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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A Call to Action for Graphic Novels

The New York Times shocked its readership when it announced that it was losing some of its bestsellers lists, including the graphic novels bestsellers list. It’s a devastating loss for librarians and graphic novelists alike. There has been a public outcry among graphic novelists, although there has been division even amongst the voices speaking out. Newer bestselling authors like Raina Telgemeier lay out the reasons why it disappoints her, while Neil Gaiman proudly proclaims that he never needed a separate list when Sandman first came out.

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Instagram of the Week – January 11

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

This week is all about the books! From “New Year, New You” book displays to reading challenges and mock book awards, Instagram has been full of images of books for the last week. The transition into the new year provides an opportunity to make resolutions and try something new in the upcoming months. Libraries are using the start of the year to their advantage by showing patrons everything they have to offer including print collections, digital resources, and language learning tools.

Patrons who make a resolution to read more may be looking for “something different” to read and be open to suggestions that expand their horizons. One fun way to encourage patrons to pick up books unlike their usual selections is to host a reading challenge. Popular reading challenges include Popsugar’s Ultimate Reading ChallengeBook Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, and Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2016 Reading Challenge which all provide participants with a list of categories such as “A book based on a fairy tale” (from Popsugar’s list) or “A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller” (suggested by Modern Mrs. Darcy) to guide book selection. The Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge asks participants to state the number of books they would like to read during the year and other challenges, such as the Hub Reading Challenge, provide a list from which participants select titles.

While there are a number of established reading challenges that can be shared with patrons, some libraries opt to create their own list. By doing so, libraries have an opportunity to include items that highlight all areas of the collection, not just print materials. For instance, categories such as “Check out a magazine on Zinio,” “Download free music from Freegal,” or “Find a book to read through NoveList” can either remind or introduce patrons to all the library has to offer. This is important because, as the Future of Library Services for and with Teens explains, today’s libraries should house collections that not only meet the needs and interests of teen patrons through print collections, but also through video and audio collections, databases, and e-content. Teens can even be involved in selecting the categories for the reading challenge which can drum up interest in participating.

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YALSA Board @ Midwinter 2016: Preview & Governance Update

About 10 years ago, I met Gene Luen Yang at the very first ALA Annual Conference I ever attended in 2006 in New Orleans, at the end of my first year of library school.

As a Chinese-American and comics fangirl, my heart nearly stopped in shock and happiness when 6 months later, his ground-breaking work, American Born Chinese, was announced as the 2007 winner of the Michael L. Printz Award.

As this week leads up to ALA’s Midwinter Meeting, where I am so excited to see my colleagues, talk with YALSA members, participate in the Youth Media Awards announcement, and more, I find it thrilling and fitting that Gene Luen Yang was just announced as the 5th National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. (Which yet another example of how forward-thinking YALSA always is – we knew he was awesome years ago.)

For more insight on how best to serve teens today and into the future, check out the YALSA Wiki for dates and times of all YALSA events if you’ll be attending Midwinter!

If you aren’t able to be in Boston, follow Midwinter activities with the Midwinter hashtag, #alamw16.

The YALSA board will start off Midwinter on Friday with training session on best practices in association governance. All day Saturday, Board members will work with a consultant from the Whole Mind Strategy Group on organizational planning. The goal is to develop a focused and responsive plan which will help YALSA meet the needs of members and advance teen services in libraries across the country. Based on the outcomes of the organizational planning discussions, the consultant will help the Board draft a new, 3 year plan. The goal is to have that in place by March 1st.

While the planning discussion will take up all of the Board’s meeting time on Saturday, there are still other topics that the Board will be discussing at the business portion of their meeting on Sun. and Mon.

Those topics include:

Check out the full board agenda and documents online to get the details of what the board will be discussing. You can also read the accompanying blog posts on the YALSAblog.

If you have a comment, idea or question for the Board, the first 5 minutes of each of the board meetings is set aside for visitors to ask questions. Feel free to or chat with me or any of the board members at YALSA events at ALA Midwinter, too! You can also e-mail me with comments if you are not able to make it to a session to share your feedback.

Feel free to follow Executive Director Beth Yoke (@yalsa_director), myself (@tinylibrarian), and/or other YALSA Board members for live tweets of adopted actions and discussion highlights.

We’ll also be sharing post conference round-ups over the coming weeks so stay tuned!

YALSA Board @ Midwinter: PPYA Update

Often, the YALSA board meeting agenda needs weaning because there isn’t enough time to cover all agenda topics or there are certain actions that need to taken before Midwinter or Annual.  Last week was one of those times. The YALSA Board voted to update some of the policies and procedures for the Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults committee to make the book lists more helpful for librarians serving today’s teens. See the board document in the Midwinter consent agenda.

In some ways selection and award committees operate independently of YALSA’s overall strategic direction. With the creation of the Selection and Award Committees Oversight Committee (chaired by Angela Carstensen), YALSA has the opportunity to ensure that committees like PPYA develop resources that support a teens first approach and that further YALSA’s strategic directions. Building the PPYA list around the needs of teens and YALSA strategic priorities will ultimately better serve library staff who work for and with teens.

The new Selection and Award Oversight Committee begins its work Feb. 1, 2016, and one of the first items on the agenda will be to approve the book lists topics that the PPYA committee will work on during the year.  Previously, this was a task that the outgoing PPYA committee worked on, but now it will be accomplished after Feb. 1 by the new committee. Every year, some PPYA committee members carryover, so there will be discussions about what topics were considered the previous year.  The new policy states that “another focus for themes that each committee should explore are titles aimed at a particular underserved or emerging teen audiences. Each committee should also seek out opportunities to tie their committee’s work to relevant YALSA initiatives, especially ones with annual themes that could be supported by PPYA, such as the YA Services Symposium and Teen Read Week™.”

The board is excited to see what lists the PPYA committee creates! Look for the list titles this Spring and don’t forget that you can help to create the lists by nominating titles via the webform that will be located on this page of the previous PPYA lists.   You can check out the updated policy on the PPYA webpage. As always, please contact me if you have questions–hope to see you in Boston!

Selection and Award Committee Update

I am pleased to announce that all appointments have been made for the 2016-2017 award and selection committee cycle.

Many, many thanks to the hundreds of talented and dedicated YALSA members who submitted volunteer applications!  We received 529 volunteer forms for just 50 open positions.

If you were selected to serve on a committee or task force, you received an invitation email from me. Emails are going out this week to those who weren’t selected to serve.  Please don’t be discouraged! There were just not enough slots for the number of applications we received.

There is another chance to volunteer! You can gain valuable YALSA and professional development experience by volunteering to be on a YALSA strategic committee, task force, or jury.  These groups are 100% virtual and will work from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2018.  The online volunteer form will open Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. The work of all of these strategic groups is done virtually–no conference attendance required! The deadline for strategic committee applications is March 1, 2016, and I will be making those appointments in March and April.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact me at gsarahthelibrarian @ gmail.com.

Volunteer for Award, Selection & Strategic Committees and Taskforces!

*Please note that the PPYA and Amazing Audiobooks Committees are virtual. 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.

Past-President Chris Shoemaker noted in his blog post last month that the YALSA Board adopted a new policy about serving on YALSA award committees (Alex, Edwards, Morris, Nonfiction, Odyssey & Printz).  Beginning Feb. 1, 2016, any individual who has served on any YALSA award committee will need to wait two years before they are eligible to serve on another YALSA award committee.

If you have been on selection and award committees before, please consider volunteering for the new Selection and Award Committees Oversight Committee (more info can be found in this board document).  This new committee needs experienced YALSA members to serve as liaisons and to standardize policies and procedures for selection and award committees.

The Fine Print

  • Eligibility: To be considered for an appointment, you must be a current personal member of YALSA and submit a Committee Volunteer form by Oct. 1, 2015. If you are appointed, service will begin on Feb. 1, 2016.
  • If you are currently serving on a selection or award committee and you are eligible to and interested in serving for another term, you must fill out a volunteer form for this round (so I know you’re still interested and want to do serve another term)
  • Qualifications: Serving on a committee or taskforce is a significant commitment. Please review the resources on this web page before you submit a form to make sure that committee work is a good fit for you at this point in time.
  • Need more information? Click on the links above. Check out the Committee FAQ.  Watch the Selection Committee Webinar.
  • Please free to contact me with any questions or issues at gsarahthelibrarian at gmail .com.

Thanks for volunteering with YALSA!


A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between May 1 and 7 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter. Continue reading

Instagram of the Week – January 5

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

Happy New Year! For many, the changing year brings with it a list of resolutions. What can we do for those who have made it a goal to read more books? For starters, we can share reading challenges with our teen patrons or create our own for our communities. The 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge has users set a goal of a specific number of titles to read, but other sources like Popsugar, Book Riot, and the TBR (To Be Read) Jar Challenge give category guidelines in which readers select a title of their choice.  Others, like Epic Reads’ 365 Days of YA reading calendar and YALSA’s 2015 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge (which counts toward the upcoming 2015 Hub Reading Challenge), ask participants to read a number of books from a provided list. Either way, these reading challenge avenues provide inspiration for creating your own reading challenge for your teens. Check out Random House of Canada’s year-long Reading Bingo Challenge (one general card and one specific to YA) — fun and motivating!

Another way to engage teens in a discussion of their reading is through book photo challenges. Offered monthly, these challenges ask users to take a book-related photo a day and post it on social media with the corresponding hashtags. The sky is the limit when it comes to daily photo tasks! Engaging library users in this type of discussion can provide clues to collection development and potential programming.

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Five Themes that Influenced Libraries in 2014

Top-ten lists and year in review articles abound—it must be December!  Reflecting on the past year in the world of libraries, here are five themes that have impacted our work.

While YALSA members are digesting and implementing The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action, several other reports came out in 2014 that encourage library workers to embrace new paradigms and adapt service standards that can best serve our customers.  There’s the Pew Research Center’s Younger Americans and Public Libraries report, which breaks down library behavior in the Millenial generation.  From the report:  “…younger Americans are also more likely than older adults to have read at least one book in [the past year] (88% vs 79%).”  Hooray!  Another big splash came with the IMLS’s report titled Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums: Transformative Spaces for Teens.   I recently wrote about the new Aspen Report here.  These reports each focus on the importance of community engagement and transforming our institutions into new models of library service excellence.  Lots of great food for thought!

The Common Core
With the Common Core State Standards now in place in the majority of US states, how can library workers serving youth and teens support our partners and contacts in local schools, as well as help out students and their parents?  This question was a highlight of 2014, eliciting a wide variety of articles (1, 2), toolkits and trainings (1, 2.)  Have you prepared for and encountered ways to support the CC?  Let us know in the comments.

After gathering steam (hah!) in 2013, 2014 felt like the year that maker and STEM culture were part of mainstream discussions for library staff.  Beyond the library literature, Pinterest is a fun way to track and share different STEM/STEAM/make programming, reading, and space ideas to your workplace.  Check out this results page for “makerspace library.”

How did this campaign, a highly visible social media trend, get its start?  Check out this FAQ to learn about the origin and purpose behind the movement.  An Indiegogo fundraising effort had great success; the funds raised allow WNDB team members to create outreach programs, partner with other literacy organizations, and support diverse authors.

Crisis Situations and Libraries
In the midst of the Ferguson protests, the story of the town’s library as a community support center and safe haven in time of crisis went viral. Ferguson Library Director Scott Bonner said:  “During difficult times, the library is a quiet oasis where we can catch our breath, learn, and think about what to do next.”  On an international scale, stories are coming from Ukraine about the role of their libraries during a time of violence and instability.  If we can be there for our communities in distress, those communities can then be there for us; for example, destroyed and damaged libraries coming back stronger in the wake of tremendous storms.

What themes and trends impacted your work in 2014?  Do you have predictions for what’s to come in 2015?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments!