YALSA President’s Program, ALA annual 2006

It took me a whole week to sort through my thoughts and notes for the YALSA President’s Program! Here they are at last.

The YALSA President’s Program kicked off Monday afternoon June 26 with Pam Spencer Holly and Beth Yoke delivering highlights from the past year (did you know YALSA is the fastest growing division in ALA? 😉 It’s really amazing that not only has membership increased by 10%, but 25% of YALSA members are student members. Could a student interest group be in the works?

The President’s 2005-2006 Report was well-organized and reflects accomplishments that align with the YALSA Strategic Plan.

I think Pam was so eager to pass over her presidential gavel to incoming president Judy Nelson that she forgot to mention an item on the agenda – Friends of YALSA. The website shows that YALSA only has 18 friends! I slipped a form to my boss, and I think I can get my mom to contribute too – who can YOU ask?

2007 sounds like it will be as busy as 2006! Tons of events are in the works as YALSA turns 50, Teen Tech Week lauches, and much, much more.

Judy Nelson announced a return to our roots with the theme of her presidency, “Still Reading After All These Years,” a focus on the wonderful rich and diverse world of our beloved YA literature. Very fitting, and smart, in light of the recent misconceptions of YA novels as fluff and nonsense.

Appropriately, the program that followed the membership meeting was all about the Renaissance of YA Literature, and a sequel to a program 10 years ago on the same topic: What’s so Adult about Young Adult? The afternoon was a celebration of crossover titles including the likes of Weetzie Bat (the original crossover novel) Perks of Being a Wallflower, and more. I missed the names of some of the speakers, so thanks in advance for any corrections you guys who attended can contribute.

Author and YA lit critic Michael Cart (Booklist’s “Carte Blanche” column, My Father’s Scar, and editor of Rush Hour, who convened the original program on this topic, gave a brief history of crossover novels, lamenting that titles so appropriate for teens are published as adult for (mostly) economic reasons, and commenting on the lack of adult recognition of the value of YA lit, stated of those who think that YA lit is “the stuff of Sweet Valley High, more the fools, they.”

What makes a crossover title? They share several traits:

  • first novels
  • young authors
  • coming of age theme (teen protagonist)
  • incorporate the mysterious, puzzling, and enigmatic

Next, a publisher spoke (missed her name!), sharing the stat that of the top 50 bestselling juvenile titles, 9 are (currently YA titles), and explaining a little about why editors publish young adult books under adult imprints.

Author Aidan Chambers (This is All, Postcards from No Man’s Land) offered the British perspective with humor and aplomb, quoting Shakespeare, poking fun at himself and explaining his position on the “life follows art” theory.

Author Greg Galloway (As Simple as Snow) followed, and discussed literature as types of glass – the transparent “windex” kind popularized by the likes of Dan Brown, and the more complex stained glass kind in which literary greats such as Flannery O’Connor and Raymond Chandler delight in use of language.

Sheila (Scofield? sorry Sheila!) provided the librarian in the field point of view, speaking about the gamut of authors and formats and genres teens ask for. She recommended promoting adult titles to young adults and young adult titles to adults by incorporating them into displays and booklists recommending YA titles to librarians serving adults, and asking the adult services librarians to recommend crossovers.” Promoting teen lit IS advocacy for teens, she said; her top suggestions are

Pretties/Uglies/Specials by Scott Westerfield
I is Someone Else by Patrick Cooper
titles by Marcus Zusak
Feed by M.T. Anderson

She concluded by reminding us that authors tell stories; they don’t write for a selected audience, and quoted Ranganathan: “Every reader has his or her book; Every book has its reader.” The concept was followed up in the Q&A period when one of the panelists reminded us that the readership of a book is one (the original Long Tail?).

Three excellent booklists distributed at this program are online at http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/annual.htm

~posted by Beth Gallaway

10 Things to Do Now that You’re Home from the ALA Conference:

1. If you want to serve on one of YALSA’s Selection Committees, like Great Graphic Novels or the Alex Awards, you need to be appointed by Paula Brehm-Heeger, YALSA’s President-Elect. To be considered for appointment, fill out YALSA’s Committee Volunteer Form . Process Committee appointments aren’t made until the spring. Be sure to indicate which committee you’re really interested in-saying “anywhere” isn’t always helpful.

