YALSA’s Mentoring Program: Make a Difference in a Library Staff Member’s Life

hand writing on a chalkboard with the word mentorI bet that many YALSAblog readers have been fortunate enough to have a professional mentor. Maybe that experience was serendipitous and the mentoring relationship wasn’t planned but nonetheless ended up being an important part of professional growth. I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to be mentored both spontaneously and through specific planning. Each has been a fantastic experience and I am grateful to the mentors I’ve had in my professional life.

I’ve also been a mentor and was fortunate enough to act as a mentor as a part of YALSA’s formal virtual mentoring program. That too was a great experience. Not only did I get to help a newish library staff member move forward in their work, I also learned a lot from the people I worked with. Learning about their work, their questions, and the projects they wanted to pursue helped me to think more about what are the best ways to serve teens with and through libraries.

Now you have the chance to make a difference in a library staff member’s life and also perhaps gain some new insights yourself. YALSA’s virtual mentoring program is accepting applications for both mentors and proteges through June 1. It’s a perfect opportunity. And, if you know someone who you think would be a great mentor please pass this information on to them.

Serving on YALSA’s Mentoring Taskforce

Have you been looking for a way to get involved in YALSA but not sure where to start? Try volunteering for a taskforce. The nice thing about a taskforce is the work is focused and is carried out over a shorter period of time than a committee. It also gives you an opportunity to work with and get to know some of your fellow YALSA members and increase your own professional skills at the same time.

This is my second term serving as Chair of the Mentoring Taskforce and I found it to be a very rewarding experience. The taskforce reviews the applications submitted for YALSA’s Mentoring Program and matches mentors and protégés. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people on the taskforce and I enjoyed learning about the people who applied for the mentoring program. I also gained a sense of accomplishment by getting involved and giving back to YALSA and knowing these mentoring program participants will learn from each other.

So what was it like being on a virtual taskforce? We did most of our work through email. This allowed us to work at our own pace when we had time and eliminated time zone conflicts. Even though our taskforce worked asynchronously and we had a very short turnaround time to complete our matches, everyone was quick to respond to communication and we stayed on track. In early July I asked the committee members to introduce themselves to each other via email so we all had a feel for who we were working with. By the last week of July we were reviewing suggested tasks and matching protégés with mentors. We only had the information provided in the applications to decide who would make the best matches. We turned in our final matches by the second week in August. I feel good knowing that we were able to work so efficiently without ever meeting face-to-face.

If you are thinking about getting involved but haven’t wanted to make the commitment, I would highly recommend volunteering for the mentoring taskforce, or any taskforce, when you see the call go out via the weekly YALSA e-news. It’s a great way to give back to YALSA and meet other like-minded professionals without making a huge time commitment. You don’t have to commit to travel, either, since virtual members are not required to attend ALA conferences. Who knows? Maybe it will inspire you volunteer for more committees or even to run for the YALSA Board! Check out the different ways you can get involved at: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/getinvolved/getinvolved

Gail Tobin is Branch Coordinator at the Schaumburg Township District Library. She is the current Chair of the Mentoring Taskforce and a former YALSA Board member.

Jennifer & Linda Talk About Working with Administrators

This is a collaborative blog post written by a protege and mentor in YALSA’s mentoring program. Jennifer is the protege and Linda is the mentor. We’ve been working together over the past several months talking about how to effectively gain support for teen services and how to work with administration to let them know all about the great activities and work being done by teen librarians. As our conversations developed we realized that what we were talking about made for a great blog post, or series of blog posts. Our first post is on how to gain support from administration for teen projects. Continue reading

YALSA’s Upcoming Professional Development

YALSA is pleased to offer the following professional development opportunities in June. If you have questions about YALSA’s professional development, please contact Eve Gaus, YALSA’s program officer for continuing education, at egaus@ala.org or 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5293.

June 2, First Wednesdays with YALSA: YALSA’s First Wednesdays continue with an online chat this month at 8 p.m. Eastern, this time on managing your teen advisory board, hosted by Evie Wilson-Lingbloom. We will be using a private room in Meebo for the chat; the password to log in is available to YALSA members at this ALA Connect post. See you next Wednesday!

June 17, YA Classics Webinar: Join Sarah Debraski, YALSA past president, for a discussion of YA classics. Sarah will highlight YA novels from 1951 -2003, discussing their themes and issues and how YA librarians can connect teens with these classics. Participants will receive a list of 25 go-to titles that they can use for readers advisory or to add to their collection.’  This webinar will take place Thursday, June 17, at 2 p.m. Eastern. Register today! Registration costs $39 for individual YALSA members, $49 for all other individuals. A group rate of $195 is available. Learn more about YALSA webinars at www.ala.org/yalsa/webinars.

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The YALSA Update: Travel stipends, Great Ideas, registration & more!

