Give to Give Back

Several years ago, the YALSA Fiscal Officer resigned and for a little over a year, I assumed her role. It was 18 months of ‘new growth opportunities’ and, thanks to Beth Yoke and Nichole O’Connor, I learned what was important to a non-profit organization.

And what was that? Make sure that the profits realized from activities, match not only the organization’s needs, but also the amount of staff and volunteer time that is required. That message came across over and over and I became more aware of how great ideas from members impact the staff and make the use of volunteers imperative. Working with Nichole, who’s involved with all the ticketed activities YALSA offers at conferences (such as the Edwards luncheon/brunch, Printz Awards, Morris/Non-Fiction event), I collected a lot of information about cost and attendance. Although the numbers at each event did vary, depending upon location and expected authors, when we set up a spread sheet showing ten years of activities, it was obvious which events were really popular and which were waning. Hmm – time to evaluate those ticketed events. As the Board considered what we’d found, adjustments were made to determine if the event should continue and, if it would continue, what changes could make it more financially viable. The response of staff and Board to the cost/expense of these activities, reinforced the need to carefully scrutinize financial obligations, and YALSA does that. In other words, our donations are in ‘good hands.’

As members, I encourage you to join Friends of YALSA, aka FOY, and when you have the opportunity, ask the Fiscal Officer how the budget is going. Are there activities that will have to be eliminated or refined?  Does YALSA continue to contribute to the Spectrum Scholarship? Does YALSA continue with its division scholarships, awards and grants (close to $200,000 a year are offered to members)?

When you become a member of Friends of YALSA, you give back to your division and to your members. As you prepare for the fall, please consider the request from FOY to ‘Give $20 in 2020.” Your twenty dollars will be put to good use as YALSA continues its tradition of supporting the Spectrum Scholar, Emerging Leader, National Library Legislative Day, various Writing Awards and many other member opportunities.

Give $20 in 2020 today.

~Pam Spencer Holley, YALSA member

COVID and Free Books for Maricopa

So, most of us, as teen library professionals, have been working from home, participating in several zoom meetings, networking with colleagues, helping teens with remote passwords for databases or assisting in audiobook selections, and numerous other tasks.

2020 Winner — Last January, Stefanie Bailey, 2020 chair of the Great Books Giveaway Competition, and her jury were dutifully reading the applications and selecting a winner.

Bailey stated, “As Chair of the Jury, what I found most valuable in helping select a winner of the Great Books Giveaway was the extra time and research that candidates put into writing their application, describing their community needs, and outlining the impact that the award would have on their community.”

Congratulations to Andrew Gallegos from Maricopa (Arizona) Public Library as this year’s winner. Then, in March, the YALSA staff was boxing the hundreds of newly-published books, audio CD’s, and videos. Before the YALSA staff could mail the material to Gallegos, the governor of Illinois issued a stay-at-home order for ALA due to the global pandemic.

The ALA offices reopen this week, so the YALSA staff will continue where they left off with packing the boxes of materials to send to Maricopa. Gallegos and his colleagues cannot wait to open the boxes of over $20,000 worth of library materials for their teens. Gallegos commented, “It is a great hope that some of these new books will be the reason(s) that a young adult will continue to not just keep reading, but also be an active member in the library and community.”

FOY InfographicShipping — Who pays for the shipping of these materials? YALSA, right? Wrong, YALSA or ALA does not pay for the shipping of these books. Friends of YALSA (or FOY) pays for the shipping of these materials. Donate to Friends of YALSA’s Give $20 in 2020 campaign to support the shipping of the Great Books Giveaway, Spectrum Scholar, Emerging Leader, National Library Advocacy Day, Writing Awards, and more.

Great Books Giveaway History — YALSA member Linda Waddle brainstormed the Great Books Giveaway idea in the late 90’s; YALSA officially established it in 2000.  It came about as the number of books being sent to the YALSA office for selection and award committees started to increase.  These books are used by award and selection committees during meetings at ALA annual and midwinter meetings. The first recipient was Martin Luther King Jr Academy in Lexington, Kentucky in 2000; the furthest recipient was Joeten-Kiyu Public Library (Saipan) in 2019. Other recipients have included a library on an Indian Nation Reservation, a high school for pregnant and parenting teens, and a library with a teen bookmobile. Over forty libraries, both public and school, have been awarded books for their teenagers through the Great Books Giveaway. Any YALSA member can complete an application for the Great Books Giveaway. Apply by Dec. 1.

