“Risky Business”

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The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association is to advocate, promote and strengthen service to young adults as part of the continuum of total library service, and to support those who provide service to this population.

Mission Moment

How Recent YALSA Activities Support the Association’s Mission and Strategic Plan
At their Midwinter Meetings, the YALSA Board voted to approve a proposal that expanded virtual participation in the Association’s process committees. This decision directly supports the Member Engagement goal in YALSA’s strategic plan as it provides more members opportunities to participate in the Association. And, by providing those opportunities, YALSA also meets its mission to support those who provide service to teens. The proposal that was approved by the Board at Midwinter is available on the YALSA web site.

My focus during January was on YALSA’s Midwinter Meeting in Boston. Prior to the Meeting I worked with YALSA’s Executive Director, Executive Committee, and Board members to finalize Board meeting agendas and supporting documents for each item on the Board agenda. The YALSA Board made several key decisions during their Midwinter meetings and also began discussions on topics that will help shape the Association’s programs, services, and products over the next few years. Documents supporting Midwinter discussions of the Board remain available on the YALSA web site and the YALSA Blog provides an overview of Board discussions and decisions. (You can read the January 16 overview and the January 17 and 18 overview.)

The first William C. Morris/Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award program and reception took place at this year’s Midwinter Meeting. This successful event included the presentation of Awards to the winners and honorees and a video presentation by the winner of the William C. Morris Award, L. K. Madigan. Speeches by four of the five honorees for the Excellence in Nonfiction Award, including the winner of that Award, Deborah Heiligman, were also a part of the event. The Committees that selected the honorees and winners for these two awards worked diligently over the past year in order to make quality choices. I would like to thank Judy Nelson, the Chair of the William C. Morris Award; Angela Carstensen, Chair of the Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award; and their committee members for their hard-work and dedication.

In order to answer questions from YALSA members about the Association’s selected lists, YALSA’s Immediate Past President, Sarah Debraski, and I developed a selected lists Frequently Asked Questions document. The document is available on the YALSA web site and is recently updated to integrate new questions from members.

Overall Midwinter would not have been as successful as it was without the support, hard-work, and dedication of many YALSA members. These members have my thanks:

  • For the first time, YALSA sponsored a table at the ALISE Conference which took place just before Midwinter. YALSA members Beth Gallaway, Francisca Goldsmith, Jessica Moyer, Sarajo Wentling, Stephanie Squicciarini, Janet Hilburn, and Rebecca Hunt helped staff the booth. Being at ALISE gave YALSA the chance to connect with library school faculty and doctoral students in order to provide information about the projects, programs, and services of possible interest to them.
  • YALSA Blog Manager, mk Eagle, and the YALSA bloggers successfully implemented three live blogging sessions during Midwinter YALSA events; including the BBYA teen session, the Youth Media Awards, and the William C. Morris and Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Program. (The live blog posts continue to be available – BBYA Teen Session, Youth Media Awards, and William C. Morris and Excellence in Nonfiction Awards event)
  • Candice Mack and the members of the YALSA Division Membership and Promotion Committee organized and facilitated the first ever YALSA 201 event. This well attended program gave YALSA members the opportunity to hear from Association leaders about moving into leadership positions within the organization. Thanks also go to all of those who took the time to speak at the event. A full list of speakers is available on the YALSA Blog.
  • Paula Brehm Heeger, the Chair of YALSA’s 2010 Nominating Committee, and the members of the Committee developed a strong slate for YALSA’s 2010 election and they organized and facilitated the 2010 YALSA Candidate’s Forum. The Forum is an important Midwinter event as it is one of the ways in which members have the opportunity to hear first-hand from those running for YALSA positions.
  • The Games, Gadgets, and Gurus program on Friday night of Midwinter was a big success due to the work of Penny Johnson and her Committee responsible for organizing the program. Attendees had the chance to try their hand at a variety of games, gadgets, and technology. It’s also important to thank Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science students who took on the role of gurus at the program.
  • Kate Pickett and Jamie Watson, the Co-Chairs of the 2010 Midwinter Institute Task Force, along with Task Force members organized a successful program titled Library 3.0: Teen Edition. Attendees had the chance to think about the future of library services to teens both from a technology and a services standpoint.
  • Midwinter is a working meeting. That means that while there are programs, events, and receptions that members may attend during the weekend, for the most part Committees, Task Forces, Juries, and Discussion and Interest Groups spend time meeting together in order to get work done. Each YALSA member who participated in Midwinter in this way receives my thanks for their time, effort, and attention to the work of the Association.