Win up to $1K to attend Library Advocacy Day YALSA will offer travel stipends of up to $1,000 each to five YALSA members to participate in ALA’s Library Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. on June 29, 2010, held in conjunction with ALA Annual Conference. Applications are available as a PDF or Word document. They can also be downloaded at YALSA’s Awards and Grants page and must be sent to yalsa@ala.org. Applications are due one week from today, so be sure to get yours in!

William McKinley High School of Lima, Ohio, celebrates Teen Tech Week The kids on Glee went to the library last week. At about the sixteen-minute mark, you’ll see a familiar poster in the background.

Share your Great Idea You can win a prize from YALSA! Do you have a great idea to support YALSA’s goals in its strategic plan (PDF)? Share them with YALSA and you could win a prizes worth up to $250. Download an entry form (Word doc) today. Entries are due by May 1.

Register for our next webinar on advocacy Karen Keys will lead an hourlong webinar called VIPs: Why You Need Them for Advocacy on May 20 at 2 p.m. Eastern. Karen will explore how librarians and library workers can help grow their library program by improving communication and developing professional relationships with local town councilors, school board members, Chamber of Commerce members, and so on. Registration costs $39 for individual YALSA members, $49 for all other individuals and $195 for groups. Contact Eve Gaus at egaus@ala.org or 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5293 for more information.’  Mark your calendar for June 17, when Sarah Debraski will lead a webinar on YA classics.

After the jump, find out how you can save on early bird registration for YALSA’s YA Lit Symposium and ALA’s Annual Conference, sign up for YALSA’s Annual preconferences, register for Teen Read Week and the WrestleMania Reading Challenge, and more!

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Apply for YALSA’s Mentoring Program

Applications are now open at www.ala.org/yalsa/mentoring for YALSA’s two-way mentoring program.YALSA’s new mentoring program will pair an experienced librarian with a new librarian or graduate student in a library science program. YALSA believes that we all have important skills and knowledge that we can share with one another and so this program encourages protégés to share their skills and know-how with their mentor.

YALSA will accept applications from YALSA members in two categories: protégés and mentors. Protégés are defined as those with five years’ experience or less or students in a graduate library school program. Mentors are defined as those with more than six years’ experience.

Questions? Check out the Mentoring Program FAQ or contact Eve Gaus, YALSA Program Officer for continuing education, at egaus@ala.org or 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5293.

Applications are due by June 30.

Mark Your Calendar: YALSA’s April Professional Development

YALSA is pleased to offer the following professional development opportunities in April. If you have questions about YALSA’s professional development, please contact Eve Gaus, YALSA’s program officer for continuing education, at egaus@ala.org or 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5293.

April 5, Mentoring Program Applications open: YALSA’s new mentoring program will pair an experienced librarian (more than 6 years’ experience) with a new librarian (fewer than 6 years’ experience) or graduate student in a library science program. YALSA believes that we all have important skills and knowledge that we can share with one another and so this program encourages protégés to share their skills and know-how with their mentor. YALSA will accept applications through June 30. Learn more at www.ala.org/yalsa/mentoring.

April 7, First Wednesdays with YALSA: YALSA’s First Wednesdays continue with an online chat this month at 8 p.m. Eastern, this time on programming for older teens, hosted by Penny Johnson, convenor of the Serving New Adults Interest Group. We will again be using Meebo for the chat, but we’ve made a few adjustments. We’ve created a private room; the password to log in is available to YALSA members at this ALA Connect post. See you next Wednesday!

April 22, Back to Basics Webinar: YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth play a key role in everyday service to young adult patrons. Join Sarah Flowers, author of Young Adults Deserve the Best: Putting YALSA’s Competencies into Action, to discuss practical ways to promote and apply the YALSA Competencies to ensure quality library service to the teens in your community. This webinar will take place on Thursday, April 22, at 2 p.m. Eastern. Registration is $39 for individual YALSA members, $49 for all other individuals.’  Register today! Group registration costs $195 and is available by contacting Eve Gaus at egaus@ala.org or 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5293. Learn more about our webinars at www.ala.org/yalsa/webinars.

YALSA Chat on the Economy, Libraries, & YALSA – the Transcript

Last night YALSA sponsored a chat on how the economy is affecting YA librarians and libraries and how YALSA can support librarians in tough economic times. Those who participated had a lot of stories to tell, questions to ask, and ideas for YALSA to consider. Including:

  • Looking at ways to provide mentoring for librarians moving up the leadership ladder. A teen librarian might be very skilled at how to run a teen department, but maybe needs some advice on how to move into management positions and how to be a successful manager. Continue reading

Mentoring Teens All The Time

When I was in junior high there was a small local restaurant my friends and I liked to go to. It served good sandwiches and it was a place we all went with our families. The thing was, when we were at the restaurant with our families, we received great service. When we went as a group of friends, the service wasn’t so great. We knew without a doubt that the adult employees didn’t like us at all. Eventually we stopped going.

I’ve been thinking about this experience as I’ve recently been reminded how sometimes adults don’t treat teens very well. I think, in many instances, adults don’t do this on purpose, they don’t intentionally treat teens badly. Continue reading