ALA and Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission Book Set Giveaway

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, the American Library Association has partnered with the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission to distribute 6000 sets of books for youth to libraries across the country. The books bring the story of women’s struggle for voting rights alive and will be accompanied by an annotated list of additional recommended books about suffrage, along with ideas for displays and programming about voting in the United States. The project examines an important chapter in our nation’s struggle towards a more perfect union and the ongoing fight for access to full participation in our democracy.

Each set consists of three books corresponding to different reading levels: “Around America to Win the Vote” by Mara Rockliff for elementary readers; “The Woman’s Hour: Our Fight for the Right to Vote” by Elaine Weiss for middle schoolers; and the “National Park Service Women’s Suffrage Reader,” an anthology of essays for high school readers.

Learn more and apply by June 15th.

Giving During Hard Times

2020 started great; well, at least we thought it was going to be a great year.  As many of us are sheltering in place during this pandemic (some longer than others), we keep looking to the future for better times and when “normal” life will resume.  Many of us are also wondering when our libraries will reopen and how it will look and feel. But as they say, we’ll get through this together, and I fully believe we will.

All of us are facing different struggles. But if you’re here, we still have one thing in common. We have a passion for working with teens, and we are committed to YALSA and YALSA’s mission. We do this by giving to YALSA, whether it is financially or with our time volunteering. In preparation for the future, YALSA launched a fundraising campaign aimed to encourage YALSA members and the library community to give $20 in 2020 in order to increase sustainability and strengthen Friends of YALSA to fund member awards and grants.

During these unusual times, we’re asking for you to donate what you can. Little donations add up, and they will help our colleagues in the future. It might even help your library or coworker when life begins again. Everyone’s financial situation is different, especially while the library world is working virtually.  In this challenging time in history, lets come together. We must remain positive about the future. If you are able, we kindly ask for your support. Learn more at http://www.ala.org/yalsa/give-20-2020.

-Franklin Escobedo
Financial Advancement Committee member

Brief update on current YALSA activities

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re all hanging in there. I want to inform YALSA members about a few recent and upcoming pieces of information, in particular with regard to the canceled ALA Annual Conference scheduled for next month.

  1. The YALSA Board has voted to allow virtual meetings of the Board in place of the in-person ones that normally take place in conjunction with the ALA Annual Conference. These will take place on Saturday, June 27 and, as always, will be open to the membership (aside from any periods the Board calls for an executive session). More details about exact times and a link to the meeting will be forthcoming.
  2. Because the ALA Annual Conference has been canceled, YALSA 101, the Membership Meeting, and the YALSA President’s Program will not take place. Look for the return of all of these events at the 2021 ALA Annual Conference.
  3. The next Lunch & Learn is set for Tuesday, May 26 at 2pm ET / 11am PT. This session will focus on: 1) Summer Learning/Reading during the pandemic and 2) How teen services might look in your institution upon reopening your physical facility. As was the case for the first Lunch & Learn session late last month, this is an opportunity to connect, to hear from other library staff serving teens nationwide, and to discuss the possibilities during these unusual times.
  4. I sincerely want to thank all of the selection list, award, and process committees, along with task forces and other groups that are continuing to focus on their charges. Your volunteering propels the work of YALSA forward, and for that we are all grateful.
  5. Finally, I encourage you to consider registering for the ALA Virtual Conference event “Community Through Connection”, especially now that generous sponsors have greatly reduced the cost of the three-day event from $175 to only $60. Registration is due by Wednesday, June 17.

Please, do your best to stay safe and healthy.

Thanks again for all the work you do for and with teens!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl

Vol. 11 N. 2 Issue of Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults

Volume 11, Issue 2 of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults (JRLYA) is now available online at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/. This issue features research papers that focus on issues of censorship in public libraries and the perceptions of teachers and librarians about the use of teen literature that features school shootings.

Shannon M. Oltmann and Stephanie D. Reynolds explore the absence of challenges in their article, “When Libraries Aren’t Challenged: Librarians Discuss a Lack of Patron Challenges to Their Collections.” In order to better understand these librarians’ perspectives, the authors interviewed youth services librarians who have never dealt with a challenge from their community.  Oltmann’s and Reynold’s research explores an aspect of intellectual freedom not often addressed in literature regarding youth services.

The question of whether or not to use teen literature that features school shootings as a central plot line was the focus of research conducted by Kjersti VanSlyke-Briggs, Sarah Rhodes, and Jenna Turner.  In their article, “The Darkest Themes: Perceptions of Teen-on-Teen Gun Violence in Schools as Portrayed by Teen Literature,” the authors explored this question with librarians and teachers to understand how these two groups of professionals approached engaging with teens about violence in schools.  Their research uncovers willingness but also hesitancy on the part of teachers and librarians to use this literature with teens.  This paper puts into perspective the importance of providing teachers and librarians the tools with which to engage teens about challenging contemporary issues.

