Great Graphic Novels for Teens: It’s (Almost) a Wrap!

img_20161124_2305191As we near the winter holidays, and with Midwinter right around the corner shortly thereafter, the eleven members of the 2017 Great Graphic Novels for Teens committee –led by the effervescent Traci Glass – are in the homestretch and hard at work in our efforts to complete our reading of all nominated titles.

The official nominating period for the 2017 list has come and gone, lasting from February to November of this year, and has yielded a diverse collection of manga and graphic novels intended for teens aged 12 to 18. In all, 22 nonfiction and 122 fiction titles, having been nominated either by our fellow committee members or by members of the public, are now up for consideration for the list, which is due to be released early next year. Counted among those that are up for consideration are reimagined classics, time travel dramas, college slice of life stories, identity stories, and traditional and nontraditional superheroes alike. Some will teach, some will elicit laughs, and others yet will move you deeply; the very best will do a little bit of each.

img_20161126_0106221For some committee members, the list of titles still needing to be read is short and all that essentially remains is the final solicitation of opinions from the teens in our libraries on the 144 titles that made the initial cut. For others, you’ll find us methodically working our way through the piles of novels surrounding us at home or at work, and those occasionally still arriving from the publishers, with hopes to be done by early-to-mid December. Although Midwinter doesn’t occur until the end of January, the committee plans to virtually meet to informally discuss some of the most recent nominations before we sit down together one last time face to face.

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Being a YALSA Board Fellow

During my final year of my PhD program in the School of Information at Florida State University, I decided to take a risk and apply for the YALSA Board Fellows program. Having been out of libraries as a practitioner for a few years, I felt nervous about applying to a program that seemed out of my league. But the risk turned out to be worth it as I began to meet people from a range of backgrounds within YALSA who inspired me to become a better LIS researcher and librarian.

At first, my fellowship seemed daunting. Not only did I add another project on top of my dissertation, but I also immersed myself in a position that required quite a bit of outspokenness and willingness to contribute my own ideas, critiques, and concerns to a well-spoken and passionate group of individuals who made up the Board. This is not an easy task for those who (like me) tend to write instead of speak and find public speaking to be an overwhelming experience. As an introvert, I find it easier to not share my opinions (at least aloud) and to sometimes allow the thoughts and opinions of others to drown out my own. However, by taking on this fellowship, I grew as both as public speaker and critical thinker. I’m still quiet and shy, but I’ve found the smaller discussions and breakout groups that we took part in as a board a less intimidating step towards public speaking.

As part of the fellowship, I conducted a year long project, focusing on a specific project that could be of benefit to the YALSA Board. Figuring out my project took more time and thoughtful reflection than I expected. Having little experience with board work in general, I couldn’t quite see how I could contribute meaningful content to an already functioning and relevant board. Eventually, I settled on a topic: resources the Board could use to build stronger relationships with funders. Through my project work, I dug deeper into how a board functions and the many aspects necessary to nurture the work of a board. This is one of the many reasons that I appreciate my time on the YALSA board. Without this project, I wouldn’t have an awareness of board work and the difficult elements that contribute to a successful board. I hope that as I grow in my career I can continue to offer my services to YALSA either through committee or board work. Knowing that I am offering my skills to a board that has the needs of its members, organization, and profession foremost in its view is exciting and meaningful.

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Committee Appointment Update

I want to thank all of our members who submitted committee and jury volunteer applications. We are lucky to have so many members who want to participate in YALSA!

I am pleased to announce that the following committees and juries have been appointed:

If you submitted an application, you should have received an email from me inviting you to be on a committee or an email letting you know that we were unable to find a spot for you this cycle.

If you received one of the latter emails, I know it can be frustrating, but please don’t be discouraged and please try again. There were just not enough slots for the number of applications we received.  For example, we received 75 applications for the Morris Award and I could only appoint nine members to the committee.  Similarly, we received 70 applications for the 28 jury positions.

Be on the lookout for a call for volunteers for a number of additional committees that will come out in early December.  The best way to find out about those is via the monthly YALSA E-News that’s delivered to you via email or by subscribing to the YALSA Blog.

You may also want to check out this free, 16 minute webinar about how to get involved in YALSA, which includes a variety of opportunities besides committee service:

Thank you again for your interest and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions or would like to explore other options for getting involved in YALSA.

Best, Sandra


ALA Emerging Leaders

The ALA Emerging Leaders program is a leadership development program which enables newer library workers from across the country to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity. It puts participants on the fast track to ALA committee volunteerism as well as other professional library-related organizations.

I was incredibly blessed to have been selected as a 2015 ALA Emerging Leader. I was even more fortunate to have been sponsored by YALSA. My opportunity and experience as an Emerging Leader would not have been possible were it not for YALSA. The learning, networking, and enriching opportunity was one of the best of my life. After my Emerging Leaders experience I ran for ALA Council and I was elected, despite being a new librarian. Being a Councilor-at-Large is a great responsibility as I was elected to not only represent the interests, views, and needs of my fellow librarians and their libraries, but that of their patrons.

Since finishing my Emerging Leaders experience, I continue to work with young adults through selection of YA material, graphic novels, and participating in programs related to tweens and teens. When in doubt, I know that I can rely on the great resources YALSA has available to members and the public.

I am grateful to YALSA and ALA for all the help they have provided to my development, for opportunities afford me through the help of both, and the connections I have made by participating in conferences and programs.

Thank you, YALSA!

Johana Orellana is the Adult Services Librarian at North Richland Hills Library. She is an ALA Councilor-at-Large and a member of the APALA Mentoring Committee.

YALSA Offers Baker & Taylor Collection Development Grant

Do you wish there was extra money to buy more items for your library’s teen section? Are your teens wishing they had a larger selection of materials at their public library? Then this might be your lucky day! The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is now accepting applications for the Baker & Taylor/YALSA Collection Development Grant. The $1,000 grant, made possible by Baker & Taylor, will be awarded to up to two YALSA members to be used to support the purchase of new materials to support collection development in public libraries. The grant is also designed to recognize the excellent work of those YALSA members working directly with young adults ages 12-18 in a public library.
The committee is looking for proposals that present innovative ideas on how to expand young adult collections. Applicants will be judged on the basis of the degree of need for additional materials for young adults in their library, the degree of their current collection’s use, and the benefits this grant will bring to young adults. Other criteria, grant information and the application form can be found on the YALSA Awards and Grants website, Applications must be submitted online no later than December 1, 2016.
Sara Ray, Teen Services Librarian, and B&T Collection Development Grant Chair is excited to offer this opportunity to YALSA members.

A Little Note of Welcome

I think most of us who’ve been members of YALSA for a while, might not remember getting a note of welcome from a YALSA Board Member.  I vaguely remember getting one; I’ve gotten a few thank you notes from the Friends of YALSA over the years too. So when I became a Board member this year, one of our duties is to write a welcome notes to new members. When I was younger, writing notes to family and friends was something I did diligently around every holiday or birthday.  I remember writing to friends during my early days in college too, some lengthy missives.  So the opportunity to write letters to new members was so thrilling.  So when I got my list of new members, a process that is divvied up between all the board members, I was delighted.  I had received my package of note cards and envelopes and stamps from Letitia from the YALSA office and I was ready to go.  So with my first list in hand and all my writing gear, I sat down at the children’s reference desk one evening at my library ready to write a note of welcome, imparting all my excitement and wonderful opportunities that lay ahead for them as new members of YALSA.

I begin writing my first note, telling the new member about all the different ways they can get involved and how they are part of the best division in ALA, about all the different ways they can find out what’s going on in the division.  After imparting all this information I realize my handwriting has become so bad over the years. Who is going to be able read a single word I’ve written?  I sat there in utter disbelief!  When did my handwriting become so horrible?  Then I began to ponder, when was the last time I actually wrote more than just a few words.  When was the last time had I written a letter? When I was a member of the Financial Advancement committee, I would send thank you notes.  And thank you notes are nice, but they were short and sweet and I always followed them up with an e-mail so members would have something for the tax records.  So I started to really think about when had I written any lengthy?  When I was in college e-mail was just getting going, and as my friends could attest I wasn’t a big fan of texting.  But twenty years later I mostly text and I’m always sending e-mails. There was a time when I would write out drafts of policies on paper then type them on the computer, but now I just type straight into computer.  I’ve even gotten bad at sending cards on birthday’s and holidays and it’s been quite a while since I sat down an wrote a letter to anyone in my family.

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YALSA Executive Committee Report

Two weekends ago the YALSA Executive Committee met in Pittsburgh simultaneously with the YALSA Symposium. During a marathon Saturday meeting, the members of the Executive Committee (President Sarah Hill, who led the meeting; President-Elect Sandra Hughes-Hassell; Immediate Past President Candice Mack; Fiscal Officer Nick Buron; Secretary Crystle Martin; yours truly YALSA Division Councilor Todd Krueger; and Executive Director Beth Yoke) discussed many matters affecting the division.

