YALSA Midwinter Institute

The Whole Library Experience was the theme for the YALSA Midwinter Institute in San Diego. The morning got underway with Paige Battle’s ice-breaker activity. She asked participants to come and select adjectives on strips and then sort ourselves into two groups according to whether we thought the adjective described a teen or a librarian. Actually, a third group formed for those who thought their adjectives could describe either teen or librarian. There was quite a bit of laughter as we talked about the stereotypes both groups have.

Our first speaker was Linda Braun, former President of YALSA, who has just written a white paper on this topic of Whole Library Experiences for YAs. Her suggestions included not forgetting the parents of the teens, working with circulation and reference staff about the needs and interests of YAs. We who work with YAs need to be aware of “those who are not us” and how we can assist them in offering services and materials to teens.

Sara Ryan was the second speaker of the morning and offered a wide array of resources for those working with YAs who want to do some training of others on the staff. She mentioned the 40 developmental assets, the ages and stages of YA and more. We need to document what we DO with teens each and every day to demonstrate, especially to the administration, our value. Teen friendly is synonymous with people friendly, too. She recommended the PAIN IN THE BRAIN online class from YALSA.

Lunch was a short walk into the Gaslamp District. Participants returned for an afternoon full of information.

A panel of folks from the San Diego library systems with Jennifer Lawson as moderator tackled topics about the whole library experience. These panelist suggested YA staff provide reading lists and other suggestions to them on a regular basis. After the panel, Penny Johnson discussed good management and administrative tips with the acronym PLEASE.


The day ended with two interactive sessions. Part One provided each team of participants with a case study to “solve.” Part Two asked participants to list out an action plan for implementing the whole library experience in their own institutions when they returned from conference.

About Teri Lesesne

I am a professor of YA lit in the department of library science at SHSU in Texas. I am an active YALSA member, an author of two professional books, a blogger, and a grandmother of 6. I am on the Printz 2010 Committee and the YALS Editorial Board currently. I have also served on the QP, Edwards, and Odyssey Committees.

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