2. If you’d like to participate in one of YALSA’s Discussion or Interest Groups, contact the convener and let him or her know. Click here for contact information.

3. Follow up with any colleagues you met at the conference.

4. Share something you learned at the conference with coworkers or colleagues.

5. For purposes of documenting your professional development, mark which programs you attended in the conference program and save it for future reference.

6. Follow up with any questions about YALSA that may have come up during the conference with the YALSA Office at yalsa@ala.org or 1.800.545.2433 x4390.

7. Look for your summer issue of Young Adult Library Services (YALS) in the mail.

8. Start planning your Teen Read Week celebration (October 15-21). For more information and/or to register, go to the TRW site .

9. Check out the Conference section of YALSA’s blog for a synopsis and musings on any programs you may have missed.

10. Visit YALSA’s web site for handouts from some of YALSA’s programs at the conference.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the YALSA Office at yalsa@ala.org or 1.800.545.2433 x4390. We’re looking forward to seeing you in Seattle for ALA’s Midwinter Meeting, Jan. 19-24, 2007! YALSA will have special events to kick off our 50th anniversary and launch Teen Tech Week (Mar. 4-10, 2007). On Friday Jan. 19th we’ll also be hosting an institute about reaching wired teens, and since last year’s Gaming Night was so popular, we’ll be offering it again.

Posted by Beth Yoke

Teen Spaces

For one of my classes I wanted to feature teen online spaces.
In the 2000 census, it was reported that 80,473,265 or 28.6% of the population was 19 or under.

According to Pew Internet and American Life Report in 2005, 87% of 12 to 17 year olds use the Internet. If you read the Perceptions of Libraries OCLC released last December, you know that teens do not visit our websites, even though 50% are aware that we do have a site.

With the large number of teens online, and the number of teens visiting our sites I feel like we may want to examine whether our websites truly are meeting the needs of our teen patrons

I was listening to Stephen Abram at ALA, and I realized that librarians might not understand the preferences of teens who use their web pages. If you aren’t familiar with Stephen Abrams check out his article in Library Journal Born with a Chip

Compare your teen page (or library website if you don’t have a teen page) with these examples of well-designed teen pages, and commercial cites popular with teens.

Library Pages

Minuteman Library Network

Watertown Public library Teen Page

Springfield Public Library teen Page

North State Cooperative Library System Teen Page

New York Public Library Teen Page

Ann Arbor Public Library

My Own Cafe

Denver Public Library’s Myspace Page

Library Loft

Seattle Public Library’s Teen Page

Haverhill Public Library’s Teen Page

Teen Spaces

Deviant Art


Yahoo Music



Live Journal



World of Warcraft



How does your library compare?

posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

Up and Coming

Posted by Linda W. Braun

More and more I’m hearing about ways for ordinay people (like me) to create and edit video easily. The other day I learned about a new online tool that is YouTube plus. EyeSpot is a site that allows users to upload and edit videos. That’s right, you can edit online the video content you create online and it doesn’t cost a thing. Lots of people have the ability to create video – via a cell phone, webcam, or some such thing – but no way to edit the video. Now they do.

Eyespot is really easy to use, and what’s really cool is that if someone uploads a video on the site that person, through that upload, gives other users permission to use that video in some way. So, teens can take a bunch of videos from other users and mash them together to make a movie. Music and narration can be added and voila – a film is born.

Perhaps a teen doesn’t have the exact right shot he/she wants or needs in order to finish a video project. Maybe there’s a clip on Eyespot. Or, maybe you want to do a program or class on visual literacy. Why not have teens search Eyespot for videos on a certain theme and then mash them together to make something new?

The site is fairly new so the collection is still small. But think Flickr and YouTube for what the future will bring.

Volunteer for a YALSA Committee

Posted by Paula Brehm-Heeger:

Hopefully some of you had a chance to attend YALSA 101 at conference and hear all about how YALSA members are appointed to committees, but if not (or if you just need a little reminder), now is the time to fill out your committee volunteer form. As YALSA Vice-President/President-Elect, I’m the person who will be making the appointments this year.

