I’m curious in what ways librarians relax and why. Sometimes I think it is important to talk about who we are and what we do when we’re not librarians, gamers, fighting/educating about DOPA, promoting literacy, TABs, going to meetings, etc. Yeah, right. I’m not one to speak. My coworkers might get emails at midnight. They might get them at 6am and ask me, what in the world? I grew up with a father who was his job first (a policeman) and father secondary-maybe that’s where I get some of my work ethic from (not always admirable).

When Michael Stephens presented last week at my library, he asked the audience if they are able to play at work. How many are able to? Maybe I’m looking for answers. I don’t think I can ever stop loving what I do and feel my work is finished.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I’m volunteering 11 hours at a local literary festival. Nikki Giovanni, Omar Tyree and over eighty other authors will be there. Teen volunteers and other colleagues will be helping me to promote the library. Part of me feels where else do I want to be? The other part-I found an outdoor labyrinth to walk in the town that I live. The first one I ever walked was in was San Francisco. That’s where I’ll be after the festival. I know I’ll be smiling.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Google Chat inspires Networking

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

I’m graduating soon, so I created a gmail account that I will have long after I leave my school. I found out quickly that gmail groups messages together so that listserv replies that normally would each show individually, now are nicely grouped under the original message. So I transferred all of my listservs to gmail, and joined another one.

This is all great, but gmail has another feature built in: Quick Contacts. Everyone that sends me a message, and has a gmail account seems to end up on the list. The chat works inside the browser so I haven’t had any problems using it on computers that block IM. The odd part is that people from the listservs that have gmail also show up on the Quick Contacts bar, which for a while made me wonder who they were. So I looked, and once I realized who they were I said hi. Now I know two people I would never have known if it hadn’t been for Google Chat.

The last thing I like about google chat is that the messages are saved in my e-mail. So when I chat with librarians I can go back and see the information we discussed. (This seems great for planning). I have become a big fan of gmail, because it allows me to have the same flexibility as outlook (tags, filters, spam control) while being browser based. I can check my mail and chat from anywhere.

The integration of these two technologies feels natural to me, much like the integration of personal webpages, blogs, mail, message boards, and now IM on Myspace. I would recommend students create a gmail account and register for a few listservs, because the experience will help you understand the world of teens better.

Teens, Life Online, and Libraries

Posted by Linda W. Braun

Start planning for January in Seattle and make room on your calendar for this year’s Midwinter Institute titled Teens, Life Online, and Libraries. The Committee planning the Institute has great plans including:

  • A library director’s look at how to bring technology and teens together via the library
  • A presentation from teens and librarians that are a part of the My Own Cafe project.
  • Building community with music and a local radio station in a presentation from staff at Kings County Library
  • And more

If you have stories to tell about how your library is building community with teens via technology the Institute Committee would love to hear them. Tell about them with a comment to this posting.

The Institute will be held on Friday, January 19th, and will be followed by a gaming night.

ALA Nominations

It’s very important for divisional representatives to be on ALA Council and involved in Association decision-making. The youth divisions present a united front for promoting youth services in ALA, but there need to be youth division members on the ballot in order to do so. YALSA members have always been involved and need to continue to be so. Please consider nominating someone. Self-nominations are strongly encouraged.


The ALA 2007 Nominating Committee is soliciting nominees to run on the 2007 spring ballot for the offices of ALA President-elect, ALA Treasurer and Councilor-at-large.

The Nominating Committee will select two candidates to run for President-elect, two candidates to run for Treasurer and no fewer than 50 candidates for the 33 at-large Council seats to be filled in the 2007 spring election.

The President-elect will serve a three-year term: as President-elect in 2007-2008, as President in 2008-2009, and as Immediate Past President in 2009-2010.

The Treasurer and Councilors-at-large will serve three-year terms, beginning after the 2007 ALA Annual Conference and ending at the adjournment of the 2010 Annual Conference.

The ALA President, Treasurer and Councilors also serve in corresponding roles in the ALA-Allied Professional Association [ALA-APA]. Individuals considering ALA-APA office are encouraged to consult with their employer regarding any restrictions regarding lobbying activities or service on the governing body of a 501(c)6 organization.

Members who wish to make nominations should submit the following information: nominee name; present position; institution; address; telephone; fax; and e-mail address. Self-nominations are encouraged. All potential nominees must complete the Potential Candidate Biographical Form available at https://cs.ala.org/potentialcandidates/ Nominations and forms must be received no later than September 1, 2006.