One of the things that we discussed at length was making sure that the youth divisions (AASL, ALSC and YALSA) are well-represented in ALA governance, i.e. ALA Council and the ALA Executive Board. Because there are a number of YALSA members running for ALA Council this coming spring, we have high hopes that there will be more representation from members of youth divisions on ALA Council in the coming years. When the ballot arrives, be sure to access and check out the YALSA members running for Council. As the Division Councilor, I will be working with my companion Councilors in ALSC and AASL to make this objective a reality. It is a benefit to YALSA to have former president Jack Martin serving on the ALA Nominating Committee for 2017, which puts forward nominees for ALA President and Council for the following year. If you are interested in either of these positions, please contact me or Jack for more information.

A discussion about the future of ALA conferences and the ALA committee that is determining the scope and size of the conferences followed. Due to the way that YALSA has scheduled its meetings to avoid conflicts, any changes to future ALA conferences will likely not affect YALSA or its members in a negative way.

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Support YALSA Members This #GivingTuesday

foy-infographicEvery #GivingTuesday (this year it is Tuesday, November 29) I give to organizations and causes that have an impact on my community. This year I am giving to Friends of YALSA to support my colleagues serving teens in public and school libraries to recognize their hard work and give them the helping hand they need to become leaders in their community and in YALSA. Not a day goes by that I don’t see a story about a YALSA member doing something innovative, reaching a new audience, and putting teens first. I am grateful that I get to be part of an organization of passionate librarians, and I want to make sure that my colleagues in YALSA have the tools they need to keep moving forward into the future.

All Friends of YALSA donations go directly to members in the form of $14,095 worth of annual grants, scholarships and awards for members.  These honor the hard work and significant contributions members give to YALSA (Volunteer of the Year Award, and Writing Award), to support their advocacy for teens (National Library Legislative Day travel grants), and to build their leadership skills (Board Fellow, Spectrum Scholar and Emerging Leader). As we near Thanksgiving, and you consider what you are grateful for, remember the helping hands that got you to where you are today, and consider donating to Friends of YALSA to help share these wonderful opportunities with your fellow YALSA members.

Donate here. Click on Divisions and then YALSA.

Kate McNair is a YALSA Board Member and has been a Friend of YALSA since 2012.

P.S. Many of the member grants and awards supported by Friends of YALSA have an application deadline of Dec. 1st!

YALSA Symposium 2016: Empowering Teens, Empowering Library Staff

A little over a week ago, I packed my bags for the 2016 YALSA Symposium. It wasn’t easy to rip myself away from the Cubs euphoria raging in my hometown of Chicago, but I was excited to share a weekend with people who were passionate about something even more important: serving young adults in the library. The Symposium theme was Empowering Teens, and there was lots of discussion about ways to fostering teen ideas, talent, and leadership in our libraries. Letting teens take charge may feel like extra work, but the benefit to them is worth every bit of effort.


Teen Library Team, assemble!

Teen Library Team, assemble!

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Follow-up from the Nov. 16 Town Hall on Supporting Youth during Difficult Times

Yesterday over 40 YALSA members met online during the YALSA virtual town hall to discuss ways that we can support youth in our community during turbulent times.  The outcome of the recent election has caused many young people to feel anxious and uncertain about the future of their rights and of our country, and we know that many incidents of bullying, hazing, harassment, and hate crimes have been reported in the past week. Because of this, the focus of the town hall was changed to focus on what we can do create safe spaces for our youth, how to create empathy, and how to empower teens to promote positive change in our community.

Why do need to offer these types of services to our youth? Because it’s our job.  Last year, the YALSA Board approved a document called Core Professional Values for the Teen Services Profession that focuses on nine core values that define professionalism for those who work for and with teens through libraries. Three of those nine are compassion, inclusion, and social responsibility–values that have been extremely important in the past few weeks.

YALSA has created a list of resources on this topic–Supporting Youth in the Post-2016 Election Climate.  We hope that you will find the information useful and share it widely with colleagues and co-workers.  In addition, ALA has created a Libraries Respond web page with further resources.  If you weren’t able to participate in the town hall, you can listen to the audio recordingread through the comments that were posted in the chat, and check out the tweets with the hashtag #yalsachat.  Many members shared what they are doing inside and outside of their libraries, and it was also great to hear what people were thinking about doing in the future.  As a result of the town hall, a YALSA Interest Group hopefully will soon be forming around ideas to help teens understand and empathize with our changing world, as well as to empower them to advocate for change in a positive manner.  Look for more information on that coming soon.  Also, if you’re interested in this topic, watch your YALSA eNews for information about the January YALSA webinar led by Renee Hill on the topic of helping youth recognize their ability to engage in social justice and equity activities.

Yesterday’s conversation was energizing and hopeful–thank you all for caring for the teens in your community!