Thank You… and Welcome, Amanda!

Hi everyone,

I want to thank YALSA members, the Board, and Staff for all of the assistance provided over the course of my presidential year. Every challenge has presented a new opportunity for us, and change has always been a great motivator for me. I hope that these past few months have energized you in ways never before considered. The pandemic continues to affect all of us, and presented the need to pivot from what we thought was normal. The fight for racial justice has rallied people together like never before to correct the ills of the past and present and work together for a better future for everyone. In so many instances, seeing and reading that teens are leading the charge for change tells me that the work that we do is important. Black Lives Matter.

I want to take this opportunity to welcome YALSA’s new President, Amanda Barnhart! Amanda and I have worked together over the course of this past year and did our best to serve you, our members. I look forward to helping her to ensure that her presidential year is a successful one. At our recent Board meetings, we approved a Short-term Strategic Plan focused specifically on the needs of members for this coming year. I also want to welcome Kelly Czarnecki as YALSA’s President-Elect. I have one more year on the Board, as Immediate Past-President, and will work to serve as a sort of institutional memory and mentor, among other key roles. The three of us do our best, along with the rest of the YALSA Board, to lead the association as we look to the future!

Thank you again for your support, and for all you do for and with teens.

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020

COVID and Free Books for Maricopa

So, most of us, as teen library professionals, have been working from home, participating in several zoom meetings, networking with colleagues, helping teens with remote passwords for databases or assisting in audiobook selections, and numerous other tasks.

2020 Winner — Last January, Stefanie Bailey, 2020 chair of the Great Books Giveaway Competition, and her jury were dutifully reading the applications and selecting a winner.

Bailey stated, “As Chair of the Jury, what I found most valuable in helping select a winner of the Great Books Giveaway was the extra time and research that candidates put into writing their application, describing their community needs, and outlining the impact that the award would have on their community.”

Congratulations to Andrew Gallegos from Maricopa (Arizona) Public Library as this year’s winner. Then, in March, the YALSA staff was boxing the hundreds of newly-published books, audio CD’s, and videos. Before the YALSA staff could mail the material to Gallegos, the governor of Illinois issued a stay-at-home order for ALA due to the global pandemic.

The ALA offices reopen this week, so the YALSA staff will continue where they left off with packing the boxes of materials to send to Maricopa. Gallegos and his colleagues cannot wait to open the boxes of over $20,000 worth of library materials for their teens. Gallegos commented, “It is a great hope that some of these new books will be the reason(s) that a young adult will continue to not just keep reading, but also be an active member in the library and community.”

FOY InfographicShipping — Who pays for the shipping of these materials? YALSA, right? Wrong, YALSA or ALA does not pay for the shipping of these books. Friends of YALSA (or FOY) pays for the shipping of these materials. Donate to Friends of YALSA’s Give $20 in 2020 campaign to support the shipping of the Great Books Giveaway, Spectrum Scholar, Emerging Leader, National Library Advocacy Day, Writing Awards, and more.

Great Books Giveaway History — YALSA member Linda Waddle brainstormed the Great Books Giveaway idea in the late 90’s; YALSA officially established it in 2000.  It came about as the number of books being sent to the YALSA office for selection and award committees started to increase.  These books are used by award and selection committees during meetings at ALA annual and midwinter meetings. The first recipient was Martin Luther King Jr Academy in Lexington, Kentucky in 2000; the furthest recipient was Joeten-Kiyu Public Library (Saipan) in 2019. Other recipients have included a library on an Indian Nation Reservation, a high school for pregnant and parenting teens, and a library with a teen bookmobile. Over forty libraries, both public and school, have been awarded books for their teenagers through the Great Books Giveaway. Any YALSA member can complete an application for the Great Books Giveaway. Apply by Dec. 1.

Be safe and stay healthy.

-Gregory Lum
Financial Advancement Committee Chair

YALSA Joins National Media Literacy Alliance

Hi everyone,

YALSA has accepted an invitation from NAMLE, the National Association for Media Literacy Education, to be a founding member of the National Media Literacy Alliance.

This coalition brings together educational and library associations from across the country to “advance media literacy education as a necessary element of a complete 21st-century education in America. At a time when misinformation threatens civil discourse and the very nature of our democracy, the Alliance will work to ensure that students across our nation have the critical thinking skills necessary to navigate our ever-expanding modern media landscape.”

Other groups joining the 12-member Alliance include the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

This fits YALSA’s mission statement that puts all teens on the path to successful and fulfilling lives. “Alliance members will work together to support their network of educators in integrating media literacy education into their classrooms, reference media literacy in their instructional standards, include media literacy content in their respective national and regional conferences.” Tenets from YALSA’s Teen Literacies Toolkit and Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff are being included in producing these standards. Twitter has provided initial funding for the Alliance.

Additionally, NAMLE has announced its International Research Initiative which will map and assess the current state of media literacy education in the United States and Australia. With the advent of social media in the past two decades, the importance of understanding its influence on teens’ literacy is paramount.

Please reach out to me if you have any questions.

