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.

Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with BWI Award Jury and School & Public Library Cooperation Committee Director Melissa McBride

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.

Melissa McBride is a K-6 elementary school librarian at Southold Elementary on the North Fork of Long Island. She has also worked in Teen Services and as a high school librarian. Her favorite things, in no particular order, are: her husband, her cat, the NY Islanders, Mets, and Jets, reading, Jack Johnson, and paddleboarding.

YALSA: What does YALSA mean to you?

MM: For me, YALSA is the reason why I am where I am professionally. It means a lot on so many levels! In grad school, one of my professors told us that we should all join our professional organizations while students. She explained that it would be a wonderful resource to us, as well as save money with the student rate! I took her advice and immediately felt at home with YALSA. My work on committees, and now with the board, has enabled me to become a leader in my school district. Working with YALSA has given me the confidence to present at conferences, lead committees in my district and given me so many resources to use with my students and staff. I was recently named the Suffolk County (NY) School Librarian of the Year and I really don’t think I would have developed the program I have without the skills I learned through YALSA. Now I have the opportunity to give back to the organization by serving on the board, and that really couldn’t mean more to me. I really don’t think I would be where I am today without YALSA.

YALSA: What are your hopes for the future of teen services?

MM: At the most basic level, I want everyone to understand the need for year round teen services provided by dedicated teen services staff, and to understand why that need is so important. Beyond that, I want teens to know that they have allies in the library world and to take advantage of the wonderful resources that they have access to. I want teens to learn how to advocate for themselves and to understand that the library should be a place where they can go to learn how to do just that. I want dedicated teen services staff in every high school, middle school, public library, and any other space that serves the needs of our diverse teens!

YALSA: What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?

MM:

  • Paddleboard in the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Southern Ocean, no way am I going in the Arctic Ocean. One down, three to go!
  • See Jack Johnson in his home state of HI
  • Travel the world with my husband

YALSA: What’s your Hogwarts House?

MM: Ravenclaw!

YALSA: Which city is your favorite to travel to and why?

MM: Probably New Orleans – I’ve been there six times. There is no better place to see live music and eat some of the best meals of your life.

Call for Editor: Teen Services Competencies Publication

YALSA is seeking an experienced editor for an upcoming publication based on its Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff guideline. The tentative publication deadline is September 2019. The editor will be given a one-time stipend to compile, edit, and write content as needed and work with a group of contributors to produce a cohesive publication.

Applications are due December 1, 2018.

Working Title

Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff: A Practical Guide

Project Description

In public libraries, everyone needs the skills and knowledge to serve teens. According to a recent report from IMLS, nearly 7,000 of the nation’s 17,000+ public libraries have a staff of only 1.5 full time employee. Most libraries do not have the luxury of having a dedicated, full time staff person who focuses solely on serving teens.

In 2017, YALSA published an update to its competencies document, “Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff.” These competencies are meant to help libraries of all sizes and capacities provide quality library service in collaboration with teens. Merely having a list of competencies, however, is not enough. Library staff and their supervisors and administrators need help in knowing how to embed the competencies in the work of library staff and how to measure their success in achieving them. This book will examine each of the ten competencies and provide practical examples, suggestions, and resources aimed at front line library staff. The rationale behind the competencies will be addressed as well, to demonstrate how each one contributes to providing excellent service for and with teens.

Predetermined current experts and practitioners in the field of young adult librarianship in both school and public libraries will contribute practical examples, anecdotes, and success stories to illustrate how the competencies work at the building level. These contributions will appear in the body of the text (credited to the contributors). The editor may also have the opportunity to suggest potential contributors/experts if it is determined by both the editor and YALSA that there is a lack of content or expertise for a specific competencies area.

View full project details (manuscript length, table of contents, tentative timeline, etc) here.

Responsibilities

  • Work and liaise with a group of contributors and YALSA staff to meet deadlines and expectations
  • Make revisions based on YALSA feedback
  • Proofreading
  • Write content to fill gaps and build a cohesive document (introductions, sections, headings, table of content, appendices, etc) as needed
  • Compile content from contributors, provide feedback, and keep contributors committed to deadlines
  • Identify and include helpful, practical resources as needed to fill gaps
  • Edit several drafts of manuscript for overall consistency (focus, tone, structure/organization, pacing, language, etc.) and readability
  • Other responsibilities not listed may also be required that will be discussed as they occur

Requirements

  • Must have past editor and/or writing experience for book length (or similar) publications
  • Knowledge of recent developments and trends in library services for and with young adults
  • Read and become familiar with YALSA’s Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff resource
  • Be familiar with YALSA’s mission and organizational plan
  • Have an eye for detail
  • Strong project management and organizational skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills to manage content and communicate with contributors and YALSA Staff
  • Dynamic, self-motivated individual
  • Ability to delegate work and to manage and motivate contributors
  • Ability to set and meet deadlines
  • Ability to work well in a team environment
  • High ethical standards
  • Other requirements may also apply and will be discussed

A full list of responsibilities and requirements will be discussed and provided prior to contractual agreements.