In Progress
In order to inform Board members, committee chairs, and the general membership of the work of the Association, I am in the process of scheduling several post Midwinter conference calls and chats. These include:

  • A conference call with selection committee chairs which is scheduled for Tuesday, February 2. This call is being held so that these committee chairs can learn more about YALSA’s selected list changes and to give the chairs an opportunity to ask about the work of their committees.
  • In the next few weeks a conference call with chairs of committees that are transitioning to Interest or Discussion Group status will be held. This call will give these chairs a chance to ask questions and get answers about their transition and about the work of the group once the transition takes place.
  • Also, in the next few weeks, a chat for process committee chairs will take place in YALSA’s ALA Connect space. This chat will focus on the proposal, approved by the YALSA Board at Midwinter, which allows for more virtual participation in process committees.
  • Following Midwinter Meeting, the YALSA Board has a conference call to discuss committee chair post-conference reports. This call is scheduled for February 25 at 3:30 Eastern. This is an open meeting and YALSA members are welcome to attend. If interested in participating contact Letitia Smith in the YALSA Office, lsmith@ala.org.

YALSA Board members take part in monthly chats on their ALA Connect space. These chats are a part of the leadership development activities in which the Board is regularly engaged. Over the months between Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference Board members will talk about a variety of topics related to leadership and Association governance. Board members use these times to use web 2.0 tools to learn about and improve Board work processes.

Following discussions of the Board at Midwinter Meeting, I am in the process of appointing members to a variety of task forces and/or ad hoc committees. These include:

  • A task force to plan the 2011 Midwinter Institute. The YALSA Board voted to sponsor an Institute in San Diego January 2011 with the title Teen Services and the Whole Library Experience. This Institute will focus on supporting librarians in working with all library departments and staff in providing, advocating for, and promoting teen services.
  • An ad hoc committee to look at the information YALSA needs to retain in order to maintain archival record of the Association’s work.
  • An ad hoc committee to develop a proposal for a YALSA member recognition award. This award, approved by the YALSA Board at Midwinter, will annually honor a committee chair, committee member, or member group for their work with and for YALSA during the previous year.

YALSA’s Organization & Bylaws (O&B) Committee will be revising many committee policies and procedures over the next several weeks in order that those policies and procedures reflect the changes approved by the YALSA Board during Midwinter Meetings. I will work with O&B Committee Chair, Shannon Peterson, in facilitating these changes. I would like to thank Shannon and her Committee members in advance for the important work in which they are now involved.


  • Spoke with a reporter from the Houston Chronicle for a story on Twilight and trends in teen fiction.
  • Interviewed by Debra Lou Whalen of School Library Journal for a report on YALSA’s selected list changes.
  • Provided quotes to YALSA’s Communications Specialist, Stevie Kuenn, on YALSA’s presence at the ALISE Conference.


  • Registration for Annual Conference is now open. YALSA is sponsoring several events including a full-day and a half-day preconference. The full-day preconference is titled It’s Perfectly Normal: Dealing with Sensitive Topics in Teen Services and will focus on how to address critical, but difficult, topics when supporting teens with collections, programs and services. The half-day preconference is titled Promoting Teen Services with Web 2.0 Tools and looks at how libraries can connect teens, web 2.0, reading, and writing. Find out more about YALSA’s programs and events at Annual 2010 on the YALSA wiki.
  • Registration for Teen Tech Week is open. Don’t forget that by registering for the event you gain access to the 2010 logo that you can use in publicity for your events. Also, by registering, you demonstrate the importance of technology in teen lives to your library community.
  • YALSA is sponsoring a second round of the Great Ideas Contest. This contest asks a YALSA member or member group to submit a program or product idea that YALSA can implement in order to support its strategic plan. You can read more about the contest and apply by downloading this Word file.
  • Over the past several weeks YALSA members Beth Gallaway and Kelly Czarnecki have worked on a YA Speaker’s Bureau section for the YALSA wiki. The wiki pages are now available so that members can find information about presenters available for library programs and events, or add themselves to the wiki pages as presenters. Thanks to Beth and Kelly for their work on this project.

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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