Thanks as always for your work for and with teens!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 

YALSA Seeks Board Candidates for 2021

Are you passionate about teens and teen services? Do you want to be an ambassador and advocate for YALSA? Then you should consider taking a leadership role in our organization. The Board Development Committee is looking for dedicated, committed volunteers with the skills and desire to run for several board positions: Director-at-Large, Division Councilor and Vice President/President-Elect.

YALSA’s volunteer members are the driving force behind our organization and make it the innovative, responsive organization it is. Dedicated volunteer leaders run the organization and influence its future.  You can find out more about the responsibilities of Vice-President/President-Elect and Division Councilor positions here and Director-at-Large position here. These positions are elected by the membership for a three-year term.

Each year, specific positions are available, and each opening has requirements based on its description and the current makeup of the Board. The Board Development Committee is looking for the most qualified individuals and broad representation. This includes a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. As the YALSA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Plan states: “The vision for YALSA is to be a diverse, inclusive and equitable organization which flourishes on the exchange of ideas from different perspectives. We believe the diversity of viewpoints that comes from different life experiences, identities, cultural backgrounds, and more enables YALSA to better achieve its mission to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.” Having this kind of representation on the Board allows YALSA to attract new members and retain long term ones, all the while making sure we are innovative, educational, professional and fun.

If you feel you have what it takes for one of these leadership roles, fill out the Governance Candidacy Form. The Board Development Committee reviews all the forms and looks for the best match of skills and background for the available positions. Submit the form by July 31.

Don’t wait to let us know you are interested! The Board Development Committee’s deadline is coming up fast. We only have until the end of the summer to present a slate of candidates to the YALSA board for approval. Successful candidates will run for election in the Spring of 2021 and begin their terms in June 2021 at the Annual Conference in Chicago.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Gail Tobin ( or Ritchie Momon (, the Board Development Committee Co-Chairs.


Incoming YALSA President Seeks Taskforce Members

The incoming YALSA President 2020-2021, Amanda Barnhart, seeks member volunteers to serve on the Presidential Taskforce. This role is for a one-year virtual appointment whereby the taskforce will focus on developing activities that support the President’s theme, Representation in Recruitment and Retention: Further Supporting YALSA’s EDI Plan. Three outcomes will guide the taskforce work,

  1. From such examples of how to start an affinity group to understanding intersectional identities, the Presidential Taskforce will work with YALSA staff to develop and provide the membership with quarterly continuing education strategies and ideas that support and celebrate the diversity of library staff and the teens they serve.
  2. The taskforce will identify and engage in efforts that aim to study the value of YALSA resources amongst library staff who work with teens that are seen as “non-members.” There are many non-member library staff whose actions adhere to the YALSA mission or support the YALSA vision and who utilize YALSA resources regardless of having purchased a YALSA membership.
  3. Finally, the taskforce will develop a report that includes findings from the aforementioned study, as well as provide recommendations on strategies for engaging non-members.

Consider applying for this taskforce as an opportunity to further develop your network with fellow advocates invested in EDI work. At the same time, please consider your capacity and knowledge to valuably contribute to conversations on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Interested members should contact Amanda via email with a reply to the prompt: Explain which outcome you feel is most important and why. Applicants may also include relevant education or experience. Deadline for volunteering is Monday, June 22nd.

The direction of this taskforce was also influenced by recent work from the YALSA Division and Membership Promotion Committee 2019-2020. YALSA appreciates their efforts in engaging with LIS students and their ideas on reaching out to affiliates.

YALSA reacts to racial injustice

Hi everyone,

I want to ensure that YALSA members and other interested parties are aware of the discussions that have taken place by the YALSA Board and throughout ALA with regard to racial injustice.

YALSA’s mission focuses on ways to alleviate the challenges that teens face. The YALSA Board strongly condemns police brutality and racism in all its forms and stands with the work of organizations throughout the country and world such as Black Lives Matter and the NAACP that spotlight the injustices faced by Black communities. We seek to partner with these groups in ways that are in keeping with our mission. We call on elected officials to provide better funding for community programs and institutions that support Black teens.

The many peaceful youth-led protests for change and justice, in cities throughout the United States, show that teens have agency and can make a difference in their communities. The Board has taken action to embed elements of equity, diversity and inclusion in all of the work that YALSA does. In 2018 YALSA’s EDI Statement was issued and the Board began the implementation of the EDI Plan. School’s Out Washington provided training on structural racism to the Board at ALA Midwinter 2020. We are working on creating and implementing professional development on this and other vital issues for our members. We have not yet done enough, but going forward we will continue to strive to work toward a more equitable association, profession, and library services for young adults.

Affirmed by the YALSA Board, June 8, 2020

Additionally, YALSA Executive Director Tammy Dillard-Steels has included her thoughts in American Libraries‘ “Reflections on Race and Racism

Finally, YALSA had previously affirmed the BCALA statement which was also affirmed by the ALA Executive Board and many other ALA units that condemns increasing violence towards Black Americans and people of color.