JRLYA is YALSA’s open-access, peer-reviewed research journal, located at: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya. Its purpose is to enhance the development of theory, research, and practice to support young adult library services. JRLYA presents original research concerning: 1) the informational and developmental needs of teens; 2) the management, implementation, and evaluation of young adult library services; and 3) other critical issues relevant to librarians who work with teens. Writer’s guidelines are located at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/author-guidelines/.

Robin A. Moeller, editor, JRLYA

Making Face Shields with Maker Hardware at the Great Neck Library

This is a guest post by Adam Hinz, Youth Services Coordinator at the Great Neck Library in Nassau County, NY.

The Great Neck Library is located in Nassau County, NY, and is right on the border of Queens, NY. By the end of the day on March 13, we were advised that the library was going to be closed through the end of the month (obviously much longer at this point).

About a week or two after the library closed, another library professional reached out to me and a colleague about a 3D printing project to create personal protection equipment (PPE) for medical personnel. We were all in!

The files and designs for the project are all open-source. I looked them over and everything seemed straightforward. There were already several options designers had put out there, but the face shield we ultimately decided to use was one that did not require any foam or elastic. This would help alleviate having to worry about ordering additional components. The only additional piece besides what is 3D printed is an overhead transparency. The 3D printed piece goes around your head, and the transparency connects to it to create a shield.

Once the details were worked out, I asked my supervisor for permission to take home a 3D printer from our STEM Lab and to use the laser engraver to cut the holes and round the edges of the transparency film. She agreed and we were in business! My colleague Chris helped tweak the design files for the transparencies to accommodate letter size paper, as the original design was in A4. After this hiccup was cleared, I cut as many transparency films as I could, grabbed a 3D printer, and headed home.

Over the last month, my dining room table has been a production center for making the shields. There have been issues to troubleshoot throughout. When I ran out of laser cut transparency films, I had to borrow a Silhouette from a friend to continue making more. Another friend started the project on his own 3D printer and gave me the head pieces he 3D-printed so that I could add the transparency films.

Ultimately, a patron from the community helped us connect with the right people at Northwell Health for donations. They have advised us that the face shields meet their specifications and are usable. I have provided a link to the model we are working with at the end of this post. In addition, the National Institute of Health also has provided specifications for 3D printed PPE that hospitals, doctors, and other medical personnel can use. At this point, many hospitals and municipalities have instructions for donating PPE on their websites. In addition, you can reach out and donate PPE to other essential employees who are dealing directly with the public such as transit employees, grocery workers, and delivery personnel.

At this point, we are more than a month into the shutdown. COVID-19 has been relentless in Downstate NY. We are tremendously thankful to the medical personnel who are working hard every day, and we are just glad to help!

Useful links:

National Institute of Health 3D PPE: https://3dprint.nih.gov/discover/ppe

Open Source Face Shield Files: https://3dverkstan.se/protective-visor/

– Adam Hinz

YALSA Plans for Fiscal Challenges 

Last month, your YALSA Executive Committee moved forward with budgeting plans for the next fiscal year and in setting a priority to fund strategic planning activities. We’ve also been keyed into finding solutions for the programs and activities that were scheduled for the 2020 ALA Annual conference. In doing so, your YALSA Board is moving these pieces along with special attention to our fiduciary obligations given the current ALA financial environment.

During fiscal year 2020, YALSA’s budget plans were substantially impacted as current funds were utilized to cover ALA expenses. Furthermore, not just YALSA funds, but all other ALA division budgets were also impacted. The utilization of division funds is fully within ALA authority and is a strategy all divisions agreed upon, as is stated in the ALA operating agreement. With these current financial challenges in mind, your YALSA board is planning the next fiscal year’s activities from the seat of a zero-based budget to address our overall YALSA financial health. Perhaps you may wonder “but what does that really mean?” In a nutshell, this means:

  • The YALSA Board continues to fully support that we are ALL ALA and maintains shared ALA values.
  • The YALSA Board values the flexibility of the ALA operating agreement that provides us the opportunity to achieve our mission: to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens – especially those with the greatest need – on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.
  • The YALSA Board is interested in addressing solutions for improving the operating agreement’s policy strategies. One such strategy may be supporting a more efficient and targeted communication within the internal ALA structure on such matters. In other words, the YALSA Board is more interested in moving forward together, rather than dwelling on any errors of yesterday.

