It is an unfortunate truth that we can’t make it to every conference we want to go to, even if it’s only a few hours away. Cost, travel, time away from work, family obligations, what have you keep us from going to conferences to see our colleagues, attend panels, and meet vendors for our libraries. But fear not! You’re not the only one #yalsalaeftbehind.

It doesn’t mean that you have to entirely miss out, either. Twitter is a great way to keep connected with other library staff in the field, and it’s no different when it comes to following panels at these conferences. You can still connect with the attendees and network online as they livetweet the panels that they’re attending. Most tweets will be tagged with #yalsa16 so they’ll be easy to find, and each session will have its own hashtag as well, to more easily filter through the results. We do love filtering, don’t we?

Even if you’re not attending but interested, make sure to look through a program list, to see what sessions would have interested you the most. Do you know anyone going? Will they be attending certain panels and take notes for you? Even if you don’t have that luxury, I have a handy list of hashtags for each session.

In order in the program:

Saturday November 5

#bottomline (Engaging Teens as Summer Learning Leaders for Younger Kids)

#feedbackloop (Experiences of LGBTQ Youth Services as a Model)

#proteen (Power of ProTeen: Empowering Teens At Your Library)

#fasttrack (Introducing Teens to Non-Traditional Career Paths)

#realcharacters (Using Complex Characters to Empower Teens)

#ownworld (Teen Driven Community Engagement)

#morris (Debut YA authors discussing their books)

#empoweringteens (Empowering Teens with Books that reflect their World)

#yaspringboard (College and Career Readiness)

#locallygrownya (Teen employees and volunteers making a difference)

#yaconnection (Establishing and Extending Community Connection)

#yapapers Papers Presentations, including Digital Oral Histories, Librarian Censorship of LGBTQ titles, and Empowering Homeless Teens.

Sunday November 6

#yanarratives  (Connecting Teens to Community)

#makerboxes (Maker Programs in a Box)

#yaequity (Empowering Teen Leaders in Libraries and Museums)

#yaschooloutreach (Rethinking School Outreach)

#intellectualfreedom (Think For Yourself and Let Others Do the Same)

#yaoutreach (Community Outreach to Court-Involved Teens)

#closing (Closing session with authors: Siobhan Vivian, Jesse Andrews, Ellen Witlinger)

Some of these make me wish I could go. I’m currently planning a summer STEAM camp, and maker programs in a box seems like a workshop that would be really helpful for me. Instead, on Sunday, I’ll try to follow along on Twitter, and hope that my fellow teen services librarians will help me out and livetweet their experience.

Being #yalsaleftbehind or #alaacleftbehind isn’t the end of the world. With the internet, we can practically be there, and I’m sure there will be posts on the ALA Think Tank as well. If anyone reading this is part of the Teen Librarian group on Facebook and attending the YALSA Symposium, we also want to hear from you! Find your fellow teen services librarians online, and they will lead you to ways to follow the conference. Connect with them on Twitter, and follow the hashtags. If anyone’s inspired enough, make a Storify out of the best Tweets, or the Top Tweets as sorted by Twitter. You’re not #yalsaleftbehind — you’re #yalsaonline. (Hashtag is completely mine and probably won’t take off.)

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