Celebrate Success! Advocating for Teens

Last month, YALSA members were asked to complete our annual membership survey.  We asked you mostly the same questions last year, too, because we, like you, want to show continuous improvement and to make data-driven decisions.  One question in the survey listed possible advocacy activities, and we were thrilled by your responses!  The #saveIMLS effort brought out the fantastic advocacy efforts of many in our profession at the national level.  But many of you are advocating for teens in your library and/or library system, too.  Here are some promising statistics that showed improvement from last year:

  • 40% of survey takers worked with coworkers, administration, and stakeholders to overcome barriers to teen services (up from 33%)
  • 64% of survey takers spoke up about teen issues in formal and formal settings (up from 61%)
  • 48% of survey takers implemented positive change in teen services by working with administration and coworkers (up from 46%)

The Advocacy Standing Board Committee (Chair Kate McNair, Derek Ivie, Heather Sparks, Sarah Hill) is hoping to capture some of your successes by hearing your stories–we want to know what you did! In the YALSA enews email, we’ll be asking for specific ideas about how you advocated.  It’s not all about contacting members of Congress–we want to hear about the time you helped your teens overcome a barrier in your library or about the time you advocated for teens to your library director or principal.

We’re trying to overcome barriers to advocate for teens, too.  One of our activities as a Board this year is to “become knowledgeable about Governors’ boards and the process for appointment to them.” How awesome would it be if all governors had at least one teen advocate from library services serving on their committees or boards?

As I researched how I would go about this in my state of Illinois, I realized that the process was as simple as completing an online form. Governor Bruce Rauner has a huge list of Boards, Commissions, Task Forces, and Councils.  I’m a certified English teacher, librarian and administrator and am now a community college librarian in a rural area, so I selected the councils where I thought I could do the most good for the teens in my community.  I volunteered for the following committees: Commission of Children and Youth, Illinois Community College Board, Education Commission of the States, Education Funding Advisory Board, State Board of Education, State Board of Higher Education, P-20 Council, and the Youth Development Council.  It would take a miracle to be appointed to some of those, but I figured it was worth a shot, right? I’ll keep you updated on if I actually am appointed–promise!

Do you have an example to share in the comments about when you spoke up for teens in or outside your library?

And don’t forget about our wiki of great resources about advocacy…..

 

YALSA Board – Advocating for Teens in Other Associations

YALSA Board Members – Other Associations

Earlier in October, the YALSA Board of Directors held a virtual discussion about what it means to serve as ambassadors for YALSA. We discussed our role in advocating with state and national elected officials and in fundraising, as well as how we actively support and advance YALSA’s positive reputation with members, within the profession, and within our own communities.  Ask any YALSA board member and we’ve got our “elevator speech” ready to go–I know I’m not the only board member with our mission statement memorized! Throughout our Board chat, we realized that we are very active in many organizations, not just YALSA.  Click on the graphic to see where else we spend our energy.  With every meeting, conference call, workshop or listserv message, YALSA Board members are advocating for teens in these organizations, too.  YALSA also has many sponsors and partners who are helping us advocate for teens–companies, foundations, nonprofits, and ALA partners.

What do we want to see?

YALSA’s vision is that all teens have access to quality library programs and services ‒ no matter where they occur ‒ that link them to resources, connected learning opportunities, coaching, and mentoring that are tailored to the unique circumstances of the community and that create new opportunities for all teens’ personal growth, academic success, and career development.

Think about the connections you have beyond the library. Where else do you spend your time and energy? How are those avenues that you can use to advocate for teens and your library?

We appreciate that you have chosen to be an ALA and YALSA member.  Thank you for your support and for believing in our vision!

Graphic Key

A-Association, IG-Interest Group, RT-Round Table

TRW 2017: Unleashing Teen Stories through Community Engagement

Teen Read Week 2017 has begun! This year’s theme, Unleash Your Story, centers around the power of the story and how they can be used to communicate identity, discover the world, and share personal experiences. During this week, our goal as library staff is to encourage teens to tell their own stories and find the stories of others. Whether that’s hosting programs that center around creative writing, providing reader’s advisory, or hosting an author visit, this initiative can also give you the opportunity to encourage teen participation in the stories of their communities through activism and involvement.

