Catching Up on Current Research

There’s always lots of interesting research going on in the field. To help you stay current, the Research Committee has compiled a short annotated bibliography of recent and ongoing research that offers a lot of food for thought.

Merga, M. K. (2014). Are Western Australian adolescents keen book readers?. Australian Journal Of Language & Literacy, 37(3), 161-170.

This study examines Western Australian teenagers’ reading habits and attitudes toward reading.

Valdivia, C. & Subramaniam, M. (2014). Connected learning in the public library: an evaluative framework for developing virtual learning spaces for youth. Public Library Quarterly, 33(2). 163-185.

Many youth services librarians aspire to create virtual spaces at their libraries that encourage youth participation, engagement and new media literacy development. This article presents an evaluative framework to aid youth services librarians in achieving this mission of providing informal learning opportunities through virtual spaces. The framework is designed to be used at any point in virtual space development.

Vickery, J.(2014). Youths Teaching Youths. Journal of adolescent & adult literacy (1081-3004), 57 (5), p. 361.

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San Francisco is calling!

ALSA and Baker and Taylor are proud to support the continuing education endeavors of librarians across the country. They offer not one, not two, but three great scholarships to help YALSA members who have never attended ALA Annual the opportunity to do so. And it is a wonderful opportunity. I was lucky enough to win in 2011 and be able to attend Annual in New Orleans. It was a very satisfying experience and allowed me to connect with my teen librarian colleagues and YALSA members in a way I never had via the online environments of list-servs and websites. That one conference gave me the confidence to continue to volunteer for YALSA committees and taskforces, Since 2011, I have had the opportunity to help YALSA’s strategic goals by serving on several different process and selection committees and it has been incredibly rewarding.

The criteria for these grants are pretty simple and available on the website. To paraphrase: you need to be a member of ALA/YALSA, one to ten years experience working with teens (for the Baker and Taylor scholarships only), and you have never attended an ALA Annual conference. For the Broderick scholarship (which is open to MLIS students), you must be currently enrolled in ALA accredited graduate MLIS program. The deadline for applying is December 1. Still not convinced that attending Annual is worth it? Here is what some of the previous years winners have to say.

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Introduction to the YALSA Research Committee

There are tons of committees, task forces and areas to work in YALSA. Everyone knows about the book award committees and some of the major task force, but there are a lot of smaller, less glamorous and flashy committees that are a part of YALSA as well. Did you know that YALSA has a Research Committee? Well, I didn’t either, until I decided to volunteer for YALSA and became a member of the research committee, which I currently chair. So what is the research committee? What exactly do we do?

The Research Committee has actually been around since 1968. The Research Committee’s purpose is “To stimulate, encourage, guide, and direct the research needs of the field of young adult library services, and to regularly compile abstracts, disseminate research findings, update YALSA’s Research Agenda as needed and to liaise with ALA’s Committee on Research & Statistics.”[1] So what does that entail? Well for starters, the Research Committee developed the YALSA National Research Agenda, which helps guide the direction and express needed research to “help guarantee that librarians serving young adults are able to provide the best service possible as well as advocate for funding and support in order to ensure that teens are served effectively by their libraries.”[2] The Research Committee also keeps this document up-to-date, which is one of this year’s current tasks. We are using The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action to ensure that the Research Agenda is up-to-date and on track.

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Fall Appointments Update

Happy Fall!

I just wanted to thank our members for the 537 volunteer committee applications that were submitted and to give everyone an update on the award and selection committee appointments process!

The appointments task force was finalized in October and award and selection committee chairs were selected. The appointments task force and I are still working on filling all of the award and selection committee member vacancies, but rosters should be finalized soon.

Appointing the local arrangements committee for Midwinter 2015 is the next priority.

ALA Appointments: There has been one ALA Appointment call to review the general ALA appointment process. The slate for the nominating committee has not been officially presented, but does include one YALSA member.

ALA President Elect Sari Feldman has put out a call for volunteers for the ALA committees listed below. Please let me know if you are interested in being recommended for any of them. The ALA application form closes this Friday, November 7, 2014.

It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to go through all of your applications. Thank you so much for your dedication to YALSA and to teen library services!

 

You’re Invited to Bring It to YALSA’s 2015 Symposium!

Every day, you find ways to connect teens with the resources they need and want. Now it’s time to share your experiences and ideas with librarians, educators, researchers, young adult authors and other teen advocates at YALSA’s first expanded symposium.

YALSA is currently seeking program proposals and paper presentations for its 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium, Bringing it All Together: Connecting Libraries, Teens & Communities, to be held Nov. 6-8, 2015, in Portland, Ore.

The 2015 theme addresses the key role of connection that librarians have for the teens in their community.

Today’s 21st’ century teens have unique needs and face significant challenges that they cannot deal with successfully on their own. Library staff are uniquely positioned to help teens by not only connecting them to resources in the library and their hometown, but also to resources from affinity communities that thrive online. How can library staff connect with partners, provide programming, enhance collections, and help teens build both print and digital literacy skills so that they can be successful in the future? How can library staff connect with colleagues to form personal learning networks, increase impact and tell their stories? Join YALSA as we explore how to connect teens to their community and beyond.

