What’s So “Special” About Special Needs?

You might not know it, but you have teens with special needs in your community, and your library can provide vital services to them!’  The Outreach to Young Adults with Special Needs committee is excited to be transitioning to an Interest Group so that librarians from all over can share their experiences and ideas for working with this population!

As a committee, our stated function is to “address the needs of young adults who do not or cannot use the library because of socioeconomic, legal, educational, or physical factors; to serve as a liaison between these groups and their service providers; and to identify and promote library programs, resources and services that meet the special needs of these populations.”’  What that practically means is that we help YALSA with such tasks as varied as the Great Stories CLUB and Operation Teen Book Drop.

Opening up to the entire membership as an interest group will allow our focus to become even wider.’  Do you work with teens who are incarcerated and want to share your successes and frustrations?’  Do you have ideas on providing service to disabled teens?’  Are there groups in your community that serve these young adults who you would like to partner with?’  The special interest group will be a place to share ideas and, hopefully, create new opportunities for outreach to this population group.

If you are interested in how we can serve these “special needs” teens and make more librarians aware of their presence in our community, please feel free to contact me with your questions and suggestions.’  You’ll also soon be able to join our ALA Connect group.’  (which will be opened to the public later today, as soon as I get it switched over! ^__^) If you would like to be the convener, or co-convener, please submit your name to me at angelinamanfredi@gmail.com by Monday May 3, 2010.’  Elections will be held the week of May 24, 2010.

Support Teen Literature with Operation TBD

Operation Teen Book Drop (TBD) is back again! This year, YALSA is partnering with readergirlz, Guys’ Lit Wire, and If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything (a reading club for Native children founded by former ALA president Loriene Roy) to distribute 10,000 new books, donated by publishers, to teens on Native Reservations and Tribal Lands, to coincide with Support Teen Literature Day on April 15. In addition, more than 100 YA authors are going to leave new YA books in public places, with a bookplate from Operation TBD.

How can you get involved? There are several ways:

  • Plan your own book drop! Be sure to download bookplates from the readergirlz site and paste them into the books you’re donating. You can also download a Operation TBD countdown widget at their site.
  • Download bookmarks (PDF) and share them at your library to raise awareness. Each bookmark recommends a number of titles for teens.
  • Add to the official book drop!’  GuysLitWire has created a wish list of 750 books that supporters can buy from Powells.com. These purchases will be sent directly to one of two tribal school libraries, Ojo Encino Day School or Alchesay High School.
  • See where books are going at If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything.
  • Join the party! Readergirlz will host an online TBD Post-Op party at 6 PM PST / 9 PM EST that evening at the readergirlz blog.

Learn more about Support Teen Literature Day, held on the Thursday of National Library Week, at the YALSA wiki.

Get Ready for Operation TBD 2010!

YALSA will again work with the Readergirlz and Guys Lit Wire in 2010 for another iteration of Operation Teen Book Drop! Operation TBD will take place on Support Teen Literature Day, April 15, 2010. Over the past two years, Operation TBD has put 20,000 books for teens into pediatric hospitals in the United States and Canada. This year, Operation TBD will coordinate donations to tribal libraries and schools by joining forces with If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything: A National Book Club for Native American Children, a project directed by former ALA president Loriene Roy.

Check out this video made by Readergirlz in honor of this year’s event to see how you can get involved! Want to learn more or see what schools and libraries are involved? Check out the Operation TBD website or contact us at yalsa@ala.org.