ALSA and Baker and Taylor are proud to support the continuing education endeavors of librarians across the country. They offer not one, not two, but three great scholarships to help YALSA members who have never attended ALA Annual the opportunity to do so. And it is a wonderful opportunity. I was lucky enough to win in 2011 and be able to attend Annual in New Orleans. It was a very satisfying experience and allowed me to connect with my teen librarian colleagues and YALSA members in a way I never had via the online environments of list-servs and websites. That one conference gave me the confidence to continue to volunteer for YALSA committees and taskforces, Since 2011, I have had the opportunity to help YALSA’s strategic goals by serving on several different process and selection committees and it has been incredibly rewarding.

The criteria for these grants are pretty simple and available on the website. To paraphrase: you need to be a member of ALA/YALSA, one to ten years experience working with teens (for the Baker and Taylor scholarships only), and you have never attended an ALA Annual conference. For the Broderick scholarship (which is open to MLIS students), you must be currently enrolled in ALA accredited graduate MLIS program. The deadline for applying is December 1. Still not convinced that attending Annual is worth it? Here is what some of the previous years winners have to say.

Julia Hutchins, winner of the Broderick Student scholarship says:

Last year when I was asked to participate in a program at the ALA Annual Conference I was hesitant to say yes, knowing my library could never afford to send me all the way to Las Vegas for this opportunity. I applied for every scholarship and funding opportunity I could find. Amazingly, I won a YALSA scholarship to attend. I had just finished my MLIS from Florida State University the month before the conference. What better way to celebrate finishing library school than at a conference with more than 10,000 of my peers? Not only did YALSA’s scholarship make it possible for me to participate in the “Programs Gone Wrong” panel, but to attend many informative events such as a technology petting zoo and collection development panels. I also met numerous authors and was even able to get autographed books for Summer Reading prizes for teens at my library. The teen who won the autographed copy of The Book Thief will treasure it for years to come. Author Markus Zusak even wrote “Congratulations” inside the cover.   

Heather Schubert, a winner in 2012, states:

I was the recipient of two ALA awards/grants that allotted me the opportunity to attend ALA for the first time. The ALA events I was invited to and the people that I met because of these awards have broadened my horizons as a librarian. I was able to meet librarians from all over the country, whom I still collaborate with to this day. 

Susan Smallsreed, another 2012 recipient says:

Thanks to the YALSA Baker & Taylor Scholarship, I attended my first and only ALA Annual Conference in sunny Anaheim in June of 2012.  Without the grant, I could not have afforded to attend a pre-conference, workshops, all the award banquets, several author events (Libba Bray and Kazo Kibuishi!) and the orgy of the exhibit room floor (Can you say “swag”?) Oh! And don’t forget the great YALSA happy hour and membership meeting  It was an amazing opportunity to completely indulge in my library geek-i-ness.  Thank you, YALSA and Baker & Taylor! 

Finally, Juanita Lamalipour, a 2013 recipient says: I also learned of many new career opportunities available throughout the country.

YALSA and Baker and Taylor and the Broderick scholarship for students are the perfect opportunities to kick your YALSA membership into gear. Apply today! Applications due by December.

Sarah Wethern is a youth librarian in Minnesota and is the current chair for the 2015 YALSA Conference Travel Scholarships jury. She is greatly assisted by four hardworking and dedicated librarians across the country.

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