Torchlight Lullaby and the Midwinter Wiki

Torchlight Lullaby

By Ryan Fisher

White Rabbit Comics, 2016

ISBN: 9780989026222

How is a Seattle-based graphic novelist related to ALA and the YALSA Midwinter Wiki? This is a story of resourcefulness.

The Pacific Northwest is home to a multitude of creative endeavors, but my personal brush with it comes in the form of a relationship built almost two decades ago. Once upon a time, I taught high school Marketing as well as Forensics (speech and debate, not dead bodies) classes.   Ryan Fisher was one of my students who,incidentally, was invited to Artist’s Alley at the 2017 ALA Conference in Chicago.

Three things about Ryan stand out:

  • He’s a  Seattle author/artist (the connection to the location is starting to coalesce)
  • The themes of his book Torchlight Lullaby resonate with our teens who have survived trauma (the connection to our work at YALSA is becoming more apparent)
  • He availed himself of the RESOURCES around him (and BOOM the main point of this posting)

Ryan has had to be resilient.  Nothing has been handed to him. His success is the result of building relationships with a network of people who can connect him to needed resources. I got to be one of those resources.  Even after he graduated from high school, we continued communicating about his ideas and how he might go about making the world a better place through his writing. After creating two successful webcomics, he focused his energy on creating Torchlight Lullaby. I display his graphic novel with pride in my school library, since it represents the fulfillment of a dream of a former graduate. Want a copy? They are tough to come by.  Without the backing of a publisher and marketing team, Ryan promoted his self-published title (which currently enjoys a 4.5 rating on Goodreads) and sold out of the first run.  While he is waiting for a larger publisher to pick up a second run, he’s working on The Night Crew, a new trilogy of graphic novels featuring teens that he describes as a drama/mystery.

The use of available resources makes for a much more successful and satisfying venture. As the date for Midwinter approaches, YALSA members have a great resource for discovering some of the exciting things that will be happening at the conference as well as some fabulous sights to see and restaurants to visit. For the past couple of weeks, the members of the Midwinter Marketing and Local Arrangements Task Force have been updating the Midwinter Wiki. Want to know if your favorite book won an award? Check out the wiki to find out when the awards session will be occurring. Questions about how much it costs to hop a bus or Light Rail? Look it up in the Getting Around section of the wiki. Is your mouth watering for the best vegan restaurants in the Seattle area? You guessed it, there’s a section for that on the wiki. YALSA members are some of the most welcoming, fun members of any professional organization of which I have been a part. We hope this resource will enhance your experience with YALSA and make your stay in Seattle memorable.

Jodi Kruse is a Teacher Librarian at R.A. Long High School.

 

An Academic Librarian Crashes YALSA’s Symposium

This weekend, I ventured to Salt Lake City, Utah to hang out with YA librarian crowd and I was not disappointed. Why would an academic librarian want to attend a conference geared toward YA librarians? Well, because I am the Education and Teaching Librarian at my university and a large percentage of my collection supports the curriculum for future educators, including children’s and young adult literature classes.

If I am honest, the main reason I registered for this symposium was the session Disability in YA: Representing All Teens. As a person with Cerebral Palsy, I have seen many books with token characters or books where the character’s disability seems to be the only interesting thing about them. After listening to this panel, I realized I was not the only one who felt this way. It was great to hear from the authors and librarians on this panel about their own experiences as people with disabilities or loved ones with disabilities. I especially related with author Leigh Burdugo when she talked about her hesitancy to begin using an assistive device, in her case a cane. In my case, a few years ago, crutches. I am excited to explore the world she created in Six of Crows and just as thrilled to see librarians across the country tackle the subject of disability with their teens.

I also liked hearing from Karen Keys, Coordinator of Young Adult Services in Brooklyn, NY in her session Later Literacy: Engaging Teens in Books and Stories. She argued for the need to focus on teen literacy as much as we do early literacy and I agree! I believe that literacy at all stages and reading helps students develop students’ ability to think critically—something that we all need for “adulting” in general, not to mention academic coursework. So many students come to college unprepared to use these necessary skills. More emphasis on teen literacy and reading broadly can only help. I loved the practical tips in this session for including teens in readers’ advisory. I can see this translating easily to the student workers in my library. I also appreciated Karen’s slightly sarcastic sense of humor, which definitely kept the audience engaged. I loved her statement: “Read, read anything, everything counts, read whatever you like.” It is definitely a mantra to live by.

