A Time to Connect: My Experience at the 2020 Virtual YALSA Symposium

The following blog post is written by one of YALSA’s 2020 Symposium Registration Grant student winners, Esperanza Pacheco.

My name is Esperanza Pacheco, and I am the Assistant Director/Young Adult Librarian for the Englewood Public Library in New Jersey. My community was super proud and excited that I was selected to attend the virtual YALSA YA Services Symposium from November 6-8 this year.

On the Friday of the Symposium, I started looking into which prerecorded sessions I could log into to begin my conference experience. Immediately, the session title which caught my eye was #DiverseReading: Encouraging Teen Readers with Instagram. I’ve created Instagram accounts for three libraries and am constantly seeking ways to use it, as well as other social media platforms to attract teens’ attention towards reading. I had the pleasure of e-meeting Rachel Milburn, who recorded this video for us. She is the Teen Services Librarian at the Frankfort Community Public Library, Frankfort, Indiana. Instantly, through our library accounts, I followed her pages on Instagram and Twitter. I was so impressed by how much time and deliberation went into her posts. She had one title that had basketballs surrounding the books on the shelf. This is a great idea as it draws immediate attention on an app, where people are constantly scrolling and only stopping for something alluring to the eye. I kept in mind some of the details she mentioned when it comes to using Instagram professionally, such as switching over to a business account in order to view the background Insights of your account interaction and engagement. It is interesting to see the outliers in how many thousands of views her top post garnered, which could have been due to the title of the book she posted or perhaps how she set up the post.

The next recorded session I tuned into was called Our Voices, Our Protest: Migrant Stories in Latinx Young Adult Literature. I was especially excited to view this one because I was able to place these authors’ titles right into a cart for my library to purchase; the beauty of online services! The authors were Aida Salazar, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Daniel Aleman, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Yamile Saied Mendez, and Ernesto Cisneros. I love sessions like these that teach me about authors I may not have known or seen. Being able to ask these authors questions in real time was a real treat. I think it is imperative for both sides too, as authors get the benefit of hearing readers’ feedback. Continue reading

Virtual Conference Does World of Good

The following blog post is written by one of YALSA’s 2020 Symposium Registration Grant student winners, Jana Wiersma.

YALSA’s Young Adult Services Symposium theme for 2020, “Biggest Little Spaces: How Libraries Serve the Expanding World of Teens”, was a play on Reno’s slogan “Biggest Little City”, where the symposium was originally supposed to be held. When it became clear the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t letting up, the symposium moved online, and representation, diversity, and inclusion were not lost in the shift. As disappointed as I was to not attend the symposium in my backyard, connections and networking were still possible, and many young adult librarians were able to join from all over the world. As a first-time YALSA symposium attendee, I was able to enter the community of young adult librarians and share experiences in a meaningful way.

The author lineup was incredible in its diversity of the powerful voices that YA librarians could not only hear, but also discuss relevant issues with. The excitement of the authors at being represented and presenting together on panels was palpable and contagious, even via Zoom. Even with the plethora of diverse authors, there was still an overwhelming call for more diversity in publishing, editing, and writing. Each author recognized the need for our teens to see themselves in whatever space they occupy — represented as readers, yes, but also as authors, editors, publishers, media specialists, and more. During the opening session, author Alan Gratz said, “There isn’t one America, there are many different American experiences,” which I felt entirely summed up YALSA’s 2020 Symposium.

From the pre-conference to end of symposium, sessions included relevant topics like teaching teens to spot and stop the spread of fake news, ramping up library teen volunteer programs, creating book boxes to help teens and tweens destress, fostering community partnerships to advocate for teens beyond the library, transforming teen services, providing support to our immigrant youth, and more!

Each session provided a wealth of information and resources we could bring back to the library and apply with confidence to better support our local teens and the spaces they occupy. With this information, our team can go forward with our top priorities: re-evaluating our teen volunteer program, re-configuring our teen space to better support the needs of our young adult community, and helping our teens feel both represented and connected during this especially difficult time of separation.

