Congress is on break … So we need to be on point!

A few months ago, ALA raised the call to #saveIMLS funding. Dubbed the “fight for libraries” we all worked to tell our representatives and senators how important federal funding for programs that support libraries, the Library Services and Technology Act and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy. We spoke up to ask them to sign dear appropriator letter to preserve funding for these programs. And they listened! The proposed budget includes funding for both of these important programs and will continue to help us create, promote and sustain vital library programs for our communities.

But the fight is not over. Congress just left on recess. So you may think that we can take a break too…but it is more important than ever that we get engaged with our elected officials. Now is your chance, while they are home in your district, to do more than email. You have a chance to show them how important libraries are in the communities they represent. When they go back to D.C. this fall they will have to vote on the budget…and who knows what could get cut at the last minute. Let’s make sure we show members of congress the true value of the library!

While congress is on recess connect with your elected officials. Invite your member of congress to the library to:

  • Visit the library for a tour
  • Attend a back-to-school night
  • Join in a celebration for the end of your summer learning program
  • Create a pop-up office at your library so they can meet with their constituents

YALSA has all  you need to plan a great visit on the wiki’s District Days page .  Of course, we want to bring members of congress into the library to see the impact we have on the community first-hand. If they aren’t available to come to the library, take your message to them:

Nervous about talking to a member of congress or their staff?:

  • Remember, you won’t always be able to meet with your elected official face-to-face. For us YALSA members, this is no stress at all. Their staff are often just out of college (which means hasn’t been that long since they were a teen in the library). And we know how to talk with teens!
  • Prepare what you want to say ahead of time. Check out the 2017 Advocacy Toolkit for some great resources, especially the section titled “Developing & Delivering Your Message.”
  • YALSA has lots of great resources you can take with you to illustrate your point

Everything you need to make an impact on your elected officials this August is available on the District Days wiki. And if you are inspired by one of the ideas above, but you don’t think you have time to do it justice this month, take a look at the schedule to see when your representatives will be home next! Advocacy isn’t just something we do once a year, but something we should be doing as often as possible.

Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:
establishing a clear organizational mission
forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
hiring a competent executive director
providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Kate McNair, Teen Services Coordinating Librarian, Johnson County Library and YALSA Board of Directors member.

What drew you to the Board?
I became interested in board work when I was chair of the Financial Advancement Committee (this was before FAC chair was an ex-officio member of the board). My board liaison, Pam Spencer Holly, was someone I really looked up to. She asked me if running for the Board was something I was interested in, and to be honest, I hadn’t considered it at all. But once Pam put that bug in my ear, I started exploring what the board did, following more board actions and documents and decided this was something I wanted to work toward. I had been on many YALSA committees and chaired my fair share as well. I was ready to take on the next challenge and I really wanted to give back to an organization that had given me so many opportunities for development and growth.
What do you do on the board?
I think board work (for me at least) can be divided into three parts: fiduciary, guidance and governance.
One traditional board duty I work really hard to fulfill is my fiduciary responsibilities to YALSA members, we make sure that YALSA has the resources necessary to accomplish our goals and provide value to our members.
We also provide oversight and guidance to YALSA’s committees. For instance, if you have served on a committee you may have heard the term Board Liaison. Each board member is assigned certain committees to work with. I like to keep in touch with my committee chair’s monthly to check in on what they are doing, pass on any news that I think might impact their committee’s work, talk through any challenges they are facing.
Lastly we help shape YALSA policy and practice. We suggest changes to current systems that might help YALSA improve efficiency or increase reach of a program or service. In alignment with the strategic plan (approved in 2016), we work to start new committees, change existing structures and identify new opportunities for YALSA.
What the board is doing for its members?
I am the chair of the Advocacy Standing Committee this year (standing committees are groups of board members organized around one of the portfolios of the stratetic plan). We are help to advocate at a national level for libraries and teens services ,and putting the processes in place so that members have the tools they need to advocate for teens at the state and local level. Last year, YALSA updated the Advocacy Toolkit and President Sarah Hill and Executive Director Beth Yolk worked hard to support the #saveIMLS campaign and attend National Library Legislative Day (to which we were able to send additional  YALSA members!). But the fight isn’t over yet! Congress is on leave, which means this is a great time to talk to your legislators while they are home on break and before they approve the final budget (including funding for IMLS). Check out this great blog post from President Sandra Hughes Hassell on what you can do this August to support teens and libraries.
For fun; include a teen book you may be reading or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.
I actually just got done, this weekend, with a collaborative program between my home library, Johnson County Library, and the Kansas City Public Library. As ALA Annual came to Chicago this year, a few of us Kansas City librarians were discussing how sad it was that ALA could never come to Kansas City (we don’t have the convention space necessary) and how our teens would never be able to speak at the BFYA teen feedback session. And then we realized, we didn’t need a big conference, we could do it all on our own! We encouraged teens all summer long to read BFYA titles (and nominate their own suggestions) then we organized a day long event with workshops on review writing skills and it all culminated with a livestreamed event that was watched by several BFYA committee members. The teens had a great time and loved the skills they picked up in the review workshops. We will be writing it up for the YALSA blog so keep an eye out for more details soon!

Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:
establishing a clear organizational mission
forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
hiring a competent executive director
providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Mega  Subramaniam, Associate Professor, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland.

What drew you to the Board? 

I debated a lot with myself before I decided to run as a YALSA board member. I wanted to make sure that I have enough knowledge, skills, and time to contribute to the wonderful things that the YALSA leadership was already doing. I was drawn to the Board because I wanted to inspire interdisciplinary experiences and interactions that transform the nature of services that youth librarians provide to youth. I was already impressed with the YALSA leadership and really felt connected with the changes in the organization plan (upcoming at that time), especially the leading the transformation of teen services priority area. I wanted to encourage research and professional development experiences that inspire youth services librarians to understand their role as change agents in youth development, by paying attention to the technical and societal changes that impact the everyday lives of youth. Being on the Board as a researcher and LIS educator helps me to channel what I have done in my research into practice. This opportunity is the ideal research-practice partnership that I have been aspiring to do for a long time. It is incredibly rewarding, and I enjoy it!


What do you do on the board?

This year, I am a member of the Funder and Partner Development Strategic Committee within the Board. We have many aspirations to strengthen the financial health of YALSA. We are in the process of brainstorming funders and partners that can fund our on-going activities in YALSA (such as Teen Read Week, etc.), but we also would like to identify non-traditional funders and partners (as in industry partners, individual philanthropists, etc.) that may be able to offer resources that can support our on-going programs and/or help develop new programs/resources that align with our strategies outlined in the organization plan. I also enjoy doing other things such as actively recruiting new members to YALSA, connecting with YALSA members during conferences, and talking about our activities and the impact of youth services librarians when I go to academic conferences and meet with academics from other fields.


What the board is doing for its members?

Where do I start? The Board is super active! We will be piloting the use of eARCc/ebooks for award committees and selected list bloggers. These bloggers and committees will also indicate if the titles are available in languages other than English and in other formats (like large print or Braille). The Board also approved the transitioning of YALS to being completely and only online. We also agreed to work collaboratively with REFORMA and ALSC to explore expanding the Pura Belpre Award to ages up to 18 and to create a Best of Latinx-themed literature list on the Hub.

I am merely touching the surface here with this list. Be sure to check YALSA President Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell’s monthly reports that will be posted on the YALSA blog for more on what the Board is up to; here is the link to her July report: http://yalsa.ala.org/blog/2017/08/01/presidents-report-july-2017/


For fun; include a teen book you may be reading or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.

I am currently reading In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero.

OUTREACH SERVICES FOR TEEN LIBRARY STAFF: WHAT SOME STAFF ARE DOING OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF LIBRARIES

The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations; populations such as new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, and teens who are incarcerated. As these populations are often marginalized and underserved, it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I interviewed April Witteveen, Community and Teen Services Librarian with the Deschutes Public Library in Central Oregon.