Nominations may be sent to me at:
C. Allen Nichols,
Library Director,
Wadsworth Public Library,
132 Broad Street,
Wadsworth, OH 44281-1897.
E-mail: allen@wadsworthlibrary.com

To encourage diversity and leadership development, the Committee will refrain from nominating any current Councilors for election to another term. However, the Committee encourages all current Councilors who wish to continue their service to the Association to file as petition candidates. Petitions will be available from Lois Ann Gregory-Wood, Council Secretariat, ALA, 50 E. Huron, Chicago, IL 60611, Email: lgregory@ala.org, or during the 2006 Annual Conference or 2007 Midwinter Meeting. Petitions require 25 signatures for names to be included on the 2007 ballot.

Posted by C. Allen Nichols – ALA Nominations Committee Member and YALSA Board Member

Take an e-course from YALSA

Registration is now open for two online courses from YALSA: “New Technologies & New Literacies for Teens” and “Power Programming for Teens.”

Courses will run from July 17th to August 17th, 2006. Registration for the courses is available online from July 10 through 17th at www.ala.org/yalsa. Each course is the equivalent of a one day face-to-face workshop. Class size is limited to 25 participants.

New Technologies & New Literacies for Teens: will run for four weeks and participants will become familiar with the tools and techniques teens use to communicate and collaborate online, learn how to inform their own community about best practices that support teen’s technology-based print literacies, have the opportunity to talk with others about teen use of technology and how that use improves literacy skills, and create framework for a program or service at their library that supports teen technology-based print literacy. The course will be taught by Linda Braun. The cost is $135 for YALSA members, $175 for ALA members, and $195 for non members.

Power Programming for Teens: will run for four weeks and will help participants attain a higher level of service to teens at their library or school. This course is designed for library staff who would like to expand their teen programs. Participants will learn how to develop and implement more programming ideas that will work at their facility and will be taught by Amy Alessio. The cost is $135 for YALSA members, $175 for ALA members, and $195 for non members.

Linda Braun is an educational technology consultant with LEO: Librarians & Educators Online. In her job she works with schools, libraries, and other types of educational institutions to help them figure out the best way to integrate technology into their programs and services. She is an adjunct faculty member at Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science, a columnist for VOYA, and has written several books on topics related to teens and technology.

Amy Alessio has enjoyed the constant advice of her Teen Advisory Board for over 8 years in her capacity as Teen Coordinator for the Schaumburg Township District Library in Illinois. She is the YALSA Fiscal Officer and the editor of the YALSA online journal YAttitudes in addition to being active in the Illinois Library Association. She has presented locally and nationally on teen services and writes about young adult literature for Teenreads.com and Crimespree magazine.

Additional courses will be offered in October. More tips on taking online courses can be found here.For more information about YALSA, please contact us via email, yalsa@ala.org; or by phone at 1-800-545-2433 ext. 4390.
Posted by Beth Yoke

New Issue of YALS

Posted by Linda W. Braun

In my mail yesterday I had my new issue of Young Adult Library Services (YALS) – the official publication of YALSA. The theme of the issue is get active @ your library (which is the Teen Read Week theme this year.)

Inside is an array of articles that demonstrate some things librarians and teens are doing together – ways in which teens and librarians are being active. Included as demonstrations of activity are:

  • DDR playing
  • Technology integration
  • GLBTQ programs and services
  • Volunteer opportunities

Take a look at your copy to discover ways you can become active with the teens in your library and community.

Still Things to Do

Even if you do not serve on a committee, did you know there are ways to become involved in their work? Nominating books for Quick Picks, BBYA, and other lists is one way you can contribute to the work of these committees. Instead of bemoaning the fact that your favorite book was overlooked (something I admit readily to doing in the past), fill out an online form and nominate it for the committee’s consideration. Field nominations are welcome because committee members do not always see the latest books.

It is not too late to volunteer for service down the road, either. Be active and make YALSA even stronger by your participation.

Posted by Teri Lesesne

Out of the Closet and Into the Library

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

A fantastic and call to action presentation was given by four panelists at ALA on Monday: Erin Downey Howerton, School Liasison for the Johnson County Library in Kansas, Brent Hartinger, author of Geography Club and upcoming book about the attack of the soul sucking brain zombies (at least that’s what I think I heard), Sara Ryan, Teen Services Specialist for the Multnomah County Library system in Portland, Oregon and author of Empress of the World, and David Levithan, author of Are We There Yet? (All the panelists are so much more than what I mentioned, but those are a few things about them.