As always, thank you for your work for and with teens,

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020

YALSA’s 2020 YA Services Symposium to be held virtually

2020 YALSA YA Services Symposium - Now Virtual

YALSA’s Board of Directors has made the decision for YALSA’s 2020 YA Services Symposium to be held virtually November 6-8, 2020 in lieu of the originally planned in-person event in Reno, NV.

The virtual symposium will feature an array of programs, author panels, discussion and poster sessions, and more. New this year, the Edwards Award celebration will also take place at the virtual symposium. The Symposium Marketing and Planning Taskforce is currently working to reconfigure and adapt the slate of programs.

As a result of the format change of the symposium, YALSA is modifying its symposium travel stipends to instead award free registration to ten YALSA members – five to library workers and five to library students. Apply by August 1.

More information regarding registration and programs will be available in the coming weeks. Sign up for updates about the symposium via this form.

YALSA Seeks Member Volunteers

Have you ever presented at a local or national conference? Or are you a long-time participant at YALSA webinars or conference and Symposium sessions? YALSA is currently seeking member volunteers, including a committee chair, for the newly created Education Advisory Committee (EAC). The date to apply has been extended to June 10, 2020. 

The role of the Education Advisory Committee is to assist with providing appropriate and timely topics for continuing education offerings and identifying qualified individuals to facilitate continuing education sessions. Our communities are quickly changing and evolving in response to current issues which requires library staff to remain up to date on information and skills if libraries are to remain relevant in the 21st century. 

Providing your voice and direction to the EAC will help guide YALSA in its educational endeavors. Becoming a member volunteer of the EAC is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with your peers and make a difference in continuing education by assuring YALSA is offering relevant and timely content. YALSA needs your leadership in promoting CE opportunities and recognizing the contribution of facilitators and presenters, which is crucial for the growth of our profession and the teens that we impact.

The chair for the EAC serves in an Ex-Officio position on the Board of Directors and attends two board meetings a year. The EAC is a virtual committee with a one year (12 months) term beginning July 1 and is renewable. Complete this form by June 10th to apply.

YALSA Board created the Education Advisory Committee (EAC) to assist with identifying and providing feedback on Continuing Education topics to YALSA’s Executive Director and the newly created position of Program Officer for Continuing Education and Development. You may find more information about the board document here.

Giving During Hard Times

2020 started great; well, at least we thought it was going to be a great year.  As many of us are sheltering in place during this pandemic (some longer than others), we keep looking to the future for better times and when “normal” life will resume.  Many of us are also wondering when our libraries will reopen and how it will look and feel. But as they say, we’ll get through this together, and I fully believe we will.

All of us are facing different struggles. But if you’re here, we still have one thing in common. We have a passion for working with teens, and we are committed to YALSA and YALSA’s mission. We do this by giving to YALSA, whether it is financially or with our time volunteering. In preparation for the future, YALSA launched a fundraising campaign aimed to encourage YALSA members and the library community to give $20 in 2020 in order to increase sustainability and strengthen Friends of YALSA to fund member awards and grants.

During these unusual times, we’re asking for you to donate what you can. Little donations add up, and they will help our colleagues in the future. It might even help your library or coworker when life begins again. Everyone’s financial situation is different, especially while the library world is working virtually.  In this challenging time in history, lets come together. We must remain positive about the future. If you are able, we kindly ask for your support. Learn more at

-Franklin Escobedo
Financial Advancement Committee member

Brief update on current YALSA activities

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re all hanging in there. I want to inform YALSA members about a few recent and upcoming pieces of information, in particular with regard to the canceled ALA Annual Conference scheduled for next month.

  1. The YALSA Board has voted to allow virtual meetings of the Board in place of the in-person ones that normally take place in conjunction with the ALA Annual Conference. These will take place on Saturday, June 27 and, as always, will be open to the membership (aside from any periods the Board calls for an executive session). More details about exact times and a link to the meeting will be forthcoming.
  2. Because the ALA Annual Conference has been canceled, YALSA 101, the Membership Meeting, and the YALSA President’s Program will not take place. Look for the return of all of these events at the 2021 ALA Annual Conference.
  3. The next Lunch & Learn is set for Tuesday, May 26 at 2pm ET / 11am PT. This session will focus on: 1) Summer Learning/Reading during the pandemic and 2) How teen services might look in your institution upon reopening your physical facility. As was the case for the first Lunch & Learn session late last month, this is an opportunity to connect, to hear from other library staff serving teens nationwide, and to discuss the possibilities during these unusual times.
  4. I sincerely want to thank all of the selection list, award, and process committees, along with task forces and other groups that are continuing to focus on their charges. Your volunteering propels the work of YALSA forward, and for that we are all grateful.
  5. Finally, I encourage you to consider registering for the ALA Virtual Conference event “Community Through Connection”, especially now that generous sponsors have greatly reduced the cost of the three-day event from $175 to only $60. Registration is due by Wednesday, June 17.

Please, do your best to stay safe and healthy.

Thanks again for all the work you do for and with teens!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl