It’s 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning, two weeks after the end of school, when four teenage girls on their summer vacation meet me at school to get on a minibus and head to DC. Let me repeat—four teenagers came to school during the summer at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Why?? ALA Annual of course!
Before I get into how awesome the day was with my teens, I would like to thank YALSA for providing my teens with the opportunity to come to ALA. My teens were a part of the session that YALSA hosted to receive input on the nominees for the 2020 Best Fiction for Young Adults. Along with the opportunity to give their opinions on a major awards list, all the teens who were a part of the session also received a badge to visit the exhibit hall and sat down for a pizza lunch with an amazing group of eight young adult authors.
Back to 8 a.m.—I climbed into the driver’s seat and my four girls settled on the brown bus benches that we all remember from field trips. Before I could even start the engine, the conversation about books started. It didn’t stop for the entire 45 minute drive to DC, and I couldn’t stop smiling. It was a librarian’s dream—four teens energetically and passionately talking about the books they love (or don’t). Four teens talking about the importance of representation in books—race, sexuality, gender, ability, etc… Four teens talking about which characters developed and which didn’t; about endings they loved or hated; about the pacing of plot.
My heart grew two sizes.
This post was written by Carrie Sanders, Youth Services Coordinator at the Maryland State Library
I was fortunate to be able to attend the PLA pre-conference focusing on the partnerships library staff and social workers can build in order to support all members of a community. The session opened with a reference to Eric Klinenberg who wrote, “Libraries don’t just provide free access to books and other cultural materials, they also offer things like companionship for older adults, de facto child care for busy parents, language instruction for immigrants and welcoming public spaces for the poor, the homeless and young people.”
Social workers in libraries provide support for library patrons through crisis intervention, outreach and engagement, referral services, community programming, and advocacy. They also support library staff. Their presence creates a culture shift that moves the question regarding those in need from, “How do we remove?” to “How can we connect those with specific needs to services?”
In May, the YALSA Board approved a new Board Member Contract. This document is signed by all Board members and it stipulates what responsibilities the Board members have to the organization, as well as the responsibilities that the organization has in regards to the Board members.
The current YALSA Board Member Contract was approved on January 16, 2010. Since then the Board’s work has evolved to include more year-round governance discussions and decision-making by board members. The contract was also updated to better reflect the time commitment involved in serving as a YALSA Board Member.
If you are interested in more info, Board Document #10 shows both the old contract as well as the new one that was agreed upon.
See the full agenda of the Board of Directors at ALA Annual in Washington D.C. All Board meetings are open to attendees, and you can learn more about the Board meetings on the YALSA Conference wiki.
For the past couple of years, YALSA has had a task force working with ALSC and REFORMA to re-envision the Pura Belpré Award.
“The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. It is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA), an ALA affiliate.
The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. As a children’s librarian, storyteller, and author, she enriched the lives of Puerto Rican children in the U.S.A. through her pioneering work of preserving and disseminating Puerto Rican folklore.
The award is now given annually. It was given as a biennial award from 1996 through 2008.” Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/belpremedal/belpreabout)
For the past two years, I have been YALSA’s rep on the ALA Conference Committee. When I first was assigned this position, I was thinking we would be planning the far future Conferences, picking the cities we would have our conferences in. My imagination ran wild about what we would be doing as a committee. In reality, I was assigned the role as a Division Rep, which means not only do I represent YALSA, I represent, along with a few other Division Reps, the ALA Divisions. While I’ve been at one meeting where we were told that 2039 Annual Conference would be in Washington DC and I know I’ll be retired when this conference comes to pass, it wasn’t what I originally thought it was going to be. It’s been much more fun.
One of the primary functions we have on the committee is to help set up the schedule for the Annual conference. Working with the ALA Conference Staff all the committee members as a group work our way through all the selected meetings and put them in their time slots, while the ALA Conference Staff pick the rooms these meetings will fit into. Juggling all the various nonmoving components that make up the conference, Council meetings, Board meetings, and major sponsored programs etc. Once we have decided where all the programs fit into the schedule, the ALA Staff load full schedule onto the scheduling app and the various websites, and this is what I’m here to talk about.
The YALSA Board embarked on an ambitious plan to weave equity, diversity and inclusion principles into all aspects of their work. This began with the Board approval of an EDI plan in October 2018 and continues as the Board creates a new Strategic Plan. In this work it’s essential that the YALSA Board, staff and member leaders have a common understanding of EDI principles and how to move from EDI awareness to intentional implementation strategies. Board Document 28 proposes a way to accomplish this work through a continuing education plan that begins with a full day training at ALA Midwinter 2020, the training will focus on :
- An introduction to structural racism in the United States and its current impact on Black, Indigenous and Youth of Color
- Developing a shared EDI vocabulary
- Leveraging a framework for engaging in difficult conversations about race, equity, diversity and inclusion
At Annual in Washington, D.C., the YALSA Board will review recommendations for the EDI focused full-day training for YALSA Board and staff. Learn more in Board Document 28.
See the full agenda of the Board of Directors at ALA Annual in Washington, D.C. All Board meetings are open to attendees, and you can learn more about the Board meetings on the YALSA Conference wiki.