TRW 2017: Unleashing Teen Stories through Community Engagement

Teen Read Week 2017 has begun! This year’s theme, Unleash Your Story, centers around the power of the story and how they can be used to communicate identity, discover the world, and share personal experiences. During this week, our goal as library staff is to encourage teens to tell their own stories and find the stories of others. Whether that’s hosting programs that center around creative writing, providing reader’s advisory, or hosting an author visit, this initiative can also give you the opportunity to encourage teen participation in the stories of their communities through activism and involvement.

Each and every one of your library’s teens has a story that affects their view of the world and their place in it. Right now, our political climate is rife with division and uncertainty and teens want to speak out about the issues and causes that matter to them, but many may not have the resources or skills to take action. As library staff, we have the privilege of serving as a connector between these teen voices and the communities that they belong to. Sandra Hughes-Hassell, President of YALSA, has laid out her presidential theme for the 2017-2018 year that will help empower library professionals aid teens in finding their voices and develop the competencies needed to become potential community builders and activists. This theme, Youth Activism through Community Engagement, is the perfect springboard for this year’s Teen Read Week theme because they both involve highlighting the voices and stories of our youth and sending these voices out into the world to make a difference.

The next step forward is determining how to become that connector between teen voices and their communities. Right from the start, we should strive to listen to our teens and observe them using the library space. Teens are the experts when it comes to the issues facing them and by interacting with them in your teen space or reference desk, you will quickly realize what they are concerned with or passionate about. Last year, our library hosted several Open Mic Nights for teens; at first, many simply covered their favorite songs or performed dance routines that they had seen in music videos. However, as the program progressed, they started to open up and began performing original poetry or improvising on the spot. Many of their performances discussed struggling with bullying, being victims of homophobia, and poverty. Not only was it incredibly moving, but it reminded me as community participant, that teens need a space to simply share their stories with their peers. The act of speaking and being heard was a powerful yet simple way to empower teens and reinforce positive peer interaction with others in their immediate community.

If teens are concerned with issues on a more national level, connect them to resources that can help them address it. In my library’s local community, we have a high number of Latino families that are uncertain about their futures what with the recent news about the Trump administration’s plan for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students and what that means for their families. Our goal has been to encourage not only Latino teens, but teens from all backgrounds, to become literate in the rights and struggles that others are facing. During Teen Read Week, reader’s advisory can be a powerful tool that connects teens to voices outside of their own experiences and perspectives. If you need some titles to keep handy, YALSA’s The Hub blog recently featured a great booklist that highlights teen activism. On a programming level, provide teens with resources that lead them to data about immigrant issues and help them start a social media campaign targeting to students in their schools and community to raise awareness. When teens have the facts to back up their voices, they can be empowered to take their stories out to their community at large and begin their journey towards becoming a powerful community builder!

For more information on how to host a successful Teen Read Week at your library, check out YALSA’s ning page for outreach resources, program planning, and more. If you need inspiration on how to encourage teens to unleash their stories this week, check out the Teen Programming HQ to see how other libraries are engaging in this year’s theme. Do you have a program or outreach initiative that you are excited about? Share it with YALSA members on the Teen Programming HQ site! Finally, let everyone know what you are doing for Teen Read Week on social media by using @yalsa and #TRW17.

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!

Best,
Sandra Hughes-Hassell
YALSA President 2017-2018
@Bridge2Lit

Volunteer for the Board Development Committee or District Days Taskforce!

YALSA is now seeking volunteers for two virtual member groups:

  • Board Development Committee (formerly the Governance Nominating Committee): this group will work from January 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, and will be responsible for identifying candidates for the 2019 slate, training and on-boarding individuals who serve on YALSA’s Board of Directors, and identifying and cultivating future leaders.  This is a great opportunity for someone who has board or governance experience, whether at the local, state or national level.  Committee size: 5-7 virtual members.
  • District Days Taskforce: If you enjoy marketing and have some experience with local-level advocacy, this opportunity is for you!  This group will work from April 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2018 to provide resources and support to members to engage locally with elected officials.  Learn ore about District Days on the wiki.  Taskforce size: 5 – 7 virtual members

Fill out the Committee Volunteer Form by December 1st, 2017

Thanks for all the time and talent you volunteer to YALSA!  If you’re looking for other ways to get involved, visit the YALSA web site for more opportunities or check out this brand new video from Jack Martin and Kate McNair!  If you have questions feel free to get in touch with me (cmartin@hri.uci.edu).

Crystle Martin,  YALSA President-Elect

President’s Report – July 2017

Colleagues-

I am honored to submit my first YALSA President’s report. My goal with this monthly report is to keep you up to date on the work I’m doing in my role as YALSA president and to highlight key association activities in which I am involved.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Accomplishments

  • Filled various openings on committees and task forces
  • Welcomed incoming committee & taskforce chairs
  • Answered questions from YALSA members about committees, task forces, and various other topics
  • Wrote a blog post and email message about District Days
  • Appointed and met with President’s Advisory Taskforce
  • Inviting members to join the Advancing Diversity Taskforce that the Board approved
  • Communicated with ALSC, AASL, & ALA presidents
  • Prepared for August Board chat, check in with New Board Members, 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.
  • Advocating!  District Days are here and your congresspersons are home on break. Now is your opportunity to advocate for federal library funding (#saveIMLS) and speak up for teens!  Find out how here. I made an appointment with my Congressman – I’ll keep you posted.
  • Applications being reviewed for member manager for the HUB
  • Working with the board and YALSA Staff on the 2017-2018 Implementation Plan for our Strategic Plan

Stats and Data

  • Funds raised in June = $1,461
  • YALSA Membership in June = 4,807 (down 5.3% over this time last year)

Don’t Forget!

  • Registration is open for the 2017 YA Services Symposium, Nov. 3-5 in Louisville, KY. Register through Sept. 15 and save with early bird rates! Housing is also open now through Oct. 1.
  • Applications are being accepted for Libraries Ready to Code through August 31, 2017.
  • Don’t forget to check out the Current Projects page to stay updated on what’s going on!
  • All chairs should submit their Quarterly Report by August 15!

THANK YOU

  • To all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities, and especially for all of the out-going committee chairs and members whose work finished at the end of June.
  • To outgoing board members Candace Mack, Nick Buron, Jennifer Korn, Gretchen Kolderup, and Trixie Dantis for their contributions to the YALSA board and for all they do to support teens!
  • To Past President Sarah Hill and Executive Director Beth Yoke for their guidance in my first month as YALSA President!

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President 2017-2018

Follow me on twitter @Bridge2Lit

 

YALSA Councilor Report post-ALA Annual ’17

Hello YALSA members and other interested parties!  As your representative to the ALA Council, I am pleased to bring you this report of Council activities and actions from the 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago.

My conference roommate, Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) Councilor Martin Garnar, provided a large percentage of this report and I must credit him with much of the following:

Council I: 

After the usual opening business, including finalizing the slate of nominees for the Council Committee on Committees (which assists the president-elect with committee appointments) and the Council representatives to the Planning & Budget Assembly, Courtney Young, ALA Past President and chair of the search committee for the new ALA executive director, gave her report on the committee’s progress.  The search firm of Isaacson Miller has been engaged to assist with the search, and they hope to have interviews in October to coincide with the October Executive Board meeting in Chicago.  The goal is to have a new executive director in place by Midwinter 2018.  In the meantime, Mary Ghikas will serve as interim executive director. ALA President Julie Todaro gave a report on her activities and ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels gave updates on Executive Board actions since Midwinter 2017 and on implementation of Council Actions taken at Midwinter 2017.  Under new business, Council took up a resolution on global climate change passed at the virtual membership meeting on June 8th. The IFRT board voted to endorse in principle, and this resolution was debated on the floor of Council for almost an hour, with some of the time devoted to attempts to refer or postpone the resolution until some changes could be suggested.  Instead, changes were made on the floor and the resolution was adopted as amended.  Kathi Kromer, the new director of the ALA Washington Office, and Adam Eisgrau, director of the Office for Government Relations, gave a report on the office’s advocacy efforts.  At the close of Council, the elections for the Committee on Committees and the Planning & Budget Assembly opened for the afternoon. 

Continue reading

YALSA Leadership and Volunteering

At ALA Annual this year, YALSA held information sessions on how to get involved with the organization, both as a new volunteer and as someone seeking leadership opportunities.  Here’s a recap of the event.

If you’re just starting out, volunteering for one of YALSA’s committees is an excellent first step.  All YALSA members are encouraged to fill out the Committee Volunteer Form once a year. Here is a list of committees and the link to the form. Continue reading

Followup from YALSA Board @ #alaac17

If you attended ALA’s Annual Conference, I hope you’re safely home and recovering from all that is conference! If you have never been to this event, members can apply by December 1st for a travel grant from YALSA to go to the next one in New Orleans!

The YALSA Board was very productive in Chicago, and you can see the actions of the board on this page.  Some highlights include:

The board will continue to explore:

Look for the official minutes from our Annual meetings coming soon. At the conclusion of our board meetings, I officially handed the gavel over to the awesome YALSA President Sandra Hughes-Hassell, and the new board members were seated.  Check out our current roster for some new and familiar faces.

The Board’s next meeting will be at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting from February 9-13, 2018. We’re looking forward to seeing YALSA members in Denver!

And remember, YALSA’s YA Services Symposium will be in Louisville, Kentucky, November 3-5, 2017. Early bird registration is going on now!

Thanks for all that you do to make YALSA an amazing association and thank you for the tremendous opportunity to serve as the association’s President. It was an honor and a privilege to work with you all this past year!