As the Young Adult Services Symposium wrapped up, I was inspired and motivated by all the possible ways I could apply what I learned, how best to implement shared tips, and how to better diversify our young adult services on a daily basis. My to-be-read pile now has a thousand books on it, and my inner book-nerd heart was bursting with the joy of getting to hear from so many amazing authors! I cannot wait for YALSA members to meet in person once again, but in the meantime, meeting and connecting virtually still did a world of good.

Jana Wiersma
MLIS Student @ University of North Texas,
Senior Library Assistant, Carson City Library, NV

New Volunteer Opportunities

Greetings, youth advocates—

We’re winding down our seventh month of life since the coronavirus disease initially changed our environments. With the start of the school year underway, many of us have a better understanding of our new work patterns and responsibilities than even a month ago. Things will continue to be hectic more so for some than others and we will continue to rise to these challenges and support our communities.

YALSA has two new volunteer opportunities available to members, opportunities that serve as a path to develop new relationships with peers from across the nation. For me, hearing of others’ experiences, from anecdotes of the air quality and staying indoors in California to the struggles of finding opportunities for MLIS practicum students in Texas, keeps me connected to the work we do in a positive and meaningful way that right now especially supports my psychological well being. I trust that you will consider these opportunities, the Joann Sweetland Lum Memorial Grant Jury and the Social Media Marketing Taskforce, in light of our new landscapes.

The Joann Sweetland Lum Memorial Grant Jury
This short-term virtual opportunity – beginning Nov. 1 and running through January 31 – seeks two members willing to honor the late teacher and library advocate Joann Sweetland Lum by serving on this jury. Responsibilities include evaluating applications through a blind review process and selecting a candidate based on their creative and innovative project that support literacy. The selected project will be awarded funds for their project. You’ll find more information about the jury and the responsibilities here. You’ll find more information about the grant opportunity currently available to members and non-members here (deadline for application is December 1).

Social Media Marketing Taskforce
This long-term virtual opportunity – beginning Nov. 2020 and running through June 2021 – seeks seven to nine member volunteers skilled in utilizing social media platforms, in particular Instagram and Twitter. This group will be responsible for using social media to widely market three foci of YALSA activities. In brief, they will collaborate their efforts into:

  • Support for YALSA selection lists and the Teens’ Top Ten list.
  • Member Recognition of volunteer efforts.
  • Support for the YALSA Symposium and the Youth Media Awards events.

Additionally, this group will monitor members engagement with YALSA social media channels to evaluate success as well as communicate member concerns to YALSA leadership.

If you are interested in volunteering for one of the above opportunities, please submit the volunteer form (must sign into ALA account) by Oct. 28.

—Amanda
YALSA President 2020-2021

2020 Virtual Symposium Early Bird Registration Extended to 9/30

As we prepare to enter the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to assure you of our continued commitment towards providing the library community with the support and opportunities it needs to work for and with teens. With that in mind, YALSA is pleased to announce that the early-bird rate for the 2020 Virtual Young Adult Services Symposium will remain in effect through the end of September. This virtual event presents a unique opportunity to bring a broader spectrum of the cooperative community together around more accessible and affordable programming, removing the barriers to participation due to travel, health, financial, or time constraints.

We wish we could contribute more financially to support library staff. However, producing a quality, interactive virtual event with minimal sponsorship and providing programs that are closed-captioned for all viewers is a costly expense that often exceeds registration gains. As a result of this, extending the early bird rate is a small, and hopefully, helpful gesture we’d like to offer.

We are excited about the 2020 Virtual Symposium and the live sessions on Social Action, Safe Places, Equity in Action, and many more. The theme of “Biggest Little Spaces: How Libraries Serve the Expanding Worlds of Teens” is well-timed. We know the importance this meeting and the content presented provides in continuing your education, assisting your teens, and expanding your network.

