is looking for a member manager of YALSA’s Teen Programming HQ.
  • 28 libraries in 21 states (and DC) received funding to implement coding programs in their libraries as part of the Ready to Code Project funded by Google.
  • Check out the YALSA Blog and The Hub for great ideas and the latest on YA resources!
  • Check out the Current Projects page to stay updated on what’s going on!

Thank you

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President 2017-2018

Follow me on twitter @Bridge2Lit

Teach Us All Highlights Powerful Youth Activism

By Julie Stivers

[This post is part of the YALSA Presidential Theme: Youth Activism through Community Engagement]

Have you watched the powerful documentary film, Teach Us All? This crucial and compelling film—directed by Sonia Lowman and distributed by Array—documents educational inequality in the US, framed with the history and lasting impact of the Little Rock Nine. The film is available to stream on Netflix or—to increase reach—you can host a screening at your school, district, or library. (Watch the trailer here.)

I was lucky enough to attend a screening organized by a group of equity-focused assistant principals in our WCPSS district.  Watching—and then discussing—the film with fellow educators made the experience even more meaningful. For me as a viewer, the crucial thread running through the entire film was the powerful student activism piece and how it directly relates to this year’s YALSA Presidential Theme: Youth Activism through Community Engagement.

Teach Us All highlights students championing for their rights, building grass-root organizations, questioning inequitable and structurally racist school policies, and working with each other to enact social change within their schools and communities. Youth voices were the most compelling:

“It is up to us as students to create that essential change.”

“Real change happens when the people who need it, lead it.”

Teach Us All
highlighted several community led, youth-based organizations that work with and through youth on issues related to educational equity and social activism.

StudentsMatter [studentsmatter.org]
“A national nonprofit organization founded in 2011, Students Matter promotes access to quality public education through impact litigation, communications and advocacy. Students Matter fights for education equality in the court of law and in the court of public opinion, where students’ rights and voices matter most.”

IntegrateNYC [integratenyc.org]
“We are building a powerful community determined to advocate for meaningful policies that can ensure a just and equitable school system for all our young people.”

IntegrateUSNetwork [integratenyc.org/build]
“Together, we are growing a new generation of real leaders who will unite our society. Students develop civic leadership and design solutions for real integration and real representation.”

Additionally, Teach Us All is committed to inspiring youth to engage with their schools and communities using a social activism lens. On the Teach Us All site, further resources are organized by stakeholder, including educators, parents, organizations, and most critically, students.

Have you seen Teach Us All? What were your main takeaways? How do the issues identified in Teach Us All relate to libraries? What inequitable and structurally racist policies and practices exist within our libraries that need to be examined and dismantled? How can library staff work with youth to develop community led, youth-based programs that empower youth to examine issues related to equitable library services and programs?

We would love to hear from you in the comments.

YALSA Executive Committee & Board Work Virtually

Hello, YALSA Colleagues-

Did you know that the YALSA Executive Committee and the Board work year round?  We do! Virtually – just like many of YALSA’s committees and taskforces.

As part of YALSA’s new organizational plan we decided to hold our Fall Quarterly Executive Committee meeting virtually. This shift allowed us to save money & time (both for YALSA and for individual executive committee members) and to take advantage of 21st Century technologies. At our September 25th meeting, we discussed YALSA finances and building stronger relationships with ALA offices and divisions.

The YALSA Board also works virtually. This allows us to continue our work throughout the year and to be able to address topics that impact teens and our members in a more timely and efficient manner. To see what we’ve been discussing since Annual, take a look at the 2018 Midwinter Meeting Agenda and Documents. Here you will see the items we have discussed or acted on so far this Fall, including items related to the ALA Executive Director Search and Advancing Diversity within YALSA, one component of our organizational plan.

If you have questions about the work of the Executive Committee or the Board please leave them in the comments! Or send them directly to me.

Thanks for all you do for YALSA and for teens!

Sandra Hughes-Hassell
YALSA President 2017-2018

YALSA President’s Report – September 2017


Here are a few of the things I’ve been up to this month as YALSA president.


  • Appointed Amanda Barnhart to be YALSA’s ALA liaison to various ALA groups and committees
  • Reached out to YALSA members in Puerto Rico and Houston who were impacted by recent hurricanes
  • Communicated with YALSA leaders, chairs, members, and ALSC & AASL presidents
  • Prepared and lead YALSA Executive Committee meeting
  • Lead Joint AASL/ALSC/YALA Executive Committee meeting
  • Prepared for October Board chat and monthly President’s phone call with Past and Incoming Presidents

Media and Outreach

Stats and Data

  • Funds raised in Aug. = $1,631
  • Member stats for Aug. = 4,765 (down 4.2% over this time last year)

Don’t Forget!

Thank You!

  • To the members of the YALSA Nominating Governance committee (Sarah Sogigian, Vicki Emery, Jennifer Korn, Candace Mack, & Abigail Philips) for developing the YALSA 2018 Election Slate
  • To the YALSA members who have agreed to be on the YALSA 2018 Election Slate
  • To all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities.

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President 2017-2018

Follow me on twitter @Bridge2Lit


Teens Successfully Fighting for their First Amendment Freedoms

By: Julie Stivers, Chair YALSA Presidential Taskforce

Banned Books Week is a powerful platform to highlight how libraries advocate for teens’ rights. As library staff working with and for teens, we can also find inspiration in the work that youth engage in themselves to protect and fight for their First Amendment freedoms.

