COVID-19 : Guide to Handling Materials

Hi everyone,

Many of us have received questions about how, in this time of extreme uncertainty as the pandemic continues, are we going to work through the important topic of lending materials in school and public libraries. While we have e-materials that can be safely circulated by our users, the bulk of most collections in school and public libraries remains physical, tangible items.

The Maryland State Library Resource Center and Enoch Pratt Free Library (Baltimore) have put together a Guide to Handling Materials during COVID-19. This document, as stated, outlines the safest practices known as of March 27, 2020.  It includes references and links to associated information.

Another notable article from American Libraries, “How to Sanitize Materials in a Pandemic” (also dated March 27, 2020), similarly outlines suggestions for handling library materials.

This quote from Jacob Nadal, Director for Preservation at the Library of Congress is included in the first document, and indicates that there are still many unknowns about the viability of the virus on various library materials:

“There are no studies that specifically answer the question of how transmissible COVID19 might be from the most common library materials – for example coated and uncoated paper, bookcloth, or polyester book jackets. Quarantine of materials for 72 or more hours seems to be the safest course.… There is very little research on the effects of medically effective sterilization and sanitization measures on the condition of library materials, another reason to favor quarantine.”

It should be noted that due to the national shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment), items such as gloves should be reserved for medical, health care, and first responders and not purchased or stockpiled by libraries at this time. Use your judgment about how many gloves currently on hand at your school or library would be needed for the safe handling of library materials, and if  large amounts of unopened boxes of gloves could be donated to more pressing needs in your community.

Thank you for your continuing work for and with both teens and everyone within your service populations,

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

COVID-19 : While your library and/or school is physically closed

Hi everyone,

Thank you for your continued commitment to your work for and with teens in libraries, as we all adjust to these unique circumstances. I’ve received a number of questions about what YALSA members and others who work for and with teens can do to help during the shutdown of many schools and libraries, coupled with social distancing mandates. Obviously, this doesn’t allow us to connect directly with the teens we serve, but give thought to the many venues our 21st century technology affords us. At this time, what we can do for teens will require us to consider more indirect support than what many of us are used to providing. Advocate with administrators to ensure that any online programming that your school or library posts includes teens and the needs they have. Be mindful that most teens are not used to being away from their friends, and conversely are spending an unexpected amount of time with their nuclear families. Parents and guardians, too, are trying to figure this out as they go along.

Of course, not all teens are privileged, and we should remain cognizant of our most vulnerable populations and those who face the greatest challenges. Serving those teens at this time is more difficult than ever before. Using the online tools afforded us by our partner community and government organizations, we can consider this a time to recognize what holes in the safety net exist, and how we can better approach these problems both now and when a semblance of normalcy returns.

Many of us have turned, by choice or necessity, to online forums and tools to stay connected with our students, colleagues, fellow committee and task force members, and our families and friends. As time permits in our lives turned upside-down, I’ve provided a list below of items produced by YALSA to keep us engaged with our work and if nothing else, a needed break (as appropriate) from the pandemic coverage. While some of this may appear to be basic, we’re all getting our footing again, and ensuring a strong foundation will help us all as we move forward.

Please note: I am aware that not everyone has the time or energy at this time to devote to continuing education opportunities or ideas of how to prepare themselves for when schools and libraries reopen. Others are not being paid, and I am not recommending that you work for free. Do whatever works for your situation; caring for your own needs is critical.

  • This is a good time to review some of the basic tenets of YALSA membership and the best practices of teen services in libraries. Have you read through the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff recently? This is a bedrock document, which also has free webinars associated that discuss each of the ten competencies. Watching them may provide you with areas to think about improving personally or institutionally, and, depending on your workplace, may count as continuing education credit. Similarly, our recently adopted EDI Statement and EDI Plan are core elements to everything YALSA does. Think about how they may apply in your own setting. Make a list of thoughts to share about how your school or library can strive to eliminate inequities and encourage more inclusive practices.
  • One of the ongoing concerns of those of us who work with teens is the lack of media literacy that has plagued us in the Information Age and as social media has proliferated. The Teen Literacies Toolkit focuses on media literacy, and now would be a great time to review that document and provide library staff with ways to help teens navigate their world and the data they’re consuming. For more information on the current state of media literacy, I recommend the National Association for Media Literacy Education’s 2019 report.
  • What programming will teens want when they return to the schools and libraries that serve them? The Teen Programming HQ is a good start to think about potential programs that are current and have proven to be popular. This could be a chance to look into the many making and crafting opportunities for teens that are available online, as either active or passive programs. If you are able to stay in contact with your Teen Advisory Group/Board, ask for their input. List programs or ideas and poll teens for their favorites. This is a terrific time to be creative, as everyone, teens and adults alike, is in the process of figuring things out.
  • Think about the options that you have for keeping up-to-date on YALSA’s awards and selection lists. Read or listen to that book you’ve always meant to, or the one you overheard teens discussing recently. If you don’t have the opportunity to check out ebook or e-audiobook versions, you may want to browse professional and individual’s reviews online. Keeping up-to-date with what teens are reading and listening to, along with their other interests, can allow you to make connections that may not occur otherwise. Pay special attention to the Teens’ Top Ten list, which are voted on by teens themselves. If possible, share your own reviews or book talks online using your institution’s social media accounts.

I hope some or all of these ideas are helpful in answering the questions I have received. There are many, many more opportunities to stay relevant and keep on top of our teens’ ever-changing circumstances. Again, I appreciate your continued work for and with teens, whether in person or virtually!

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

2020 YALSA Election: An Interview with Board of Directors Candidate Joel Shoemaker

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2020 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 9 through April 1. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out a sample ballot!

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board members are responsible for jointly determining YALSA’s current and future programs, policies, and serving as liaisons to YALSA’s committees, juries, taskforces and advisory boards. Members work year round, and attend in-person meetings at ALA’s Midwinter and Annual Conferences. A full description of Board member duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Joel Shoemaker, Director, Illinois Prairie District Public Library

What best qualifies you for being on the Board of Directors?
I suppose what best qualifies me is both my experience serving teens in rural communities as well as my administrative experience. I also have experience with governance which should support my role on the board of directors well. Finally, my enthusiasm for serving our teens and my desire to continue to best meet their needs in the library setting shouldn’t set me apart from other fine candidates, but absolutely can be considered a qualifying attribute for the position.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA if elected to this position?
In addition to the mission of YALSA being to support library staff, the mission extends to putting teens on a path to success. I love that. As a former school librarian, I find this mission very appropriate. I want to do what I can, given my experience in rural settings to ensure that those in smaller libraries do not feel left out of this crucial mission. YALSA should work to extend its reach and market better to those of us with small staff and multiple responsibilities, even down to the one-person operation. All of us are serving teens. None of us need to feel alone in this important work.

What would be the most exciting aspect of this position? The most challenging?
An exciting aspect of this position, for me, would be to further YALSA’s reach, as indicated above. This acts as a sort of dual answer because it would indeed be a challenge as well. I’m up for the challenge of figuring it out, however. I will work hard for all of our members, current, former and prospective, with a goal towards increasing membership.

Share a recent example(s) where you made a shift to better focus on the current needs of teens.
Recently, we noticed a desire for more teen gaming after school. Much of this gaming included working with peers and there began to be some patron complaints regarding noise. I informed staff that we wouldn’t want to punish teenagers for coming into the library. That said, we do not have teen rooms in any of our branches at this time. As a result, we were able to move some computers around to make them friendlier for gaming and encouraged teens to use computers that were closer together. It has helped and they seem to enjoy the small updates to our layout. We are continuing to look into how better serve them in our current facilities.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
I think one of the most pressing issues facing YALSA is similar to what is facing ALA in general. I believe the organizations are seeing less and less membership, and less involvement from members across the board. I would like to see YALSA market towards library workers in organizations with smaller budgets and find ways to make itself more attractive and relevant to the types of libraries indicated above.

2020 YASLA Election: An Interview with Board of Directors Candidate Dawn McMillan

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2020 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 9 through April 1. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out a sample ballot!

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board members are responsible for jointly determining YALSA’s current and future programs, policies, and serving as liaisons to YALSA’s committees, juries, taskforces and advisory boards. Members work year round, and attend in-person meetings at ALA’s Midwinter and Annual Conferences. A full description of Board member duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Dawn McMillan, Teen Librarian, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Oakley Branch

What best qualifies you for being on the Board of Directors?
I believe that my experience working with YALSA for over ten years, working as a member of multiple task forces and committees will make me an asset to the YALSA Board.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA if elected to this position?
My priority in furthering the mission of YALSA if elected as a board member would be to make sure that library staff, both professional and paraprofessional, have the resources they need to offer practical, personalized services for the teens they serveTeens with the greatest needs are often overlooked and administrative staff can press Teen Librarians to focus on programming that is not suited to the needs of their teens. By prioritizing the most at risk, greatest need teens as an organization, we can help shift the attitudes of administration and begin to offer targeted services for teens that need them most. 

What would be the most exciting aspect of this position? The most challenging?    
I am most excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Librarians who serve teens and are passionate about creating the best resources for our YALSA community. I love collaborating and working together to find the absolute best service that we can provide.  

Share a recent example(s) where you made a shift to better focus on the current needs of teens.
The youth that I serve primarily come to my public library directly after their school day. After I observed that traditional programming like crafts, games and book clubs were not of interest to these kiddos I took a step back and asked them what they would like from the library. They overwhelmingly stated that they would like to have space where they could talk and hang out with feeling like they needed to be quiet. I adjusted my programming to allow the kids to have music and snacks and unstructured hang out time. I think it has made a real difference in their perception of what a library can be.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
In my opinion, one othe most pressing issues facing YALSA is member engagement. While I know that members take advantage of the webinars, I just feel like there has to be more that we can do to energize the members of our division and be more of an active presence for resources in their professional lives. 

What else would you like voters to know about you?
I’ve been working with teens in public libraries since 2005. My passion for making sure that teens are welcomed and supported within our institutions is at the center of every choice I make within my professional career. I strive to be abreast of new information in terms of adolescent brain development as well as mental health first aid for all youth. I love working in public libraries and am proud of the strides we make to always treat every person who walks through our doors with respect and dignity. 

COVID-19 : ALA Annual Conference canceled

Hi everyone,

As you have likely heard by now, the ALA Annual Conference scheduled for late June in Chicago has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall, along with current ALA President Wanda K. Brown and ALA President-elect Julius C. Jefferson Jr. explain the reasoning in their press release.

Please note that I am investigating the many questions that I have received since the announcement was made late yesterday afternoon. I will update this blog post when I learn more about:

  • Registration and hotel refunds [Edit 3/27/20: On Peak (the company that ALA uses for hotel reservations) is going to cancel all hotel reservations for Annual made through them. They will send an e mail to the attendees. Obviously, if someone booked a room outside of the ALA block (did not use On Peak) they will need to cancel it themselves.]
  • If there will be any virtual component to the conference
  • YALSA programs that were to be presented at the 2020 Annual conference
  • How YALSA award committees will meet (the Board will be working through this in the coming days)
  • the Printz Celebration and honoring the 2020 authors and committee

 

While we are obviously saddened and disappointed that the ALA Annual conference had to be canceled, we are looking to the future and hopes for better days. With that in mind, please consider attending the YALSA Symposium, scheduled for November 6-8 in Reno, Nevada. Sign up to learn more and get updates about the symposium here.

Thanks as always for the work you do for and with teens,

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

 

2020 YALSA Election: An Interview with President-Elect Candidate Kelly Czarnecki

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2020 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 9 through April 1. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out a sample ballot!

The President-Elect serves a three-year term — first as the President-Elect, then as the President during the second year, and finally as the Immediate Past President during the third year. The President-Elect is a member of the Executive Committee alongside the President, Immediate Past President, Division Councilor, Fiscal Officer, Secretary, and Executive Director. The Executive Committee works with its ALA counterpart to build ties between the two organizations and helps with the fiscal oversight of YALSA.  A full description of the President-Elect’s duties and responsibilities can be found here .You can learn more about ALA elections here.

What is your name and current position? Kelly Czarnecki, Teen Loft Manager at ImaginOn

What best qualifies you for being President-Elect?
As an accomplished librarian, I offer a track record of success in developing, implementing, and managing new programs to attract targeted audiences and serve the community. This includes rolling out multiple specialized programs to reach and serve teens for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in North Carolina.

From a leadership perspective, I excel in managing and developing employees, facilitating career advancement opportunities while training them in polices, processes, systems, tools, and customer service protocols.

I feel these skills translate well to the position of President-Elect in leading others and the organization to continuing to be relevant for teens. As a strong advocate on a local level, I will continue to make the needs of teens and library workers known through the organization and the public at large.

Some of the highlights of my involvement with ALA and YALSA include:

  • Serving as a content expert for the YALSA Programming HQ
  • Serving on the YALSA Programming Guidelines Development Task Force
  • Serving on the YALSA Advisory Board
  • Serving on several YALSA committees including Technology, Gaming, and Outreach to YAs with Special Needs
  • Serving a term as an ALA Councilor-At-Large

Being an active member of both ALA and YALSA has helped me to better understand the structure of the organization and give voice to issues that are important in working with teens which will be needed for the President-Elect position.

I am also an employee of a shelter serving families experiencing homelessness. I have worked at a shelter longer than I’ve been a librarian. My work with these non-profit agencies definitely gives me needed insight to challenges that teens face and better prepares me as a President-Elect of YALSA.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
Making sure that we’re including their perspective as much as we can in the decisions that are made and the content delivered. If we’re not getting a lot of participation in the ways that we’re trying to solicit their opinions, then what can we do differently? I’d like to continue to grow opportunities for them to be an active part of YALSA and help drive the agenda—not just give feedback and ideas. Being a part of trainings, online content, writing opportunities, research, and more to share their voices!

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
If I was asked this question before COVID-19, I might have answered differently. I think because so much is in a state of flux right now with quarantines, job loss, and other hardships, we’re going to see shifts in the organization and in the needs of teens in ways that can’t necessarily be predicted, but that we need to anticipate. The mission of supporting library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face is relevant now more than ever. Being a viable resource as the landscape continues to unfold is an area YALSA is very strong in and will continue to do so no matter what the challenge(s) may be.

What else would you like voters to know about you?
That I’m grateful for your support. I thank you for the trust you’ve given me if elected, and I care about how we can make YALSA a better place for you and the teens that we serve.

2020 YALSA Election: An Interview with President-Elect Candidate Franklin Escobedo

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2020 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 9 through April 1. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out a sample ballot!

The President-Elect serves a three-year term — first as the President-Elect, then as the President during the second year, and finally as the Immediate Past President during the third year. The President-Elect is a member of the Executive Committee alongside the President, Immediate Past President, Division Councilor, Fiscal Officer, Secretary, and Executive Director. The Executive Committee works with its ALA counterpart to build ties between the two organizations and helps with the fiscal oversight of YALSA.  A full description of the President-Elect’s duties and responsibilities can be found here .You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Franklin Escobedo, Library Director of the Larkspur Library

What best qualifies you for being President-Elect?
I have been an active member of YALSA for the past twelve years. Serving on committees, juries, selection lists, the Printz Award committee, and serving three years on the YALSA Board. Before running for the Board, I really wanted to learn about our association, and over this time I have seen the association grow and change. While our association has changed in many ways, it’s still focused on serving and supporting our members. 

What do you see as the primary role of the YALSA Board?
I still believe the primary role of the YALSA Board is to speak for the membership. Part of the role is to help guide the association to develop resources and services for our members and those working with teens on a daily basis. The Board’s role is also to oversee the financial health of the association to assist the Executive Director in making decisions that ensure the continued viability of YALSA.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
The concept of “teens first” has been around for few years now. As librarians, it’s a parallel to outcome-based programming. For every decision we make about programming, readers advisory, and professional development, “teens first” is the ultimate outcome. How will the decision impact the teens we serve and how do the decisions we make empower the teens we serve?

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
The most pressing issue is the same one facing ALA itself: member retention. The association cannot work without the support of its members. For many members, we’re paying our own dues without the support of the libraries we work for. YALSA needs to continue to innovate and create resources that our members can use to develop their careers.  

What would be the most exciting aspect of this position? The most challenging?  
The most exciting part for me is the opportunity to lead YALSA and to help guide the future of our association. When I first became involved in YALSA, I was the YALSA liaison for the GLBT-RT (now the Rainbow Roundtable). I did this for four years early in my career. As an observer of the Board, it was always hard to hold back when issues were being debated and decisions were being made. As a member of the Board while serving as Secretary, it was exciting being able to be part of the decision-making process. I loved this part of the work. The most challenging part is anticipating the future and the future needs of our teens. While many of us are currently at home due to the ongoing health crisis, I worry about the immediate future. How can we continue to provide robust services to teens through the online environment and how do we reach teens in the age of information overload? What resources and tools can we provide to our members to help them work with teens via online resources? 

What else would you like voters to know about you?
While I may be a Library Director now, I began my career as a Young Adult Services Librarian. As I always remind colleagues that have moved up in their organizations, we still work with teens. We have the opportunity to help shape the library and library services that impact teens by developing a library-wide “teens first” attitude.

What are you reading? What are you watching?
I’m currently reading a few books: Docile by K.Z Szpara, The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, and The King of Crows by Libba Bray. I’ve just started watching Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. I’m loving it!

YALSA and COVID-19 – A Message from the President

Hi everyone,

As we continue to adjust our lives to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to send a short message of assurance that YALSA continues to support its members during this unprecedented crisis. Our mission states that we support library staff in alleviating challenges that teens face, and this may be the greatest challenge of our time. COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the United States, and as testing ramps up, it is a foregone conclusion that many, many more cases will be diagnosed in the coming days and weeks. Healthy teens and young people, thankfully, seem to be able to weather the virus themselves, but as we know, they also have a tendency to feel invincible. Young people sometimes do not realize the consequences of their actions; in this case, unknowingly spreading the virus throughout the community and to those who are immunocompromised, along with the elderly. These are two populations that have not had the same rate of success dealing with the lethal strain. If you are in communication with teens, please encourage them to stay at home with their families or guardians as they are able. Community spread must be tempered to prevent the virus from wreaking havoc with our lives.

Your YALSA virtual volunteer work is always appreciated; however, during this difficult time, we understand that committee, task force, and/or jury work has taken a backseat to your daily life. While there may be an opportunity to get things done, as many of us now have unexpected “downtime”, the YALSA Board and YALSA staff understand that not every volunteer has the same amount of time or mental energy to devote to these projects. We will continue to assess previously stated deadlines and goals as the days go on.

If you haven’t yet, please read the message from ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall about the ALA response to COVID-19, and check out the #LibrariesRespond information on the ALA site, which also addresses the xenophobia that sadly has already become associated with this outbreak.

The CDC has provided resources to deal with manage anxiety and stress as we work through this uncharted territory. Keeping yourself healthy and uncompromised is of paramount importance.

Something to consider, depending on your current work and life schedule: if you haven’t cast your ALA/YALSA ballot yet, this may be a good chance to do so. Virtual ballots arrived to your email on file with ALA last Monday through Wednesday, March 9-11. The election ends April 1, 2020, at 11:59pm. If you have not received an ALA ballot for the spring election, contact the ALA office for more information.

Edited to add, 12:15pm March 17, 2020: The ALA Executive Board has just released a statement, encouraging all libraries to be closed to the public.

Thank you as always for the work you do for and with teens, and please, stay safe and healthy.

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

Candidates’ Forum 2020 Election

YALSA leadership hosted a candidates forum on Friday, March 6 to hear from ALA President-Elect candidates Patty Wong and Steven Yates, along with candidates for YALSA offices, including President-Elect, Fiscal Officer, and Directors at Large.

ALA President-Elect Candidates

Steven Yates www.voteyatesala.com 

Steven is Assistant Director of the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama. He previously was a school and public librarian. Steven shared his vision for the library community to harness the power of positive passion and ACTT (Advocacy, Cultural competency, Training, and Transparency).

Patty Wong www.votepattywong.com

Patty is city librarian at Santa Monica Public Library. She began her career as a youth librarian and has served 30+ years at public libraries in California. Patty highlighted the need for transparency during this time of change at ALA, changing demographics and equitable access and services, as well as the library community coming together to leverage our influence.

Following the candidates’ brief statements, Steven and Patty answered questions posed by forum attendees. Discussion touched upon resilience of the organization and ability to attract younger membership, SCOE and the proposal to combine youth divisions, as well as advocating for longterm federal funding for libraries.

Next, candidates for YALSA offices introduced themselves and fielded attendee questions.

YALSA President-Elect  Candidates
  • Franklin Escobedo
  • Kelly Czarnecki
Fiscal Officer

Kate Denier

Directors at Large
  • Susannah Goldstein
  • Dawn McMillan
  • Joel Shoemaker (not in attendance)

Click here for a video recording of the forum. View the sample ballot.

The polls for the 2020 ALA election will open at 9:00 a.m. CT on Monday, March 9. Polls will remain open through Wednesday, April 1 at 11:59 p.m. CT.  Check your email for voting URL and information.

Clarification : Outstanding Books for the College Bound

Dear YALSA membership,

Recently, we posted a new Outstanding Books for the College Bound list. In an attempt to get an already delayed list out to the membership and other interested parties in a timely fashion, an incomplete and occasionally inaccurate product was provided. The rushed product did not meet YALSA’s standards of quality, and for that reason, we’ve decided to pull the list until an improved version can be created. We want to get this right, as this list is established every five years.

I want to personally apologize for the confusion. We look forward to providing teens and library staff with a strong, valuable Outstanding Books for the College Bound list.

Thank you,

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