Be safe and stay healthy.

-Gregory Lum
Financial Advancement Committee Chair

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

-Franklin Escobedo
Financial Advancement Committee member

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

Give $20 in 2020 to Support the Next Generation of Leaders in Library Services

Did you know? Your $20 donation to Friends of YALSA (FOY) can make all the difference as it can truly impact the lives of library staff and the communities they serve. Thanks to you and your donation, library workers serving teens may have access to programs and services that address the exciting challenges of the 21st century and creates pathways to share that knowledge with the entire Association. Each year, FOY donations fund over $15,095 in member awards, grants, scholarships, and stipends, and we are grateful for your generous support.

One program that YALSA participates in that is supported by FOY is the ALA Emerging Leaders (EL) Program. This program helps build the skills of library workers across the country by enabling library staff to participate in project planning workgroups, network with colleagues, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity early in their careers. Thanks to your donation to FOY, YALSA is able to sponsor one member every year.

YALSA’s 2019 Emerging Leader Kacy Helwick, Youth Collection Development Librarian at New Orleans (Louisiana) Public Library, used her experience from the EL program to springboard her leadership skills and career opportunities. “I realized I don’t have to be a supervisor or manager to be a leader in my library system,” said Helwick. “After finishing my team’s project and coming back from ALA Annual last year, I volunteered to be part of my library’s strategic planning team, and helped to draft the plan that will influence the goals and objectives for our staff for the next three years. [Emerging Leaders] reinforced the idea that I should apply for the opportunities that interest me, because I definitely won’t get the chance to succeed if I don’t try.”

Emerging Leaders is not only about building practical skills. For YALSA’s 2020 Emerging Leader Sue Yang-Peace, Youth Services Librarian at the Las Vegas (Nevada) Clark County Library District, the program has also been a boost to her professional confidence. “I have felt as an imposter and that everyone could tell that I did not belong as a librarian. The Emerging Leaders Program has given me the opportunity to meet other librarians and to see that I am just like them; I do belong.”

Thanks to your donations, our Emerging Leaders have the opportunity to develop and grow. YALSA would like to continue to fund the Emerging Leaders Program, so as 2020 begins, please consider making a donation of $20 to Friends of YALSA and supporting the next generation of leaders in library services, and so much more. Our goal is to have 4000+ donators. This goal is based on the number of current YALSA members; however, you don’t have to be a YALSA member to donate! Your support is greatly appreciated.

-Chris Shoemaker
Financial Advancement Committee member

Give $20 in 2020

In 2020, YALSA encourages all YALSA members and the library community to participate in its new Friends of YALSA (FOY) fundraising campaign, Give $20 in 2020. Its goal is to increase sustainability and strengthen FOY to fund member awards and grants. This is a year long campaign to encourage all 4,000+ YALSA members (and the library community in general) to donate at least $20 to FOY in the year 2020. If each YALSA member participates, FOY could comfortably fund scholarships, grants and stipends, including the Spectrum Scholarship and Emerging Leader, and more for the next 5+ years. 100% of donations will fund FOY’s initiatives.

Donate $20 to FOY online or by mail.

Thank you in advance for your support!

How YALSA Funds Member Services & Support for Library Staff

A common question that I get, especially from new board members, is about where funds come from to support YALSA and its members.  The answer is pretty straightforward, although not one many people expect.  Member dues make up only about a third of YALSA’s total funding.  The other two thirds comes from product sales (award seals, books & e-learning); events (YA Services Symposium & ticketed events at ALA conferences); grants; corporate sponsorships; interest from YALSA’s endowments; and individual donations.  Many people are surprised to learn that funds from ALA or the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) are not a part of YALSA’s annual budget.  Actually, YALSA receives important services from ALA, such as HR and legal counsel, but not regular financial support.  IMLS offers competitive grants that YALSA is eligible for, and we have been awarded two.  If you’re interested, you can learn more about YALSA finances in my latest annual report.