This also means that, as we move through these opportunities and challenges, we welcome your questions, comments, or concerns you may have regarding our financial situation. While we may have our own perspectives, your voice is vitally important in guiding the YALSA Board and focusing our efforts in better collaboration with our ALA Executive Board on YALSA members’ priorities.

We appreciate your time in sharing your thoughts regarding the future of YALSA’s financial health and, in doing so, the financial health of ALA.

Todd Krueger, YALSA President, and Amanda Barnhart, YALSA President-Elect

It’s Citizen Science Month AND (Almost) National Library Week!

Two people sit on a couch looking at a laptop together. The text reads: Citizen Science Month and Participate from Home!It’s Citizen Science Month AND it’s (almost) National Library Week! SciStarter and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University, and ASU Library—with support from the National Library of Medicine—will shine a light on libraries’ citizen science-related resources during a live event on April 21 at 5pm ET…and we invite YOU to 1) send us resources you’d like us to highlight, 2) join us during the event, and 3) invite your library audiences to tune in, too!

LIVE: The Field Guide to Citizen Science–and other free resources from your library!

Text reads: The Field Guide to Citizen Science

The live, online event will feature library resources, including: The Field Guide to Citizen Science, a new book from the experts at SciStarter. The event will include a reading by Darlene Cavalier, founder of SciStarter, Professor of Practice at ASU, and one of the authors, who will help audiences discover what citizen science is, who can be a citizen scientist (everyone!), and how to find and join a project from home. We’ll all do one project together.

The Field Guide to Citizen Science reading and related activities will serve as a pathway to help people (families, seniors, teens, adults—everyone!) connect with other books and resources they can access for free, online through YOUR libraries. Then, Tess Wilson from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine will join us to spotlight projects on SciStarter.org/NLM, related health and medicine resources, and more.  

Please register for this free event and spread the word using any of the resources in this Google Folder! The event will be hosted on Zoom, live-streamed to YouTube, and shared on Facebook. 

We want to hear from you!

  • Does your library offer citizen science resources you’d like us to promote during the live event? Great! Please send us links and the name/city/state of your library.
  • Would you like to be listed as a partner of this event? Please send us your logo and website. Partners commit to attend and promote the event.
  • We will run live polls and invite you to send us questions you’d like us to ask the audience (“Have you engaged in a citizen science project?”  “Have you used your library’s online resources during social distancing?”)

If you have access to your library’s Facebook page, please share the event invitation and post the link to the YouTube video where the event will be streamed. We’ll post that link at the opening of the Zoom event. This way, your library’s Facebook community can tune in without going through Zoom.

Please send materials and comments to CarolineN@SciStarter.org . Better yet, call into the Citizen Science Month call tomorrow (Thursday) at 8 am and 11 am ET: Join Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/264491167
Meeting ID: 264 491 167.  One tap mobile +16465588656,,264491167#

Happy Citizen Science Month!

Update on YALSA Board work in recent weeks

Hi everyone,

I would like to get you up to date on a few things the YALSA Board of Directors has been doing during the pandemic as we continue to work for the organization.

After the prudent decision was made by ALA to cancel the 2020 Annual Conference, we immediately decided that we must make allowances for our YALSA award committees who are compelled to meet in-person at Annual conference to discuss nominations from the first half of their eligibility period. The Board adopted the Virtual Dispensation for Award Committees document, allowing all 2021 YALSA Award committees (Alex, Morris, Nonfiction, Odyssey [co-administered with ALSC, and chaired this year by YALSA], and Printz) to meet virtually throughout the month of June. (The Edwards award committee is all-virtual.) This will allow chairs and committees to meet multiple times within the month of June in virtual settings, and provides guidance and recommendations for how to best go about modifying discussions to a virtual environment. We are currently in discussions about ways to celebrate our 2020 Printz Award and Honor winners in another venue, most likely virtually. More information about that soon.

We have also passed the recommendation by the Advocacy Standing Board Committee to form a Community Listening Task Force, which will be appointed by me in the coming weeks. This task force will be created to learn more about the advocacy needs of library staff and teens in preparation to make YALSA resources accessible and relevant. Look for information coming soon in the e-news if you are interested in participating.

Chairs of YALSA committees, task forces, and juries have been provided with guidance as to the work of their groups during the pandemic. Obviously many of us have countless things on our minds during this disruption. We are providing and asking for patience as the work that we are doing, while important, must take proper prioritization among the new realities.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Take care, and stay safe and healthy!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl

Serving Teens During COVID-19

Like many of you, my anxiety levels are high due to all the changes in our current world. In Illinois, most K-12 schools have been closed since March 16, and the transition to e-learning is in full swing.  My community college moved to the online environment on March 23 after an extended Spring Break. I’m privileged and thankful to be able to work from home, but it’s difficult to keep my teenager on track with e-learning and to balance the home and work duties, especially on the lovely Spring day last week when it was 70 degrees outside!

My library was in a fairly good place to transition all services to the virtual environment.  We already use LibGuides and have subscriptions to many databases. I’m able to update everything from home, and login to my work computer through a virtual machine. But the quick transition to virtual meant learning to use quickly purchased campus-wide technologies like chat, Zoom, and Skype. All of these technology updates were sorely needed, but the learning curve was steep for many faculty and staff members! But we’re surviving. And serving our students the best way that we can.

And I know you all are, too.  I reached out via Twitter to see how YALSA members were serving their teen patrons, and heard from two Illinois librarians. Tracey Virrorio, Teen Services Librarian at Plainfield Public Library District, utilized the teen-focused Instagram account (@plainfieldteens) to issue a call for a Virtual Teen Art Show.

Plainfield Public Library Virtual Teen Art Show

Screenshot from @plainfieldteens Instagram

Tracey is posting one piece of art daily and will be showcasing a gallery of images on the library’s Facebook account. What a great way to showcase teen quarantine creations!

School librarians are facing an uphill battle in some school districts. Worksheet packets and e-learning can only go so far. Belleville Public Schools are parking their wifi-enabled buses around town so that more people can use their wifi, but what about those students who have no one to drive them to a bus? Or don’t even own a device?  How do we tackle issues like equity when the state orders e-learning to occur?

Mariela Martinez Siegert, School Librarian at Westfield Middle School, addressed the concerns that many of us have about equity:

“I think one of the things that concerns me so much as a school librarian is the elitist idea that everybody has Internet access or devices to participate in e-learning, remote learning or virtual learning. Or even the time. We have some students who are taking care of their younger siblings because their parents are working still or working from home. We have families whose only internet access is their phones data plan. We have families in rural areas that have no internet access and devices might be limited depending on the needs of the family. And, yes, there are some programs out there for free internet access, but there are some serious flaws with these programs. Our lower- and middle-class working families who are on a tight budget, or even a tighter budget now, can’t afford the Internet or the larger phone data plan at the moment.”

The stay-at-home edicts are widening the learning gaps that already exist and librarians are finding ways to help. Many educators in my professional learning network are stressing that the internet needs to be a public utility, available to all. Broadband needs to be everywhere and all students need to be equipped with a learning device to take home. Why are some districts more privileged than others?

YALSA has already been working to remove inequities within its own organization.  An Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Statement and EDI Plan guides our work and much of our work already exists in the online environment. But how do these documents apply to your own library during COVID-19? How can libraries strive to eliminate inequities? How can YALSA help you do so? If you have any suggestions, please post in the comments!

Also, if you haven’t already, please consider donating to YALSA’s Give $20 in 2020 campaign. We want to continue to strengthen Friends of YALSA to fund member grants and awards because these help to eliminate inequities between our own members.

Stay safe,

Sarah Hill, Financial Advancement Committee Member

YALSA President 2016-2017

Kelly Czarnecki wins 2021-2022 YALSA presidency

2020-2021 YALSA President-Elect Kelly CzarneckiKelly Czarnecki, Teen Loft Manager at ImaginOn in Charlotte, NC, has been elected as YALSA’s 2020-2021 division president-elect. Czarnecki will begin her three-year term as president-elect in June of 2020, becoming president starting in June of 2021, and remain active on the board for one year as past president in 2022. Voting took place March 9 – April 1.

“It is such an honor to be elected to this position by the members,” said Czarnecki. “I am grateful and look forward to continuing to get their input to move toward YALSA’s future. In these unchartered times during this pandemic, I am hopeful that in working with the board, along with past presidents, we will continue to seek solutions to inevitable shifts we’ll see in library services. In allowing ourselves to listen and engage with teens, we’ll continue to be a viable organization that will meet their needs.”

Highlights of Czarnecki’s involvement in YALSA include:

  • Serving as a content expert for the YALSA Programming HQ
  • Serving on the YALSA Programming Guidelines Development Task Force
  • Serving on the YALSA Advisory Board
  • Serving on several YALSA committees including Technology, Gaming, and Outreach to YAs with Special Needs

In addition to the president-elect position, YALSA members have also elected Kate Denier as Fiscal Officer and both Susannah Goldstein and Dawn McMillian as Directors-at-Large. All three positions will serve three-year terms.

Learn more about YALSA elections at www.ala.org/yalsa/workingwithyalsa/election.