Hi everyone!

I will keep this month’s President Report short and wish everyone a very happy holiday! 

Thank you to those of you who attended the 2023 YALSA Symposium in St. Louis! A big thank you to all the YALSA Volunteers and staff that made this year’s Symposium such a fantastic learning and networking experience. A thank you as well for all the publishers and authors that attended the event and to the St. Louis Public Library for hosting attendees and providing a tour of the Central Library. 

Though attendance was down this year at around 350 attendees, I know those that attended will agree with me when I say that I felt a great energy from those in attendance and learned so much. As attendance has been falling in recent years, the YALSA Board voted to create a Symposium Evaluation task force in 2022 and the task force was formed in 2023. The task force is charged with evaluating data and member surveys to create a report for the YALSA Board with recommendations for the future of the YALSA Symposium. They will look closely at such things like if we should return to having a bi-annual Symposium, if there should be a virtual component to the Symposium, if the Symposium should be rebranded and its content reconfigured, or if there is a different time of year to hold the Symposium. There are so many other ideas and the YALSA Board really looks forward to the task force’s report.

Ongoing Activities

  • Now that Symposium is over, we have to start looking to attend LibLearnX and to plan YALSA sessions and events at ALA Annual.
    • The YALSA Board is currently discussing what a future YALSA Presence at LibLearnX should look like, since the conference is still early on in its new format and we have yet to know how YALSA fits in 
    • The YALSA Board is also working with our Book Awards committees to address the Awards Ceremonies for the Alex, Morris, Nonfiction and Edwards awards due to the change in format of LibLearnX and the evaluation of our current YALSA Symposium evaluation Task force of the YALSA Symposium
    • The Board is also working with YALSA Staff to determine what events we will hold at the Annual conference in addition to the educational sessions. We hope to find a way to bring back our YALSA Social! 
  • The Presidential Initiatives Implementation Task Force is hitting the ground running under the leadership of the new chair, Clare. Here’s what’s in the works:
    • As President, I have been able to partner with Booklist to moderate a panel at the Annual 2023 conference and the YALSA Symposium regarding Teen Services staff dealing with book challenges and censorship
    • Clare and I have connected with Graphic Novels and Comics Roundtable and United Against Book Bans and will bring back ideas to the task force
    • One idea that is still in development is regarding how to aggregate resources for our YALSA members to access. We know there are so many valuable tools out there for dealing with challenges and censorship and we want to be able to share them with our members so they are easy to access in times of need. 
    • Another project in development is thinking about how we can mobilize our regions so that there can be people to turn to when library staff working with teens are facing challenges and censorship. We are exploring the idea of creating YALSA Interest groups for this. 
    • Finally at ALA annual 2024 we are also looking to put together a Presidential program session on the topic: Freedom to Read.

Respectfully submitted by Colleen Seisser, YALSA President

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