All the funds that come into YALSA, from whatever source, are used to

  1. Provide members with services and support, like free monthly webinars and the summer learning grants we now have available
  2. Create and share resources with the library community, at no cost to library staff, such as our short, informational videos and newest toolkit about teen literacies

Continue reading

YALSA Board @ Midwinter 2016: The Fundraising Plan

The Charge of the YALSA Financial Advancement Committee (FAC) states that the Committee “provide[s] oversight and continued enhancement of the Friends of YALSA (FOY) program, including fundraising efforts and donor recognition”.  As a part of that work, FAC develops and presents a fundraising plan to the YALSA Board for approval each year. At their Midwinter meetings in Boston, the YALSA Board will review and take action on item 22, FAC’s proposed 2016 plan.  The Board wants to act on the item during their Midwinter Meetings so that FAC is able to move forward with their plans without interruption.

An effective Fundraising Plan is integral to YALSA’s ability to support several FOY initiatives. These include the Advocacy Travel Stipend, support of the ALA Emerging Leader Program, support of the ALA Spectrum Scholar Program, and the association’s Board Fellow.  All of these give YALSA the opportunity to help members grow professionally.

For the 2016 plan, FAC outlined a set of year-long virtual and face-to-face initiatives that provide YALSA advocates a variety of opportunities to give to FOY.  If you have questions about FAC, FOY, or other YALSA financial topics feel free to get in touch with FAC Chair Jane Gov or YALSA’s Fiscal Officer Linda W. Braun.

All YALSA Board Meetings are open to Midwinter Meeting attendees. Feel free to drop by for a short or long period of time. The meetings are an excellent way to learn what YALSA is working on and get a sense of how the association’s governance works. If you’re not in Boston, follow @yalsa for live Tweets from the meetings.  


Jane Gov is a librarian in the City of Pasadena, CA and Financial Advisement Committee Chair. 


Party in a Post

CC Image courtesy of Rachel Ford James on Flickr

YALSA turns 56 this month and we want you to be ready to party! There is no better party planning tool than Pinterest, and I certainly don’t need an excuse to peruse the plethora of party planning pins, so here is your guide to an orange and blue theme YALSA party!

The ideas for your YALSA birthday party range from simple and quick to ‘ requiring a Martha-Stuart-like array of tools and attention to detail. But no matter your budget, time or money, you will find something here that can help create the perfect party and draw attention to the wonderful things that YALSA does.


I will be hosting my party in our staff break room next week, complete with orange soda, popcorn (in blue bags) and cupcakes! You can throw a party as big or as small as you like and ask for donations to support the Friends of YALSA, to provide stipends and scholarships for your fellow librarians.

Post a picture of your cake or treats to YALSA’s facebook page by June 17th for a chance to win a gorgeous apron from The Cornish Hen’s Etsy shop and a signed book!

What themes can you come up with? Or perhaps you are looking for another activity, check out the YALSA fundraising guide for more ideas!

Booze for Books The Final Countdown

It’s almost here, April 12 is YALSA’s Booze for Books fundraising event that is focused on raising monies for the association’s Books for Teens project. Books for Teens aims to get books into the hands of underserved adolescents. Throughout the United States supporters of the project are hosting events:

  • In Manhattan (NYC) YALSA members are meeting at a restaurant for dinner, conversation, and YALSA donating.
  • In Virginia a YALSA member is hosting a dinner at her home with book trivia and opportunities to donate to Books for Teens.
  • In Boston, a couple of days before the official Booze for Books there will be a KidLit event that includes Books for Teens fundraising.
  • In Chicago, ALA staff is also getting involved with an event at a watering hole near ALA headquarter offices.

For those hosting and participating in Booze for Books events, thanks for your work in putting the pieces together. Don’t forget that the YALSA Fundraising Guide and Toolkit includes information you may need on how to collect funds, and record donor names, for YALSA’s Books for Teens project. In the Guide you will find donation forms and donor list sheets.

Anyone hosting or attending an event should make sure to Tweet, take photos, post on Facebook, and record video in order to create a record of the event. Don’t forget to tag your photos, tweets, videos, and posts with #b4byalsa and that way all of the buzz from all of the great events people are sponsoring can be easily captured in one place.