President’s Report – January 2017


  • The board was very busy at Midwinter!  Check out my summary blog post, as well as individual blog posts about the Leadership Fundraising Campaign, Protecting Teen Privacy, Bylaw Changes, the Executive Committee, and the changes being made to YALSA’s selection lists.
  • Participated in many phone calls and email conversations with YALSA staff, board members, and committee members
  • The January monthly chat with the YALSA Board was about having strategic and successful conversations–former YALSA board member Maureen Sullivan facilitated the conversation.
  • Wrote quarterly YALS column about Advocacy for the Spring issue
  • Sent letters of thanks to supervisors of award and selection chairs
  • Filled vacancies on various strategic committees as they occurred
  • The Board invited Heather Sparks to serve as the YALSA Board Fellow for the 2017-2018 year. Congrats, Heather!
  • The Board adopted the updated version of their scope and responsibilities as presented in this board document, and directed the Executive Director to work with staff to ensure the statement is updated on the website.

Works in Progress

  • The next YALSA member town hall (Theme: Social Action) will be on Feb. 28 at 2 pm ET.  Look for login information in your YALSA enews.
  • Through Feb. 15, I’m accepting volunteer forms for three new YALSA strategic task forces: Leadership Fundraising, Member Achievements Recognition, and Member Grants and Awards Evaluation.  Please read this blog post to find out more and to volunteer.
  • The YALSA Board is discussing Board Document #43 Re-Envisioning the Mentoring Program virtually since we ran out of time at Midwinter.
  • Planning the YALSA Executive Committee virtual meeting in April and already planning ahead for #alaac17!

Stats and Data

  • December member stats: 4,887 members (down 5.3% from this time last year)
  • December fundraising: $2,575

Don’t Forget!


  • to the YALSA Staff and Midwinter Marketing Committee for making sure that the #alamw17 ran smoothly!
  • to all the YALSA board members and committee members who were prepared for in-person meetings at #alamw17!
  • to all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities!

Respectfully submitted,

Sarah Hill, YALSA President 2016-2017


The American Library Association (ALA) defines outreach as providing library services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented populations; populations such as new and non-readers, LBGT teens, teens of color, poor and homeless teens, and teens who are incarcerated. As these populations are often marginalized and underserved, it is crucial for libraries to recognize these populations and provide services and programs to them where they are.

The YALSA Futures Report calls out the importance of outreach to underserved populations and ways in which library staff can think about ways to work with targeted communities of teens (e.g. those who are incarcerated, homeless, in foster care, or in classrooms and other inschool locations) and where they are, rather than waiting for teens to find a way to get to the physical library space.

This month I spoke with Laura Mielenhausen, Youth Services Librarian Hennepin County Library Teen Central, Minneapolis Central Library.

What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens?

I provide weekly library service to the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC). This includes maintaining the JDC library collection; bringing new materials (both withdrawn items from Hennepin County Library and items purchased specifically for JDC); shelving the returned materials; and visiting the residents to suggest books and take book requests. When I visit the residents I let them know about the services our public library provides, including Homework Help programs, Teen Anime Club, and the Best Buy Teen Tech Center in downtown Minneapolis, where teens can do creative projects like record their own music. I also let them know how they can get a new library card and get any old library card fines reviewed, so they can get a fresh start as a library patron.

Describe a day in the life of providing outreach.

For my JDC outreach, I track the number of requests I get at each visit. I fill those requests with JDC library materials first, but in the case the teen wants a book we don’t have at JDC I bring it from the public library system. I keep a spreadsheet of who has what and everything is checked out to one library card account that I maintain. On the day of the visit, I pack my hand cart with any requested materials, new magazines, and new books for the collection and hop on the light rail to arrive at JDC. I check in with staff, sign in, and receive my building keys that I’ll use to move around the building. I have a book truck that I fill with new, popular, and interesting items, which I take up to each “mod” of residents. In each mod, I meet with residents, talk to them about the books they like and what they’ve been reading at JDC. These teens have a lot of time to fill and many read a book a day. They love to tell me about books they liked or did not like, and it gives me a good opportunity to do a little reader’s advisory on the fly by suggesting other books on the cart, and to encourage them to visit the public library after their release. After my visits I head back down to the library to put away returned materials and weed any damaged items. I spend about four hours at the JDC every Tuesday morning, with a few additional hours at my desk every week making requests, updating my spreadsheet, and getting the materials ready to bring in. Twice a year I put together an order for new books for JDC, with support from Hennepin County Library’s Outreach department. We sometimes get grant funding to bring in authors to visit the residents in JDC and other correctional facilities served by Hennepin County Library. When that happens, I work with my colleagues to plan the visit, bring copies of the author’s book for the residents to keep, and communicate with JDC staff and teachers to support attendance at the visit. Last year we were delighted to invite Kekla Magoon to come in and speak about her book How it Went Down. Residents had an opportunity to read the book before her visit and then were able to ask her questions about the book and her life as a writer. Everyone got to keep a signed copy of the book.

