Teen Creative Writing & Art Contest for Teen Tech Week

As part of Teen Tech Week, YALSA is teaming up with the Connected Learning Alliance, Deviant Art, the National Writing Project, and Wattpad for the Twist Fate challenge.

The challenge is to get young people (ages 13-17) telling stories about what happens when a hero becomes a villain, or a villain a hero (through writing, video, digital art, animation, etc.) and sharing them across the Deviant Art and Wattpad platforms. It’s happening March 6-April 6th, and to ramp up for it there will be a series of free webinars with guests including Mimi ito, Christina Cantrill, Candice Mack, Josh Wattles from DeviantArt, and Jing Jing Tan from Wattpad:

Connecting the Creative Sparks of Young Makers to Supportive Communities of Practice Feb. 11, 7pm EST

Storytelling and Making Redefined: Get to Know the Wattpad Community Feb. 18, 7pm EST

Meet the “Deviants”: Networked Artists and Makers of DeviantArt Feb. 25, 7pm EST

YALSA NEEDS YOU – for our Competencies Update Taskforce!

What skills, qualities and competencies do library staff need in order to provide the best services and support to the teens and tweens in our communities?

Volunteer to help YALSA update its “Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth” document, with particular emphasis on aligning the document to the principles in the Futures Report, since the document was last updated in 2010!

More information about the document, taskforce charge and more may be found below:

YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth: Young Adults Deserve the Best (2010)

Competencies Update Task Force (Charge)

Review the current document called “Young Adults Deserve the Best: Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth” and update the language and content, as needed, to ensure it reflects the mission and core values of teens services as described in The Future of Library Service for and With Teens: A Call to Action. Provide a draft for the Spring Executive meeting, and submit a final report with recommended changes for Board consideration by Annual 2016. Task force size: 5 – 7 virtual members, including the Chair.

Previous Competencies Update drafts:

http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/CompetenciesDraft_AN15.pdf

http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/CompetenciesDraft_MW16.pdf

Please email me at candice.yalsa [at] gmail.com if you are interested in serving on this important taskforce!

My ALA Midwinter 2016 Experience

I just attended my first ALA conference and it was awesome.

I have heard many things about what to expect. Wear comfortable shoes, they said. Bring business cards, they said. Most of the meetings will be closed door, they said. Some of the things they said were right (seriously…who wants to walk around for 8 hours in cute new shoes that pinch the sides of your feet!..), but nothing prepared me for the magic that is Midwinter.

Like most Midwinter neophytes, I didn’t know what to expect, so I arrived bright and bushy tailed to the hotel at 7:30am sharp. I could not check into my room, so I left my bags with the hotel staff, and ubered my way over to the Boston Convention and Conference Center. (For those of you who cabbed your way around Boston, I would highly suggest you invest in the free Uber app. Most of my rides around the city did not cost me more than $6, some as little as $3.)

I arrived at the Conference Center to find that the exhibits were still being put together, and that I was late to all of the lectures that started at 8am. In hindsight, I could have just sat in, but I didn’t know if I needed a ticket. Is it okay to walk in late? Would I embarrass myself in front of my peers? Would I be asked to leave? Instead of tackling these hard questions straight on I decided on the very safe, unintrusive, and foodie-pleasing decision to register, find a coffee shop, and read the Midwinter guide over a hot cup of Joe and a cheese danish.

The guide was very helpful. It was delightfully color coordinated, included start and end times of lectures, events, and meetings, and provided a legend that had information on whether events were ticketed, closed, or open to registrants. I highlighted everything that looked of interest to me – which was half the book, so I marked it up to a fairly unrecognizable degree. And then I discovered there is an app.

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It’s Time to Tweak your YALSA Volunteer Form!

It’s time to volunteer for YALSA committees again! During the Spring, we’ll be appointing YALSA members to serve on virtual strategic committees.  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 volunteer form consists of the following parts:

  1. Number of Years You Have Been a YALSA Member
  2. Professional Experience (List previous positions and locations, most recent first)
  3. Special Skills (e.g. accounting, PR/marketing, fiscal planning, research, refereeing, editing, etc.)
  4. Selection Committee Qualifications (e.g., relevant coursework, materials evaluation experience, book reviews, articles and research published, previous selection committee experience, etc.)
  5. Current Professional Commitments in ALA/YALSA (please indicate volunteer activities, elected positions, committee work, etc.)
  6. Current Professional Commitments at State/Regional Level or Other Associations (please indicate volunteer activities, elected positions, committee work, etc.)
  7. Have you communicated with the current committee chair or committee members of the group you are interested in joining to find out what their responsibilities are? Yes or No?
  8. Have you ever attended a YALSA selection committee meeting? Yes or no?
  9. If appointed, can you attend each Midwinter and Annual Conference held during your 18-month-appointment, as is required of all selection committee members? Yes or no?
  10. At this time, do you have your supervisor’s support to serve on a YALSA selection committee? Yes or No or Not Applicable?

