YALSA’s Standardized Terms

This site adheres to ALA’s Online Code of Conduct.

  • When talking about individuals aged 12 – 18, use the term teen or adolescent.  When talking about individuals ages birth to 18, use the term youth.  When talking about individuals ages birth – 11, use the term children.
  • Always strive to be inclusive of all types of positions in libraries and use “librarians and library workers” or “library staff” versus just “librarians”
  • In the few instances when speaking specifically about a librarian whose focus is teen services, use “teen services librarian” and not young adult librarian, YA librarian or teen librarian (the exception is a person’s job title.  It should be accurately represented based on the information they supply)
  • Per AASL, use “school librarian” and not school library media specialist, library media specialist, media specialist, or teacher librarian (the exception is a person’s job title.  It should be accurately represented based on the information they supply)
  • Try to be inclusive of different library types and use terms like “local libraries.”  When speaking specifically about a library in a school, refer to it as a “school library,”  not a media center, or a school library media center.
  • Use “summer reading/learning” or just “summer learning.”  Do not use the narrower “summer reading.”
  • Think carefully about “literacy” and what exactly you’re referring to.  A more general term like “literacies” may be appropriate when taking a broad focus, but terms like transliteracy, multiple literacies, text-based literacies, digital literacy, media literacy, etc. could also be appropriate when speaking more narrowly
  • When talking about libraries or library staff and teens, always use the term “for and with.” For example, “YALSA empowers library staff to plan, implement and evaluation library programs for and with teens.”
  • When talking about readers’ advisory, place the apostrophe after the S
  • Avoid acronyms or jargon. When using an acronym, spell out the term fully the first time and then use the abbreviation. For example, “YALSA’s Board of Directors met with a representative from ALA’s Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC). The BARC representative provided an update on new policies impacting division endowments.”
  • Always refer to YALSA as an association, unless you’re also specifically mentioning ALA and YALSA’s relationship to ALA, in which case you can state that YALSA is a Division of ALA.
  • Do not refer to YALSA as a not-for-profit or nonprofit, as technically we are not because we are not a legal entity. If you want to emphasize that we’re a charitable organization, say “YALSA is a division of the American Library Association, a 501c3 charitable organization.”
  • Use “transgender” or “trans*” and not “transgendered.”
  • We’re beginning to use the phrase “collection development and content curation” instead of the narrower and more traditional “collection development”


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