Youth civic engagement is not new. Many of the cases detailed on ALA’s Notable First Amendment Court Cases page feature the civic efforts of teens. Two of the most famous—Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (ICSD) and Island Trees Board of Education v. Pico—resulted in rulings with language that can galvanize library staff and teens today.

  • In Tinker v. Des Moines ICSD, the Supreme Court stated that “students ‘do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate’ and that the First Amendment protects public school students’ rights to express political and social views.”
  • In Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District No. 26 v. Pico, the Supreme Court upheld the rights of students to challenge school boards’ removal of library titles. The ruling states that “local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books.”

Read more on these cases and many others at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/censorship/courtcases.

Teens today are successfully fighting for their rights in varied and dynamic ways. A recent victory powered by teens occurred in Arizona where students and their parents had been fighting against the removal of Mexican-American Studies curriculum from their schools. In late August, Judge A. Wallace Tashima wrote that the First Amendment rights of Tucson students had been violated as they were denied the “right to receive information and ideas.” Furthermore, the court concluded that the students had proven their First Amendment claim “because both enactment and enforcement were motivated by racial animus.” [Washington Post, August 23, 2017]

This powerful triumph is a victory for culturally sustaining pedagogy, diverse and reflective resources, and First Amendment rights. Impressively, it is a victory not only beneficial for teens, but also powered by teens. They organized rallies, created community groups—including U.N.I.D.O.S., United Non-Discriminatory Individuals Demanding Our Studies, coordinated peaceful protests, and even gathered support from teens in other states. [The Daily Wildcat, June 28, 2017]

Our libraries—public, school, academic—can serve as crucial incubators for youth activism and social justice. In addition to sharing these stories with our teens—what else are we doing in our libraries today to support our teens’ activism and fight for justice?

This post is part of the YALSA Presidential Theme: Youth Activism through Community Engagement

YALSA Draft Competencies for Review & Comment


A taskforce of YALSA members and staff have been at work updating YALSA’s “Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth” (last updated in 2010), with particular emphasis on aligning the document with the principles in the following YALSA documents: the 2014 Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action report, the 2016 Organizational Plan  and Implementation Plan, and the 2017 Research Agenda.

I am happy to announce the taskforce has completed a draft set of competencies for member review and comment. The goal of the competencies document is to create a framework that:

  • Applies to library staff working in a variety of settings and positions;
  • Focuses on teen services for/with ages 12-18;
  • Is based on current research; and
  • Reflects emerging trends and issues in the Library and Information Science and Youth Development fields.

The draft competencies include a set of dispositions and ten core knowledge content areas which collectively define what library staff need to know and be able to do to provide quality teen library programs and services.  Recognizing that professional practice develops over time with experience, training, and higher education, the draft competencies are grouped by level in each core knowledge content area. Each level is a prerequisite to the next, with knowledge and skill in one level required before moving to the next.

YALSA would like feedback from the library community and beyond to help strengthen this draft document.  A draft of the updated version (pdf) is available for your review.  To provide your comments, use this online form. The review period will run from Sept. 18, 2017 to Oct. 18, 2017.  The taskforce will use your feedback to refine and finalize the document. The taskforce will also be adding an introductory statement for the document and for each of the ten competency areas.

We are looking forward to your feedback and comments on this very important document.

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President


YALSA’s President’s Report – August 2017


August has been a busy month. Here are some highlights.


  • Appointed Stephen Ashley as member manager of the HUB
  • Filled committee vacancies and finalized appointments to the Ready to Code grant review committee and Advancing Diversity Taskforce
  • Wrote a blog post entitled In The Aftermath of Charlottesville
  • Wrote President’s message for Fall issue of YALS
  • Participated in call with IMLS staff about their proposed strategic framework
  • Reviewed committee task lists
  • Attended ALSC Community Forum: Social Justice Practices in Youth Librarianship
  • Communicated with YALSA leaders, chairs, members, and ALSC & AASL presidents
  • Prepared for September Board chat, Standing Board Committee chair meeting, and monthly President’s phone call with Past and Incoming Presidents

Works in Progress

  • With a $500,000 sponsorship from Google, YALSA is administering Libraries Ready to Code – a grant program for libraries to design computational thinking and computer science programs for and with underrepresented youth. Almost 400 applications were received!
  • YALSA’s Competencies document is currently being updated and a draft will be available in Sept. for public comment

Stats and Data

  • Funds raised in July: $834.34
  • Member stats for July: 4,774 (down 4.7% over this time last year)

Don’t Forget!

Thank you

  • To Molly Wetta for serving as our fabulous Hub Member Manager for the past two years!
  • To Linda Braun, Kafi Kumasi, Satia Orange, Crystle Martin, Mega Subramaniam, and others for helping to staff booths at IASL and NCAALX!
  • To Hailley Fargo, Kristin Fontichiaro, Jennifer Luetkemeyer, Trent McLees, Renee McGrath, Allison Renner, and Julie Stivers for participating in the creation of YALSA’s Teen Literacies Toolkit.
  • To all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities.
  • To Beth Yoke and Linda Braun for their work on a YALSA preliminary IMLS grant proposal.

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President 2017-2018

Follow me on twitter @Bridge2Lit