YALSA Board @ Annual 2016: Fiscal Officer Report

piggy bank photo with money going in and on all sides At each YALSA Board meeting the Fiscal Officer, that’s me, facilitates a Board discussion about a topic related to the financial health and well-being of the association. Over the past several years the Fiscal Officer, the Executive Director, and the Board have worked to determine the types of fiscal discussions that will be most useful in this environment. We don’t want to simply go over the numbers included in the report – that can be done just as effectively in a non-face-to-face environment. What we do want to do is to have a fruitful discussion that can help in long-range planning for the ongoing fiscal health of the association. At the 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando the focus of the fiscal discussion is on planned giving.

In the Annual Conference Fiscal Officer Report document the following quote helps to frame the importance of this planned giving discussion.

“…every non-profit should be focused (in part) on finding benefactors to leave them planned gifts because there is no better way to plan for the future growth and strength of your organization.” From the Fundraising Authority website

Continue reading

Future Ready with the Library

photo of middle school students at lunch CC image by WoodleyWonderWorks Middle school. It can be a tough time for many tweens, teens, and the adults who live and work with them. It’s an important time for a young person (and their family) for future planning and decision making. It may seem very early to start thinking about college and career. It’s not. That’s why YALSA is offering a professional learning/funding opportunity for library staff working with middle schoolers on the college and career readiness process. As noted in The Forgotten Middle: Ensuring that All Students Are on Target for College and Career Readiness before High School

…the level of academic achievement that students attain by eighth grade has a larger impact on their college and career readiness by the time they graduate from high school than anything that happens academically in high school. This report also reveals that students’ academic readiness for college and career can be improved when students develop behaviors in the upper elementary grades and in middle school that are known to contribute to successful academic performance. The implication is clear: if we want not merely to improve but to maximize the college and career readiness of U.S. students, we need to intervene not only during high school but before high school, in the upper elementary grades and in middle school.”

Continue reading

Instagram of the Week — June 13

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

Across our library system, we have been finishing up our Summer Reading Club visits, coordinating book lists, training teen volunteers, and sprucing up library branches to get ready for our busiest season. Not only are we gearing up to help teens read all summer long, but we’re focusing on learning beyond books too. This year teens can try a variety of classes ranging from origami and improv comedy to coding, comic book storytelling, money management, and more. I’ve warned teens that while we may not offer tests or grades for participating in our classes and camps, they might win cool prizes like baseball tickets, a Raspberry Pi, or a GoPro camera. Best of all, teens can engage with community groups and local experts to discover new things on their own terms.

Please see the ‘grams below for ideas and inspiration for fun Summer Reading Kick-offs! And for more information, please see the following resources:

YALSA 2016 Top Ten Summer Learning Programs

Adopting a Summer Learning Approach for Increased Impact: a YALSA Position Paper

Continue reading


The newest issue of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults (JRLYA) is now published and freely available online at: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/. It includes two award-winning papers from YALSA’s Midwinter Paper Presentation series and two additional research papers describing recent research related to teens and library services.

Mega Subramaniam’s paper “Designing the Library of the Future for and with Teens: Librarians as the ‘Connector’ in Connected Learning” won the 2015 YALSA Midwinter Paper Presentation award. In her paper, Prof. Subramaniam describes the basic concepts of connected learning and discusses five cooperative inquiry techniques that librarians can adapt for use in working with teens to design library programs and services. Each technique creates design partnerships between adults and teens, building on the concept of connect learning and enabling teens to take active roles in their own learning and library programming. The five design techniques include: “bags of stuff,”  “mission to Mars,” “layered elaboration,” “big paper,” and “sticky noting.”

Kyungwon Koh and June Abbas received the 2016 YALSA Midwinter Paper Presentation award for their paper entitled: “Competencies Needed to Provide Teen Library Services of the Future: A Survey of Professionals in Learning Labs and Makerspaces.” They discuss their survey of information professionals who manage makerspaces and other learning spaces in libraries and museums. The survey results reveal common job responsibilities and the major skills and knowledge needed for effective management of these spaces. The survey findings have much to teach us as the field of teen librarianship moves toward continued broadening of the role of libraries as informal education institutions.

