I’m en route to Seattle even as I type this! What will the board and I be up to at the 2013 Midwinter conference? Keep reading to find out.

It’s going to be an awesome conference. We’ve got programs, meetings and activities everywhere. We’ll be talking about advocacy, collaborations, books and reading, the future of teen services in libraries and more.

First, I’ll be helping YALSA host the first National Forum on Teens & Libraries on January 23 and 24. This is the first summit of its kind, and we’ll be bringing leaders on youth development, libraries, technology, publishing, everything. The goal is figure out where teen services is going and where it needs to be in the 21st Century. ALA President Maureen Sullivan will be the lead moderator, and we’ve got some amazing special guest stars, including Lee Rainey, head of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, Mizuko Ito, Professor in Residence and MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning at the University of California, Irvine, Renee Hobbs, Director of the Harrington School of Communications & Media at the University of Rhode Island and George Needham, Vice President for Global and Regional Councils at the Online Computer Library Center. We’ll be talking lots of teens, literacy, library, technology and more. I’ll even be leading the Youth Panel portion of the forum with special awesome teens from YALSA President-Elect Shannon Peterson. We’ll be tweeting, blogging and posting the entire time, so check out our social media channels to find out what’s going on.

The YALSA Executive Committee will also be meeting with the executive committees of our sister divisions, AASL and ALSC. The three divisions traditionally meet every Thursday before Midwinter and Annual conferences. This time we’ll be talking about our Joint School/Public Library committee, a new Common Core taskforce and a whole lot more.

The YALSA Board will also be pretty busy this conference. Not only will you see us at Leadership Development (coffee and carbs!!!) and the YALSA Happy Hour (free drinks and apps!!!) on Saturday, feel free to drop by our meetings from 1:30-5:30 on Saturday, 4:30-5:30 on Sunday and 1:30-3:30 on Monday, all in room 309 of the convention center. You’ll also see us at the Youth Media Awards and the Morris and Non-Fiction awards ceremony on Monday.

What will the Board be talking about? Lots of stuff. In thinking about how YALSA can help its members advocate for teen services in libraries, the Board will be having a major discussion on how to reach library administrators to help them understand the importance of teen services.

We also know that members want to learn more about teen programming in libraries. So we’ll be voting to establish a new taskforce of programming best practices and replicable program examples for members. Interested in serving on the taskforce? Hit me up after Midwinter!

We also know how much everyone loves our biennial YA Lit Symposium. In fact, we know ya’ll love it so much that we’re going to be considering whether or not we should do it every year as opposed to every other year. Got an opinion? Let us know what you think.

Also back by popular demand is the YALSA Road Trip. We know from the member survey and from my virtual town halls that members really want to find better ways to connect to one another on a regional or state-by-state basis. The board will be brainstorming new ways that YALSA can reboot this exciting project.

We’ll also be exploring lots of other new ways for members to connect with one another, both virtually and in-person. We’ll be talking about a new student chapter proposal as well as a cool new idea on how members who love teen books can better connect with one another.

Finally, we’ll be at the Coffee with the Candidates, which is a great opportunity for members to meet this year’s candidates for President-Elect as well as the Board. This is your chance to get up close and personal with the candidates and let them know your concerns and ideas. I know I’ll be there with plenty of questions of my own.

All in all, it’s gonna be a super busy conference, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there. I’ll be the guy with the crazy socks. Over and out. See you there.

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