Erin talked about how she wanted to add GLBT books to the collection and the fact that people might object to them. It was a good sign that Rainbow Boys by Sanchez and The Misfits by Howe were tattered copies already in the system. Lists from the ALA 2000 annual conference put together by the GLBT roundtable and updated in 2004 were used as guides to build the collection.
Rainbow Kite by Shyer is a story about a gay teen’s coming out that Erin shared her enthusiasm for with colleagues that opened a lot of doors for further conversation. Adding booklists to binders so that teens don’t have to approach staff for suggestions if they would prefer not to and putting booklists inside of books to point out similar reads were suggested to connect teens with GLBT themed books. Erin thinks of books as people and wants them to meet the people they were always destined to meet. Further recommended resources:

2006 Popular Paperback GLBTQ list
The Heart Has Its Reasons: Young Adult Literature with Gay/Lesbian/Queer Content, 1969-2004 by Michael Cart
Outsource: A Handbook for Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens at the Library by Hillias Martin and James Murdock

Brent Hartinger told his story of growing up as a gay teen and how he didn’t see himself represented in books. There was a made for tv movie called What If I’m Gay? which was done from the point of view of straight friends which was not very helpful or enlightening. Like Geography Club, he started a support group and safe meeting place (away from the seedy bar) which grew to 450 members of GLBTQ teens and even offered themselves as a resource to counselors.
Geography Club was in its 3rd printing in less than a month, turned into a stage play, and brought about an avalanche of emails and letters from people that related to Russel (even straight people who understood that everyone knows what it’s like to have a secret). He talked about the controversy of this book in his home town and the importance of continuing to foster diverse collections and helping spread the word as a library for GLBTQ folks.

Sara Ryan suggested the article: If I Ask, Will They Answer?: Evaluating Public Library Reference Service to Gay/Lesbian Youth by Dr. Ann Curry, published in the Fall 2005 issue of Reference and User Services Quarterly. Sara has a fantastic booklist for teens with GLBT related themes and links on the Multnomah County Library site. Sara has been spotlighted by YALSA for the phenomenal work she does (that I can’t possibly capture here).

David Levithan’s book, Wide Awake, comes out September 2006 which is about a gay Jewish President of the U.S. This is his form of a protest song against the last presidential election. As the last speaker of the session, his discussion on the moral imperative of GLBT books themselves and what we do with them was truly uplifting and nothing short of a call to action. In talking about preaching your beliefs, he said that sometimes we need to preach-even though we can’t shove our beliefs down anyone’s throat or force people to do what they don’t want to do, we cannot be afraid of our beliefs just because there might be people louder than us. “Let us make this the loudest god damn fire there is, book by book, shelf, by shelf. . . “ it is about making progress and making things right.

Day of Silence (or no name calling) was recommended for a library program. Partnering with local GLBT organizations, book displays, book lists, and adding authors to your library web site, adding authors myspace accounts to your library’s, adding Spanish/English language GLBT materials from the Human Rights Campaign to the collection-these are free!, adding search words to your catalog that reflect the needs of GLBT people were some of the ideas shared by the panelists and audience.

Also, check out one of this years Movers and Shakers, Bart Birdsall from Tampa Florida, who indeed made the freedom of speech for gay teens the loudest god damn fire there is.

There is such a thing as a Free Lunch

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

Remember back in high school economics, where the teacher went on explaining why there wasn’t such a thing as a free lunch? Well at ALA your old economics teacher was wrong.

One part of ALA is attending programs and learning more about interesting opportunities available, hopefully getting just enough ideas to not be overwhelmed.

Another aspect is networking, for students this track could be more important than the programs. Since your time is completely overbooked, and the exhibit hall is overwhelmingly large, many exhibitors offer breakfasts, lunches, and cocktails for invited guests. It doesn’t cost to attend, but what the exhibitors get is your attention for longer than you would stop by their booth. And that to them is worth paying for a meal in exchange for your attention and time.

I would encourage everyone (especially poor students) to pay attention to the pre conference mailings so that you can get some meals for free, and also learn about many different things going on in the library world, because as we all know it is the exhibitors at the different conferences that are our biggest supporters.