No post about the YALSA Symposium would be complete without mentioning the craziness that is Book Blitz. This is the librarian equivalent of Black Friday.  A few hundred librarians with four tickets each, twenty-seven top YA authors–a book signing free for all. Being a first-time attendee with limited luggage space, I found my four books and got out of there! I traded my tickets for signed books from Shane Burcaw, Julie Berry, Brenden Keily, and Vince Vawter, and who doesn’t love meeting authors?

I came away with something useful from each session I attended. For me, the most fun at the symposium were the dine-around dinners. It was simple to sign up and be able to go out with a group. I want to be more involved with YALSA and this gave me a chance to informally network. I met a few people that I hope will become good friends. Since most of the day was spent in sessions, I liked being able to explore the local restaurant options in the evenings. By the way, if you are ever in Salt Lake, I recommend Café Molise—the Crème Brule is amazing!

Rebecca Weber is an Assistant Professor of the Education and Teaching Library at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

YALSA’s 2018 YA Services Symposium: Salt Lake City Travel Tips & Recommendations

Attending YALSA’s YA Services Symposium in Salt Lake City next week? Here are some tips to help you enjoy your visit to Salt Lake City.

Transportation

If you don’t want to wait for the Sheraton Hotel’s shuttle, you can always take TRAX for $2.50 one way. From Terminal One, take the Green Line to the Courthouse Station. Depart and head south on S Main St. Turn right onto 500 S. And speaking of TRAX, you can ride free inside the city limits when you ride in the free fare zone.

Want alternative means of transportation? Check out Lime Scooters and Bird Scooters. Email Nichole O’Connor (noconnor@ala.org) for a Lime Scooter promo code. For bicycle enthusiasts, check out Green Bikes.

Dining Around

If you are looking to have dinner with a group at the Symposium, YALSA has dine arounds scheduled for Gracie’s and Caffé Molise on Friday and Saturday nights. You can sign up near registration.

Or, ask other attendees and start your own dine around. Salt Lake City offers a variety of eating options. Check out some recommendations below.

Italian
If Italian fare is your thing, check out Tony Caputo’s Deli, Valter’s Osteria, Maxwell’s East Coast Eatery, Settebello  and Caffé Molise. Mexican restaurants include Alamexo, and Chile-Tepin. Spanish style cuisine can be found at Finca. For Mediterranean street food try Spitz.

American/New American
Restaurants with American and New American menus include the Market Street Grill, Red Rock Brewing Co., Squatter’s Pub, The Copper Onion, Tin Angel Café and Whiskey Street.

Vegetarian and Vegan
Vertical Diner and Zest Kitchen and Bar.

Casual Dining
Try Mollie and Ollie, Robin’s Nest, Pretty Bird, R&R BBQ and J-Dawgs.

Sushi
Sushi anyone? Try Itto Sushi and Takashi.

Other favorites include Bodega (Bar), Bruges Waffles and Frites (Belgian), Gracie’s (Gastropub), Himalayan Kitchen, The Melting Pot (Fondue), The Pie (Pizza Delivery), P.F. Chang’s (Chinese) and The Rose Establishment (Café).

Around Town

Ever see Ken Sanders on Antiques Roadshow? Well here’s your chance to visit his store, Ken Sanders Rare Books, just two blocks east of a TRAX station. And check out City Creek Center for some major retail therapy.

Along with the Clark Planetarium, Leonardo Museum, Natural History Museum of Utah, and the City Library, Salt Lake City is home to Temple Square and the Mormon Tabernacle choir. Arriving Thursday night? Choir rehearsals are open to the public every Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30pm in the Tabernacle.

Want to jazz up your Friday night? Attend a Utah Jazz basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies beginning at 7:00pm.

Get Away for a Day

If Utah’s five National Parks are too far away, there are a number of places worth visiting within an hour or two drive from Salt Lake City. Do some hiking and experience wildlife on Antelope Island, a State Park 41 miles north of Salt Lake City. There is a $10 per vehicle entrance fee.

Approximately 40 miles east of Salt Lake City, Park City is known for skiing, the Sundance Film Festival and is home to the Utah Olympic Park. The Park hosted five events during the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games. About 30 minutes from Park City is Midway, home to the Homestead Crater, a geothermal spring, hidden within a 55-foot tall, beehive-shaped limestone rock.

Spiral Jetty, a work of art, is located a little over 100 miles north of Salt Lake City on the Great Salt Lake. While up north, take a visit to the Golden Spike National Historic Site located at Promontory Point. May 10, 2019 will mark the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.

Learn more about the programs and events taking place at the YA Services Symposium at www.ala.org/yalsa/yasymposium.

