Has it crossed your radar yet that there's been a big shift in how laws are getting made?  Last year state legislatures around the country passed 45,564 bills, compared with just 352 passed in Congress.  That works out to an average of 911 bills per state.  This change in the way laws are getting made means that we need to change the way we advocate for teens and libraries.  Spring is the time of year when many state legislatures are in session.  What can you (or your teen patrons) do to call their attention to the importance of libraries?  YALSA has the answer!  We have everything you need to reach out to your state legislators and ask them if they will sponsor a resolution in support of libraries.  A resolution is not legislation or a bill--just a feel good message about libraries.  Both Congress and state legislatures pass these types of warm fuzzies all of the time in an effort to make nice with the voters.  YALSA has a few sample documents compiled into one file that you can adapt and use, including a sample resolution, emails and a press release.  Access the MS Word file today for an easy way to raise awareness about libraries with the elected officials in your state!
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Please email or phone your members of Congress and ask them to sign the "Dear Appropriator letter supporting library funding via these two programs: LSTA (Library Services Technology Act) and IAL (Innovative Approaches to Literacy)."  Then, ask all other library supporters you know to do the same by no later than March 20th.  Contact information for Congress members is here: http://cqrcengage.com/ala/home (just put in your zip code in the box on the lower right side).

To see whether your Members of Congress signed these letters last year, view the FY 2015 Funding Letter Signees document (pdf). If so, please be sure to thank and remind them of that when you email or call!  More information can be found on ALA's blog, District Dispatch.  For more information about LSTA, check out this document LSTA Background and Ask (pdf).  For more information on IAL, view School Libraries Brief (pdf)

Thank you for taking this step to ensure that our nation's teens continue to have access to library staff and services that will help them succeed in school and prepare for college and careers!

-Beth Yoke

Happy Monday, amazing YALSA members!

Can you believe it's already near the end of February?

For those who've made New Year's resolutions to be more involved in the profession, it's not too late!

The deadline to apply to join a YALSA strategic committee, jury, or taskforce is this Sunday, March 1st!

You can see the full list of committees and juries here.

Strategic committees are a great way to get involved with YALSA, as they are virtual committees. Or, if you are a new member and looking to try committee work for the first time, the strategic committees are a great way to learn about YALSA, connect with teen service professionals from around the country, and help you develop your virtual work skills and teen expertise. So, if travel and conference attendance aren't an option for you this year, please take a minute to fill out the volunteer form here and send it in before March 1st!

My Appointments Taskforce and I will begin the process to fill the over 200 open positions that help YALSA accomplish the work of the strategic plan and the work that moves the association and members forward immediately after March 1st, so please be sure to get your application in before then.

I strongly encourage all YALSA members to apply - it is an easy and great way to get more involved in this amazing association, especially if you are interested in joining a YALSA selection or award committee in the future.

Please feel free to contact me at candice.yalsa (at) gmail.com if you have any questions!

Giving Tuesday helps non-profits around the globe by bringing awareness to the importance of giving back and donating to a cause. This year will be YALSA’s third year in participating, and the Financial Advancement Committee’s (FAC) goal is to raise at least $4000 to send four...yes FOUR...YALSA members to National Library Legislative Day in Spring 2015. Financial Advancement chair Jack Martin (JM) and veteran member Melissa McBride (MM) interviewed each other below about the importance of giving to YALSA and having a strong presence at Library Legislative Day.  You can help us NOW by signing on to a Thunderclap that will be released on Giving Tuesday as a means of spreading the word about our fundraising goal.

JM: Melissa, this is FAC’s third year participating in Giving Tuesday, right? What the response been like in the past?

MM: Yes, although this is only my second year participating. The response last year was wonderful, as a committee member it was so great seeing all the support for both the Thunderclap and the donations that came in on Giving Tuesday. We far exceeded our expectations and were able to send additional members to Legislative Day.

JM: I love hearing about this great response. I think our members truly understand the importance of Library Legislative Day, and they know how much of an impact it makes to have YALSA members there to rep our awesome association!

MM: As a Past President of YALSA, what does it mean for you to see such support from the members of YALSA?