September 30 will be your last opportunity to receive the early bird rate. That means you can still save up to $100; the member rate is $129, and the non-member rate is $249. Registration includes full access to all conference programming, including access to the content for one year. We hope you’ll join us November 6th – 8th.

Register today.

-Amanda Barnhart, YALSA President

-Tammy Dillard-Steels, YALS Executive Director

Registration open for 2020 Virtual YA Services Symposium

Registration for YALSA’s 2020 YA Services Symposium, which takes place virtually November 6-8, is now open. Early bird registration ends September 15.

Programs cover the entire spectrum of topics related to providing services for and with young adults. This year’s theme is Biggest Little Spaces: How Libraries Serve the Expanding Worlds of Teens. New this year and included in registration is the Edwards Luncheon. Registration is open to anyone with an interest in young adult services and literature.

Registration includes:

  • Access to recordings of all sessions for one-year post event
  • Opening Session: Space to Deal: How Authors Turn Real Life into Stories with Empathy, a conversation with authors Traci Chee, Sharon Flake, Alan Gratz, April Henry
  • Author Breakfast (Saturday): Taking Space: Making Diverse Voices Heard in a Crowded Landscape, a conversation with  Kim Johnson, Ryan La Sala, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Nic Stone.
  • Edwards Luncheon: Hear from 2020 Edwards Award winning author Steve Sheinkin
  • Author breakfast (Sunday): Pride of Space: LGBTQ+ Representation in YA, a conversation with George M. Johnson, Dahlia Adler, TJ Klune, and Aiden Thomas, moderated by Malinda Lo.
  • Closing Session: Inner Spaces: Creating Compelling Characters Dealing with Tough Topics, a conversation with Romina Garber, Adib Khorram, Mark Oshiro, and Courtney Summers

Early Bird Registration Rates (Now – September 15)

  • $129 YALSA Personal Member
  • $199 ALA Personal Member (Join YALSA by phone: 800.545.2433)
  • $39 Students (enrolled full-time in a library program)
  • $249 Others (Join ALA/YALSA by phone: 800.545.2433)

Additional programs such as Friday pre-conferences can be added to registration for additional fees. View the list of programs and participating authors.

Register online or by phone at 312-280-4293. Learn more about the symposium at www.ala.org/yalsa/yasymposium. For questions or concerns, please contact Nichole O’Connor at noconnor@ala.org.

A Note from the President

Greetings, YALSA members and youth advocates, 

If you can’t believe it’s already the second week of August, I can’t believe I’ve one full month under my belt as YALSA President. For the month of July, several of YALSA staff including myself took a short break to regroup upon the completion of the YALSA board meetings in June. For July YALSA activities, I have the following items to report:

Completed Tasks

  • Met with Tammy Dillards-Steel, YALSA ED, and Sarah Evans, Education Advisory Committee chair, to provide support and direction for the new group’s initial work.
  • Facilitated YALSA’s annual Membership meeting via Zoom. I compiled links to the topics that were discussed which were sent out with the archived recording via Connect. A few members had additional concerns that are currently being followed up by the President.
  • Participated in a meeting with the always delightful Shauntee Simpson-Burns, BCALA President, to discuss potential future projects.

Mark your Calendars

  • YALSA Staff have furlough dates in August and will be unable to respond to email or complete any YALSA activities. Please be aware when reaching out to them that they will be unavailable starting Sunday, August 16 – Saturday, August 22, 2020.
  • August 13 at 2pm Eastern, School Librarians and School Counselors: Computing Together webinar
  • 2020 YALSA Symposium, now virtual, November 6-8, 2020. Follow the link to sign-up for the latest news concerning the virtual event.

