Follow-up from the Nov. 16 Town Hall on Supporting Youth during Difficult Times

Yesterday over 40 YALSA members met online during the YALSA virtual town hall to discuss ways that we can support youth in our community during turbulent times.  The outcome of the recent election has caused many young people to feel anxious and uncertain about the future of their rights and of our country, and we know that many incidents of bullying, hazing, harassment, and hate crimes have been reported in the past week. Because of this, the focus of the town hall was changed to focus on what we can do create safe spaces for our youth, how to create empathy, and how to empower teens to promote positive change in our community.

Why do need to offer these types of services to our youth? Because it’s our job.  Last year, the YALSA Board approved a document called Core Professional Values for the Teen Services Profession that focuses on nine core values that define professionalism for those who work for and with teens through libraries. Three of those nine are compassion, inclusion, and social responsibility–values that have been extremely important in the past few weeks.

YALSA has created a list of resources on this topic–Supporting Youth in the Post-2016 Election Climate.  We hope that you will find the information useful and share it widely with colleagues and co-workers.  In addition, ALA has created a Libraries Respond web page with further resources.  If you weren’t able to participate in the town hall, you can listen to the audio recordingread through the comments that were posted in the chat, and check out the tweets with the hashtag #yalsachat.  Many members shared what they are doing inside and outside of their libraries, and it was also great to hear what people were thinking about doing in the future.  As a result of the town hall, a YALSA Interest Group hopefully will soon be forming around ideas to help teens understand and empathize with our changing world, as well as to empower them to advocate for change in a positive manner.  Look for more information on that coming soon.  Also, if you’re interested in this topic, watch your YALSA eNews for information about the January YALSA webinar led by Renee Hill on the topic of helping youth recognize their ability to engage in social justice and equity activities.

Yesterday’s conversation was energizing and hopeful–thank you all for caring for the teens in your community!

Rethinking YALSA: Reorganization for the Future!

This year is a time of transition and YALSA staff and the YALSA board have been busy since Annual revamping the organizational structure. We’ve written about what’s going on before, but I wanted to post another update. Check out this PowerPoint slideshow to see how the Board is re-envisioning YALSA to support our new mission. The difference between the current organizational structure on Slide 2 and the future organizational structure on Slide 3 is big!   Would you like to be a part of it? Are you interested in advocacy, cultural competence, diversifying & expanding the membership, fund and partner development, leadership development, leading the transformation of teen services or state level outreach and engagement? If so, complete this short form. After the organizational realignment is complete next year, we’ll be looking for members to participate in short-term opportunities in those categories–if you have an idea, be sure to share it on the form. Look for more information coming soon on this blog!  While the reorganization involves more than just committees, most of the questions I’ve received are about those, so here is some information that may be helpful:

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YALSA Executive Committee Update

This weekend is the exciting YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium in Pittsburgh and I can’t wait to see 500+ library staff, teen advocates and authors!  Follow the action on Twitter via #yalsa16.

But the YALSA Executive Committee is also preparing for our Fall Meeting that will be held Saturday, Nov. 5, from 9 am – 4 pm in conjunction with the Symposium.  The meeting is held in the Cambria Room on the second floor of the Westin Hotel and is open to symposium attendees.  Executive committee meetings focus on discussions, not decision making (that is the Board’s role)–you can see that by reading the 2016 Fall Executive Committee Meeting Agenda & Documents. We’ll be discussing how the Executive Committee will be taking a larger role in developing a closer relationship between YALSA and ALA, as well as delving into ALA and YALSA finances.  Look for another blog post after the meeting with more information about what was discussed.  Do you have any questions about any of the documents? Feel free to contact me at gsarahthelibrarian@gmail.com or reach out if you happen to be at the Symposium.

Who is your YALSA Executive Committee? It changes every year, and this year I’m joined by these fabulous people: President-Elect Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Immediate Past President Candice Mack, YALSA Division Councilor Todd Krueger, Fiscal Officer Nick Buron, Secretary Crystle Martin, and Executive Director Beth Yoke.

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