Continue reading

Kid Club: Connected Learning in Minecraft

When Mimi Ito, Tara Tiger Brown and I started Connected Camps a little more than a year ago, we did so in part to deepen our understanding of how connected learning could power a mission-driven start-up. As educators and entrepreneurs we wanted to create high quality online learning experiences accessible to young people in all walks of life; as geek girls we wanted to do it in a way that was collaborative, fun, and hands-on.

We chose Minecraft as our core platform and now run a FREE multiplayer Kid Club server where youth (aged 8 to 15) can level up their tech and SEL skills. The server runs year-round from 12pm – 6pm PT daily and is moderated and staffed by trained high school and college counselors. The counselors host a variety of themed clubs and activities daily, including minigames, survival challenges, and build events. The server is supported by forums, which are filled with all kinds of free Minecraft resources, for youth, educators, and parents alike.

Last summer we partnered with LA Public Libraries to offer free programming for the young people they serve. The partnership was so successful that this summer we want to invite all libraries with an interest in Minecraft to have their youth join our free Kid Club server. We know there are a ton of wonderful programs being run at libraries nationwide that are connected learning aligned. Here’s a bit more on our approach:

  1. We are a freely accessible online learning community.

Our online programming is available all year round and youth can connect to our servers and mentors from anywhere—home, school, a library, or a community center. Our format means that we are a persistent community, not a one-time experience. Youth can continue to learn, grow, level up, and develop lasting friendships. Research shows that when we give youth the opportunity to develop friendships and connect with experts while building and problem solving together, the experience is transformative. Not only do they retain specific content and skills better, but they also acquire higher-order skills like problem solving, teamwork, and literacy.

Continue reading

Rethinking YALSA: Virtual Town Hall on Monday!

Don’t forget to login on Monday, June 13, 2016, from 2 – 3 pm Eastern for a Town Hall Discussion!

The Town Hall will be about the Organizational Plan that the Board just approved.  See President Candice Mack’s recent blog post for more information.

The Town Hall will be led by Candice and me, and we’ll be joined by many board members, too. The agenda is as follows:

2:00 – 2:15 pm:  Overview of the Organizational Plan & Steps Already Taken

2:15 – 2:45 pm:  Discussion with Participants about Involvement & Engagement Activities

Question to Ponder: What YALSA member engagement activities have you found most meaningful?

2:45 – 3 pm: Q&A and Wrap-Up

If you can’t make it to the virtual town hall, but you’re attending ALA Annual in Orlando, we’d love to see you at the session What’s New in YALSA and How You Can Be a Part of It! The session will be on Saturday, June 25th, from 8:30-10 am at the Rosen Centre, Room Salon 03/04. It will be similar to the virtual town hall, and YALSA’s strategic guru Eric Meade will join the discussion. You can find out more about the Whole Mind Strategy Group in this interview with YALSA Board member Kate McNair.

We’ll be using a format that the Board has been using to meet virtually– Zoom. You don’t have to use video, but it does make conversation easier. And we always love when cute animals accidentally walk in front of the screen!

Email the YALSA Office soon to receive the login information: yalsa@ala.org

Garden Delights at ALA Annual

Florida has no shortage of beautiful gardens and vistas to experience.  Experience the true beauty of Florida.  If you enjoy lush gardens, beautiful sculptures, and tranquil settings, these gardens are sure to delight.