JM: For me, it’s all about advocacy. I think it’s easy for us to see our members being activists by physically representing YALSA at Library Legislative Day. What I think is harder to sometimes see but even more important are those activists who are giving to YALSA--via Giving Tuesday or any other time. In fact, I see them as some of YALSA’s most important activists because they’re helping association fulfill its mission to fight for teen services in libraries all across the country. I love thinking about all of that youth-focused goodwill, and as a Past President it motivates me to do the same both locally and nationally. Plus, I think it’s important that because of all of these activists who give to us, YALSA is able to award over $150,000.00 of scholarships and awards to members. That’s big stuff!

Speaking of advocacy, we know that YALSA members often place Advocacy and Activism at the top of their list when it comes to getting support from YALSA. Can you elaborate how Giving Tuesday supports this goal in YALSA’s Strategic Plan?

MM: Giving Tuesday enables librarians and library workers to have a voice. Sending librarians and library workers to Legislative Day, who care about the same issues as other YA librarians is powerful. It sends a strong message not only to our legislators, but also to every library worker who struggles to get what they need for their patrons. There are some days when it is just nice to know that YALSA is there supporting library staff and helping us to have a voice. The resources YALSA provides are a huge help in advocating for what we do.

JM: I know a lot of YALSA members might have questions about how much they should give for Giving Tuesday. What have people given in the past?

MM: Anything! If every YALSA member just gave $1 we would far exceed our goal of $4000 (which would send 4 members to Library Legislative Day)! It’s important for people to understand that even the smallest amount is a huge help. If you are in a position to be able to donate more, then great! Give up your Starbucks for the day and help get our voices heard! I actually just finished teaching my 2nd graders about Sarah Hale and her letter writing campaign (that spanned 38 years) just to get Thanksgiving turned into a national holiday. She knew that every letter counted, just as every penny donated counts.

JM: Wow. I hadn’t thought about it in that way. Let me reiterate: if every member only gave $1, we’d reach our goal! Maybe even surpass it! But also, I know many members may be wondering how they can give. YALSA has made it really easy to give, right?

MM: YALSA has made it so easy this year!  Not only can you log onto the ala.org and donate the traditional way, but now you can text to donate! All you have to do is text ALA TEENALA to this number: 41518 to make a $10 donation to YALSA. It couldn’t be easier!
JM: This has been a great conversation, Melissa! I hope everyone out there enjoyed learning about this super important initiative, and we’ll hopefully see everyone out there on social media to support YALSA’s Giving Tuesday campaign on Tuesday, December 2, 2014.

by Sarah Levin

It was with a lot of enthusiasm that I applied for the YALSA NLLD travel stipend in late January. I honestly didn't know a lot about legislative issues, but I did have a nagging feeling that I should be advocating for libraries, and specifically for teens. As a librarian at an independent high school in San Francisco, I need to act on behalf of teens that need a place to study on the weekends, to get job skills and volunteer. A place where kids who go to public schools that are underfunded' can go and get both the help they need for school and books they want to read for fun.

I was eager to see what actually happens in DC and what kinds of people attend NLLD (all sorts of librarians and even trustees, as it turns out!). I also wanted to bring back advocacy issues to my community of teens, faculty, and other bay area librarians' . When I found out I had received the funding, I felt excited and grateful, but I have to admit I was also nervous.

difi

Me with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

As the date approached, I asked myself why I was going to NLLD. I am fortunate to be able to give my students the resources they need thanks to a supportive administration. Even though government funding doesn't directly affect my library, I feel the need to act on behalf of those libraries that rely on it to survive. Still, I was a bit anxious about going. Would I be able to effectively advocate for teens?

Thankfully, our state coordinator called me about six weeks prior to NLLD and provided me with the necessary steps to get started. I made appointments with the offices of Nancy Pelosi (representing the district in which I teach) and Barbara Lee (representing the district in which I live). When I arrived in DC, ALA had planned a pre-conference for those of us who had little experience with the legislative process, as well as a briefing day to provide us with the information we'd need to advocate.

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By Maribel Lechuga

If you don't know, the Friends of YALSA funds a $1000 travel stipend to attend National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) in Washington, D.C. This May, I was one of three recipients who had the opportunity to advocate for teens and engage in the legislative process by lobbying for libraries. I had no clue about this process but was motivated to apply for the stipend to practice advocacy in a broader arena, expand my understanding of library issues beyond those in my own branch and library system, and visit Washington D.C. for the first time ever!