  1. What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

My outreach is currently pretty simple and straightforward—but very, very consistent, which is so important. Most of these relationships have existed for longer than the 12 years I’ve been with my library system.

I currently visit our Juvenile Justice facility every other week. The building holds two populations in separate “pods”: teens that are serving short criminal sentences or are awaiting trial (the general “locked down” juvenile justice population,) as well as a program for court-involved teen males who enter a non-profit therapeutic program called J Bar J. The J Bar J teens in the secure facility are either working their way up, behaviorally, to get placed at a residential facility (J Bar J Boys Ranch) or have been removed from the Ranch due to behavior to spend time in the secure facility.

I do booktalks year-round to the juvenile justice students when they are in their classroom time, and I try to read the room while doing so to see if I think a discussion of what they’re reading right now could work—it doesn’t every time and I’ve had to cut and run. I also offer the summer reading program, in a modified format, to these teens. They have the opportunity to earn free books with reading time, and many of them are surprised these are books they get to keep and take home when they are released. I’ve seen some incredible generosity here too—“I’m picking something for my sister, it’s her birthday next week,” “can I donate this to the classroom for others to read when I’m done?” etc.

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Volunteer for an Award Committee or Selected Lists Team!

It’s that time of year again! As YALSA President-Elect, I’ll make appointments in October for the following YALSA committees that will begin work in early 2018. The committees below are one year terms starting Feb. 1, 2018 (even though ALA’s Midwinter Meeting is Feb. 9 – 12, these groups will not meet there)

Additionally, appointments will be made for the Selected Lists Teams (one year term starting Jan. 1, 2018):

As a reminder, all of the selected lists are tranisitioning from traditional committees which met in person, to 100% virtual groups who work year-round through The Hub.  For more information, email the member manager of The Hub at yalsahub@gmail.com.  You can gain valuable YALSA and professional development experience by volunteering to be on a Blogging Team or YALSA committee.  You will also be helping YALSA 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.”

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President’s Report – July 2017

Colleagues-

I am honored to submit my first YALSA President’s report. My goal with this monthly report is to keep you up to date on the work I’m doing in my role as YALSA president and to highlight key association activities in which I am involved.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Accomplishments

  • Filled various openings on committees and task forces
  • Welcomed incoming committee & taskforce chairs
  • Answered questions from YALSA members about committees, task forces, and various other topics
  • Wrote a blog post and email message about District Days
  • Appointed and met with President’s Advisory Taskforce
  • Inviting members to join the Advancing Diversity Taskforce that the Board approved
  • Communicated with ALSC, AASL, & ALA presidents
  • Prepared for August Board chat, check in with New Board Members, and monthly President’s phone call with Past and Incoming Presidents

Works in Progress

  • With a $500,000 sponsorship from Google, YALSA is administering Libraries Ready to Code – a grant program for libraries to design computational thinking and computer science programs for and with underrepresented youth.
  • Advocating!  District Days are here and your congresspersons are home on break. Now is your opportunity to advocate for federal library funding (#saveIMLS) and speak up for teens!  Find out how here. I made an appointment with my Congressman – I’ll keep you posted.
  • Applications being reviewed for member manager for the HUB
  • Working with the board and YALSA Staff on the 2017-2018 Implementation Plan for our Strategic Plan

Stats and Data

  • Funds raised in June = $1,461
  • YALSA Membership in June = 4,807 (down 5.3% over this time last year)

Don’t Forget!

  • Registration is open for the 2017 YA Services Symposium, Nov. 3-5 in Louisville, KY. Register through Sept. 15 and save with early bird rates! Housing is also open now through Oct. 1.
  • Applications are being accepted for Libraries Ready to Code through August 31, 2017.
  • Don’t forget to check out the Current Projects page to stay updated on what’s going on!
  • All chairs should submit their Quarterly Report by August 15!