Each and every one of your library’s teens has a story that affects their view of the world and their place in it. Right now, our political climate is rife with division and uncertainty and teens want to speak out about the issues and causes that matter to them, but many may not have the resources or skills to take action. As library staff, we have the privilege of serving as a connector between these teen voices and the communities that they belong to. Sandra Hughes-Hassell, President of YALSA, has laid out her presidential theme for the 2017-2018 year that will help empower library professionals aid teens in finding their voices and develop the competencies needed to become potential community builders and activists. This theme, Youth Activism through Community Engagement, is the perfect springboard for this year’s Teen Read Week theme because they both involve highlighting the voices and stories of our youth and sending these voices out into the world to make a difference.

The next step forward is determining how to become that connector between teen voices and their communities. Right from the start, we should strive to listen to our teens and observe them using the library space. Teens are the experts when it comes to the issues facing them and by interacting with them in your teen space or reference desk, you will quickly realize what they are concerned with or passionate about. Last year, our library hosted several Open Mic Nights for teens; at first, many simply covered their favorite songs or performed dance routines that they had seen in music videos. However, as the program progressed, they started to open up and began performing original poetry or improvising on the spot. Many of their performances discussed struggling with bullying, being victims of homophobia, and poverty. Not only was it incredibly moving, but it reminded me as community participant, that teens need a space to simply share their stories with their peers. The act of speaking and being heard was a powerful yet simple way to empower teens and reinforce positive peer interaction with others in their immediate community.

If teens are concerned with issues on a more national level, connect them to resources that can help them address it. In my library’s local community, we have a high number of Latino families that are uncertain about their futures what with the recent news about the Trump administration’s plan for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students and what that means for their families. Our goal has been to encourage not only Latino teens, but teens from all backgrounds, to become literate in the rights and struggles that others are facing. During Teen Read Week, reader’s advisory can be a powerful tool that connects teens to voices outside of their own experiences and perspectives. If you need some titles to keep handy, YALSA’s The Hub blog recently featured a great booklist that highlights teen activism. On a programming level, provide teens with resources that lead them to data about immigrant issues and help them start a social media campaign targeting to students in their schools and community to raise awareness. When teens have the facts to back up their voices, they can be empowered to take their stories out to their community at large and begin their journey towards becoming a powerful community builder!

For more information on how to host a successful Teen Read Week at your library, check out YALSA’s ning page for outreach resources, program planning, and more. If you need inspiration on how to encourage teens to unleash their stories this week, check out the Teen Programming HQ to see how other libraries are engaging in this year’s theme. Do you have a program or outreach initiative that you are excited about? Share it with YALSA members on the Teen Programming HQ site! Finally, let everyone know what you are doing for Teen Read Week on social media by using @yalsa and #TRW17.

YALSA Executive Committee & Board Work Virtually

Hello, YALSA Colleagues-

Did you know that the YALSA Executive Committee and the Board work year round?  We do! Virtually – just like many of YALSA’s committees and taskforces.

As part of YALSA’s new organizational plan we decided to hold our Fall Quarterly Executive Committee meeting virtually. This shift allowed us to save money & time (both for YALSA and for individual executive committee members) and to take advantage of 21st Century technologies. At our September 25th meeting, we discussed YALSA finances and building stronger relationships with ALA offices and divisions.

The YALSA Board also works virtually. This allows us to continue our work throughout the year and to be able to address topics that impact teens and our members in a more timely and efficient manner. To see what we’ve been discussing since Annual, take a look at the 2018 Midwinter Meeting Agenda and Documents. Here you will see the items we have discussed or acted on so far this Fall, including items related to the ALA Executive Director Search and Advancing Diversity within YALSA, one component of our organizational plan.

If you have questions about the work of the Executive Committee or the Board please leave them in the comments! Or send them directly to me.