Candidates must send a cover letter and resume via email to Anna Lam at alam@ala.org by December 1, 2018.

Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with Organization & Bylaws Chair Valerie Tagoe

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.

Valerie Tagoe is a high school librarian in Texas. She is the immediate past president of the Dallas Association of School Librarians and currently serves on the YALSA Board as the Organization & Bylaws chair. In addition to serving on the board, she is also active in the Texas Library Association as a member of its legislative committee. She holds a B. A. in French with a minor in History from the University of Oklahoma, a Master of Bilingual Education from Southern Methodist University and an MLS from Texas Woman’s University.

YALSA: What does YALSA mean to you?

VT: To me, YALSA means innovation and information for those who serve teens. YALSA provides a means to learn about innovative ways to serve teens along with issues and trends in librarianship. As a high school librarian, I can put into practice what I learn from YALSA webinars and at conferences to help my students meet their educational and personal goals as they move into adulthood and pursue college, career. YALSA also provides insight into current trends and issues in librarianship across the country.

YALSA: What are your hopes for the future of teen services?

VT: My hope is that even with all the budget changes we are seeing in public, academic and school libraries that teens, no matter where they live, have access to teen services at schools and in public libraries, and access to a librarian who can provide instruction, assistance, and programming.

YALSA: What movie have you seen multiple times in theaters?

VT: Black Panther.

YALSA: Name one cool fact about yourself.

VT: I have been to four countries outside the US.

YALSA: Which city is your favorite to travel to and why?

VT: Paris, France is my favorite city. I traveled there for a summer study abroad program at the Sorbonne and just loved all aspects of the city. I wanted to finish my last year of college there then return for graduation.

Transforming Teen Services Train the Trainer: Report from the Field

photos of participants in T3 face-to-face meeting in ChicagoIn July, State Library Agencies (SLAs) were invited by YALSA to apply for the pilot cohort of the Transforming Teen Services: A Train the Trainer Approach (now known as T3) IMLS grant funded initiative. A joint project from YALSA and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, T3 continues the work of the 2018 National Forum on Transforming Teen Services Through Continuing Education by training SLA staff and public library staff to facilitate workshops on implementing coding and computational thinking programming through the lens of connected learning.

Danielle Margarida, Youth Services Coordinator at the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services and Rebecca Ott, Young Adult Librarian at the Tiverton Public Library in Tiverton, Rhode Island threw their hat in the ring and were thrilled when Rhode Island was accepted as one of five states participating in the pilot. As a team, Danielle and Rebecca attended the first T3 meeting in Chicago during first weekend in October with an outstanding group of professionals from Alabama, Maine, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The weekend consisted of activities that were both challenging and fruitful. The cohort spent time working on issues of identity and equity, connected learning, facilitation skills, and ways in which ways in which we’ll help our colleagues statewide recognize and integrate connected learning into daily librarianship, programming, and services to teens.
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Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with Presidential Advisory Taskforce Director Ryan Moniz

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.

First, a little background on Presidential Advisory Taskforce Director Ryan Moniz:

Early on in my career I realized that what motivates me is providing all members of my community, regardless of personal limitations or disabilities, with opportunities to learn, succeed, and improve their quality of life. I have more than 10 years of experience in strategic planning, project management, program development, instructional design, community outreach, along with public speaking and have had a fulfilling career because I have chosen to work for organizations that give back to their community.

YALSA: What does YALSA mean to you?

RM: I’ve always thought of YALSA as a compass for not just library professionals working with teens, but anyone who is committed to serving teens and youth in their community. It can guide both individuals and organizations down the sometimes challenging road of teen customer service. It’s a group of bright minds and passionate people who are committed to doing their part to make the library world a more equitable place for teens and it stands tall as a positive model for our library peers.

YALSA: What are your hopes for the future of teen services?

RM: I’d like to see more of an emphasis placed on teen spaces when designing new library branches. I’ve grown tired of visiting library systems across North America only to see teen spaces no bigger than a broom closet. We put so much thought into the design of children’s spaces but for some reason completely forget about teens. It would be refreshing to see library systems actually consult with teens in the community to get an understanding of what it is that they want, not just what a bunch of senior managers in a room think they want.

YALSA: What was your favorite band as a teen?

RM: I was obsessed with Blink-182. I listened to them to and from school, while I was showering, making food, and doing homework. I was especially obsessed with their album “The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show” since it was a live album and I could close my eyes and pretend I was actually at the concert. Their music marked so many milestones in my life, but I’ll always remember their song “Not Now” as a bookmark for a defining moment in my life when I left home and all of my closest friends for university. It’s a great track that hits right in the feels.