This is especially important for anyone interested in serving on a “selection” committee (BBYA, PPYA or Quick Picks to name a few), as these appointments will be made this fall. If you’re looking to serve on a “process” committee (examples include Youth Participation and Division and Membership Promotion) fill out your volunteer form now, even though those appointments won’t happen until the spring.

If you filled a form out in 2005 it is still vital that you fill one out again this year in order to be considered for the new round of appointments. If you turned in a form in 2006, that works for the upcoming round of appointments. Please be sure your contact information is correct. If anything has changed, please submit a new form!

Not sure what your options are for committees? Check the Committee, Task Force and Discussion Group Description page – you’ll find all the information you need!

Don’t hesitate – get involved!

Still Things to Do

Even if you do not serve on a committee, did you know there are ways to become involved in their work? Nominating books for Quick Picks, BBYA, and other lists is one way you can contribute to the work of these committees. Instead of bemoaning the fact that your favorite book was overlooked (something I admit readily to doing in the past), fill out an online form and nominate it for the committee’s consideration. Field nominations are welcome because committee members do not always see the latest books.

It is not too late to volunteer for service down the road, either. Be active and make YALSA even stronger by your participation.

Posted by Teri Lesesne

a look back

If you have been reading the posts to YALSA, you know that NOLA treated us like visiting royalty. Even the few glitches turned out ot be blessings (ask anyone staying at the Marriott on Canal about the new elevator system). The meetings went smoothly; there was WAY too much food, and things ran like clockwork.

Make plans now to become active in YALSA and come to conference. I have been so pleased to have had the chance to meet colleagues, to talk to the leadership of this group, and to participate in the important discussions about our future.

Posted by Teri Lesesne

Thoughts on Facebook (applies to much of social software)

Posted by: Meg Canada

This is a concise, well-written essay and should apply to most social software applications. Found via a colleague with whom I share an office cube:

Five things to think about when using Facebook
From Tracy Mitrano, Director of IT Policy and Computer Policy & Law Program, Cornell University, April, 2006

“This essay offers some things to contemplate when using Facebook, all of which can be summed up easily in a “Golden Rule.” Don’t say anything about someone else that you would not want said about yourself. And be gentle with yourself too! What might seem fun or spontaneous at 18, given caching technologies, might prove to be a liability to an on-going sense of your identity over the longer course of history. Have fun and make productive use of these new, exciting technologies, but remember that technology does not absolve one of responsibility. Behind every device, behind every new program, behind every technology is a law, a social norm, a business practice that warrants thoughtful consideration.”

Technology of Gaming

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder

Teens and Technology

Eli Neiberger

Why games are a good fit
84% of kids 12-17 are Internet users
Of these users:
75% are using IM
81% are playing games

Its not just about gamers. It’s common cultural currencies.
From 2000 to 2004 the number of teens playing games jumped from 66% to 81%

Its an $11 billion business worldwide

Fundamental part of media appetite

Video games are older than video cassettes

Try to have something for everyone

It reaches boys, 95% of teenage boys play video games

Only 12% of games sold in 2005 were rated M
There are a lot of adult books (of dubious value) on public library shelves as well

ESRB ratings are a great standard

Sometime in Mesopotamia a librarian said “this is a library not a place for paper”

Look at the garbage on our shelves
Libraries are in the content business
Games are content too.

We need to meet the recreational needs.

If we stake our business on recreational reading we may miss generations of users

Games are literacy activities.

Its important to not think of video games a mentally castling activity.

Having a video game event at your library, it takes something someone does alone at home, and turns it into a social event.

This is not outside of a core services. Do we consider story time as a loss leader?

Parents do not complain. Resistance is internal.

Outstanding way to become a focus of the teens enthusiasm.

A great way to promote library materials, but don’t hand out bibliographies. Just have the books on the table and displays.

A way to say we are about social events. Offer a non commercial space.

Seen sportsmanship like he has never seen before.

Audience: Do you have behavior issues?
It’s a library it should be loud. With a tournament you have a build in equality so there isn’t as many issues. When you have these events you develop a relationship with the teens, so when you have issues you can just go talk to the person, and say “You need to calm down or I’ll have to ask you to leave” which works.

You don’t have to buy anything. A tradition is that at gaming events gamers bring their own equipment. You just need a projector.