kraft-azalea-gardenKraft Azalea Gardens

136 S Alabama Drive, Winter Park, FL 32789

Open:  8am until dusk

Admission:  Free

Features:  5 acre public garden, dock, and Exedra Monument

mead botanical gardenMead Botanical Gardens

1300 S Denning Drive, Winter Park, FL 32789

Open:  7:30am until dusk

Admission Free

Features:  board walk, 20 minute jogging trail, Greenhouse, Butterfly Garden and Native Plant demonstrations


polasek gardenAlbin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens

633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789

Open:  Tues-Sat 10am-4pm; Sun 1pm-4pm

Admission:  $5

Features:  museum and sculpture garden, gift shop


Leu gardens

Harry P. Leu Gardens

1920 N Forest Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

Open daily 9am-5pm

Admission:  $10

Features:  19th historic home museum, 50 acres of gardens,


Continue reading

YALSA Professional Learning Summer 2016

photo of two sneakered feet standing next to a tablet, notebooks, pencils From monthly webinars, to an e-course, to ALA Annual, YALSA has a lot of opportunities for you to take part in professional learning this summer.

Summer Webinars
First up is the June 16 webinar titled, Content Creation Tools for You and Your Teens. The session will be facilitated by Nick Grove from the Meridian Library. Nick is the digital services librarian at the Meridan (ID) technology center, unBound, in the heart of downtown Meridian. Anyone who participates in the webinar will leave knowing:

  • How to decide what content creation tools to use with and for teens.
  • How content creation can help support teen 21st century skills development
  • Where to go next to learn more about the topic

Continue reading

Interview with Eric Meade

Last month, YALSA announced a new three-year organizational plan building from the Futures report and looking forward to 2018.  The YALSA Board has been working on this for over eight months, and consultant Eric Meade from Whole Mind Strategy Group has been an integral part of the process. I interviewed Meade to hear about the process so far, what has been rewarding about the process, and where YALSA is headed next.

Eric Meade will answer questions at ALA Annual in Orlando at a session titled “What’s New in YALSA & How You Can be a Part of It” from 8:30 – 10am EST at the Rosen Centre Hotel, Salon 03/04. Please attend to hear more about the new organizational plan, where YALSA is going from here and explore ways you can be a part of it.


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 President of YALSA, Candice Mack, is focusing her year as President with an initiative, “3-2-1 Impact: Inclusive and Impactful Teen Services,” which will focus on building the capacity of libraries to plan, deliver and evaluate programs and services for and with underserved teen populations.  Visit YALSA’s wiki to find and share information about serving diverse teens and building cultural competence.

Each month I will profile a teen librarian or staff working in teen services providing outreach services and programs outside the walls of the library to underserved and underrepresented teens. The purpose is for us to learn, connect, network and share with each other the crucial work we are doing in this area.

This month I interview Jurhandi Pendergrass, Teen Services Specialist for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library at the Imaginon.

What kind of outreach services do you provide for teens? 

The kinds of outreach services that I provide for teens are The Guys Read Program and mentoring with Communities in Schools. The Guys Read Program is a program that I have been a lead since 2009. The Outreach Manager for my library system finds Charlotte Mecklenburg Middle Schools that have 6th and 7th graders that do not read or test well. Most of the schools that I have, and currently work with are inner city schools. Most of the the demographics of these schools are single parent homes where the income is low. With Communities in Schools, I mentor young men who have no positive male figures in their life. I meet once a month with my boys,take snacks, and talk about what is going on in their lives. I provide a voice to their needs, and an ear so they can get things off their chests. Sometimes people just need to be listened to.

Describe a day in the life of you providing outreach

A day in the life of me providing outreach services includes me getting to my school about 8 am. I sign in at the office and go to the boys classroom where we meet. I am there before school starts which is 8:30 am. I put out snacks and drinks and wait for them to show. I greet the boys, and welcome them into the class. Once seated, we do an icebreaker and I make them tell me what is good with them. We meet once a month, and I know something good has happened in a month. We go around the room and then proceed to talk about the book that we are reading. I assign chapters, and they have a month to read them. The boys are usually good about reading. I have also found out that if you split a book into 3 parts in a whole school calendar year, we can read 3 to 4 books within that year. Normally books are graphic novels, or sports books. There are books that the boys would like based on what they see and do at the ages of 11-13. We have an hour, so after we do book discussion, I assign new chapters for future reading and we chat for a few minutes. When their time is up, I walk them back to their classes and then return to my branch.

Continue reading