Notice that 4 bold questions on the volunteer form are for selection and award committees only, so no need to complete those right now!

In Fall 2015, I read hundreds of volunteer forms (you should see my spreadsheets!), and I felt like I should share some advice. Here’s how to make your volunteer form stand out and get noticed!

  • Spell out abbreviations.  I don’t know what all those initials mean for your state and regional library groups.
  • No need to explain why you weren’t a member in 2003–just give us your best guess for how many years you’ve been in YALSA or contact Letitia to find the exact number.
  • Be concise.  Adjectives aren’t important. Lists are awesome!
  • List everything you’ve done for YALSA, ALA, and other ALA division groups–that information isn’t automatically uploaded into the forms.
  • Be specific and only volunteer for what you really want to be on. It shows that you’ve thought about it.  If you apply for everything, it makes me think you’re not sure where your strengths lie.
  • Take a look at your volunteer form. There are character limits to the boxes–if you have words cut off, shorten it.
  • Be active in other organizations and tell us about it.
  • Let us know if you have experience working with younger or older teens, if applicable.
  • Make sure it’s clear that we can tell if you work in an academic, school, public, or some other type of institution.
  • We want diverse members on all committees–age, gender, ethnicity, urban/rural, library type, etc.
  • Let us know that you’re familiar with online tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, conference calls, etc.

You can also look over the Committee FAQ to get more advice.

You can gain valuable YALSA and professional development experience by volunteering to be on a YALSA strategic committee, task force, or jury. The online volunteer form opened Dec. 7, 2015. 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.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact me at gsarahthelibrarian @ gmail.com.

YALSA Board @ Midwinter – Overview

Happy post-Midwinter!

The YALSA board started off Midwinter on Friday with training session on best practices in association governance. All day Saturday, Board members worked with a consultant from the Whole Mind Strategy Group on organizational planning.

Based on those discussions, several key topics rose to the top as ones most likely to become the focus of the organizational plan. They were: advocacy, continuing education, cultural competency promotion, leadership development, partner/funder relations, and state level outreach.

The goal is to develop a focused and responsive plan which will help YALSA meet the needs of members and advance teen services in libraries across the country. Based on the outcomes of the organizational planning discussions, the consultant will help the Board draft a new, 3 year plan.

We hope to have that in place by March 1st.

While the planning discussion took up all of the Board’s meeting time on Saturday, there were still other topics that the Board discussed at the business portion of their meeting on Sun. and Mon.

Those topics included:

  • Diversity on YALSA’s Board: the board voted to approved the taskforce’s recommended updates to the nominating committees’ charges and asked the taskforce to submit a formal request to the board for adoption of a diversity definition for YALSA. The board had some questions and feedback regarding the proposed checklist for nominating committees’ use and sent that document back to the taskforce for further work
  • Dues categories & rates: the board voted to table this issue until after organizational planning is complete
  • Updating YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth: the board reviewed the latest draft and had further recommendations for refinement
  • YALSA’s portfolio of guidelines and position papers: the board approved the proposal to have staff work on updating some of these documents in the short-term

Check out the full board agenda and documents online to get the details of what the board talked about. We will also be posting meeting minutes there in the next week or so. You can also read the accompanying blog posts on the YALSAblog that other Board members have been sharing out since we’ve returned from Boston.

If you have question about a particular agenda item or issue or would like more details about it, feel free to e-mail me or any of YALSA’s Board members.

I will also be hosting another virtual town hall via a Twitter chat on Fri. February 5th from noon to 1:00 p.m., Eastern, and I hope you can join in!

Drop in any time during the hour to learn more about organizational planning and board activities and follow along with #yalsachat.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the potential focus areas for the new plan: advocacy, continuing education, cultural competency promotion, leadership development, partner/funder relations, and state level outreach.

Also, feel free to follow Executive Director Beth Yoke (@yalsa_director), myself (@tinylibrarian), and/or other YALSA Board members for tweets about the work of the board!

Looking Forward to 2016: 4 Professional Learning Topics

learn button creative commons licensed Flickr photo by 드림포유 As 2016 gets underway you might be thinking about opportunities for professional learning. YALSA’s “Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action” highlights the importance of continuous learning as a way to inform and improve practice and as a way to help others in your institution, and community, learn about the importance of the work you do with and for teens. As you start 2016 consider the following topics as areas you might focus on in your professional learning over the next year.

  • Design Thinking
    Using the process of design thinking to help teens develop knowledge in STEM, college and career readiness, and 21st century skills is something to add to your repertoire. Design thinking focuses on solving problems and coming up with solutions. In service for and with teens this kind of thinking should be embedded in everything you do. Continue reading

YALSAblog Tweets of the Week – December 25, 2015

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between December 25 and January 30 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
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YALSAblog Tweets of the Week – December 18, 2015

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between December 18 and December 24 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
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YALSAblog Tweets of the Week – December 11, 2015

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between December 11 and December 17 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
Continue reading