THANK YOU

  • To all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities, and especially for all of the out-going committee chairs and members whose work finished at the end of June.
  • To outgoing board members Candace Mack, Nick Buron, Jennifer Korn, Gretchen Kolderup, and Trixie Dantis for their contributions to the YALSA board and for all they do to support teens!
  • To Past President Sarah Hill and Executive Director Beth Yoke for their guidance in my first month as YALSA President!

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President 2017-2018

Follow me on twitter @Bridge2Lit

 

YALSA Councilor Report post-ALA Annual ’17

Hello YALSA members and other interested parties!  As your representative to the ALA Council, I am pleased to bring you this report of Council activities and actions from the 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago.

My conference roommate, Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) Councilor Martin Garnar, provided a large percentage of this report and I must credit him with much of the following:

Council I: 

After the usual opening business, including finalizing the slate of nominees for the Council Committee on Committees (which assists the president-elect with committee appointments) and the Council representatives to the Planning & Budget Assembly, Courtney Young, ALA Past President and chair of the search committee for the new ALA executive director, gave her report on the committee’s progress.  The search firm of Isaacson Miller has been engaged to assist with the search, and they hope to have interviews in October to coincide with the October Executive Board meeting in Chicago.  The goal is to have a new executive director in place by Midwinter 2018.  In the meantime, Mary Ghikas will serve as interim executive director. ALA President Julie Todaro gave a report on her activities and ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels gave updates on Executive Board actions since Midwinter 2017 and on implementation of Council Actions taken at Midwinter 2017.  Under new business, Council took up a resolution on global climate change passed at the virtual membership meeting on June 8th. The IFRT board voted to endorse in principle, and this resolution was debated on the floor of Council for almost an hour, with some of the time devoted to attempts to refer or postpone the resolution until some changes could be suggested.  Instead, changes were made on the floor and the resolution was adopted as amended.  Kathi Kromer, the new director of the ALA Washington Office, and Adam Eisgrau, director of the Office for Government Relations, gave a report on the office’s advocacy efforts.  At the close of Council, the elections for the Committee on Committees and the Planning & Budget Assembly opened for the afternoon. 

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Proposing a Program at ALA Annual

ALA’s Annual Conference is over for this year, and library workers are back home, energized and ready to dive into summer learning or planning for the coming school year.  It’s also time to sit back and reflect on what made a good annual conference this year, besides the obvious things (IMHO) like hearing Hillary Clinton as the closing speaker. What panels spoke out to you? Which ones did you feel gave you the most actionable know-how to take home and try out that very next week? And things we like to think less about here at YALSA, but what didn’t work so well? Why didn’t you like a certain panel? Were the panelists too rote? Too unimaginative?

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Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:
establishing a clear organizational mission
forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
hiring a competent executive director
providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Melissa McBride, a School Librarian in Southhold, New York and a YALSA Board of Directors member and Organization & Bylaws Chair.

  1. What drew you to the Board?

I have been serving on YALSA committees since 2008, mostly on the process side, and I love seeing how the organization runs. I like thinking strategically and figuring out how YALSA can best help members. For years I had been saying that I would nominate myself to run for a Board position, but I kept chickening out. I was approached about a year and a half ago and was asked if I would serve as Chair of Organization & Bylaws, a committee that I had served on as a member twice. I love O&B and knew that as Chair I would be an Ex-Officio Board member, meaning I do everything a regular Board member does, I just don’t have a vote. I jumped at the opportunity because I absolutely love the behind the scenes committee work and it was a chance to get over my fear of putting my name on the ballot! The work is so rewarding, and so different from what I do as a school librarian. I have a chance to look at things holistically and organization wide; instead of focusing on the nitty gritty like I do in my small school.

  1. what do you do on the board?

As I mentioned before, I am Chair of Organization & Bylaws, which means we make recommendations on changes to: bylaws, committee functions, committee structure, and the organizational handbook. Basically, O&B helps to ensure that YALSA is running smoothly. We recently had two bylaws revisions put before membership on the March ballot. I am responsible for bringing the work my committee has done to the Board. I also participate in all Board meetings and discussions like a regular member. I try to bring an O&B perspective to the discussions when it is called for. My role as Chair of O&B definitely makes it easier to think about the organization as a whole and look at the big picture.

  1. What the board is doing for its members

Wow! So much is going on right now – it’s a very exciting time! O&B is going to start evaluating committees, juries and task forces to ensure that they are functioning the way they should and, more importantly, to make sure that volunteers are getting what they need out of the work they do for the committees. We are going to pilot the use of eARCs/ebooks for award committees and selected list bloggers. The committees and bloggers will also indicate on all lists/awards whether titles are readily available in languages other than English or in other formats, like Braille or large print. The Board agreed to begin transitioning YALS to an all digital format. These are just a few things that are happening, to see more check out Immediate Past President, Sarah Hill’s blog post.

  1. What’s a teen book you may be reading or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.

I am currently reading Scythe by Neal Shusterman and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.

YALSA @ ALA Annual 2017: Youth Development through Community Engagement

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend ALA Annual 2017 in Chicago last month, where YALSA-sponsored panels and sessions focused on everything from how to run a tech/makerspace to creative ways to engage teens inside the library and out. Regardless of what the specific topic of each panel was, I began noticing a common theme running throughout: the future of teen services lies squarely within the realm of community and civil engagement. Presenters kept returning to this theme of team-based and service driven learning; that teen development is tied to meaningful contributions to both peers and adults, empowering a positive self-image, and fostering a capacity to creatively problem solve. All of this sounds great, but what does this mean for your library, exactly?

Whether your library has a strong history of offering services and program to teens, or is struggling to get teens into your physical space, community engagement is the key to creating lasting meaningful experiences that teens need to develop and become successful adults. YALSA’s Teens First infographic pinpoints areas where library staff can focus their efforts no matter where your community’s teens are to be found. Are there teens in your library space? Utilize their presence to provide volunteer opportunities that impact social or environmental issues close to your teens’ hearts. Teen Advisory Groups are a gold mine of youth development opportunities, as you can harness the creativity and interests of these teens to plan programs that meet a specific community need. Teens will not only be invested in developing the program itself, but will take responsibility for its success and outcomes. In the meantime, teens develop self-worth, a sense of belonging, and ownership as they contribute to the group’s efforts, as well as learning how to effectively communicate their ideas to a larger group of peers. Are you like many libraries where teens are scarce? Team up with your local schools or community organizations to bring opportunities to teens where they are.

Last year, my coworker and I teamed up with the local school library staff to raise awareness about bullying during Anti-Bullying month in October. Teens brainstormed ways to promote a healthy self-image and came up with a riff on the Six Word Memoir. Each student wrote a simple messages about themselves on mini whiteboards and posted the selfies to their various social media profiles. Teens were able to promote a positive message about themselves and get other teens to think about why they were important and worthwhile, too. We encouraged them to tag both their school and the library as a way to demonstrate our involvement with the project. This simple partnership allowed the community’s youth to have a voice about a serious issue by sharing authentic content that they created; it also gave them the opportunity to use their social media platforms to positively impact their peers.

YALSA’s new President, Sandra Hughes-Hassell has also recognized community engagement as the key to bringing teens and youth into successful adulthood. In her recent announcement on the YALSAblog she stated that, as President, her goal is to support library staff to address the unique challenges of their community’s youth by “building teen leadership skills and amplifying their voices.” Over the coming year, she wants to promote YALSA events that aim to encourage and address youth development through community engagement, including One Book, One Community, Teen Tech Week, and more. Keep an eye out for opportunities to get involved with this campaign as the year progresses. In the meantime, If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out YALSA’s recent set of case studies that highlight how various libraries have already begun to think about programming in this way. Remember that this new paradigm shift doesn’t have to mean reinventing the programming/services wheel. Any program can be tweaked to highlight youth development, even if it doesn’t directly include a partnership or whether it takes place inside or out of your own library’s space. It’s just about putting teens first.