Margaret A. Edwards Award Celebration Update

Late in August, the YALSA Board voted to approve Board Document 33. For a two-year pilot period, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Celebration will be moved from its current iteration as an event at the Annual Conference to the YALSA Symposium, beginning at the November, 2019 Symposium in Memphis, TN.

The Margaret A. Edwards Award, established in 1988, honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. The annual award is administered by YALSA and sponsored by School Library Journal magazine. It recognizes an author’s work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world. The Edwards award celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2018.

The rationale for this change is outlined in Board Document 33. By moving the Edwards Celebration from Annual to the YALSA Symposium, we believe that there will be a greater focus on the accomplishment made by the winner of the prestigious award. Having the Edwards Celebration among so many other options at the Annual Conference can create difficulties for those wanting to attend but unable, whether due to timing or cost of multiple ticketed events. Another benefit to moving the Edwards Celebration to the Symposium is the addition of the Member Awards to this event. We would like to highlight the significant accomplishments of members and invite them to be celebrated in an appropriate venue. We have received the endorsement of School Library Journal in piloting the changes to the event.

Related to this, back in February, the YALSA Board had approved a proposal to eliminate the requirement for an author to accept the Edwards Award in person as a condition of the award. School Library Journal also endorsed this change.

A group will be formed in the coming months to explore the best ways to enact these changes and plan an event befitting the Edwards and Member Awards recipients.

Thanks!

Todd Krueger

YALSA President-Elect

YALSA President’s Program: Supporting Youth Activism in Your Library

Each year the YALSA president’s program serves a two-fold purpose: it is a membership meeting providing members with updates and highlighting YALSA’s accomplishments for the year under the leadership of its president, and it includes a session encompassing the theme the YALSA president has selected for the year.

During the membership meeting, YALSA President Sandra Hughes-Hassell, shared a long list of work put forth by YALSA this past year, much of which centered around equity, diversity and inclusion.

Some of the resources you can find through the YALSA website or created by YALSA around equity, diversity, and inclusion include:

During the panel presentation aligned with Sandra Hughes-Hassell’s theme of Youth Activism through Community Engagement, speakers presented on the social justice work being done for and with teens at their libraries. Presenters included Gabbie Barnes, YOUmedia Manager and Teen Services Librarian at Hartford Public Library (CT), Jose Cruz, Middle School Services Librarian at Oak Park Public Library (IL), and Julie Stivers, School Librarian at Mount Vernon Middle School (NC).

One of the projects that Gabbie highlighted was the teen-led “Tell ‘Em Why You Mad” unconference led by YOUmedia Hartford teens in partnership with Grow Hartford Youth Program and COMPASS Youth Peacebuilders. The teens heavily utilized the Black Panther’s 10-point plan. As Gabbie notes, “I’m most proud of the hard work that the teens who organized the event put forth. I’m proud of their desire to honor their elders with the 10-point plan. I’m proud that we were able to support their ideas and their goals with funds, space, and resources.”

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Be YALSA’s Next Rep to the International Federation of Library Associations

YALSA is seeking personal members who are interested in representing YALSA on the following:

  1. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ (IFLA) Section on Libraries for Children & Young Adults
  2. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ (IFLA) Section on Literacy & Reading

One representative for each section will be selected by the ALA Executive Board and recommended to IFLA to serve a four-year term from 2019-2023.  YALSA personal members who are interested in representing YALSA on either section must submit their resumes to YALSA at yalsa@ala.org no later than September 1, 2018.  Please be sure to put IFLA Applicant in the subject line and in your email message indicate what section you’re interested in serving on.

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ALA 2018 Annual Recap from a First-Time Attendee

Image courtesy of ALA 2018 Annual

Last month, I went to my first ALA Annual Convention. As a MMLIS graduate student at the University of Southern California, attending ALA Annual in New Orleans was an opportunity to meet fellow students, network with current librarians and library staff, and to learn more about how I can participate as a new member of ALA in the various divisions, roundtables, and chapters.