Special Appreciation for:

  • Tina Lerno, YALSA Volunteer of the Year, reminded the board that this recognition is usually announced at the Membership meeting. I sincerely apologize for this oversight and applaud Tina’s self-advocacy. The board will pilot the opportunity for the Volunteer of the Year to be included in one of the future YALSA Board monthly chats as a way to further support members’ growth and interests in leadership.
  • M’issa, YALSA Member, reminded the board of YALSA’s EDI commitment. The request included an evaluation of the events that occurred at the 2019 Symposium so that strategies and solutions may be developed for handling similar situations that are supportive of inclusive environments. For YALSA to truly embrace EDI, it will require not only the continued work of the board, but the direction from voices willing to make some noise. I appreciate M’issa’s commitment to make some noise.

Relevant Stats & Data

  • It is unfortunate that due to the pandemic’s impact, membership statistics and donations received are currently unavailable to report for July.

Respectfully Submitted,

Amanda Barnhart
YALSA President 2020-2021

 

YALSA’s 2020 YA Services Symposium to be held virtually

2020 YALSA YA Services Symposium - Now Virtual

YALSA’s Board of Directors has made the decision for YALSA’s 2020 YA Services Symposium to be held virtually November 6-8, 2020 in lieu of the originally planned in-person event in Reno, NV.

The virtual symposium will feature an array of programs, author panels, discussion and poster sessions, and more. New this year, the Edwards Award celebration will also take place at the virtual symposium. The Symposium Marketing and Planning Taskforce is currently working to reconfigure and adapt the slate of programs.

As a result of the format change of the symposium, YALSA is modifying its symposium travel stipends to instead award free registration to ten YALSA members – five to library workers and five to library students. Apply by August 1.

More information regarding registration and programs will be available in the coming weeks. Sign up for updates about the symposium via this form.

YALSA Seeks Member Volunteers

Have you ever presented at a local or national conference? Or are you a long-time participant at YALSA webinars or conference and Symposium sessions? YALSA is currently seeking member volunteers, including a committee chair, for the newly created Education Advisory Committee (EAC). The date to apply has been extended to June 10, 2020. 

The role of the Education Advisory Committee is to assist with providing appropriate and timely topics for continuing education offerings and identifying qualified individuals to facilitate continuing education sessions. Our communities are quickly changing and evolving in response to current issues which requires library staff to remain up to date on information and skills if libraries are to remain relevant in the 21st century. 

Providing your voice and direction to the EAC will help guide YALSA in its educational endeavors. Becoming a member volunteer of the EAC is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with your peers and make a difference in continuing education by assuring YALSA is offering relevant and timely content. YALSA needs your leadership in promoting CE opportunities and recognizing the contribution of facilitators and presenters, which is crucial for the growth of our profession and the teens that we impact.

The chair for the EAC serves in an Ex-Officio position on the Board of Directors and attends two board meetings a year. The EAC is a virtual committee with a one year (12 months) term beginning July 1 and is renewable. Complete this form by June 10th to apply.

YALSA Board created the Education Advisory Committee (EAC) to assist with identifying and providing feedback on Continuing Education topics to YALSA’s Executive Director and the newly created position of Program Officer for Continuing Education and Development. You may find more information about the board document here.

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

 

YALSA Board Discussion at Midwinter 2020

The question of “Where will YALSA need to focus over the next five years so that it may best support its membership and, just as importantly, the youth they serve?” cannot be quickly determined. During the past several months, your YALSA board rebooted discussions regarding the strategic planning path. Board members embarked on a new road, now led by our experienced and seasoned President and our knowledgeable Executive Director. 

As a starting point, the board has examined and discussed our current guiding documents (EDI plan, strategic plan, implementation plan, and more), evaluated other existing strategic plans, and delved deeper into conversations on future members’ values, needs, etc. We continue these discussions at ALA Midwinter during Board I scheduled for Saturday, January 25 at 1:00 pm in the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 304.

In addition to these discussions, the board will also undertake professional development training to better understand and facilitate the integration of the EDI plan with our future strategic plan (more on this soon). Board meetings are open to all and we invite you to join us and lend your input as we continue the strategic planning process.

Should you have any questions or wish to offer comments via email, please reach out to Todd Krueger, YALSA President, or to me, Amanda Barnhart, YALSA President-Elect.