YALSA Wants to Know What You Think: Library Community Survey

As YALSA embarks on forming its next Strategic Plan, we would like to get feedback from the library community about their interests around services for and with teens and the direction of the organization. The feedback you provide will help us to design the next iteration of YALSA to best suit your needs.

You do not have to be a member. All survey responses are strictly confidential and will not be shared beyond YALSA. The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. Please complete the survey by Dec. 15.

Thank you for helping us to improve YALSA.

Mark Your Calendars! Giving Tuesday is Nov. 27!

Save the date for Giving Tuesday on November 27!

This year, YALSA’s goal is to raise funds to support Friends of YALSA. We encourage everyone to give early on Tuesday, Nov. 27 for the most impact. So far in 2018, FOY has raised $5,629 towards its goal of $15,095 needed to provide our annual member grants, awards and scholarships. Our Giving Tuesday goal is to raise the remaining $9,466. Help YALSA reach its annual goal for Friends of YALSA (FOY) so that it can fund its member grants and stipends. The grants and stipends support our members in serving their teens.

Check out this infographic to see where Friends of YALSA funds go, and please help get the word out to family, friends, colleagues and library supporters about YALSA’s Giving Tuesday efforts.

Learn more about FOY and save the date for Nov. 27 for Giving Tuesday!

Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with Liaison to ALA Affiliates & Round Tables Derek Ivie

Ever wanted to get to know the YALSA Board of Directors more? Here’s your chance! All month long, we’ll be posting fun mini interviews with each board member so you can get to know them a little better. Here’s the next Director:

What does YALSA mean to you?
YALSA means a chance to connect. Opportunities to connect with new and exciting ideas in the world of young adult services. Connection amongst your peers to learn what is happening in other parts of the country. New ways of connecting with your patrons either through Program HQ, Teen Tech Week, Teen Read Week and more. YALSA has always been a bridge to the library world outside my four walls through committee work, professional development opportunities, conferences, and now my role on the Board. YALSA means being able to broaden my horizons in young adult services to better serve my patrons.

What are your hopes for the future of teen services?
As teens services progress I hope to see more inclusion for everyone. As YALSA moves forward with its Mission we see more opportunities to connect with those inside and outside the library. I hope that teen service staff members can always serve their communities to the best of their abilities by finding out what patrons need and then working with them to bring that to fruition. I think there is still a lot coming on the technology front, but we have new and exciting things to think about surrounding cultural competencies and creating communities amongst our teen patrons. Libraries have always been a safe space and I see that continuing and growing.

What was your favorite band as a teen?
My favorite band as a teen was Fall Out Boy. I wanted to be Pete Wentz so badly, but was far too preppy and was never brave enough to wear eye liner.

What’s your ultimate comfort food?
Give me a bag of puffy Cheetos and I am set! So cheesy. So delicious. So orange.

Which city is your favorite to travel to and why?
This year I was lucky enough to take a trip to Tokyo. As an anime and manga geek I was in heaven. On top of that and the beautiful sites the city is clean, the people are wonderful, and the subway system is the most efficient public transportation I have ever taken. As a New Yorker who has ridden the NYC subway his whole life this is a big deal! It was extra magical since it was cherry blossom season. I already know I will go back someday.

Board Document – Committee Impact Report

The YALSA Board discussed the Committee Impact Report produced by the Organization & Bylaws Committee in September 2018.  A key recommendation of the report is to revamp the Quarterly Chair Report to do two things: 1. Better measure the work of committees and taskforces.  2.  Yield more information on how our committees and taskforces implement the strategic plan and their progress on achieving the Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) goals of the association.

To complement the changes to the Quarterly Chair Report, the board also considered adding a dashboard- a visual tool to give information at a glance so that it can quickly track the work of a committee or taskforce, identify patterns and irregularities, and also potential problems so that they can be solved in a swift manner.

Another key recommendation is to create an End of Term Report for committees, juries and taskforces. This report will capture committee accomplishments. It will also identify YALSA Stars so that they can be encouraged to be YALSA leaders in the future.

These changes will assist the board making decisions for the association so that it better serves the membership and will help provide a clear picture to the membership of how we are working to achieve plans and goals now and into the future.

The Board passed this document on October 10th. The document can be viewed here.

Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with Financial Advancement Committee Chair Kate Denier

Ever wanted to get to know the YALSA Board of Directors more? Here’s your chance! All month long, we’ll be posting fun mini interviews with each board member so you can get to know them a little better. Here’s the next Director:

What does YALSA mean to you?
I have been an active YALSA member for several years now. I’ve been on many different types of committees and have been chair of committees and a taskforce. I’m really thankful to be on the Board now. Not only has YALSA helped build my leadership skills, being on Board allows me to give back to an organization that has done a lot for me and the teens I have served. I think I have used just about every resource YALSA has to offer and I try and encourage others to do the same. YALSA has directly impacted my ability to serve teens at my organization and my ability to lead.

What are your hopes for the future of teen services?
My hope is that ALL teens have a space to go to in their local library (wherever that library may be) where they can be safe, be themselves, be heard and get the resources and information they need without judgment. I hope teen services staff are given the support they need to provide the highest level of service to teens. I also hope that people who work with teens continue to advocate for teen services, both locally and nationally.

Which city is your favorite to travel to and why?
London. I did a study abroad program in London while getting my undergraduate degree. I loved it so much that I did an independent study during my MLIS graduate program on public libraries in London. It is my favorite place in the world (other than home!).

What show do you like to binge watch?
Friday Night Lights. “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose!”

What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?
Travel to Santorini
Go to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque
Hold a koala bear

Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with President-Elect Todd Krueger

Ever wanted to get to know the YALSA Board of Directors more? Here’s your chance! All month long, we’ll be posting fun mini interviews with each board member so you can get to know them a little better. Here’s the next Director:

What does YALSA mean to you?
I love how it brings together so many people from diverse and disparate backgrounds to focus on making the lives of teens better. Helping to carry out the mission and vision of YALSA has provided me with a meaningful complement to my professional life. #teensfirst

What are your hopes for the future of teen services?
More communication, connection and collaboration. Bringing teens together and including them in decision-making. Finding ways to measure our successes, pivot when needed, and learn from (and not dwell on) our failures.

What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?
Three places to travel to: Alaska, Australia, and Portugal (planning to check this one off in 2020!)

What was your favorite band as a teen?
Oh gosh. I’m dating myself with this one. The Smiths because they were about as angsty as can be. Probably why I still relate so well to teens today!

What’s your ultimate comfort food?
A wilted kale salad, topped with roasted vegetables. Possibly a bag of Cheetos as a chaser. With a slice of lemon meringue pie. And iced tea, a lot of iced tea.

Content Needed! Collection Development in Light of #MeToo

In October of 2017, the hashtag #MeToo started trending on Twitter as a result of women and some men speaking out against abusers and harassers from all areas of public and private life. Then, in a January 2018 School Library Journal (SLJ) article, “Children’s Publishing Reckons with Sexual Harassment in its Ranks,” (an article that is no longer available on SLJ’s website) #MeToo came to young adult publishing when hundreds of comments were left on the online article identifying authors and publishers in the YA community as harassers and abusers. As a result of this, concern and hesitation was expressed from YALSA’s committee members in regards to evaluating works from authors who have reportedly been accused of harassment.

We all know how important library staff can be to the teens who frequent our buildings, utilize our collections, and see their library as a safe space.  Often, these teens have few supportive adults in their lives who can take the time to talk through difficult and nuanced topics that our teens are seeing discussed on social media, in magazines, on television and through conversations with friends.  They are experiencing firsthand the impact of the #MeToo movement as it relates to their favorite artists, authors, actors, and celebrities, and since libraries are often repositories of the physical and digital forms of all of this media, those who work directly with teens will often be the ones that will be having these discussions, be it on a reference desk, in programming, during book groups or just when we’re chatting with our teens after school.  We see the teens in our lives and our libraries take in all this change that is happening in real time, but how can we be supportive advocates for our teens when this topic is relatively new and unchartered territory?

In response to this need for support, YALSA has put together a Collection Development in Light of #MeToo Workgroup who has been tasked to collect, organize, and provide access to information that will help staff balance important intellectual freedom principals with the need to consider the impact of the #Metoo movement on teens, and the materials they are encountering at their libraries.

How can you help? Please submit articles, blog posts, research, reports, continuing education materials, and sample library policies for possible inclusion on the soon to come wiki page. This content will be reviewed, organized and made available for library staff to utilize in their daily interactions with teens, as well as serve as supplemental material to help with collection development and intellectual freedom principles. After the page is crowdsourced, the group will evaluate the content on the wiki page and make recommendations for the development of any resources that are missing but would be helpful to library staff who serve teens. We are really trying to find out what’s already available that can help staff, and what will need to be created.

The gathering and creation of this material will hopefully help library staff in a variety of ways including best practices around how to talk to our teens and library patrons about the materials that we choose to carry in our libraries.  There might be books on library shelves that make us or our teens uncomfortable. Does having a book by an accused or proven harasser or abuser indicate endorsement? How can we talk to our teens about the importance of intellectual freedom in a way that supports and validates the very important #MeToo movement?  These are all questions and thoughts that we hope to address with the curation and development of specific materials to help library staff.

Please send any information or content you think would be informative or helpful to have to emily.m.townsend@gmail.com by December 1.

Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with YALSA Board Fellow Josie Watanabe

Ever wanted to get to know the YALSA Board of Directors more? Here’s your chance! All month long, we’ll be posting fun mini interviews with each board member so you can get to know them a little better. Here’s the next Director:

What does YALSA mean to me?
I really like how YALSA is focusing on continuing education. I think it’s so important for practitioners, like librarians, to continue to grow and improve the way we work with youth. To me YALSA is at the forefront of this work in the library world and I am excited to be part of it!

What are your hopes for the future of teen services?
My hopes and dreams for the future of teen services includes a profession that is inclusive. A profession that puts teens first by reducing unnecessary barriers which would help develop a staff that is diverse, can speak multiple languages and mirrors the teens we currently serve.

What’s your ultimate comfort food?
My ultimate comfort food is homemade macaroni and cheese. But alas, I am lactose intolerant now! :/

What movie have you seen multiple times in theaters?
A movie that I have seen many times in the theater and will see many more times at home is Guardians of the Galaxy.

What is your favorite fairy tale?
My favorite fairy tale is the Chinese version of Cinderella because Cinderella actually gets her feet cut off and I loved gore and blood as a child. At least, I I think that’s what happens… I just remember it being very violent— I didn’t have cable growing up!

Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with YALSA Immediate Past President Sandra Hughes-Hassell

Ever wanted to get to know the YALSA Board of Directors more? Here’s your chance! All month long, we’ll be posting fun mini interviews with each board member so you can get to know them a little better. Here’s the next Director:

What does YALSA mean to you?
I’ve always viewed YALSA as the division of ALA with its finger on the pulse of teens – their passions, their development, their needs, and their wants. By placing teens at the center of the work, I believe YALSA is able to provide library staff who work with teens a vision for their work, as well as tools (professional development, resources, booklists, etc.) they can use to develop inclusive programs for the teens in their communities. I see YALSA members as passionate, risk takers – pushing the field and the organization to recognize and tackle the big issues that teens in our country face

What are your hopes for the future of teen services?
I hope all library directors will understand the importance of providing services to teens and will thus, 1) hire dedicated and passionate staff to work with teens; 2) provide a dedicated space for teens – one that supports formal and informal learning; 3) provide funding that allows teen library staff to develop inclusive services/programs in collaboration with teens and community partners; and 4) apply an equity lens to all of the library’s work with teens.

What’s your ultimate comfort food?
Mashed potatoes! My grandmother made the best mashed potatoes – full of butter, cream, and lumps!

What show do you like to binge watch?
As a family we watch NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, and NCIS New Orleans whenever they are on!

What song can always make you dance, regardless of your mood?
September by Earth Wind and Fire

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.