When I went to library school, some professors encouraged students to join professional organizations. Whenever the profs. would talk about this I tended to tune things out. I didn’t really get why something like ALA or YALSA or even a local/regional organization would make a difference in my work as a librarian. It wasn’t clear at all how student membership would benefit a lowly student such as me.

Now, I get it. And, I get it even more now that I’ve read through the results of YALSA’s recent survey of library school students. The results are available for anyone to peruse, findings include:

  • A majority of students state that YALSA does a very good job with selected lists and promotion of young adult literature via awards.
  • While not at the very good level, a majority of the students who completed the survey state that YALSA does a good job at placing national importance on teen reading and on teen technological literacies.
  • Similarly, a majority of student respondents state that YALSA does a good job with its online and print information dissemination – for example YALS and YAttitudes.
  • 75% of the respondents said they joined YALSA for the professional development opportunities. The survey data also shows that both face-to-face and virtual professional development opportunities are important to library school students.
  • YALSA as an information source for best practices and research in the field is also important to respondents. 96% of those who answered the survey said that identification and support of implementation of best practices was important for YALSA to focus on. 95% said the same about identification and support of research in the area of library service to teens.

There is a lot of data to think about in the survey. What’s as compelling as the specific numbers are some of the ideas for YALSA that come through in the feedback sections of the responses. These include interest from students in:

  • Projects and programs from YALSA that are geared directly to library school students
  • Improved opportunities for students to network with their peers and with those already working in the field with teens.
  • Expanded online course offerings
  • Materials that provide direct connections/ideas/information between research and practice.

The YALSA Executive Committee is already working on ideas generated by survey responses in order for the Division to support library students more successfully. New, innovative, and creative ideas are up for discussion. Ideas from library school students are welcome and can be submitted and discussed on the YALSA Ning for LIS students.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.

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