Evaluation of 2016 Jury Format Pilot: One year out

After 1 year of piloting a new jury appointment format (Board Document #30), the Board analyzed member survey feedback to evaluate how well the change from a 1-year to a 3-month jury appointment structure is going. Overall, it appears to be working and members like the new structure, finding it efficient and easier to keep on task. The Leading the Transformation of Teen Services Standing Board Committee (Crystle Martin, Trixie Dantis, Melissa McBride, Candice Mack, Jessica Snow, Mega Subramaniam) shared that twenty of the 30 jury members responded to the survey.

Going forward, the chairs will become the only appointed member while other members will function on an opt in basis. Several chairs had previously operated under the year round structure, and found that the new structure helped keep the energy of the group and the pacing of the work up. These small tweaks that were made also removed the onerous form requirement for appointments, using an opt in volunteer form instead.

As a reminder to jury members, please keep private who is nominated for the committee. Also, guidelines will be shared for what criteria are used to be a part of the selection committee.

We thank the jury members for all of your hard work!

Kafi D. Kumasi is an associate professor of library and information science (LIS) at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, where she teaches in the areas of school library media, urban librarianship, multicultural services and resources and research methods.

Council Happenings at ALA Annual ’17

Greetings from your YALSA Division Councilor. Here are the ALA Council highlights since the 2017 Midwinter meeting in Atlanta:

1. Most of the discussion on the ALA Council list has revolved around the Federal administration’s proposed FY18 Budget which includes the elimination of the Institute for Library and Museum Services (IMLS). The #SaveIMLS campaign was launched and ALA President Julie Todaro led the charge to support the continuation of the agency. Many efforts have been suggested to contact congressional representatives to inform and encourage them to retain funding for IMLS. A concurrent drive, #saveIAL, encouraged representatives to retain funding for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), a Department of Education program focusing on literacy, which is also set to be defunded.

2. Kathi Kromer has been named the new head of the ALA Washington Office, effective June 5. She had previously served with the ALS Association for the past 11 years. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/kathi-kromer-new-head-alawashington-office/

3. Loida Garcia-Febo was elected ALA President-Elect: http://www.ala.org/news/member-news/2017/04/garcia-febo-wins-2018-2019-alapresidency

4. Net Neutrality has been discussed and it would not be surprising if a resolution was brought forward on this topic by councilors in Chicago. The new head of the FCC, Ajit Pai, announced plans to roll back Net Neutrality: http://thehill.com/policy/technology/330703-fcc-head-unveils-plan-to-roll-back-netneutrality

This resulted in ALA and ACRL releasing a joint statement opposing any changes: http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2017/04/ala-acrl-oppose-fcc-plans-roll-backnet-neutrality

The Youth Council Caucus (led by the Councilors of AASL, ALSC, and YALSA) continue to work jointly to focus on issues specifically affecting youth in libraries and library workers who support youth in their communities. It is key to remember that all library issues affect youth.

It promises to be an interesting Council session in Chicago with much to discuss. Discussions online in advance of the conference have so far been quiet, but many topics, particularly those that involve the current federal administration, could bring forth resolutions.

All YALSA Board documents and the agenda can be found at http://www.ala.org/yalsa/2017-annual-conference-agenda-and-documents

Respectfully submitted,

Todd Krueger | YALSA Division Councilor 

Board Doc #25: Board and Board Member Assessment

As I enter the final year of my board term, I have been reflecting back on how much I have learned and thinking ahead to how much I have to grow. I am proud of the diverse range of experiences that we have on the YALSA Board, we have board members in school libraries, public libraries, state libraries and academia. We have board members that are still pretty new to their career and those who have cultivated their experience to positions in administration. We have board members who have served on other non-profit boards and associations and those who are new to governance. And we support our board members with the best tools to help them succeed.

Last fall, the board began discussing how we wanted to grow and improve as a board as part of the Organizational Plan re-alignment. We wanted to understand our performance as a whole board, as well as our strengths and weaknesses as individual board members. At Midwinter 2017, the board voted to transition our Governance Nominating Committee (which, in the past, cultivated a list of qualified volunteers for governance positions) into a Board Development Committee (which would also care for the professional development of the sitting board members).

I am very excited for the prospects of how our board will improve with the careful shepherding of the new Board Development Committee. At Annual this week, the board will be discussing improvements to the Board Member Self-Assessment and a new board assessment which will help the new Board Development Committee see, holistically, the boards strengths and weaknesses.

If you are wondering what the board is up to at Annual,  you can see the schedule of board meetings and agenda. If you are attending ALA Midwinter and you see a board member (look for our YALSA Board Member ribbons) please come up and say hello! We would love to hear from you!

Kate McNair is a YALSA Board Member. Come see her at the YALSA booth #2731 on Sunday, June 25 12-1pm.