Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, No Problem in Orlando

Orlando is a large city with many food options, but sometimes when we have special dietary requirements, finding good places to eat can be frustrating.  There is no shortage of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices here in Orlando.

Top Vegetarian Choices

Veggie Garden 1216 E Colonial Dr Ste 11, Orlando, Florida 32803 407-228-1740 Now Open: Mon-Thu 9:00am-8:00pm, Sat 9:00am-9:00pm, Sun 9:00am-8:00pm Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Take-out, Asian, Vietnamese Serves Vietnamese vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Menu features a signature soup broth which uses over eight kinds of fresh vegetables and fruit. Small and cozy, sit down for a quick bite or take food to-go. Accepts credit cards. Inexpensive.

Dandelion Communitea Café 618 N Thornton Ave (at downtown), Orlando, Florida 32803 407-362-1864 Mon-Sat 11:00am-10:00pm, Sun 11:00am-5:00pm Cuisine: Vegan-friendly Orlando vegetarian cafe and urban teas shop. Provides a friendly and relaxing environment. Find Sweet Tooth vegan goodies here. Moderate.

Woodlands Pure Veg 6040 S Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, Florida 32809 407-854-3330 Call for hours – tell us Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Indian, Buffet, Catering Vegetarian Indian restaurant features south Indian cuisine. Has a varied. daily lunch buffet. Food can be spicy. Simple decor. Open Tue-Sun lunch and dinner, closed Mon. Moderate.

Vegan Choices

Fresh 24 2816 Corrine Dr, Orlando, Florida 32803 407-897-1355 Mon-Sat 10:00am-6:00pm, Sun 11:00am-4:00pm A produce market selling only local farm fresh produce which arrives at the store within 24 hours of being picked. Daily produce arrivals include hydroponic, organic, and conventional farming.

Rhaphsodic Bakery 710 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803 407-704-8615 Mon-Thu 11:00am-7:00pm, Fri-Sat 11:00am-8:00pm Vegan except for jars of honey, this bakery makes all-vegan desserts and baked goods and has a cold case with drinks, cakes, cookies, biscuits. Rotating local artwork displays. Free Wi-Fi. Wheelchair accessible. Accepts credit cards.

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Rethinking YALSA: I’m Excited – How About You?

In late April the YALSA Board approved the association’s new organizational plan. If you haven’t read the plan I think you want to. And, if you need some encouragement, check-out what some YALSA Board members are excited about:

photo of Jennifer Korn with teens and a sign that says - excited about the teens first approach

YALSA Board member Jennifer Korn with library teens – they are excited with the Teens First focus.
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Instagram of the Week – May 16

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

This week we’re focusing on two hashtags that can get teens and library staff working together to create content and engage bibliophiles worldwide. The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report discusses the importance of helping teens gain experience with technology and social media, create digital and message content, and interact with adults who can serve as mentors. The report also highlights how it’s no longer the role of just those in the Children’s, Teen, or Youth Services departments to interact with teens, but that all library staff members regardless of position or department should work on engaging teens and building relationships. Creating content for your library’s Instagram feed is a fun (and often humorous) activity, but can be time consuming and something that gets bumped down the priority list as the school year comes to a close and public library summer reading programs gear up. Inviting all library staff to stage and snap a few photos while encouraging teen volunteers to assist and share ideas presents an opportunity to make introductions and work toward a shared goal.

If the #librariesofinstagram hashtag is the go-to for connecting libraries around the world, then #bookstagram is what brings book lovers together to share current reads and book reviews, to be read piles, favorite quotes, fandoms, and more. Usually these eye-catching photos feature one or two books staged with a complementary background, small props, and good lighting. Book publishers frequently #bookstagram new releases and libraries are featuring items in the collection, staff recommendations, and book club selections. Inviting staff and teens to stage photos allows for a change of scenery (perhaps literally with different surfaces, lighting, and desktop items to incorporate), camera angles, and a variety of titles to include.

Although National Library Card Sign-up Month isn’t until September, libraries post photos of their cards throughout the year and often invite patrons to participate in contests depicting their card on the go. Looking through #librarycard photos is exciting! Yes, a number of the images are libraries highlighting their card and all of the resources that can be accessed with it, but there are just as many photos of patrons excitedly sharing that moment when they’ve moved to a new town or have a young family member obtain a new card. A library card hashtag is easily customized to include your library or town for a summer contest featuring #librarycardadventures or #travelinglibrarycard. Easy to pack and the sky is the limit for photo ops!
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YALSA Professional Learning Series: The Future of Library Services for and with Teens –Working with At-Risk Teens


In last week’s post  on working with teens who may be at risk we started to discuss what barriers people may face in working with teens who may be at risk as well as some examples of work people are doing in their libraries.

This week in discussion related to working with teens who may be at risk, let’s talk about successes that people have had with working with teens who may be at risk. Thinking about what you’ve read related to this topic, and what you’ve been able to accomplish, let us know:

  • A success you’ve had in your library implementing YALSA Futures Report related ideas that helped make change in your work with and for teens who may be at risk
  • What you think helped to make that success possible
  • Ideas and suggestions you have for others who are also working with teens who may be at risk
  • Questions you have about implementing some of the ideas in your work with and for teens who may be at risk

Here is the first post in this series if you would like to be part of the discussion and share some of your thoughts. Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments section and feel free to comment/question on anyone else’s. Feel free to reach out directly to me if you have any questions about any of the posts


STEM in Informal Learning Settings

wikimedia photo of someone working with a robot “After a 15-month review of the current evidence base, the National Research Council’s (NRC) Board on Science Education concluded in a recent 2015 study that out-of-school programs have been shown to:

  • contribute to young people’s interest in and understanding of STEM,
  • connect young people to caring adults who serve as role models, and
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Instagram of the Week — May 9

The current Libraries & Learning issue of Young Adult Library Services (YALS) emphasizes how learning is at the core of our work in school and public libraries, and how we can support teens’ learning. While libraries have historically focused on learning by providing print and digital resources, many are also considering ways to incorporate the process of learning into library programs, outreach partnerships, and staff development. As YALSA President Candice Mack states in this issue’s editorial feature, “think of how dramatically the conversation changes when instead of saying, “I bought a 3D printer for our library,” we say, “the teens in our community need help preparing for 21st century careers, so the library is providing hands-on workshops so teens can use the latest digital tools to create something that supports their schoolwork or hobby.”

This week’s Instagram illustrates how libraries and other community agencies are supporting teens’ learning through financial education workshops, college test prep, sewing, music instruction, public speaking, and more. The Future of Library Services for and with Teens report indicates that the role of library staff is to support teens as facilitators of self-directed inquiry.  The library needs to shift from a place to find content to a place of learning and engagement. In order to step into these new roles, library administrators need to provide planning and resources to support continual staff development, so that staff can meet the learning needs of their communities. Finally, don’t be afraid of failure! Library staff are encouraged to use failure as a means of ongoing improvement, in order to better serve our teens.

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YALSA Professional Learning Series: The Future of Library Services for and with Teens –Working with At-Risk Teens


Last week in the first post in this month’s YALSAblog Professional Learning series on working with teens at risk, I posted a set of resources to read, listen to, and view. This week it’s time to start a discussion about working with teens at risk AND steps to take in order to work with teens at risk.  

One of the barriers I hear from teen librarians is they feel they don’t have the support from their libraries to go outside of the library and provide library services and services and programs to teens at risk, nor do some of the libraries have in their strategic plan or priorities to focus on providing services/programs to these populations.  Reading and learning more about what the Madison Public Library is doing specifically with teens who are incarcerated with the Making Justice program really made me think how a library is recognizing a marginalized population that is limited to services and programming and bringing those services and programs in.  With the institution as a whole acknowledging and focusing services and programs specifically to this population says a lot about how it feels about working with teens at risk as well as promoting and using this program as a model.

This week let’s talk about this:

  • What barriers might you face within your library to focus services on working with teens at risk either in the library or outside the library? Maybe your barrier is that you are interested in working with working with teens at risk and don’t have administrative support or don’t know even where to start.
  • What did the resources from last week get you thinking about in relation to those barriers?
  • What are some examples of work people are doing in their libraries with teens who are at risk? Is it something that your library acknowledges, recognizes and supports (is outreach and working with teens at risk in your library’s strategic plan for example or a specific focus for your library?)
  • What questions or comments do you have from what others are writing?

It would be great to have a discussion on this topic, so feel free to post your own thoughts as well as replying to others.

Rethinking YALSA: Executive Committee

The YALSA Executive Committee met April 15 via Zoom online video conferencing, and one of the topics on the agenda was discussing itself! The role of the Executive Committee in the organization hasn’t been looked at lately, and with the Board currently working on a new organizational plan, now is the perfect time.  Take a look at the document.  If you review the rest of the agenda and items discussed at the meeting, you might notice that the role of the Executive Committee comes up often in those as well.

For starters, the Executive Committee is examining current roles and responsibilities and exploring which may be a better fit for the Board, Governance Nominating Committee or another group.  The Executive Committee has a narrowly defined role as outlined in its charge, yet over the years it has taken on some tasks for convenience’s sake that may be more appropriately handled by others. For example, planning and supporting Board member orientation and ongoing training is most often the job of a Board Development Committee in other associations.  A Board Development Committee is like a Nominating Committee, but with a longer view.  They don’t just recruit Board members, but support them throughout their time on the Board.

Based on the Committee’s discussion, there will be a proposal about the Executive Committee coming soon for the Board to review, and items from the Fiscal Oversight Strategies document will be added to it.  One part of the proposal will recommend that the Executive Committee take on some fiscal monitoring responsibilities.  Ten years ago, it was adequate for YALSA’s Fiscal Officer and Executive Director to be the most engaged in money matters (with Board oversight), but YALSA has grown exponentially over the years.  Just last week, YALSA announced that it has received a three-year grant from IMLS of over $300,000.  Add in the grant from Dollar General, sponsorship from Best Buy, and endowments, and the result means a more complex budget and increased fiscal monitoring and reporting.  Bringing more member leaders into the financial planning and budget monitoring and reporting process can be a good strategy to help ensure that YALSA stays fiscally healthy and is able to do some long range financial planning.

The Executive Committee also discussed where it might need to expand an existing role.  Currently each Executive Committee member liaises directly with an ALA-level member leader or group.  Building and maintaining strong ties with ALA can help increase YALSA’s impact, so the group explored ways that the Committee could devote more time to interacting with their ALA counterparts, monitoring ALA level activities that impact Divisions, and more.

Whatever the Board ultimately decides, our goal is to re-envision the Executive Committee so that it better meets Board needs.  Do you have any ideas for us to consider after reading the documents linked in this post? If so, we would love to hear them! Please leave a comment or email me at gsarahthelibrarian @

Volunteer for 2018 Award Committees and 2017 YA Services Symposium Planning Taskforce!

Thank you to all who ran for positions on the 2018 Edwards, Nonfiction & Printz Award Committees and congratulations to those who were elected!

These award committees are partially filled by elected spots and partially filled by appointed spots, so now through June 1st, YALSA is collecting volunteer forms for the 2018 Edwards, Nonfiction and Printz Award Committees that will begin work Feb. 1st, 2017 and for the 2017 YA Services Symposium Planning Taskforce (held in Louisville, KY) that will begin work later this year.

If you are interested in one of these committees or the Symposium taskforce, the first thing to do is learn all about what the expectations are for members of these groups.

These resources can help:

YALSA is seeking individuals with the highest ethical standards, a passion for YALSA’s mission and expertise in evaluating YA literature to serve on these awards committees.

If you feel you have met the criteria and have the time available to serve on one of these YALSA award committees or the symposium taskforce, you are encouraged to fill out the Committee Volunteer Form between now and June 1st.

In order to be eligible to serve on a YALSA committee, you must be a current personal member.

To learn more about membership, or to join, go to

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at gsarahthelibrarian

Career Prep for Teens with Disabilities


Employment for teens with disabilities is notoriously low, with 16.6% of teens with disabilities ages 16-19 having jobs. On the other hand, 29.9% of teens with no disabilities are employed (“Youth Employment Rate”). Libraries can help local teens land jobs—for the summer or beyond—by hosting career preparation workshops. These workshops should be open to, and helpful for, teens with disabilities and without, but some of the advice is exclusively for teens with disabilities.


(image credit)

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