YALSA: What’s your ultimate comfort food?

RM: Oh without a doubt my go-to comfort food is a serving of butter chicken (extra spicy) with a bowl of chicken biryani (also extra spicy) and a crispy naan. My fiancée and I have a ritual after we return from any trip; we always pick up this exact meal on the way home from the airport and chow down the minute we get home. Nothing like a warm and flavorful meal after a long flight!

YALSA: Which city is your favorite to travel to and why?

RM: My fiancée and I just returned from a road trip in Iceland and I can easily say that Reykjavik has leapfrogged to our favourite city we’ve traveled to thus far. The downtown core of Reykjavik has something for everyone; the food was amazing, the people were friendly, and there’s history around every corner. On our final night there we went out for Indian food and once our bellies were full, we just started walking and taking in the sights. By the end we both chatted about how we could see ourselves living there…so who knows what the future holds!

YALSA’s President Report August-September 2018

Hello Colleagues,

In August, YALSA welcomed our new Executive Director, Anita Mechler. We are very excited to have her with us as we embark on a new round of Strategic Planning.

As you may know, the YALSA Board works year round. Since July we have been creating, discussing & voting on Board documents virtually. The Board decided to pilot holding the Edwards Celebration at the YALSA Symposium starting in 2019.

The Board finished up revisions to the Mission and Vision and developing an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan, as recommended by the Advancing Diversity Taskforce. This document will be posted soon and the EDI Plan will also be published as a standalone document.

We have created a Strategic Planning timeline. The board will be keeping members updated as we make progress through blog posts.

The Board also created a taskforce to Reenvision Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week into a larger advocacy initiative. This taskforce is already working and will have its recommendations to the Board in April.

The final document we have worked on since July is the Committee Impact Report, which initiates the revamping of our quarterly committee report. This will help celebrate the work of committees and make their work more transparent.

Thank You!

Outreach

YALSA staff and members have had booths at the following conferences:

Relevant Stats & Data

  • September Membership: 4,622 (down 3.6% over September 2017)
  • Funds raised in August: $12,450

 Don’t Forget!

  • The 2018 YALSA YA Services Symposium will take place in Salt Lake City, UT, November 2-4, 2018, at the Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel with a theme of: Zeroing In: Focusing on Teen Needs.Registration is open now and the preliminary program is online.
  • Take a moment to read the full Advancing Diversity Taskforce Report, which is now available!
  • The YALSA Board approved a new version of YALSA’s Competencies. Make sure to check out the YALSAblog to learn more about these competencies. Find out about the upcoming free webinar competencies series here.
  • The Public Library & School Library Collaboration Toolkit, the result of a three-year collaborative effort with members of AASL, ALSC and YALSA, provides information, research, and examples to will help facilitate and incorporate collaborative initiatives. Make sure to check it out!
  • Check out the The Hub for the the latest on YA resources!
  • Check out the Current Projects page to stay updated on what’s going on!

Best,
Crystle Martin
YALSA President 2018-2019

Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with JRLYA Advisory Board and MAE Award Jury Director Kafi D. Kumasi

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.

Kafi D. Kumasi is an associate professor of library and information science (LIS) at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, where she teaches in the areas of school library media, urban librarianship, multicultural services and resources and research methods. A Laura Bush 21st century scholar, she holds a PhD from Indiana University, Bloomington and a master’s degree in LIS from Wayne State. Her research interests revolve around issues of literacy, equity and diversity, particularly in urban educational environments spanning K12 and graduate school contexts. Her publications include book chapters, and journal articles in (among others) Journal of Education for Library and Information ScienceThe Journal of Research on Libraries and Young AdultsSchool Libraries WorldwideSchool Library Media Research, and Urban Library Journal.

YALSA: What does YALSA mean to you?

KDK: YALSA means that I have a dedicated space to bridge my research around issues of youth, literacy and librarianship with policies and best practices for teen services professionals who ultimately reach young adults through their work in libraries.

YALSA: What are your hopes for the future of teen services?

KDK: I hope that teen services expands in ways that attract young people to get involved with libraries by the sheer relevance and fun that they see possible from existing programs and services that reflect the way they live and learn today.

YALSA: What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?

KDK:

  • Travel the site of a future Olympics to see my daughter compete
  • Create a passive stream of income based on a passion/hobby
  • Visit every city where my son plays a game rookie season as a professional athlete

YALSA: What show do you like to binge watch?

KDK: I recently binge watched all 3 seasons of Insecure in a single weekend. I am absolutely smitten with the fresh take on life for a 30 something Black woman from Inglewood, CA. It has all the things I enjoy in a series and leaves me wanting more.

YALSA: Name one cool fact about yourself.

KDK: I teach Zumba and have a twin brother.