The ALA Annual Convention is a wonderful experience where you meet people with the same interest and same enthusiasm for books, advocacy, learning, and desire to help. The conference ran from June 21, 2018 through June 26, 2018, with the official opening general session on Friday, June 22nd.  The Opening General Session speaker was Former First Lady Michelle Obama! The line to be able to attend Mrs. Obama’s talk, led by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, started at 7:30am that morning though Mrs. Obama would not speak until 4:00pm that afternoon.  As a first-time attendee, I will admit to being daunted by the impressive line that formed, but ALA had it all under control. They had more than enough room to accommodate everyone.  What a way to kick off the convention!  Listening to Michelle Obama and Carla Hayden in conversation was a memorable experience. Not to mention listening to Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews perform with talented students from the Trombone Shorty Foundation beforehand.
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Teens participate in BFYA Teen Feedback Session @ ALA Annual

A group of teens from the New Orleans area participated in YALSA’S Best Fiction for Young Adults Teen Feedback Session during the ALA Annual Conference. They each read at least three books from this year’s list of BFYA nominations so far. The teens provided the BFYA blogging team with valuable insight about the “teen appeal” of the books. To reward the teens for their hard work and participation, YALSA generously provided them each with a pass to visit the exhibits and collect as many free books as they could carry! After visiting the exhibit hall, teens enjoyed a pizza lunch with nine popular YA authors. The event was a great success. But don’t take our word for it—here’s what some of the teens told us about their favorite part of the day!

We asked: “What was your favorite part of participating in the conference and what are you reading next?”

“I liked the part where you met the authors, because you got real insight on what they were thinking when they wrote the books.” –Sabian B.

What Sabian is reading next: What I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee

“I think it was seeing how many people are here and so passionate and [in the feedback session] seeing what books everyone chose to read and how they interpreted them.” –Abigail D.

What Abigail is reading next: “I have no idea, I going to lay them all out and decide!”

“My favorite part was getting to walk around and meet new people.” –Carissa W.

What Carissa is reading next: Dry by Neal Shusterman

“I really liked meeting the authors, because you got to see some aspects of an author’s career. I also thought it was really cool to receive books before they were out!” –Tiyasha C.

What Tiyasha is reading next: Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough or Orphaned by Eliot Schrefer

“The convention was exactly how I imagined heaven. Also, I expected the feedback session to be way more stressful, but it was actually really easy to just talk about the books. It’s so cool that we got the books before the Library of Congress got them!” –Laxmi J.

What Laxmi is reading next: “Well, I read The Schwa Was Here (by Neal Shusterman who I met yesterday!) for school summer reading, and I have to read Chains too, but after that I think I’m going to start Dry.”

This event was truly a team effort and would not have been possible without the collaboration and dedication of many people. Thanks to the teens who participated, the teachers, librarians and parents who prepared teens and arranged for them to come, the authors and publishers who sponsored and participated in the pizza lunch, and the BFYA blogging team for nominating thought-provoking titles and welcoming teen feedback.

Carolyn Vidmar is a Teen Services Librarian at the New Orleans Public Library.

YALSA 301 at ALA Annual 2018!

It’s almost time! ALA Annual is upon us and I’m so looking forward to seeing many of you at the awesome lineup of YALSA events.

It’s an exciting time to be a YALSA member! We’re released the New Teen Services Competencies, written a new report supporting librarians working with teens called Transforming Library Services through CE, and we’ve got so much more on the horizon.

This work could not be completed without the dedication of our members. Many of us volunteer our time to take on leadership roles within the organization. And serving in one is a win-win! YALSA benefits from your experiences and work on a common goal, and you gain leadership, team building, and career building skills.

Join us at our YALSA 301 session at ALA Annual to learn more about how you can take the next step in YALSA. YALSA 301 is on Saturday, June 23 at 9 a.m. in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 214.  

Can’t make it to conference? I encourage you to contact me and the rest of the Board Development Task Force to learn more. Even if you aren’t ready to run for Board right now, we’d love to share the exciting opportunities that are available!

The Board Development Committee is:

Sarah Hill, Chair, gsarahthelibrarian@gmail.com

Audra Caplan, audra.caplan@gmail.com

Frankin Escobedo, escobedo@ci.oceanside.ca.us

Mary Hastler, hastler@hcplonline.org

Sarah Sogigian, sarah@masslibsystem.org

YALSA Board at #alaac18: Book Awards and Lists in Light of #MeToo

The YALSA board will hold a discussion at #alaac18 about YALSA’s book awards and lists in light of #metoo. I have been a member of the Printz, Odyssey, and Alex Award committees and am bringing this topic to the YALSA board for discussion and possible action.

The #MeToo movement exploded in Fall 2017, when women and some men collectively began to speak out against abusers and harassers. The movement carried over to the young adult publishing world in February 2018 via an article in School Library Journal that led to hundreds of comments to the article indicating certain authors and publisher representatives as harassers or abusers.

YALSA and its board extend their compassion to those harmed by abusers and harassers and commends those for speaking up, while at the same time also extending support to those who were also harmed but remain silent.
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