YALS Summer 2016 – A Library’s Role in Digital Equity

YALS-Summer-2016-CoverWhen initially looking at the Pew Research Report statistics Crystle Martin referred to in her YALS article, A Library’s Role in Digital Equity, one may assume the digital divide is coming to a close with the rise of teen’s access to technology. According to the 2015 study:

87% of teens have access to a desktop/laptop computer
73% of teens have access to a smartphone
58% of teens have access to a tablet computer

The report also shares the primary way teens access the internet with 91% of them using mobile devices at least occasionally. This means if a teen has a mobile phone with internet access they are adequately connected to the digital world, right? Martin counters this argument by throwing down more facts such as, “one-quarter of those earning below the median income and one-third of those living below poverty level accessed the Internet only through their mobile devices.” Resulting in a significant part of the population being under-connected according to the “Opportunity For All?” findings.

What does this have to do with libraries, though? In the current trend of libraries increasingly adding “innovation” to mission statements and “technology skills” to job descriptions while working towards increasing access we may be missing the key element in creating digital equity, or equal access and opportunity. Giving teens school tablets or providing free library wifi is a great start, but what happens when that teen lives in a home without an internet connection or lives too far away from the library to attend on weekends? When used correctly technology can be a valuable tool in fostering digital participation, but our approach as educators is the most important action to take.

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YALSA Board Update: Meeting on Aug. 1 & Town Hall on Aug. 17

As part of its ongoing effort to improve member engagement opportunities so that they better meet member needs, as well as to re-think the structure of YALSA so that it’s better positioned to carry out the work of the new organizational plan, the Board sought to review of all existing member groups at our June meeting (see Candice Mack’s blog post).  The Board accomplished a lot at its meeting in June, but didn’t finish all of its work around member groups.  If you haven’t already, check out June Board documents #25, #40, and #41, which were all approved by the Board.  Since the Board didn’t finish its work in June, the Board will be meeting virtually Aug. 1 from 12:30-1:30 pm, eastern, to discuss the Leading the Transformation of Teen Services Board Standing Committee’s draft recommendations for the remaining member groups that were not addressed in June.  These latest Board proposals on member engagement are the result of about a year’s worth of organizational planning work by the Board, exploring how best to adopt a “teens first” approach to YALSA’s work in order to better support members and to advance teen services so that all teens are prepared for college, careers and life. Any member interested in sitting in on the virtual meeting can contact yalsa@ala.org to request the access information. Continue reading

Write for YALSA!

Have you considered writing for YALSAblog or the Young Adult Library Services (YALS) journal but are unsure what topic to write about? The YALSA Publications Advisory Board conducted a survey of blog posts and YALS articles from the past few years. Our results show that some topics get much more coverage than others, creating a need for more articles on certain topics and services. Here is a brief summary of our findings and how you can help fill these holes by submitting to the blog or YALS.

Please note that the purpose of the survey was to identify articles and posts that could be compiled into topic-based publications, so we didn’t include articles that were out of date, that were dependent on a theme such as Teen Tech Week, or were otherwise unsuited for a compilation. All results were finalized November 2015 for the YALS survey and March 2016 for the blog survey.

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Committee Appointments Update

Happy New Year!

I am pleased to announce that all appointments have been made for the 2015-2016 award and selection committee cycle.

Many, many thanks to the all the talented and dedicated YALSA members who submitted nearly 600 volunteer applications to join these great committees!

If you submitted an application, you should have received an email from me inviting you to be on a committee or an email letting you know that my appointments taskforce and I were unable to find a spot for you this year.

If you received one of the latter emails, please don’t be discouraged and please try again. There were just not enough slots for the number of applications we received.

In the meantime, you can gain valuable YALSA and professional development experience by volunteering to be on a YALSA strategic committee, task force, or jury. The work of all of these strategic groups is done virtually and do not require conference attendance. The deadline for strategic committee applications is March 1, 2015, and I will be making those appointments in the spring.

President’s Report

April 2014 President’s Report
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is a national organization of librarians, library workers, and advocates whose mission is to expand and strengthen library services for teens, aged 12-18. Through its member-driven advocacy, research, and professional development initiatives YALSA builds the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve, and empower teens.