If you buy the equipment you can have partnerships, but this will be used by more people than the Books in Print catalog. You can use old TVs , if you have 8 it allows the teens to each have them on their own TV, so that they are completely immersed.

AADL-GT run a tournament with Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers.

Email Eli if you want a copy of the DVD he made about the first drama, that captures the excitement, the drama, interviews with the kids, and color commentary. eli@aadl.org

AADL Teen Blog



Entire prize budget came from friends.

Matt Gullett

This generation are producers. For more information read RenGen

We can be more than just a collection.
Place people can develop social interactions and people can create things

Beth Gallaway

The Search Institute came up with 40 developmental needs of young adults (gaming builds developmental assets)

Teen Developmental Needs include the need to be physically active, they need to be social.

Teach ethical issues via gaming.

There are elements of story in games. If you can get kids talking about the movies, tv shows, or video games, you can get them to tell you about what they enjoy about the media.

Let them play with tools and see how to use it. Then ask how it went, and give them hints and tips. Meet them in their space.

Gamers are technology enthusiastic.
Keep up with the gaming industry.

Try some games.

Treat it like story time, and make it an event for all ages.

Beth’s Handouts:

Reading with your ears.

Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder


Bruce Colville was turned on to audio books when he too a two month trip with his teen.

He learned:
1 Audio books are a great way to share a story
2 Pride and Prejudice is engaging when traveling through Kansas

How they handle adult content
“Try to reflect the real world”
Would a parent and teen be comfortable listening to the content together?
Would an intelligent adult and mature teen consider it family friendly?

To signal parents about adult issues they will put Adult fiction on the description of the material that may contain situations that are adult.

Not going to but ratings on audio books until they put ratings on books. That is a strength of the library, because parents can go up and ask is something is appropriate for their child’s age.

Still asking themselves How do you handle that 12-14 age range?

First thing is can we cast the book
Longer books are impossible to release an audio book with the book with a full cast
Biggest challenge is to find the perfect voice for that first person narrative

Sometimes they trade off easy production with a trained actor, to have a believable narration with a narrator that brings the story to life.

Each company has a unique sound.

Cassette in of a life support system
They will still have cassettes for libraries
People don’t buy cassettes in the store

Whatever the technology the production is important

No matter what format it is in the story has to be narrated well, because the sound generally will be the same.

A new format is on a chip you can put in a phone or a Palm pilot. That plays like an I-pod
Playaway is another new format.

Tamora Pierce

We come from long history of story tellers

Its fun recording books

The key is to shape the book
It fills out a story and makes it broader.

Multicultural Books

Hear the rhythm, follow the sentence, hear a story the words could not convey

An audiobook that is well done can transport us to a different world

Spending time somewhere helps you know their culture. Even if it’s a week long vacation

Don’t be intimidated by foreign words

It’s important to be authentic (so it rings true with a broad range of listeners) but quality comes first.

A good audio book allows you to close your eyes and imagine someone for the specific culture telling the story.

Audio books Reviews

It is hard to fit the review in just a few hundred words.

Have to listen to the entire audio book to get a fell

Review the audio book experience

They don’t cover the plot, which is hard as a reviewer to write.

Already reviewed the plot when reviewing the book.

Covering the audio book experience is unique for each reviewer and that is what makes it interesting.

Since snippets of reviews make it on the back covers reviewers have to think about writing for both librarians and

Is a teenager going to enjoy this?

New review they are doing is podcast reviews. Some librarians have put these on websites, and are getting positive results.

Listen to many different audio books on commute, but it helps with reader’s advisory.
Listen to a book while cleaning the house.

No galleys for audio books, because the recorders use ARCs to make recordings.

Will look at book to compare visualizations, but generally just review the audio.

Bartemous trilogy did an excellent job with making text and footnotes seamless.

Look for a book that listens well.


When you do book talking play an audio books/include audio book. The beginning makes you want to keep going.

Hungry Minds Listening Club. Half our before school feed donought and have them listen to the audio books.

Allow students to check out cd and cassette players

Do displays with cassette tape holders.

Encourage audio books to count for summer reading.

Download audio books onto ipod shuffles and circulate, as well as allow downloading to personal ipods.

Audible books integrated with iTunes.

Overdrive has a list of YALSA’s recommend audio books.