We’re all members of YALSA, or should be, but you’re reading this blog for a variety of reasons. You love libraries. Or you love working with teens. Or you’re just trying to find out what’s happening in YALSA. But you’re here, reading this blog post. As members of YALSA we all participate in our association in a variety of ways, sometimes passively by donating to the scholarships or actively by volunteering to serve on committees, by volunteering to blog for a list, by contributing your programs to Programming HQ.
In a recent YALSA survey many respondents voiced the opinion that their voices weren’t heard or weren’t acknowledged or they felt that their perspective wasn’t represented in YALSA. And I’d be the first to admit, yes it happens, it’s the reason I got involved. There was a time when I felt that my voice wasn’t being heard or felt in the list being created by the volunteers doing committee work weren’t representing my experience or worldview. So I stepped up and started volunteering. We make our association work; if you don’t volunteer or if you decide to drop your membership because you disagree, YALSA is going to fall apart and you know who will ultimately loses? Teens! The teens we support in our libraries, whether it be academic, public, or school; we serve the teens in our hometowns, whether it’s a big city or a small country town.
This post was written by Denise Lyons, the Deputy Director of Statewide Development at South Carolina State Library. She is a co-author of the Transforming Library Services for and with Teens Through Continuing Education (CE) report.
At the 2016 American Library Association annual conference, two state library agency representatives, from Wisconsin and South Carolina, along with leadership from YALSA, began a conversation about how to build stronger alliances between the groups that serve teens in library organizations. There seemed to be a great deal of overlap with the work of groups at the local, state, and national levels. Yet, there was little collaboration among the different groups.
It seemed reasonable to start considering how to change this by connecting with YALSA. The association already had a relationship with state library agency youth services consultants (“YS Con”). While each state library agency is organized and operates somewhat differently, there is often a person on staff who serves as the youth services (YS) consultant, the one person at the library agency who is the state’s coordinator of children’s and teen services. Many of these positions are part of the Library Development Consulting Department of the state library agency, and most are responsible for providing youth services continuing education opportunities and organizing statewide initiatives such as summer reading and learning programs.
The ALA Annual Conference is nearly upon us and that means it’s time to brush up on your networking skills. Whether you’re new to networking and conferencing or this is old hat, I hope there’s something here for everyone.
Keep Calm and Network On
Networking does not have to be forced and it’s often best when it’s not. Annual Conference is particularly easy because everyone is there to learn and to meet new people, so you don’t have to think of a clever opening line. “Hi, I’m _________ and I work at __________. Where are you from?” works perfectly. And sure, you might meet some folks who are really only there to learn and not to meet people, and that’s fine. Just keep meeting people and don’t let it get you down.
Though they’re terribly old technology, business cards are still the default for exchanging contact information. Be sure to keep a ballpoint pen (those inky ones smear) to write on the card how/where you met the person and any other info that might jog your memory. And as soon as you can, connect with that person via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, an email, whatever works for you. As for your own business card, if you want to spend the time and money to come up with something creative, go ahead, but a basic card will do the job. Your time and money is probably better spent perfecting your website, web presence, or blog.
As the YALSA ALA Liaison, I communicate with many different groups whose member composition varies. One of the many benefits of working with so many diverse groups is being privy to the latest developed resources created by them that are also relevant for a library staff member serving teens. One such excellent resource I want to share with YALSA members comes from the Accessibility Assembly. The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) heads the ALA Accessibility Assembly, which is comprised of many liaisons from other ALA divisions and round tables as well as ASCLA members.
Several months ago, ASLCA updated their online toolkits that target easy ways in which library staff can make their places and services more accessible to “populations that are underserved such as those with sensory, physical, health or behavioral conditions, those who are incarcerated and more.” There are fifteen toolkits in total and many of the recommendations are applicable to teen library services. As April is nationally recognized as Autism Awareness month, the Autism Spectrum Disorders toolkit might be a good place to start in improving library services to your community’s youth and better meet their needs.
Consider this resource share as an opportunity to improve your status and knowledge in Competency Area 1: Teen Growth and Development and move further through the stages of Developing-Practicing-Transforming.
Amanda Barnhart is a Teen Librarian for the Kansas City Public Library and the current YALSA ALA Liaison.
Are you working to integrate the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff into your work? Do you have questions about how you might do that? Are you wondering how to change job descriptions or policies, or program plans to better align with the Competencies? If you answered “yes” to any of those, or if you simply want to learn more about YALSA’s new Competencies, you’ll want to attend the free “Aligning the Teen Services Competencies to Your Work” session in New Orleans.
The free session is scheduled to take place Friday, June 22, from 1 to 4PM in room 343 of the Morial Convention Center , just prior to the ALA Annual Conference. During that time participants will hear how library staff are integrating the Competencies into their jobs and have the chance to work with library staff from around the country to take a deep dive into the Competencies and explore how to bring them into every day practice. Participants are invited to come to the session with a program plan, a job description, a policy, a staff and/or program evaluation tool, or another tool and spend time aligning those day-to-day tools to the Competencies.
The AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation (SPLC) is pleased to announce the publication of the Public Library & School Library Collaboration Toolkit. This toolkit is the result of a three-year collaborative effort with members of AASL, ALSC and YALSA. It is a collection of information, research, and examples that will help facilitate and incorporate collaborative initiatives between public and school libraries.
The Public Library & School Library Collaboration Toolkit is organized into five chapters, and includes helpful links for additional examples or information.
This course is not just for teen librarians but for any person working in libraries seeking to understand and grow themselves as a leader from the ground up. The topics covered were progressive and forward thinking, and challenged traditional leadership norms. Self reflection was a big component of this class. The instructor provided variety in the readings, assignments, and use of technology. I felt very engaged by this course and the instructor, and I will refer back to the what I have learned here as I try to improve my leadership skills.
For four weeks in winter 2018 YALSA ran the Building Basic Leadership Skills E-Course. To accommodate those on the waiting list and to provide the opportunity for more people to participate in the highly rated course, the association is offering another section starting in April. The instructor is Josie Watanabe and you can hear more about what the course covers – including information about topics and assignments – in this 18 minute audio interview with Josie.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
Do you view libraries, archives, museums, and galleries through a lens of them being a leading force in social justice, activism, and community organizing? Then you may be interested in attending the Allied Media Conference (AMC) which takes place June 14-17, 2018 in Detroit. The AMC brings together themed conference tracks comprised of sessions that are all connected by the concept of media-based organizing, “or any collaborative process that uses media, art or technology to address the roots of problems and advance holistic solutions towards a more just and creative world.” This year, the Radical Libraries, Archives, and Museums track will return to Allied Media Conference and aims to share more ideas and skills while allowing individuals working in these fields to make connections and support each other in their work.
Do you dream of traveling to exciting places like Cape Town, Columbus, and Wrocław? Have you considered becoming involved with an energetic and passionate group of international library workers? International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is in full swing for its annual World Library and Information Congress (WLIC). This year the conference takes place in Kuala Lumpur.
You can, of course, get involved by merely attending the conference in Malaysia in late August. For those looking to present, I have highlighted some opportunities with particular appeal to those who work with youth.
Satellite Meeting in Singapore: Inclusive Library Services for Children and Young Adults
IFLA calls them satellite meetings, but satellite meeting is just a fancy name for pre-conference. Usually they are held in a city close to the conference site. The focus of this meeting, sponsored by Libraries for Children and Young Adults (my section!) and Library Services to People with Special Needs Section is inclusive library services. The deadline for the call for papers is February 15, 2018.