Activities

  • Helped to plan a monthly chat with the Board of Directors on YALSA’s fiscal status and FY15 priorities. Thank you to Fiscal Officer Pam Spencer Holly and Beth Yoke for helpful overviews and updates.
  • Facilitated the bi-annual conference call with the YALSA Executive Committee. Agenda and minutes can be accessed here.
  • Led planning calls with the Past and President-Elect, as well as the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee.
  • Worked with the Executive Committee, the Executive Director, and the Communications Managers to select an incoming YALSA Blog Manager. Congratulations to Crystle Martin and many thanks to all of the amazing applicants.
  • Held virtual discussion and voted on an updated petition candidates process. Interested in submitting your name to the 2015 awards or governance slate? You can also submit a nominating form.
  • Participated in an interview on the current state of GLBTQ Literature for Teens with a graduate student in journalism from Northwestern.

Updates

  • The deadline for Dollar General Literacy Foundation grants to support Teen Read Week activities is June 1st. YALSA will offer ten $1,000 grants which recognize outstanding TRW activities.
  • YALSA is offering two stipends for members to attend the Young Adult Literature Symposium in Austin. Applications are due June 15th.
  • Still gearing up for summer? Join YALSA’s Summer Reading and Learning Ning to check out free webinars, resources, recommending lists and more.
  • Looking for a little professional development on your lunch break? YALSA has over 40 on-demand webinars that are free to members.
  • Share your awesomeness with your colleagues! Fill out the member spotlight to be featured in an upcoming YALSA e-news bulletin.

Gratitude

  • Congratulations to the newly elected awards and governance leaders and many thanks to all of the candidates for their willingness to run.
  • Three cheers to everyone who took action on behalf of teens and libraries during National Library Legislative Day, our voices are stronger together!
  • High fives to the hard working Teens Top Ten reading groups and their coordinators for working hard to select this year’s stellar nomination list.

In March membership was at 5,134, which off -.5% over this time last year. Donations for March totaled $70.

Amplified: National Library Legislative Day

During the next few days, YALSA’s Executive Director and I will be in Washington DC for National Library Legislative Day. We’ll be talking to Congressional Staff and policy makers at key foundations and organizations about the vital role libraries and library staff play in helping teens succeed in school and prepare for careers.

In order for our conversations to have any lasting impact though, they need to be supported by a grassroots effort from members and supporters. Without your’ participation in NLLD via Tweets #NLLD14), emails and phone calls, we’ll be just two people talking. We need you to amplify, to show that we are all working together to improve teens’ lives.

As of today, just over 300 individuals have signed on to support YALSA’s NLLD Thunderclap. While that’s a start, YALSA has 5,138 members. All of those members have friends, families, colleagues, and patrons who stand behind the important work that we do everyday.’ So please, take a few moments out of your day to help your teen patrons, your library and your livelihood. Sign our Thunderclap,’ reach out to your members of Congress and encourage others to do the same. Let’s leverage social media to amplify our voices and make real change for libraries and our patrons! The future of teens and libraries depends on us. #Act4Teens now.

Virtual Town Hall

Hey YALSA members, I want to hear from you!

In recent years, the President and Board of Directors have held virtual town halls to hear great ideas, get feedback on activities, and talk through goal areas in YALSA’s mission. On May 7th at 2 pm EST, we’d like take the broad view and talk through your overall YALSA experience. Specifically, we’ll be covering the following four questions:

  • What is it about the organization that has earned your loyalty?
  • What does YALSA do that frustrates you?
  • What are three things that YALSA could do that would add the most professional value to the career of teen librarians?
  • What are your three biggest concerns or needs?

Your thoughts can help YALSA become an even more responsive and relevant organization, so please, speak up! We’ll be meeting via this Adobe Connect space. Chat and audio will be available, but virtual bonus points will be given to those with a microphone too! Feel free to log-in at anytime in the next week to test your device’s capability and setup.

Thanks and I look forward to talking with you.

Shannon

 

 

YALSA Strategic Committee Appointments!

Happy New Year to you, amazing YALSA members!

Have you made any professional resolutions for 2014? Perhaps to learn a new skills outside of the purview of your day to day work? Maybe to help advance the profession? If so, please consider volunteering for a strategic committee! These committees are a fantastic way to see all the work that YALSA does to advance teen services, build up your skills, and learn something new. But don’t just take my word for it! See what other people have to say:

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Fall Appointments Reminder – Volunteer Form Deadline Approaching October 1st!

YALSA members, I have a question for you – have you filled out your volunteer forms yet? I’ve been working with the amazing Letitia Smith to begin looking at committee volunteers, and have noticed that I’m not seeing all the people who talked with me in Chicago or online and who expressed interest in volunteering their time to serve on a selection committee. So, please, please, please make sure that you’ve completed the volunteer form! And for the committee members who are eligible to serve a second year, be sure you’ve filled out the paperwork too!

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