What resources would you recommend for someone new to outreach to look for ideas for inspiration as well as best practices?

Remember that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Reach out to other librarians in your system and those doing similar work in other library systems. Ask lots of questions – find out about existing outreach programs and what makes them succeed. If you have an idea for outreach you’d like to do, don’t be deterred by the inevitable, “Oh we tried that in 2010 and it didn’t work” response. If it’s a valuable library service that supports the mission of your library and addresses a community need, you can find a way to make it work. Meet with teachers, program coordinators, shelter directors, and other youth workers in your community and explore how you can bring library services to their youth programs or collaborate on youth programming together.

What are some of your favorite things you have heard from teens while providing outreach services?

I love hearing about what the teens are reading and seeing their enthusiasm about books. I’ve learned to never make assumptions about what incarcerated teens might be interested in reading – I get requests from R.L. Stine to Dostoyevsky, from Stephenie Meyer to Sister Souljah – and the joy I see when I bring a requested item never gets old. My favorite experience is when a formally incarcerated teen comes to see me at the library – we talk, get their library card account up-to-date, and look for books that might interest them. Coming from a situation where some books are restricted, a formerly incarcerated teen once said to me, “Wait, I can read whatever I want?” “Yes,” I said, “this is your public library. You can check out any book you see in here.”

YALSA’s Literacies Resource Retreat Toolkit Creation

The set up

At the end of November, seven librarians were asked to participate in YALSA’s first resource retreat. The mission of the retreat was to create a literacies toolkit, expanding on the discussion that began in the 2014 report: “The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action”. We were asked to create a document that was user friendly and accessible to both librarians and library staff who work directly for and with teens. The rest was really up to us, which was both exciting and a little daunting.

The retreat was scheduled for the Friday of Midwinter. Since this was YALSA’s first time trying a resource retreat, everything new to us was also new to YALSA. We were given a stipend to help defray travel and lodging costs and were asked to attend one phone conference before Midwinter to plan out a few logistical elements. In the phone call, we realized we needed a Google doc to keep our ideas in one place. This document proved to be a crucial element of our success during the retreat. We were glad we had done some leg work ahead of time to make the actual day of writing go a tad smoother.

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Leadership Fundraising Campaign

At ALA Midwinter in Atlanta, the YALSA Board voted to assemble a taskforce to create and implement a year-long fundraising effort to raise $20,000 for the YALSA Leadership Endowment. The Endowment is designed to generate income to support opportunities for the development and training of future YALSA and library leaders by capitalizing on the considerable contributions and talents of YALSA Past Leaders. The Endowment honors both those who created the fund and those who receive support from the fund.

At its inception in 2007, Past Presidents made the initial donations to get a fund started to create an endowment focused on leadership. By 2009, enough funds had been collected to petition ALA to formally create the Leadership Endowment. The name and background information of the Endowment encourages participation from many types of sources while acknowledging the contribution of those Past Presidents who initiated the creation of the fund.

YALSA currently receives $2,392 per year in interest from this endowment. In 2016, the Board voted to use $1,000 of the interest to support the Dorothy Broderick Student Conference Scholarship and to invest the remaining $1,392 back into the endowment to build capital to support a proposed PhD Fellowship.

Our $20,000 targeted goal for 2017 will provide enough funding to support one additional leadership initiative, such as the proposed PhD Fellowship.

If you would like to help raise additional funds to support YALSA’s leadership initiatives, we are accepting volunteer forms for the Leadership Fundraising taskforce through Feb. 15! YALSA President Sarah Hill is looking for several virtual members, including a chair to serve on the taskforce from March 1, 2017 through January 31, 2018. You can read more about the taskforce here. Please email Sarah with any questions.

If you would like more information about the Leadership Fundraising Campaign, see Board Document #38.