Thanks for all you do for YALSA and for teens!

Best,
Sandra Hughes-Hassell
YALSA President 2017-2018
@Bridge2Lit

Volunteer for the Board Development Committee or District Days Taskforce!

YALSA is now seeking volunteers for two virtual member groups:

  • Board Development Committee (formerly the Governance Nominating Committee): this group will work from January 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, and will be responsible for identifying candidates for the 2019 slate, training and on-boarding individuals who serve on YALSA’s Board of Directors, and identifying and cultivating future leaders.  This is a great opportunity for someone who has board or governance experience, whether at the local, state or national level.  Committee size: 5-7 virtual members.
  • District Days Taskforce: If you enjoy marketing and have some experience with local-level advocacy, this opportunity is for you!  This group will work from April 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2018 to provide resources and support to members to engage locally with elected officials.  Learn ore about District Days on the wiki.  Taskforce size: 5 – 7 virtual members

Fill out the Committee Volunteer Form by December 1st, 2017

Thanks for all the time and talent you volunteer to YALSA!  If you’re looking for other ways to get involved, visit the YALSA web site for more opportunities or check out this brand new video from Jack Martin and Kate McNair!  If you have questions feel free to get in touch with me (cmartin@hri.uci.edu).

Crystle Martin,  YALSA President-Elect

President’s Report – July 2017

Colleagues-

I am honored to submit my first YALSA President’s report. My goal with this monthly report is to keep you up to date on the work I’m doing in my role as YALSA president and to highlight key association activities in which I am involved.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Accomplishments

  • Filled various openings on committees and task forces
  • Welcomed incoming committee & taskforce chairs
  • Answered questions from YALSA members about committees, task forces, and various other topics
  • Wrote a blog post and email message about District Days
  • Appointed and met with President’s Advisory Taskforce
  • Inviting members to join the Advancing Diversity Taskforce that the Board approved
  • Communicated with ALSC, AASL, & ALA presidents
  • Prepared for August Board chat, check in with New Board Members, and monthly President’s phone call with Past and Incoming Presidents

Works in Progress

  • With a $500,000 sponsorship from Google, YALSA is administering Libraries Ready to Code – a grant program for libraries to design computational thinking and computer science programs for and with underrepresented youth.
  • Advocating!  District Days are here and your congresspersons are home on break. Now is your opportunity to advocate for federal library funding (#saveIMLS) and speak up for teens!  Find out how here. I made an appointment with my Congressman – I’ll keep you posted.
  • Applications being reviewed for member manager for the HUB
  • Working with the board and YALSA Staff on the 2017-2018 Implementation Plan for our Strategic Plan

Stats and Data

  • Funds raised in June = $1,461
  • YALSA Membership in June = 4,807 (down 5.3% over this time last year)

Don’t Forget!

  • Registration is open for the 2017 YA Services Symposium, Nov. 3-5 in Louisville, KY. Register through Sept. 15 and save with early bird rates! Housing is also open now through Oct. 1.
  • Applications are being accepted for Libraries Ready to Code through August 31, 2017.
  • Don’t forget to check out the Current Projects page to stay updated on what’s going on!
  • All chairs should submit their Quarterly Report by August 15!

THANK YOU

  • To all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities, and especially for all of the out-going committee chairs and members whose work finished at the end of June.
  • To outgoing board members Candace Mack, Nick Buron, Jennifer Korn, Gretchen Kolderup, and Trixie Dantis for their contributions to the YALSA board and for all they do to support teens!
  • To Past President Sarah Hill and Executive Director Beth Yoke for their guidance in my first month as YALSA President!

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President 2017-2018

Follow me on twitter @Bridge2Lit

 

YALSA Councilor Report post-ALA Annual ’17

Hello YALSA members and other interested parties!  As your representative to the ALA Council, I am pleased to bring you this report of Council activities and actions from the 2017 Annual Conference in Chicago.

My conference roommate, Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) Councilor Martin Garnar, provided a large percentage of this report and I must credit him with much of the following:

Council I: 

After the usual opening business, including finalizing the slate of nominees for the Council Committee on Committees (which assists the president-elect with committee appointments) and the Council representatives to the Planning & Budget Assembly, Courtney Young, ALA Past President and chair of the search committee for the new ALA executive director, gave her report on the committee’s progress.  The search firm of Isaacson Miller has been engaged to assist with the search, and they hope to have interviews in October to coincide with the October Executive Board meeting in Chicago.  The goal is to have a new executive director in place by Midwinter 2018.  In the meantime, Mary Ghikas will serve as interim executive director. ALA President Julie Todaro gave a report on her activities and ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels gave updates on Executive Board actions since Midwinter 2017 and on implementation of Council Actions taken at Midwinter 2017.  Under new business, Council took up a resolution on global climate change passed at the virtual membership meeting on June 8th. The IFRT board voted to endorse in principle, and this resolution was debated on the floor of Council for almost an hour, with some of the time devoted to attempts to refer or postpone the resolution until some changes could be suggested.  Instead, changes were made on the floor and the resolution was adopted as amended.  Kathi Kromer, the new director of the ALA Washington Office, and Adam Eisgrau, director of the Office for Government Relations, gave a report on the office’s advocacy efforts.  At the close of Council, the elections for the Committee on Committees and the Planning & Budget Assembly opened for the afternoon. 

Continue reading

YALSA Leadership and Volunteering

At ALA Annual this year, YALSA held information sessions on how to get involved with the organization, both as a new volunteer and as someone seeking leadership opportunities.  Here’s a recap of the event.

If you’re just starting out, volunteering for one of YALSA’s committees is an excellent first step.  All YALSA members are encouraged to fill out the Committee Volunteer Form once a year. Here is a list of committees and the link to the form. Continue reading

Followup from YALSA Board @ #alaac17

If you attended ALA’s Annual Conference, I hope you’re safely home and recovering from all that is conference! If you have never been to this event, members can apply by December 1st for a travel grant from YALSA to go to the next one in New Orleans!

The YALSA Board was very productive in Chicago, and you can see the actions of the board on this page.  Some highlights include:

The board will continue to explore:

Look for the official minutes from our Annual meetings coming soon. At the conclusion of our board meetings, I officially handed the gavel over to the awesome YALSA President Sandra Hughes-Hassell, and the new board members were seated.  Check out our current roster for some new and familiar faces.

The Board’s next meeting will be at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting from February 9-13, 2018. We’re looking forward to seeing YALSA members in Denver!

And remember, YALSA’s YA Services Symposium will be in Louisville, Kentucky, November 3-5, 2017. Early bird registration is going on now!

Thanks for all that you do to make YALSA an amazing association and thank you for the tremendous opportunity to serve as the association’s President. It was an honor and a privilege to work with you all this past year!

Evaluation of 2016 Jury Format Pilot: One year out

After 1 year of piloting a new jury appointment format (Board Document #30), the Board analyzed member survey feedback to evaluate how well the change from a 1-year to a 3-month jury appointment structure is going. Overall, it appears to be working and members like the new structure, finding it efficient and easier to keep on task. The Leading the Transformation of Teen Services Standing Board Committee (Crystle Martin, Trixie Dantis, Melissa McBride, Candice Mack, Jessica Snow, Mega Subramaniam) shared that twenty of the 30 jury members responded to the survey.

Going forward, the chairs will become the only appointed member while other members will function on an opt in basis. Several chairs had previously operated under the year round structure, and found that the new structure helped keep the energy of the group and the pacing of the work up. These small tweaks that were made also removed the onerous form requirement for appointments, using an opt in volunteer form instead.

As a reminder to jury members, please keep private who is nominated for the committee. Also, guidelines will be shared for what criteria are used to be a part of the selection committee.

We thank the jury members for all of your hard work!

Kafi D. Kumasi is an associate professor of library and information science (LIS) at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, where she teaches in the areas of school library media, urban librarianship, multicultural services and resources and research methods.