I initially got involved in ALA because of the Emerging Leader program. I was forwarded an email by an administrator talking about the program the year it started, and I applied and didn’t get in. The year after that I applied and was sponsored by YALSA, but had to withdraw at the last minute because of health issues. In 2009 I was again sponsored by YALSA and finally made it! During the three years before, however, I was becoming more and more involved in ALA, and particularly in YALSA. My desire to just get into the EL program inspired me to push myself to join committees and attend conferences. Since “graduating” I’ve been on several more committees and have chaired a few, most recently taking on chairing the YALSA Mentoring Taskforce this year. I was elected to two terms as an ALA Council member-at-large and I’ve served as a YALSA Board Fellow and At-large Board Director. I have taken on more of a leadership role in my state organization, and I am not afraid to branch out and get involved in other ALA divisions and round tables which has helped me to grow and develop new skills and meet people I wouldn’t normally meet. The Emerging Leader program really opened up a whole new aspect of being a librarian to me and helped me get involved on many different levels. It was a really great experience and one that I am glad I had the chance to experience.
The latest YALSA Snack Break is ready and waiting for you to take a look.
Along with including some great insights and ideas on how to support teen success, the video highlights YALSA’s September webinar. This webinar will be facilitated by a stellar group of people, Erica Compton (Program Manager, ID STEM Action Network), Audrey Hopkins (Teen Services Librarian at Rita & Truett Smith Public Library, Plano TX), and Shanna Miles (Library Media Specialist, South Atlanta (GA) High School) who are ready to talk about the topic and answer your questions. Continue reading
I started my journey in libraries determined to be a teen services librarian. I knew those jobs, especially full-time, were few and far between but I was able to land a position as a part-time teen services librarian for Santa Clara County Library District. There, the amazing team of teen services librarians showed me all of the resources available to me, primarily from YALSA. I was blown away with the breadth of tools for different types of programming, collection development and so much more that was available online, right at my fingertips. I took this invaluable resource with me and as I entered a full-time teen services librarian for San Mateo County Libraries and continued to use them for the next 4 years. I kept my membership to YALSA current as it was my primary resource for keeping up to date with innovative programming, learning the changing need for teens, as well as opportunities for grant funding.
When I attended my first ALA Conference, I immediately sought out the YALSA booth as they are easily my go-to, library family. I learned about the YALSA-sponsored programs, networking opportunities and was introduced to more teen services librarians. When I applied to the 2014 ALA Emerging Leaders program and was accepted, YALSA was right there for me as my financial sponsor, which helped me tremendously as attending conferences can be costly. The Emerging Leaders program impacted my professional career by introducing me to exceptional library professionals from all over the state and internationally, and I was also able to learn about the various leadership opportunities within the ALA organization and committees, something I was not familiar with prior to attending. After Emerging Leaders ended, I was asked to be on the 2015 Printz Award committee, an honor that a teen services librarian only dreams of. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I would never forget and introduced me to another set of inspiring librarians working in teen services.
You know how it goes: it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon and suddenly the library has become overtaken by teens! This after school rush is prime time for library staff to engage teens on a variety of levels, whether that be through interest-driven activities or by encouraging them to learn a new skill; the opportunities are limitless. Passive programming is a great way to do this without throwing teens right back into the structured learning environment that they just left. Teens need a chance to unwind, however, exploration and discovery doesn’t need to stop! When I first took up my position as library staff working with teens, I was overwhelmed by the potential for programming that I felt should be happening after school hours. I tried to push everything into this limited time frame and as I was feeling burned out, I realized my teens were too. I turned to passive programming to change things up and offer a different variety of learning opportunities for teens after school.
Use your space: At my library, Zion-Benton Public Library in the northern Chicago suburbs, we recently opened a teen space during the summer of 2015. This space has provided us with plenty of opportunities for cohesive, creative passive programming. During the first few months after the teen space’s debut, we asked teens to help us promote the new space by taking a creative selfie that answered the question, “how do you use the teen room?” We asked them to post it on social media and get the word about the opening. It was a lot of fun to see the different ways that teens enjoyed the space! Don’t have a dedicated teen room? Set out a monthly guessing jar for teens, or a weekly (or daily!) riddle out on your reference desk. You can still engage teens and provide some fun passive activities for your daily visitors.
Get teens involved: I decided to use teens to promote various programs by encouraging them to take a selfie with a particular book or performing a specific activity. For example, every April we host an author festival for teens at our library. I will put the visiting author’s books out on a table a week before the festival with a sign encouraging teens to create word art that predicts what the books are about, based on the book’s cover. If they take a selfie with the book and their sign, post it on social media and tag the library, we give them some kind of small incentive. Teens come up with some pretty crazy ideas based on the book’s cover. We usually call this passive program, “Judge a Book by It’s Cover.” It’s always a hit. You could do the same kind of activity with teen book reviews as well.
To be considered for an appointment, you must be a current personal member of YALSA and submit a Committee Volunteer form by October 1, 2016. If you are appointed, service will begin on Feb. 1, 2017 (except for the nominating committees which will start January 1, 2017).
Individuals may not serve on more than one selection or award committee at the same time, nor may they serve on the board and a selection or award committee at the same time.
If you are currently serving on a committee and are eligible to and interested in serving for another term, you must fill out a volunteer form (so I know you’re still interested and want to do serve another term).
Important Points to Keep in Mind:
We strive to ensure a broad representation on all committees across diverse backgrounds, types of libraries, geographic location and more.
Serving on a committee or task force is a significant commitment. Please review the resources on this web page before you submit a form to make sure that committee work is a good fit for you at this point in time.
All selection and award committee members must attend every committee meeting during their term of appointment. If you cannot commit now, then please do not fill out a volunteer form. The only exception is the Edwards.
When you fill out a form, you will receive an automated email response letting you know it was received. After that, you should not expect to hear about the status of your volunteer form until I contact you in November.
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for the incredible and enriching experience I had as a 2016 YALSA Emerging Leader. Without the Friends of YALSA and your donations, I would have not had enough money to attend both conferences as was necessary with this honor.
Participating in the Emerging Leaders program has changed my life as a new librarian. Not only did I have the privilege of attending both ALA Midwinter and Annual, but I got to participate in leadership training with 49 other outstanding young librarians. It was an amazing networking opportunity, not only with my diverse cohort, but also with the leaders of the program and guest speakers.
I also had the privilege of working on a project for YALSA with 5 other Emerging Leaders. We created a social media calendar for YALSA to use with its members. We started by surveying YALSA members about how they use social media, then developed best practices based on the response, and finally developed a social media calendar with Facebook and Twitter posts for the entire year. I learned so much throughout this process, including how to communicate and manage a large scale project virtually. At ALA Annual, we presented our project at the Emerging Leaders poster session, but also to the YALSA Board, which was super exciting.
YALSA’s webinars this fall cover a variety of topics from school library partnerships to coding as a learning activity to transitioning from summer reading to summer learning. Along with these new webinar topics YALSA is moving to a new webinar platform and format. Starting in September webinars will be hosted using Zoom and instead of 50 minutes of presentation and 10 minutes of Q&A we are going to focus on 30 minutes of presentation and 30 minutes in which attendees get to talk with each other, and the presenters, about the topic. Here’s a brief overview of what’s coming this fall: Continue reading
I can’t believe it’s already time for my first monthly president’s report! Tune in monthly to find out what I’ve been up to. Most importantly, a huge thank you to the YALSA Board, staff, and members who made Annual 2016 great!
Here’s what I’ve been working on since then:
Appointments to the Edwards, Printz, and Nonfiction committees
Virtual online training for new board members
Assigned board mentors, board liaisons, and standing board committee members
When we think of creating programming for teens, our first thoughts are probably what are teens into? A Teen Advisory Board can be helpful in deciding which programs they might be interested in. Casually bring up all ages events at TAB meetings, and whether a teen wants to volunteer to help run it or show up for the event itself, it boosts attendance and their enjoyment of library activities.
It can be hard to separate what I think is awesome from what my teens might, so I even had to question whether they would be into Pokemon Go. (Clearly, it’s taken off with all age groups, but that’s a whole other blog post.) So when it comes to creating programming specifically for teens, maybe we restrict ourselves too much. I know that YALSA members want to provide targeted programming for teenagers but it is important not to ignore the fact that sometimes teenagers really want to participate in programs aimed at younger readers.
It’s a delicate balance to strike in order to invite teens into all-ages programming. First, you need to make them feel welcome there, instead of making them feel like the kid who never outgrew Chuck E. Cheese. The children at an all-ages event also need to feel comfortable with having older teenagers around. I’ll repeat that it’s important to have specific, targeted programming for teens, but also it’s important to make them feel included in general library events.
Recently at my library there was a petting zoo as part of our Summer Reading Program, and it was conceived for younger children, the normal age group for an activity like this. I was surprised at how many teenagers, caregivers (and library staff) were excited for the petting zoo. One of my Teen Advisory Board members brought friends, while another volunteered, and they were more than thrilled to pick up the bunnies and the chicken, and pet the pig that had come along as well.
Yesterday during a virtual meeting to address unfinished business from its June meeting, the YALSA board met to continue its discussion about how to improve member engagement opportunities so that they better meet member needs, as well as to re-think the structure of YALSA so that it’s better positioned to carry out the work of the new organizational plan. Last month, the Board sought to review of all existing member groups at their June meeting (see Candice Mack’s blog post). The Board accomplished a lot in June, but didn’t finish all of its work around member groups. The Board met virtually yesterday to discuss the Leading the Transformation of Teen Services Board Standing Committee’s draft recommendations for the remaining member groups that were not addressed in June. If you’re interested, you can listen to the audio recording of the meeting.
The Board voted to accept the recommendations from the Standing Board Committee for transforming the first 8 strategic committees as listed in Board Document #2. This includes keeping some strategic committees as-is (Awards Committee Nominating Committee, Awards & Selection Oversight Committee, Competencies Task Force, President’s Planning Taskforce, School and Public Library Cooperation Interdivisional Committee), expanding others (Division and Membership Promotion Committee, Research Committee) and the transitioning to more of a short-term structure for the Summer Learning Taskforce. These changes will not go into effect until July 2017, as the next several months will involve working out a transition plan.