And as always, if you have questions, contact any of the YALSA Board members.

Sandra Hughes-Hassell
YALSA President Elect

Protecting Teen Privacy

privacyAt ALA Midwinter, the YALSA Board was pleased to adopt the position paper “The Library’s Role in protecting Teens’ Privacy” written by Mary K. Chelton.

Libraries play an integral role in protecting the intellectual freedom and privacy rights of our communities and users. In early 2016, the FBI published Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools, a proposed set of guidelines for surveying internet use of students seen to be at-risk of recruitment by terrorist organizations. These guidelines cast American high schools at hotbeds for terrorist action, and recommend identifying teens for surveillance and intervention on factors so broad that almost every teen fits the description.

It is documents like this that remind us of the important role that libraries play in protecting the privacy of teens (both in and out of school). This highly connected population, is already subjected to privacy threats every day, and policies like the one proposed by the FBI are in direct opposition of the library’s mission.

In the newly adopted position paper, Chelton suggests several actions we can take to protect the privacy rights of teens:

  • Refresh your knowledge of key documents, like ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Manual and AASL ‘s Standards for the 21st Century Learner
  • Report challenges or violations of teens’ privacy to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom
  • Embed educating teens and their parents and caregivers about their rights into library services and programming
  • Keep up to date on privacy and surveillance issues through resources such as ALA’s District Dispatch and the YALSAblog
  • Seek out training on topics including but not limited to: privacy, students’ rights, libraries’ role in intellectual freedom, and how to leverage technology tools that protect privacy
  • Participate in events such as the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s Choose Privacy Week
  • Take advantage of technology that protects library patrons’ privacy
  • Make a commitment to reach out to and serve at-risk youth in the community and address their needs, whatever they may be
  • Identify and work with community partners who are also committed to protecting teens’ rights

The YALSA Board adopted the position paper at ALA Midwinter and has committed to reviewing YALSA guidelines and policies to assure teen information seeking and privacy needs are addressed.

See the full board agenda and documents online to get the details of what the board talked about. We will also be posting meeting minutes there in the next week or so. You can also read the upcoming blog posts from board members about some of the actions taken at Midwinter.

Kate McNair

YALSA Board Member 2015-2018

Teen Programming in Art Museums

Room to Rise was a collaboration project and study between the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center, the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, and The Museum of Contemporary Arts of Los Angeles. The research study worked to find data that shows the long-term impact of museum programs for teens, and was supported by a National Leadership Grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Sciences.

Each of the mentioned museums has “nationally recognized teen programs” and the “bring highly diverse urban youth together to work collaboratively with museum staff and artists, developing vibrant activities and events to engage teen audiences.” The programs are: Whitney Museum of American Art’s Youth Insights, Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC), Contemporary Art Museum of Houston (CAMH) Teen Council, Museum of Contemporary Art of Los Angeles (MOCA) Teen Program; they have all been active for about eight or more. These programs range from giving tours, making exhibits, performances, working with artists and museum staff, visual literacy, and fashion shows.

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Volunteer Opportunities: Three New YALSA Taskforces

Have you ever benefited from YALSA grants or awards? How would you like to be recognized if you did win a YALSA scholarship or award? Want to help YALSA raise funds to support leadership initiatives for members? Then we need your help! I’m accepting volunteer forms for three new taskforces that were established by the Board last week–Leadership Fundraising, Member Achievements Recognition, and Member Grants and Awards Evaluation taskforces.  Volunteer now through Feb. 15! Please email me with any questions and read on to learn more about the volunteer opportunities.

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Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:

  • establishing a clear organizational mission
  • forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
  • overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
  • hiring a competent executive director
  • providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Trixie Dantis, Teen Services Librarian at Arlington Heights Memorial Library and YALSA Board Fellow.