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Award Committee Reading: the Good, the Bad and the Bleary Eyes

Most librarians, myself included, love to pore over award lists. They are great for enhancing collections, making recommendations and creating displays. Even better is the conversation and dialog created, when a book we love is on (or off!) the list, or, even better when a book we loathe makes the cut. “What were they thinking?!” is a phrase commonly associated with discussions and can inspire volunteering for these committees.

Joining a reading committee is a rewarding task that comes with animated book discussing, gushing and arguing. In short, it is a lot of fun for any book lover. However, it is a lot of work and a big commitment, so it is important to know the rules, requirements and goals of any award committee before officially signing up. Many people volunteer for award committees with the best of intentions, but become quickly overwhelmed with the workload. I am starting on my fourth year of reading for the Rhode Island Teen Book Awards (a local book award) and am currently reading for YALSA’s Morris Award, so here is an overview of what to think about and expect with award committee reading.

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GLBT Round Table News and Resources

Want to find out what the GLBT Round Table is up to and the latest LGBTQA news in general? Sign up for the new GLBTRT News! It’s easy: go to’ http://www.glbtrt.ala.org/news , scroll down, and sign up. You’ll get in-depth news stories, learn more about how the GLBT Round Table works, and gain access to great book reviews! You can even contact the GLBT Round Table News Committee and submit news of your own.
Speaking of great LGBTQA resources, why not also check out the newly updated Professional Tools page‘ to access a whole slew of bibliographies and other resources for librarians. Brought to you by the GLBT Round Table Resources Committee.

Developmental relationships: what are they and why should library staff have them with teens?

For years, library staff working with teens have used the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents‘ to demonstrate how library programs and services can contribute to youth becoming successful adults. Other youth-serving organizations’ also use the language of assets and asset development, so describing library teen services in terms of assets can help align that work with broader community-wide efforts to prepare teens for constructive and fulfilling adult lives.

However, when it comes to the day-to-day interactions individual staff members have with teens, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what assets are being built, and how best to guide staff to be more intentional about fostering positive youth development.

The Search Institute has created a new framework which can help staff internalize practices that contribute to youth success — and benefit adults, too! The Institute defines a developmental relationship as “a close connection between a young person and an adult or between a young person and a peer that powerfully and positively shapes the young person’s identity.” Developmental relationships involve expressing care, challenging growth, providing support, sharing power, and expanding possibilities.The complete framework, including 20 specific actions and more background, is available at the Institute’s website.

Sara Ryan for the Administrator Resources Taskforce

YALSA Board Fellow Program

My term as YALSA Board Fellow began on the last day of ALA conference 2014 when I, among others, was officially welcomed on the board. It was a hot and humid day in Las Vegas, yet a happy one filled with conference goers walking briskly to their desired programs/meetings, going back to their hotel with stacks of books, or preparing to head back home.

Since then, I’ve met with my board assigned mentor to brainstorm project ideas and get feedback on board ethics, as well as actively participated in board duties that include:

  • Meeting with the committee chairs to which I am a board liaison to discuss their roles and provide initial support towards managing their committees
  • Participating in discussion around the member recruitment standing committee
  • Attending a couple of board related conference calls and meetings
  • Sending personalized welcome greetings to new YALSA members
  • Brainstorming and beginning my diversity related YALSA project

No doubt it all seems like quite a bit of work in just two months. But my experience has already been so great and fulfilling wrapped with lots of support from Executive Director, Beth and the board members.

In addition to grasping new skills and strengthening others, considering YALSA new report Future of Library Services for and with Teens, I’ve been able to contribute my knowledge and time to YALSA’s great mission to “expand and strengthen library services for teens, aged 12-18.” I am glad to be a part of this team that make a difference in the lives of teens everywhere via impactful decisions that give YA services professionals the tools and resources to help teens access college information, access to technology, written resources, recreational activities, safe library environments, among other things.

I am so grateful to have been selected as the Board Fellow this year and plan to continue to use my time to advocate for teens through YALSA.

The new application period is underway and closes on December 1st. Here’s a link to the application http://www.ala.org/yalsa/awardsandgrants/yalsa_fellows_program, and I’m very happy to answer any questions you may have about YALSA or the Board Fellow program. Feel free to email me at nicolamcdonaldwriter@gmail.com and follow @YALSA and me @nicolalmcdonald on Twitter for the latest YALSA updates.

I hope you’ll consider applying for this great opportunity!

Strategic Planning: Member Survey Closes Tomorrow

As you’ve no doubt heard, YALSA is currently conducting a survey to get member input on the next strategic plan. If you want to share your opinions with the Strategic Planning Task Force and YALSA’s Board of Directors, now is the time! Tomorrow (Wednesday, September 17) is the last day to fill out the 2014 member survey.

We can’t develop a strong strategic plan without hearing from as much of our membership as possible. Help YALSA help you by completing the survey online today. If you’ve already filled it out, take a moment to remind your YALSA peers to follow your awesome example by sharing the link with your network via email or social media.

And don’t forget, if you choose, you can enter your email address at the end of the survey for a chance to win a free teens and technology training kit (a $199 value).

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us!

The YALSA Strategic Planning Task Force