Every #GivingTuesday (this year it is Tuesday, November 29) I give to organizations and causes that have an impact on my community. This year I am giving to Friends of YALSA to support my colleagues serving teens in public and school libraries to recognize their hard work and give them the helping hand they need to become leaders in their community and in YALSA. Not a day goes by that I don’t see a story about a YALSA member doing something innovative, reaching a new audience, and putting teens first. I am grateful that I get to be part of an organization of passionate librarians, and I want to make sure that my colleagues in YALSA have the tools they need to keep moving forward into the future.
All Friends of YALSA donations go directly to members in the form of $14,095 worth of annual grants, scholarships and awards for members. These honor the hard work and significant contributions members give to YALSA (Volunteer of the Year Award, and Writing Award), to support their advocacy for teens (National Library Legislative Day travel grants), and to build their leadership skills (Board Fellow, Spectrum Scholar and Emerging Leader). As we near Thanksgiving, and you consider what you are grateful for, remember the helping hands that got you to where you are today, and consider donating to Friends of YALSA to help share these wonderful opportunities with your fellow YALSA members.
Donate here. Click on Divisions and then YALSA.
Kate McNair is a YALSA Board Member and has been a Friend of YALSA since 2012.
P.S. Many of the member grants and awards supported by Friends of YALSA have an application deadline of Dec. 1st!
If Black Friday and Cyber Monday have left you searching for a more sane and meaningful way to celebrate the holiday season, then you should know about #GivingTuesday, which is today! Please consider making a donation to YALSA to help our organization support someone from a diverse background in becoming a librarian. So far in 2015, Friends of YALSA has raised $2,137 towards a goal of $6,500 needed to provide a Spectrum scholarship. For Giving Tuesday, YALSA’s goal is to raise the remaining $4,363 needed to fund this scholarship. Think about all the people that have supported you along the way to help you become the best librarian you can be. Now is the time to pay it forward. While we know that teens need libraries, they need great librarians more.
I am giving to Friends of YALSA because of how much others have given to me. Donate today and help Friends of YALSA support our profession. Then, take a picture of yourself with a message explaining why you are giving, tag it #GivingTuesday and post it on our Facebook or tweet us! To learn more about YALSA’s Spectrum Scholars, read this blog post. Happy Giving Tuesday, and thank you!
–Jane Gov, Financial Advancement Committee Chair
I was a YALSA Spectrum Scholar in 2009. I can’t believe that was 6 years ago! When I was considering librarianship as a profession, I was thrilled that ALA had a program like the Spectrum Scholarship. It signaled very clearly that racial and ethnic diversity within the profession was a core value of ALA. In other words, I felt like the profession was saying to me, “Welcome. You have a place here.” It’s incredible what an award like the Spectrum Scholarship can do for one’s pride and confidence – particularly for a young adult woman of color. On my mother’s side, I’m a 3rd generation Mexican American/Chicana and on my father’s side, I’m a 1st generation Filipino American. No one in my immediate family has attended graduate school.
When I received news of my YALSA Spectrum Scholarship, I was over the moon! It validated my choice to become a librarian and I’ve never regretted the decision. As a result of the scholarship, I was able to financially afford to attend and complete my MLIS program while also living in my very expensive hometown of San Francisco, CA. I was able to take part-time jobs that were diverse and interesting: First, at an urban high school serving low-income teens and then at a non-profit that served people with disabilities with workforce development. Because of the support of Spectrum, I had the freedom to grow my professional experience in library settings without the burden of worrying about only choosing a job based on pay alone. Even though I entered library school without any library school experience, Spectrum indirectly helped me leave library school with fresh work experience that I could speak about in job interviews.
For the last four years, I’ve been a youth-serving librarian at San Francisco Public Library. My driving motivation for becoming a librarian has always been to serve home communities of immigrant working class people of color. In applying to library school, I wrote about my desire for patrons from my home communities to see a reflection of themselves on the other side of the reference desk. Now, four years into the profession, I’m so proud that I can say that I have realized that vision. As a native Spanish speaker, I soon found out just how valuable of a resource I was the Latino/a patrons in the neighborhood surrounding my branch library. Word of mouth spreads fast! Soon after starting at my first library, I was helping Spanish-speaking teens with reader’s advisory, teaching their parents how to use e-books, and instructing their cousins how to access storytime schedules at the library.
The Spectrum Scholarship helps ensure that more and more communities of color find help in their neighborhoods that meet their distinct needs. This #GivingTuesday, please consider giving to this incredible program!
