Run for YALSA Board in 2019!

Interested in Serving on YALSA’s Board of Directors?

The YALSA Board Development Committee is looking for candidates for next year’s slate for the following positions: President-Elect, Secretary, and Directors-at-Large.  Successful candidates will stand for election in the spring of 2019 and begin their term during at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

For more information on the responsibilities of each role on the Board, please visit the Governance page which includes some handy links under the topic Get Involved in Governance & Leadership.

Are you ready to put your name forward? Please submit the online nomination form soon and a committee member will be in touch.

Not quite ready yet?  Please feel free to contact me, the Board Development Committee Chair, at with any questions or to request additional information.  

The Board Development Committee will also be hosting YALSA 301 at Annual 2018 in New Orleans on Saturday, June 23, from 9-10 am. Pencil it in and hope to see you there! If you can’t make it, we’ll have a virtual session this summer, too.

Thank you for considering if YALSA Board is right for you!

All About Advocacy: A Trio of March Snack Breaks

Advocacy is something that library staff working with teens sometimes find difficult to take on. It can seem scary. It can seem time consuming. It can seem like something that someone else can do. However, advocating for the value of library teen services and the value of supporting the successful growth and development of teens is something that every library staff member needs to take on. As a way to help library staff understand some of the ins and outs of advocating for and with teens, YALSA just added three new Snack Break videos on that topic.

One way to get started with advocacy work is through engaging teens in activities that help them gain advocacy skills. In the video below, Jane Gov, Youth Services Librarian, Pasadena (CA) Public Library, provides tips on how to do just that.
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I Love My Librarian Award Spotlight: Laurie Doan

Hand-scripted text reads I Love My Librarian Award 2017.

Recently, I had the pleasure of catching up with Laurie Doan, a 2017 recipient of the ALA I Love My Librarian Award. She currently serves as a Young Adult Librarian at the Tredyffrin Public Library in Wayne, Pennsylvania. One of only ten librarians to earn this year’s recognition, she was nominated for her extraordinary work in fostering educational opportunities for the teens in her community, and for encouraging a wide variety of creative pursuits. Among the countless projects she supports, an alternative theater program within the library has been wildly successful with teens and adults alike. We discussed this and other aspects of her work when we spoke earlier this month.
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Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff: What’s Your Job?

cover of the teen services competenciesOne of the topics you want to consider when reviewing the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff is what impact the document has on job descriptions within your organization. Does your job description reflect what’s included in the Competencies? Do your staff member’s job descriptions support what’s in the Competencies? Do your colleague’s job descriptions make it possible to maintain the ideas of the Competencies in your organization? As you ask yourself these questions perhaps you will realize that it’s time to re-envision the job descriptions in your institution to better reflect the Competencies.

Get started by reviewing job descriptions and asking questions like these:

  • What in the job description supports the dispositions outlined in the Competencies? Are there areas where it’s clear that the dispositions listed are required in order to perform the job successfully?
  • How do the tasks outlined in the job description reflect the skills and knowledge needed by library staff?
  • What opportunities does the job description provide for improving/leveling up within the different content areas of the Competencies?

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Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff: Youth Leadership

Giving teens the chance to develop leadership skills is a component of YALSA’s Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff. In the four minute audio recording below, hear how Rachel McDonald, Teen Services Librarian at the King County Library System (KCLS). gives teens the chance to lead programs and services. In her youth leadership work Rachel demonstrates how through competencies in areas such as Youth Engagement and Leadership, Cultural Competence and Responsiveness, Interactions with Teens, and Continuous Learning, youth have opportunities to engage in experiences that are connected to, and meaningful within, their own lives.

One teen described their experience as a part of the KCLS program in this way:

“Participating in planning the Teen Voices Summit gave me a chance to experience firsthand the behind the scenes of hosting a successful event. I was given an opportunity to work with my peers to form a meaningful event for people my age. I learned to have patience and discipline. It took over a year to plan this event and at some points, it felt very tedious. After many long days of planning seeing the event finally come to fruition made me feel very gratified. What I learned will translate to future successes at school and/or in a job because like planning an event these are very long processes and in order to successfully complete them I will need to attain discipline and have the virtue of patience.”

You can also watch a video with teens taking part in the KCLS programs and hear what they have to say about the value of the experience. Continue reading

Year-End Activities for Library Staff

Recently there was a discussion on the listserv for the Association of Rural and Small Libraries about what activities are good to undertake at the end of the year.  It seemed like a good topic for the YALSAblog, too, so I’ve adapted my answers to make them more focused on serving youth:

Reflecting on this year

  • Send thank you notes to volunteers, supporters, and anyone who gave a helping hand or moral support.
  • Do a post-mortem of your overall efforts to serve teens in 2017. What was successful? What failed and why?  What will you do differently next year?  For more about taking the time to reflect, read this article, Time to Reflect: why does it matter in the workplace?
  • Conduct a review library policies and procedures to see if they need updating. Some useful information is on the ALA site and YALSA’s wiki.
  • Conduct a review the teen pages on your school or library’s web site and social media sites to see what needs updating or improving. Check out ASCLA’s web accessibility resources.  Review content and style for inclusive language, professional content versus personal beliefs, and potential sexist, discriminatory, or similarly insensitive language or images.  Ensure graphics do not show people in stereotypical roles.

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Update on the Search for the Next ALA Executive Director

Currently a petition is circulating among ALA members that attempts to put a measure on the ALA spring ballot in an effort to overturn the most recent decision by ALA Council to change the language of the job announcement for the next ALA Executive Director from “MLIS preferred” (or CAEP/school librarian equivalent) back to MLIS required. YALSA’s Board of Directors strongly favors retaining the current status that prefers that candidates hold the MLIS/CAEP degree rather than require it. We feel that in order to effectively lead a professional organization the size and scope of ALA, a person’s skill as an association executive is critical. If there is a degreed librarian with these skills, that would be most desirable.

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Basic Leadership Skills: A New YALSA E-Course

In 2018 – 2019 YALSA will offer a series of leadership e-courses, to help library staff advance their leadership skills, regardless of job type or level.

Leadership is made up of multiple layers. In fact, in 2017, the Nexus Leading Across Boundaries project released the Layers of Leadership framework. The framework lays out six layers to consider in order to develop leadership skills and take on an active role as a leader in an organization – local, state, regional, national. In YALSA’s e-learning series, each area of the framework will be explored.

In the first course (scheduled for 1/22/18-2/18/18), Basic Leadership Skills, Josie Watanabe will facilitate learning related to the first two layers of the Nexus Framework: Leading Self and Leading Others. Learn more about what Josie is planning for this course in this 9 minute video.

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YALSA Snack Break: Creativity in Leadership

YALSA’s November webinar, Creativity in Leadership, was facilitated by three librarians in Montana – Rebekah Kamp, Heather Dickerson, and Cody Allen – who inspired attendees with strategies and examples of bringing innovative practices and leadership to services for and with teens. The November YALSA Snack Break is a five minute excerpt from this webinar. It focuses on how to make decisions about teen services activities, the importance of risk in teen services, and accepting and reframing failure. Check it out below:

You can view all of YALSA’s Snack Breaks by accessing the Snack Break playlist.

YALSA members have free access to all webinars (login required). Non-members can purchase webinars for a low cost.

YALSA Board – Advocating for Teens in Other Associations

YALSA Board Members – Other Associations

Earlier in October, the YALSA Board of Directors held a virtual discussion about what it means to serve as ambassadors for YALSA. We discussed our role in advocating with state and national elected officials and in fundraising, as well as how we actively support and advance YALSA’s positive reputation with members, within the profession, and within our own communities.  Ask any YALSA board member and we’ve got our “elevator speech” ready to go–I know I’m not the only board member with our mission statement memorized! Throughout our Board chat, we realized that we are very active in many organizations, not just YALSA.  Click on the graphic to see where else we spend our energy.  With every meeting, conference call, workshop or listserv message, YALSA Board members are advocating for teens in these organizations, too.  YALSA also has many sponsors and partners who are helping us advocate for teens–companies, foundations, nonprofits, and ALA partners.

What do we want to see?

YALSA’s vision is that all teens have access to quality library programs and services ‒ no matter where they occur ‒ that link them to resources, connected learning opportunities, coaching, and mentoring that are tailored to the unique circumstances of the community and that create new opportunities for all teens’ personal growth, academic success, and career development.

Think about the connections you have beyond the library. Where else do you spend your time and energy? How are those avenues that you can use to advocate for teens and your library?

We appreciate that you have chosen to be an ALA and YALSA member.  Thank you for your support and for believing in our vision!

Graphic Key

A-Association, IG-Interest Group, RT-Round Table