Killin’ It: Murder Mystery at the Library

One of the many things I love about being a librarian is programming! The challenge of creating programs that my teens would love while also engaging them in my library program was a passion. As a Library Media Specialist at a public high school and a Teen Librarian Consultant at a public library, I had to constantly reinvent my library programs so they could stay new and relevant (see program ideas here).  One of my favorite programs was throwing a murder mystery party! After implementing the first one, I learned very quickly that tweens, teens, and adults alike all love a good mystery, and when you throw fun, safety, and food into the mix, they all wanted to be involved.

It Takes Two

At both libraries, the murder mystery turned into two separate programs. Since the theme was Mardi Gras Masquerade, I held a program that allowed students to make masks as well as attend the murder mystery itself. However, they did not have to attend the murder mystery to come make a mask. The mask making program was suggested by the patrons/students and I loved the idea because it gave the attendees who may not have the means to buy a mask or dress up still feel in costume at the murder mystery (dressing up was encouraged, but in no way mandatory). So the mask making program served many purposes: advertisement for the upcoming murder mystery event, a separate library program to get students engaged in the library, and as preparation for the upcoming murder mystery event.

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YALSA’s 2018 YA Services Symposium: Salt Lake City Travel Tips & Recommendations

Attending YALSA’s YA Services Symposium in Salt Lake City next week? Here are some tips to help you enjoy your visit to Salt Lake City.

Transportation

If you don’t want to wait for the Sheraton Hotel’s shuttle, you can always take TRAX for $2.50 one way. From Terminal One, take the Green Line to the Courthouse Station. Depart and head south on S Main St. Turn right onto 500 S. And speaking of TRAX, you can ride free inside the city limits when you ride in the free fare zone.

Want alternative means of transportation? Check out Lime Scooters and Bird Scooters. Email Nichole O’Connor (noconnor@ala.org) for a Lime Scooter promo code. For bicycle enthusiasts, check out Green Bikes.

Dining Around

If you are looking to have dinner with a group at the Symposium, YALSA has dine arounds scheduled for Gracie’s and Caffé Molise on Friday and Saturday nights. You can sign up near registration.

Or, ask other attendees and start your own dine around. Salt Lake City offers a variety of eating options. Check out some recommendations below.

Italian
If Italian fare is your thing, check out Tony Caputo’s Deli, Valter’s Osteria, Maxwell’s East Coast Eatery, Settebello  and Caffé Molise. Mexican restaurants include Alamexo, and Chile-Tepin. Spanish style cuisine can be found at Finca. For Mediterranean street food try Spitz.

American/New American
Restaurants with American and New American menus include the Market Street Grill, Red Rock Brewing Co., Squatter’s Pub, The Copper Onion, Tin Angel Café and Whiskey Street.

Vegetarian and Vegan
Vertical Diner and Zest Kitchen and Bar.

Casual Dining
Try Mollie and Ollie, Robin’s Nest, Pretty Bird, R&R BBQ and J-Dawgs.

Sushi
Sushi anyone? Try Itto Sushi and Takashi.

Other favorites include Bodega (Bar), Bruges Waffles and Frites (Belgian), Gracie’s (Gastropub), Himalayan Kitchen, The Melting Pot (Fondue), The Pie (Pizza Delivery), P.F. Chang’s (Chinese) and The Rose Establishment (Café).

Around Town

Ever see Ken Sanders on Antiques Roadshow? Well here’s your chance to visit his store, Ken Sanders Rare Books, just two blocks east of a TRAX station. And check out City Creek Center for some major retail therapy.

Along with the Clark Planetarium, Leonardo Museum, Natural History Museum of Utah, and the City Library, Salt Lake City is home to Temple Square and the Mormon Tabernacle choir. Arriving Thursday night? Choir rehearsals are open to the public every Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30pm in the Tabernacle.

Want to jazz up your Friday night? Attend a Utah Jazz basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies beginning at 7:00pm.

Get Away for a Day

If Utah’s five National Parks are too far away, there are a number of places worth visiting within an hour or two drive from Salt Lake City. Do some hiking and experience wildlife on Antelope Island, a State Park 41 miles north of Salt Lake City. There is a $10 per vehicle entrance fee.

Approximately 40 miles east of Salt Lake City, Park City is known for skiing, the Sundance Film Festival and is home to the Utah Olympic Park. The Park hosted five events during the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games. About 30 minutes from Park City is Midway, home to the Homestead Crater, a geothermal spring, hidden within a 55-foot tall, beehive-shaped limestone rock.

Spiral Jetty, a work of art, is located a little over 100 miles north of Salt Lake City on the Great Salt Lake. While up north, take a visit to the Golden Spike National Historic Site located at Promontory Point. May 10, 2019 will mark the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.

Learn more about the programs and events taking place at the YA Services Symposium at www.ala.org/yalsa/yasymposium.