Cristina Mitra is Family Engagement Coordinator at the San Francisco Public Library.
This past July, I received a mysterious phone call from a number I did not recognize. As a skeptical member of the 21st century, my initial instinct was to just let it ring. But something inside me prompted me to—just this once—answer this call. I’m glad I did, because it was a phone call I was secretly hoping for without getting my hopes up. The call was from the American Library Association (ALA) offices to let me know I was awarded a Spectrum Scholarship. I screamed internally (and then externally, successfully scaring my dog).
I had worked in the Arlington Heights Memorial Library’s teen department for two years and just finished my first year pursuing my MLIS at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The combination of these two experiences had fully solidified my passion for librarianship. I wanted to be a participant and contributor to this community of educators, learners, and advocates for change. The Spectrum Scholarship offered me the priceless opportunity to work towards this dream, and amazingly, without tuition looming over me like a dark, despairing cloud of debt! But I didn’t truly realize the breadth of opportunities Spectrum would present me outside of monetary awards until I started interacting with my fellow scholars.
Quickly, emails from our cohort of scholars made their way into my inbox. As we made our virtual introductions, I realized that I would get to meet each of these talented, passionate, and diverse people at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando as part of our scholarship award. I was lucky enough to meet some of these scholars at the Illinois Library Association (ILA) Conference last month where we were awarded the Sylvia Murphy Williams Award in conjunction with our scholarships. After the initial awkward observation of niceties (that everyone must suffer through, I know), there was an instant kinship between us. As library school students from diverse backgrounds, we immediately had common experiences and points of view to fuel our conversations, both serious and guffaw-worthy. Naturally, the topic of diversity came up a lot in our talks—an area for discussion that we as a profession need to talk more about, even if it does not come about naturally!
While I’m sure you’re already worn out pulling out your wallet for all those end-of-the-year donations and holiday shopping, I hope you’ll consider taking it out for a good cause today, for Giving Tuesday. And when you do, please consider donating to Friends of YALSA. This year, the goal is to raise at least $2000, which will help send two advocates for teen services to Washington.
Friends of YALSA funds important YALSA initiatives, including the Spectrum Scholarship, which I was a recipient of. Spectrum supports library students from under-recognized groups in order to diversify the workforce, and I was proud to be a part of the program. It made me a member of two powerful and vibrant groups: my Spectrum cohort and YALSA. Being a part of a group of colleagues who were also going through school, finding out their specific niches in library science, going on first job interviews, and all the while concerning themselves with issues of representation and privilege, was invaluable while I was going through those things, too. And being named YALSA’s Spectrum Scholar made me a member of arguably the most fun-loving and dynamic division of ALA. Some of the best people I’ve ever met (some only online, some also in person) welcomed me into the fold and let me blog, join committees, go out for dinner with them at conferences, and generally get to know what YALSA and YA services are all about. That empowered me through out my graduate school experience and helped me land my first job out of library school before I had even graduated. I had a distinct experience in school, thanks to my Spectrum Scholarship.
I owe YALSA and Spectrum a huge debt of gratitude for giving me a community to count on and learn from. Please consider making a donation to YALSA so that other future librarians can have the opportunities I’ve had. Click here to learn about your giving options, and please consider at least Tweeting about the importance of #GivingTuesday to pass on the word!
Thank you for your support.
Thanksgiving is a time to take a moment to reflect on the things that enrich our lives.’ This year I thought about how lucky I was to have such a wonderful profession with such supportive colleagues. My entire professional life I have been surrounded by coworkers who have pushed me to be the best librarian I can be. They have given me countless opportunities to try something new, to (sometimes) fail, and to learn. I can’t imagine what my life would look like without their support (actually I would probably be working in bookstore somewhere spending half my income on merchandise with my employee discount, which is where I was before I found the library).
Think about all the people that have supported you along the way, to help you become the best librarian you can be. Now is the time to pay it forward. Today is #GivingTuesday, and Friends of YALSA is asking for your help to support future librarians. We are raising $6,500 to support a Spectrum Scholar‘ between now and December 31st.
I am giving to Friends of YALSA because of how much others have given to me. Donate today and help Friends of YALSA support our profession. Take a picture of yourself with why you are giving, tag it #GivingTuesday and post it on our Facebook or tweet us! Happy #GivingTuesday!
-Kate McNair, Financial Advancement Committee Chair