I felt nervous to converse with my state Senators and Representatives but was not unprepared. ALA spends an entire day prior to NLLD briefing every participant on key issues. I was also fortunate to work with my state delegation, Washington Library Association President, Nancy Ledeboer and John Sheller, King County Library Manager, both fabulous teachers and partners in this process. I came to understand that the congressional staff that we met are probably inundated with key issues brought forth by many organizations each day. I learned that as a Youth Services Librarian, I was able to offer specific examples and frontline stories about how libraries foster learning, personal and professional development, social opportunities, and refuge for teens, children, and families.

The NLLD is one of several opportunities that YALSA offers its members to grow professionally. And frontline stories like yours are needed to help others relate to and remember what libraries do for teens. For more information about NLLD 2015 and other YALSA awards, grants, and scholarships, go to http://www.ala.org/yalsa/awardsandgrants/yalsaawardsgrants

Please consider giving to Friends of YALSA support more professional opportunities like this.

During the next few days, YALSA's Executive Director and I will be in Washington DC for National Library Legislative Day. We'll be talking to Congressional Staff and policy makers at key foundations and organizations about the vital role libraries and library staff play in helping teens succeed in school and prepare for careers.

In order for our conversations to have any lasting impact though, they need to be supported by a grassroots effort from members and supporters. Without your' participation in NLLD via Tweets #NLLD14), emails and phone calls, we'll be just two people talking. We need you to amplify, to show that we are all working together to improve teens' lives.

As of today, just over 300 individuals have signed on to support YALSA's NLLD Thunderclap. While that's a start, YALSA has 5,138 members. All of those members have friends, families, colleagues, and patrons who stand behind the important work that we do everyday.' So please, take a few moments out of your day to help your teen patrons, your library and your livelihood. Sign our Thunderclap,' reach out to your members of Congress and encourage others to do the same. Let's leverage social media to amplify our voices and make real change for libraries and our patrons! The future of teens and libraries depends on us. #Act4Teens now.

275690-teen-computer At the end of July the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) and the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) teamed up to host a conversation on Revisiting the Children's Internet Protection Act: 10 Years Later. This symposium, funded by Google, brought together thirty five experts from within and outside of the library community to discuss the long-term impact of implementing CIPA. The associated Twitter conversation that can be viewed with the hashtag: #CIPA_ALA2013.

Both Part I' and' Part II' are archived on YouTube, and they're definitely relevant for both public and school librarians in working with youth today.

For example:

• The efficacy/success rates for most filters (shown repeatedly in study after study) is 80% and less than 50% for image/video filters.

• Both filters in public libraries and school libraries block far beyond what CIPA requires (i.e. certain topics such as GLBTQ is one example of a frequent "overblock")

• Getting around filters can be extraordinarily easy for patrons (misspelling words for example).

• CIPA doesn't require filtering of social media, yet sites such as YouTube, FaceBook, and Google docs are often blocked.

So, how CIPA is contributing towards a digitally literate society? First, look at what exactly CIPA is... Read More →

ALA Council is the governing body of ALA. Council meets during Midwinter and Annual, with significant electronic communication in between.

In January, I posted about Council decisions related to youth issues after Midwinter.

A brief summary of issues with implications for the youth we serve that were taken up by Council at the most recent conference can be found below:

  • Council adopted a resolution (CD#37) Reaffirming ALA's Commitment to Basic Literacy. While there was discussion disputing the need for such a resolution as well as the perceived implication that one literacy was being privileged over another, the majority passed a statement of support. This resolution can serve as a reminder that literacy is a core service all libraries support and is essential in helping teens become productive adults. Read More →

In March 2013, staff members of the Youth Services department at the Kansas City Public Library took a group of teens on a field trip to the Missouri State Capital in Jefferson City.'  This trip was just one of many that have come from a partnership between the Kansas City Public Library and Truman Medical Center (Kansas City, MO).'  Not only are teens able to expand their knowledge of places in the Missouri area, but they are getting an opportunity to see different things that may affect their lives.'  Teens are experiencing a host of activities that are enriching, educational, and fun.'  The impact of these trips is obvious to us as librarians – we are hoping to create lifelong learners.'  To those outside of our profession, we must advocate for teens, libraries, and the magical experiences in between.

Crystal Faris, the Director of Teen Services at the Kansas City Public Library, took the time to answer a few questions about the teen trips and the effect on teen programming at the library.

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