I started my journey in libraries determined to be a teen services librarian. I knew those jobs, especially full-time, were few and far between but I was able to land a position as a part-time teen services librarian for Santa Clara County Library District. There, the amazing team of teen services librarians showed me all of the resources available to me, primarily from YALSA. I was blown away with the breadth of tools for different types of programming, collection development and so much more that was available online, right at my fingertips. I took this invaluable resource with me and as I entered a full-time teen services librarian for San Mateo County Libraries and continued to use them for the next 4 years. I kept my membership to YALSA current as it was my primary resource for keeping up to date with innovative programming, learning the changing need for teens, as well as opportunities for grant funding.
When I attended my first ALA Conference, I immediately sought out the YALSA booth as they are easily my go-to, library family. I learned about the YALSA-sponsored programs, networking opportunities and was introduced to more teen services librarians. When I applied to the 2014 ALA Emerging Leaders program and was accepted, YALSA was right there for me as my financial sponsor, which helped me tremendously as attending conferences can be costly. The Emerging Leaders program impacted my professional career by introducing me to exceptional library professionals from all over the state and internationally, and I was also able to learn about the various leadership opportunities within the ALA organization and committees, something I was not familiar with prior to attending. After Emerging Leaders ended, I was asked to be on the 2015 Printz Award committee, an honor that a teen services librarian only dreams of. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I would never forget and introduced me to another set of inspiring librarians working in teen services.
I owe a huge debt to YALSA and would ask that others consider making a donation to support the organization. Your donation greatly impacts the lives of other librarians, providing them with similar opportunities as mine, to further enrich their professional careers.
Dolly Goyal is the Director for Los Gatos Library, in Los Gatos, CA