YALSA Symposium – Nov 5-7 in Reno

As the members of the Planning and Marketing Taskforce, we are excited about the variety of programs and formats for the 2021 YALSA Symposium in Reno. This year’s theme of Biggest Little Safe Spaces: Serving Teens during Times of Adversityreflects where many librarians find themselves in current times. The presenters will discuss strategies for serving teens during difficult moments and will help us develop programs that ensure our biggest little safe spaces thrive for years to come.Meanwhile, the three author panels will enlighten and entertain attendees with lively and relevant discussions. We hope you can join us in Reno either virtually or in person on November 5-7. Remember that there is still plenty of time to register for the event.

Given the present state of pandemic, YALSA’s Symposium will offer both a virtual-only event as well as a live and in-person conference. For the first time, some of the sessions will be presented in a hybrid format, meaning that the session will be prerecorded for virtual attendees but will also be presented live in Reno. Virtual participants will have the opportunity to interact with the presenters of the hybrid programs during live online Q & A sessions. A few of the hybrid sessions include The Power of Empathy, Journey to Justice, and The Development of Bridges & Books.

Some of the sessions will be prerecorded for all participants. These programs will be available during and after the symposium and include sessions like the always popular Book Buzz, All are Welcome (a program about homeschoolers), Advocate for Youth Experiencing Homelessness, and Do You See Me?, a session facilitated by Julia Torres and featuring authors Paula Chase, Tiffany D. Jackson and Kim Johnson.

For participants who are present in Reno, make sure you attend the exciting author panels. First up is Friday’s opening session where Steve Sheinkin, Bethany C. Morrow, Gretchen McNeil, Kimberly Jones, and Gilly Segal will explore the theme of Spaces Past and Present: Adversity Now and Then. On Saturday, don’t miss the chance to listen great new YA authors at the Morris Program. Angeline Boulley, Chloe Gong, Cory Anderson, and Rachel Griffin will discuss their works and everything that comes with being a debut author. This panel will be moderated by Jeff Zentner, who won the Morris Award in 2017 for The Serpent King. Finally, there is the closing author panel with the theme of Finding One’s Space: Fantasy Meets Realism on Sunday. Who wouldn’t want to attend a panel where authors Ellen Hopkins, Romina Garber, and Jennifer Mathieudiscuss fantasy and realistic fiction?

Also for those attendees in Reno, YALSA will be offering numerous live programs on Saturday and Sunday. The titles of just of few of the informative sessions include Safe Spaces for Aros and Aces, Safe Haven (a program about mental health and teens), Poverty and Privilege, and Through the Plexi Glass, a timely program about how to serve teens during the pandemic.

And there is still time to register for three of the symposium’s live events. On Friday morning, Adriana White and Ashleigh Torres will offer a preconference session on neurodiversity and mental health. In the afternoon, Beth Crist and Dr. Jessica Dennison will present the second preconference session on how best to serve teens in poverty with empathy. One of Saturday’s big events is Margaret A. Edwards Award Luncheon. That program will feature the 2021 winner of that prestigious award, author Kekla Magoon. Please remember that these programs require extra fees and are not included in the general registration.

Whether we attend the symposium in person in Reno or virtually from home, we hope you enjoy this event and come away with the understanding and inspiration to serve teens during adverse times in your safest little places.

Blog post by Scot Smith, Angela Steele, Sharon Deeds, Asuncion Cora, and Katie Patterson, the 2021 Planning and Marketing Taskforce

Proposals Sought for 2021 YA Services Symposium

YALSA currently seeks program proposals for its 2021 Young Adult Services Symposium. The theme of the symposium is “Biggest Little Safe Spaces: Serving Teens During Times of Adversity.” It will follow a hybrid virtual/in-person format and will be held from November 5-7, 2021 in Reno, NV. Submit a program proposal by April 1.

The past year has presented teens and the libraries that serve them with numerous challenges that will continue to affect them in 2021 and beyond. What does the future hold for today’s teens? Where do we as librarians go from here? What’s next for our libraries? Join YALSA, librarians, and YA authors as we discuss strategies for serving teens during difficult times and continue to develop programs that ensure our biggest little safe spaces thrive for years to come.

YALSA is seeking program proposals that address the following questions:

  • How do staff provide inclusive programming and diverse collections? How do we ensure representation and equity of access to materials and information? e.g. book and program challenges, the library as a “neutral” space. How can literature assist us?
  • How does staff provide outreach to teens in their community? How do you meet teens where they are?
  • How do we create more inclusive and “safe(r)” spaces? How do we empower teens to find their voice and speak out about issues important to them? e.g. gun violence, global warming, #metoo, institutional racism, LGBTQ rights.
  • How are staff affected by adversity on the job? How do we address this and other experiences like compassion, fatigue, and burnout? e.g. self-care

YALSA’s symposium is an annual event that has expanded its focus over the years and features programs that cover the entire spectrum of topics related to providing services for and with young adults. In addition to addressing the theme, proposals should also highlight best or emerging practices for libraries of all sizes and capacities in one or more of the following categories:

  • Collections and Content Curation
  • Digital and Print Literacies
  • Equity and Inclusion
  • Outreach
  • Partnerships/Collaborations
  • Programs and Services (including planning, implementing and evaluation)
  • Tools for Practice (cultural competency models and training, trauma-informed care, mental health first aid, 40 developmental assets, social emotional learning, etc.)
  • Youth Participation

Interested parties are invited to propose 60-minute programs centering on the theme via the online form found on the symposium site by April 1, 2021. Applicants will be notified of their proposals’ status the week of May 1, 2021.

Registration for the 2021 YA Services Symposium will open in June. Sign up for updates here. To learn more about the symposium, visit www.ala.org/yalsa/yasymposium.