Tweets image care of Wikimedia CommonsA bit over five years ago – October 2010 to be more exact – the YALSAblog began the Tweets of the Week feature. Now, five years later, it’s time to try something new. That means that starting later this month, the YALSAblog will unveil a new monthly feature, News of the Month. This monthly post will curate a few of the top stories that I and current Tweets of the Week blogger, Lisa Castellano, think are interesting. You’ll find links to new and interesting articles on the lives of teens, popular culture, technology, professional learning opportunities, and more in this new monthly post.

We won’t post any new Tweets of the Week this month. But, look for the new feature in just a few weeks.

If you have any questions about the new format, or would like to help us curate the content, feel free to get in touch with me or YALSA’s Blog Manager Crystle Martin.

The Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA) has issued a statement along with the Illinois Library Association and YALSA commending the students at DuSable High School for staging a successful read-in to protest the lay-off of their school librarian, and calls on Chicago Public Schools to reinstate school libraries in all schools across the city.  The Chicago Teachers’ Union issued a recent report indicating that only 32% of CPS high schools have a school librarian on staff.  In addition, the report reveals that schools whose student population is a majority African-American are disproportionately impacted by the cuts.  To read the full press release from ISLMA.

Last week, the Michigan House and Senate passed legislation that is onerous to libraries and sent it to Governor Snyder to sign.  The library community is calling on the governor to do the right thing for libraries, schools, and parks by Vetoing SB 571.  If SB 571 becomes law, library staff could be sent to jail for sharing factual information about elections with their communities. Library boards could be fined thousands of dollars of sending out a newsletter if it shares information about what is on your local ballot. If this bill is signed into law, it will affect every Michigan library campaign 2016 (in 2014 there were at least 51 Michigan libraries on the ballot). This law, if it is not vetoed, would place a gag order on the library staff and boards’ ability to tell the truth about what the plans are to put tax money to work, and what the impact would be on community outcomes if it doesn’t pass.   Read More →

Last Thursday, the YALSA Board held its monthly informal call, and we were joined by Eric Meade from the Whole Mind Strategy Group. Whole Mind is helping us create a three-year organizational plan that includes intended impact statements, theories of change, outcomes, and an implementation strategy.  YALSA’s Board of Directors, staff, and some YALSA members worked with Eric in Portland on Nov. 8-9, after the YA Services Symposium.  This month’s discussion was the first time that the entire YALSA board talked to Eric and it was an exciting experience!  The goal of our call was to set the organizational planning agenda for our meeting next month.  We are all looking forward to engaging and thought-provoking conversations in Boston.

The new organizational plan will be future-focused, and one that the Board hopes will bring about a paradigm shift initially described in the call to action in The Future of Library Services for and with Teens Report that was published in early 2014.  You can read the report online and you can even request free copies to be shared at professional development in your library or region.

In Boston, the Board will participate in discussions and activities that will lead to the development of draft documents, and ultimately an finalized organizational plan.  Board members will dive into a draft planning matrix (tentatively divided into the following areas: membership development, member engagement, organizational strengthening, advocacy, and transforming teen library services) and discuss tactics, intermediate impacts, and intended impacts.    Board meetings are always open to observers–please join us in BCEC 158 on Saturday (9 am to 5 pm), Sunday (4:30 pm – 5:30 pm), or Monday (1 pm – 2:30 pm). The Board meeting documents will be posted Dec. 23.  The Saturday meeting will focus on strategic planning.  The Sun. and Mon. meetings will be the Board’s regular business meeting.  If you’re not in Boston, follow @yalsa for live-Tweets from the Board meetings.

We would love to hear your thoughts! Please use this feedback form or contact Candice Mack or me to discuss the future of the organization. Also, look for regular strategic planning updates on the YALSAblog!

Earlier today the Senate voted to pass a new federal education bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This bill was approved last week by the House. ESSA is important for our nation’s youth because it includes key wording acknowledging the important role school libraries play in helping students succeed and prepare for 21st century careers. Please take a moment to thank your members of Congress who voted in favor of ESSA, and encourage others to do so as well. YALSA has ready-to-use messages for Tweets, emails and letters to the editor on the wiki, as well as links to the voting record for members of Congress. Thank you for standing up for youth and school libraries!

It’s time to volunteer for YALSA committees again! During the Spring, we’ll be appointing YALSA members to serve on virtual strategic committees.  We are currently looking for members to serve on the following:

To find out more about the committees, juries, and advisory task forces, click on this link. To learn more about the responsibilities of committee members, check out the Committee FAQ  and visit YALSA’s Handbook. If you decide that you have the necessary time to devote to an appointed group and want to use your skills to give back to the organization, consider filling out a volunteer form.

The online volunteer form opens today! The work of most of these strategic groups is done virtually–no conference attendance required! The deadline for strategic committee applications is March 1, 2016, and I will be making those appointments in the spring.

If you have any questions, please contact me at gsarahthelibrarian @

Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed a new federal education bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act.  This is good news for youth and libraries, but the process isn’t over yet.  The next step is for the Senate to discuss it and vote on it on Wed. Dec. 9th.  We need library staff, advocates, EVERYBODY to contact their Senators by Wed. morning and ask them to vote yes on this bill.

How you can help

  1. Call, email or Tweet your Senators to let them know how essential this bill is to our children’s education and futures.  To find out who your rep is & what their contact information is, visit this ALA page & type in your zip code in the box on the right side of the page
  2. Contact absolutely everyone you know, ask them to do the same thing and share the above link and these sample messages with them:

Read More →