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

Strategic Planning: Your Opinion Matters

Utter the phrase “Strategic Planning” and many of us cringe a little at the daunting process these words imply. YALSA is at the beginning stages of this task and needs your feedback in our member survey. The information you provide will be used to help the YALSA Board of Directors develop the association’s next strategic plan.

Being a member driven organization, your opinion matters! What services, tools, or resources do you need to be best librarian you can be? Are there challenges you are encountering in serving teens and young adults in your library? How can YALSA continue to be relevant to you and the profession? Help us answer these questions and more, by taking a few minutes to answer a few questions in our member survey.

The member survey will be open for just one more week, until September 17, so take time now to complete it. Also, 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).

We look forward to your feedback and your awesome ideas!

The YALSA Strategic Planning Task Force

YALSA Strategic Planning: Member Survey is Open!

In January 2014, YALSA issued the report, The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action, based on a yearlong national forum of research, interviews, and stakeholder discussions. The Call to Action looks at how teens are now using libraries and recommends ways for libraries to provide new and more relevant services to teens, and the report will definitely be a starting point as the YALSA Board of Directors begins to craft the next strategic plan.

For the next step, we are seeking member comments about the services YALSA provides to its members, to librarians working with teens, and to the library world at large. Everything YALSA produces originates with the membership, and your input is vital for the Board to plan for the next direction in teen services.

Please take the opportunity now to add your voice and let the Board know where you see teen services headed, what you need as a teen librarian, and which of the services YALSA provides that you value. Our member survey is now open and will be taking responses until September 17.

As a bonus, 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).

We look forward to hearing from you!

The YALSA Strategic Planning Task Force

Why We Love to Listen: YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

Previously, you learned about what it takes to serve on the Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults committee. Here, some of the current Amazing Audiobooks committee members explain why they love to listen.

Sarah Hashimoto is serving on her first year as a committee member:

I remember listening to The Hunger Games when it first came out on audio in 2008. I was new to audios at the time and was unprepared for how much of an impact they can make. I was listening and gardening when I came to the scene just after Rue has died, when Katniss receives the bread from Rue’s people. It’s such a poignant scene, but the audio version really brought it to life for me. I ended up weeping into my garden gloves, creating a scene of my own!

Continue reading Why We Love to Listen: YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

A Look at YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Committee

Each year after the Midwinter conference, YALSA releases a list of 25-30 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults. The list is the result of hundreds of hours of listening, discussion and debate by the nine-member Amazing Audiobooks committee. The committee also names the top 10 best titles of the year. Committee members generally serve two year terms. We are librarians, professors, and retirees. We work for public libraries, universities, schools, and community colleges. In addition to the nine committee members, we have one extraordinarily hard-working administrative assistant who does not cast votes, but does receive titles and can listen as much as she chooses.

In February, the committee begins gathering possible titles for the next year’s list. We get audiobooks in a number of different ways. First, we make suggestions. Any audiobook published in the last two years with relevance for teens is eligible for the list, so we seek out recent titles. We love to get suggestions from other librarians! If you’d like to nominate a title for Amazing Audiobooks, the form is here. We also receive boxes (and boxes and boxes) of submissions directly from publishers.

Continue reading A Look at YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Committee

District Days 101: How to Get an Elected Official to Your Library

By: Annie Schutte is Director of Libraries and Center for Inquiry at the Maret School in Washington, DC.

It’s August in Washington, DC–four glorious weeks when the nation’s capitol empties out as congressional staffers sneak off for vacation and their bosses head back home to shake hands, kiss babies, and maybe even visit your library. But how do you get an elected to agree to come to an event at your library? Just follow these five easy steps:

1. Remember that elected officials work for you. Members of Congress may spend a lot of time off in Washington, but they’re there to represent you and your library patrons. They get long stretches of time away from DC so that they can connect with their constituents back home. One of the best ways for them to do that is to attend local events, but they’re probably not going to come to yours unless you extend an invitation. So what are you waiting for? Find out who your elected officials are and how to contact their local offices here: http://cqrcengage.com/ala/

Continue reading District Days 101: How to Get an Elected Official to Your Library

YALSA’s 2014 Maker Contest

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By: Amy Boese, Member of’ Makerspace Resources Taskforce

Summer is so full of riches – sunshine and gardens and summer reading programs are all happening fast and furious. So share the wealth!

You can’t send everyone a jar of your grandma’s dilly beans, but you can certainly tell the YALSA world what went down with your latest and greatest making project. Ready to go? You can find all the details here.

Making in the library comes in all shapes and sizes. From basic circuitry and LED-infused clothing, to building bridges out of rubber bands and robots out of toothbrushes, you’re making some amazing things out there in libraryland.

Often for me, the pieces of a great idea comes from a tweet or a fleeting image on Instagram, (I’m forever grateful, paper rollercoaster pioneers!) but filling in the substance of those programs can require more work. The YALSA Maker Contest 2014 wants to pull all the greatest making ideas together so we can send out the details and *everyone* can be more successful.

Plus, you can win fabulous prizes and the accolades of your peers!

To sum up, here are the basic criteria:
– Did you introduce making in your library? (See the Making in the Library Toolkit)
– Were you specifically reaching young adults? (ages 12-18 years)
– Did your program happen this summer? (June-August 2014)
– Did your program demonstrate an innovative approach to engaging teens through making?

You have until Sept. 1, 2014 to submit your application.

I am so excited to see what you’ve made with your summer!

YALSA NEEDS YOU for our Award & Selection Committees! Volunteer Form Deadline is October 1st!

Happy Summer! Hope you are all surviving and thriving as your summer reading programs come to an end this year. Don’t forget to look toward autumn, as YALSA’s Fall Appointments season approaches!

As President-Elect, I’ll be making appointments to the following YALSA committees and taskforces:

*Please note that the PPYA Committee is an all-virtual committee for the coming year. YALSA members with book selection and evaluation experience and who are comfortable working in an online environment with tools like ALA Connect, Google Docs, Skype, etc. should put their names forward for consideration.

Continue reading YALSA NEEDS YOU for our Award & Selection Committees! Volunteer Form Deadline is October 1st!

YA @ ALA: From the Research Committee

Gearing up for the ALA Conference is exciting, especially as a first timer! I just wrapped up my first year working with YALSA as a member of the Research Committee and will be the Research Committee Chair starting in July. So for me, there is certainly no better time to get out, meet people and learn some new tips, tricks and techniques! However, as this first time ALA conference attendee is quickly learning, there are tons of programs to choose from. So what I’ve gathered here is just a sampling of programs that are relevant to Young Adult services that caught my eye.

Book Time!

I am always up for spending time with books or talking books and there are some sessions lined up that look to be interesting.’ Blurring the Lines of Books, presented by Erin Reilly-Sanders from Ohio State University is presenting on books that “blur the lines between media, form, and genre, transcending tradition and setting expectations on edge.” I’ve certainly stumbled across some’ fantastic books that are unique and hard to categorize, so I’m intrigued to learn more!

Continue reading YA @ ALA: From the Research Committee