Cross-Unders

The following piece is cross-posted on the ALSC Blog. For more cross-under resources, visit The Hub.

Whether we’re serving older teens whose tastes have matured or trying to appease faculty members who need to catch up on a book club, we’re all familiar with adult cross-overs–books originally published for adults that nonetheless have teen appeal. (YALSA even has an award for them!) But what about cross-unders?

With limited budgets, it can be tempting to limit young adult collections to titles actually written for young adults. And the question of where to shelve books has always been a touchy subject–if teens are reading adult books, should the library buy two copies? Are teens even allowed in the children’s area? In schools, we can’t expect teens to leave the building to find the books they want to read–and again, high school students may not even be able to check out books from the middle or elementary schools, and vice versa.

Double- or triple-purchasing books can be a hard pill to swallow. After all, every book purchased for multiple departments or areas means a unique title can’t be purchased. We all have to remember that our patrons–whether they’re teens, tweens or adults–may not feel comfortable seeking out their books in unfamiliar (and potentially unfriendly) departments. They may not even be able to check out books elsewhere, so why not have the books where our our readers want to be? After all, lots of our teen readers have reasons for choosing cross-under titles–or would gladly choose them if they found them on our shelves. So who are those readers?

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Report of Age Overlap Meeting between YALSA and ALSC

At the request of ALSC, I had a conference call with their President, Julie Corsaro, along with the ALSC and YALSA Executive Directors on Feb. 9.’  ALSC wanted to discuss the possibility of a mediated discussion between the leadership of the two divisions at the October 2011′ Fall Executive Committee meeting. This request came about because of a 2011 Midwinter discussion ALSC’s board had regarding their Board’ motion to change the age range that ALSC serves. ‘ During the February conversation, I’ told Julie that I would be happy to take this idea to the YALSA Executive Committee to explore during our meeting, via conference call, on April 19.’  YALSA’s Executive Committee did discuss this during their call last month and determined’ that talking with ALSC about opportunities for the two divisions to work together to better serve members and promote the profession would be beneficial.

In the year or so that ALSC has been reviewing and discussing its age range, YALSA’s board had a conversation on a similar topic.’  At its 2009 Midwinter Meeting, the YALSA board, during a “mega issue” discussion, explored the question “How should YALSA address the expanding adolescent years?”’  You can read the board document on the mega issue (PDF).

During YALSA Board mega issue discussions, decisions are not typically made, and they weren’t in this case, either.’  There were no board actions or official motions that came out of the discussion.’ However, the discussion did spur a grassroots effort to establish YALSA’s Serving New Adults Interest Group (http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/yalsa/aboutyalsab/discussion.cfm)

While ALSC and YALSA do already partner on a few projects, such as the Odyssey Award and the Interdivisional Committee on School & Public Library Cooperation, I, the Executive Committee, and Board look forward to exploring other opportunities for the two divisions to work together to better serve members and advance the profession.

Respectfully submitted, Kim Patton, YALSA President

Youth Council Caucus

This Midwinter conference, I attended a meeting of the Youth Council Caucus (YCC). There were well over forty people that came from the three ALA youth divisions. The momentum was exciting as ideas and information sharing buzzed throughout the room.

A few months ago, when a few of my colleagues told me that it was important to have youth member representation on such entities as ALA Council or to attend the Youth Council Caucus, I thought it was a good idea in principle. Meaning, it made sense to me on the level that I work with youth every day and am passionate about what I do. But beyond that, I didn’t completely understand how such representation helps. Until now. Continue reading