What drew you to the Board?
I am very passionate about increasing library staff diversity. When there was a call for members to serve on YALSA’s Board Diversity Task Force, I jumped at the opportunity. Working on this task force piqued my interest in governance, learning how the organization works. I decided to apply for the Board Fellow Program a one-year commitment to get better understanding of the organization and Board.
What do you do on the board?
Since this is the first year of a 3-year organizational plan we’ve been focusing on realignment of existing structures within the organization to better serve members working towards the envisioned future of library services for and with teens. I’m on the standing board committee concentrating on Leading the Transformation of Teen Library Services priority. In preparation for Midwinter, I worked with colleagues to develop a couple of board documents
What the board is doing for its members?
There are some exciting opportunities on the horizon for YALSA members! The board is laying the groundwork for upcoming leadership development and cultural competency curricula. For those looking to get involved, there will be more short-term, virtual volunteer opportunities to fit busy schedules. For those looking to connect, revitalized Interest Groups can help you build your local or topical network. One thing I cannot stress enough, we want member feedback. Let us know what you’re struggling with when it comes to serving teens – we want to help!
What book you are reading or what is your most favorite recent teen program?
I recently finished, All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. It’s the third book in the Naturals series. It centers a group of teens recruited by the FBI to help apprehend serial killers and bring them to justice, like YA Criminal Minds.

Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:

  • establishing a clear organizational mission
  • forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
  • overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
  • hiring a competent executive director
  • providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Franklin Escovedo, Principal Librarian for the City of Coronado, California.

What drew you to the Board?  

I think I have a strange back story for my involvement with the YALSA Board.  So at Annual in 2008 in Anaheim, my first ALA conference, I went to the member meeting GLBT-RT, and they were asking if any members were members of YALSA, “the perky librarians” the chair asked at the meeting.  Myself and a colleague who is no longer with us, were the only two members hopping up and down trying to get their attention.  We laughed about this later, since we did indeed fall into the category of perky librarian.  They were looking to fill a Liaison position for the round table, since the Liaison position had become vacant.  So I was appointed to be the liaison.  They didn’t seem to know what had happened to the previous one, they just told contact two people.  One of those was Beth Yoke and the other was a Board Member who was also a member of the GLBT-RT.  Since this was my first official activity in ALA, I was pretty lost at what to do, figured the best way to find out what YALSA was doing was to go to Board meetings.  So at Midwinter in 2009, I attended my first board meeting and was the only observer.  Sometimes they forgot I was there and would get into really heated debates, then someone would point out that there was an observer.  But from that first meeting in Denver, I was really impressed at the work that the Board did.  And from then on people kept asking me to be more involved and run for board.  So for several years I kept telling them I wanted to learn more about YALSA before I would run.  But what has kept my interest is the passion that the members of the board have for YALSA and the future of teen services, the need to adapt to the current and future landscape of teen services and for the librarians working with teens.  This is a division that hasn’t rested on its laurels but one that is trying to keep pace with the ever changing landscape of information and library services for teens, whether physically or virtually.     

What do you do on the board?  I’m one of the Board of Directors; I’m helping to shape the future of YALSA by helping to implement the new organizational plan.  I also liaison with few Chairs, the Teen Top Ten Committee, the Interdivisional Committee.  I’m also our liaison for the Division to ALA Advocacy group.  I’m currently working on a way to evaluate some of our older committees and to see what needs to be changed so that they will align with the new org plan.

What the board is doing for its members

One of the biggest challenges that the division has had over the past few years is how do you make YALSA more accessible to it’s members.  How to do you get more of the members involved?  One of biggest changes and exciting change is the ability to get more members involved in virtual committees.  The move of PPYA to a virtual committee made it possible for members who can’t afford to go to conference accessible.  One of the biggest road blocks for many members is the cost of attending a conference.  Like a lot of my colleagues, my library doesn’t cover the cost of me attending let a lot membership dues.  A not everyone is crazy like me, who pays for everything themselves.  Going to conference is no cheap affair.  So changing the charges of the selection committees has allowed more of our colleagues to participate.  This new change will allow many more librarians to get involved and help create selection list faster and hopefully get librarians who may not have participated in the past more actively involve.  YALSA is still trying to create better resources for its members and I believe for teen librarians in general.   We know that YA Librarians are often rare in libraries and that there a lot of generalist as well as paraprofessionals who serve as the Teen Librarian.  We want to continue to advocate for YA Librarians being added to the payrolls of libraries and schools.  We want to help with the continuing education of a YA Librarians, the new, the old, and the newly reassigned librarians who want to provided better services for teens.

Are you reading a teen book you may want to share or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.  I’m currently reading several books, one book is the first of the Magnus Chase series by Rick Riordan. I’m also reading Echo Park by Michael Connelly for my mystery book club that I run at my library. And I’m halfway through this year’s Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award winner, If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo.  I was lucky enough to meet Meredith at the Coffee Klatch in Orlando.  I’m so thrilled that it won! 

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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