Do you work on readers advisory or programming with teens?’  Don’t forget to sign up for the full day YALSA preconference Genre Galaxy:’  Explore the Universe of Teen Reading, on Friday, July 10 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Annual conference in Chicago.

Listen to many popular young adult authors including Holly Black, Cecil Castellucci, David Lubar and Dom Testa. Enjoy hearing teens tell you what they really like to read and how you can reach them. Experience firsthand mini programs on mystery and un-romance themes. Read More →

YALSA’s Winter 2009 e-courses’ include three four-week classes, which will take place’ February 9′ though March 6.’ Registration now open! Questions? Contact’ Nichole Gilbert, 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4387.

Teaching the online courses is one of my favorite YALSA activities.’  In each session, I get to network with staff at all levels, from all over the country (and beyond).’ ‘ ‘ In the Power Programming class we will brainstorm ideas for Teen Tech Week, summer reading initiatives, media/program trends and more. We will look at realistic limitations such as space, time, administrative support and marketing.’  The final project is to develop a program including’ marketing, variations for older and younger teens, costs and collection connections.’ As an active teen librarian, I share many tips on things that work with my teens, and things to avoid! Read More →

I’m getting ready to teach the YALSA Competencies Live! Online class again. I really enjoyed teaching this one in the spring, and met some really amazing people.

The YALSA Competencies are a set of standards for our profession that cover all areas of serving young adults, from collection to spaces to programming. The class introduces students to each topic, and then the students have to take that knowledge and apply it to forming a YA plan for their own situation. For the spaces section, for example, students have to identify low cost and long term goals for the teen pleasure reading space in the public or school library.

By the end of the six week class, students have a completed YA Plan covering all the topics from the competencies. It is great for folks new to the profession and also those looking to take their current services to the next level.

I saw some amazing and inspiring plans in the spring and am looking forward to this group of students. Honestly, it made me reevaluate some of my own Teen Services at the Schaumburg Twp. Dist. Library!

The class begins 10/1, but there are still a few spaces available. Contact Nichole Gilbert at YALSA at if you are interested in joining.
-Amy Alessio

The YALSA Nominating Committee works very hard to recruit and select good candidates for positions on our slate each year. There is a lot of interest in running for office and award committees, and while it is not always possible for all interested parties to be invited to run each year, there is an existing process for petitioning to have your name on the ballot for the elected positions. Member participation is the foundation of YALSA. For 2008, members will vote on a President Elect, Fiscal Officer, Secretary, two Board Members and positions in the Printz and Edwards Award Committees.

Duties for those positions can be found under Governance in the YALSA Handbook:

Bylaws: Article VIII, Section 4
“A candidate may be nominated by a petition signed by twenty five personal members of YALSA. The nominee shall be a member in good standing of the Association. The petition and the written consent of the nominee shall be filed with the YALSA Executive Director a minimum of four months before the Midwinter meeting, and the name of each candidate so nominated shall be listed on the official ballot.”

Below is the link to the petition form if you are interested in investigating this process. Four months before the Midwinter meeting means an October 11 deadline to get on the 2008 spring ballot.

While 25 signatures are required on the official form, more than one copy of the form may be turned in (all should be sent in together) to obtain those. For example, if a friend was helping you collect signatures at a meeting and got 10 on the form, while you got another 15 at a different meeting on another copy of the same form.

Nominations may also be made to the Committee for review.

Summer is so much fun. First my teen events at the Schaumburg Township District Library are getting into gear with my “Teenagers’ Guide to the Galaxy” Stellar Summer Reading Program plus 2-3 activities per week.

Now I’m packing for conference, too. This means finishing the YALSA 50th Anniversary Quilt. Ticket orders have been coming into the YALSA office, but there will still be a chance to buy them at the conference, too, either at the booth, or from me or other Financial Committee members. As with many of my quilts, I am becoming attached to this one. If you see it at conference, no doubt I will be nearby. I’m even buying tickets to try and win it myself!

Nick Buron and I are getting ready for our YALSA Preconference “Beginners Guide to Teens” for Friday, June 22. We are covering readers advisory, reference, teen development, teen situations, merchandising and much more! I packed a number of prizes for attendees plus the YALSA office sent lots of goodies. This should be a fun program jam packed with information. Nick and I found out that we will also be doing this program at PLA 2008 in Minneapolis also. I’m so happy to go to a place where I won’t have an accent! So if you can’t make our preconference this time, perhaps you can join us there.

Nick is also speaking at the YALSA Research Committee program as one of the YALSA/VOYA/Henne Grant Recipients on Sunday from 1:30 – 3:30. He is going to talk about the project he and I worked on a couple years ago gauging the increase in circulation of teen materials and program participation (among other factors) vs. the investment of trained staff time. It was so interesting to work on that project. We really wanted findings to help other young adult staff advocate with their administration. While he is speaking there, I will be representing YALSA as Fiscal Officer at ALA Budget Audit and Review Committee meetings.

I’m wrapping up my last issue of YAttitudes, before Erin Howerton takes the helm. We will both be soliciting articles at Conference. Plus we’ll be talking about what makes a great article or topic at the “You Must Write It: 50 Tips for Publishing with YALSA” panel on Monday morning at conference. It’s worth getting up at 8 that morning! Do you have a great idea for an article? Write me at or Erin at

I look forward to seeing many of you next week.
Amy Alessio
Teen Coordinator, Schaumburg Twp. Dist. Library, IL
YALSA Fiscal Officer: Are You a Friend?

Have you done a really fun program or service with your teens in the past year? Do you have a unique twist on teen services that has worked really well at your site? When I’ve done workshops around IL and WI I’m constantly inspired by the clever and resourceful ideas school and public libraries of all sizes have for teen services. There are two weeks left to apply for an Excellence in Library Services to Young Adults Project, and not that many applications have been sent in yet, so get yours in NOW for a chance to win money and recognition for your library. Don’t miss your chance! It’s pretty easy to apply for this grant. Complete information is available on the YALSA web site.

YALSA’s Excellence Award Task Force will select up to twenty-five exemplary teen programs/services in all types of libraries to include in a fifth edition of Excellence in Library Services to Young Adults. The top five programs will receive cash awards of $1000 each. Twenty “best of the rest” applications will receive cash awards of $250. All programs will be featured in the fifth edition of Excellence in Library Services to Young Adults, which will be edited by Amy Alessio and available in summer 2008.

The categories of programs/services for young adults ages 12 18 that will be considered are:
Enhancing Teen Spaces, Physical or Virtual: this includes teen space makeovers, web-based services or programs for teens and/or projects that make libraries in schools and public sectors more teen friendly and/or accessible

Teen Tech Week: educational or recreational programs or services relating to YALSA’s inaugural Teen Tech Week March 4-10, 2007.

Creative Teen Clubs: regularly-meeting teen groups based on a teen interest or that enhance library or literary experiences for teens.

Promotion of Award Winning Young Adult Literature: services or programs that feature any of YALSA’s awards: Alex Awards, Margaret Edwards Award and/or Michael Printz Award

Reading Raves: unique reading promotion initiatives, in the areas of readers advisory, book discussion groups, incorporation of youth participation in library reading programs, services to reluctant readers or special needs readers, etc.

Community Connections: programs or services that involve a close partnership with schools, public libraries, or agencies in the community

Living in a Diverse World: services or programs to teens that promote respect for differences and/or reach out to teens of diverse backgrounds, such as ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, learning and communication styles, gender, disability and/or economic status.

Services Under $100: high impact services or programs that are low in cost

Special Events: a program or service that runs no more than twice a year which has high interest or high impact on area teens

All applications must be received by June 1. For questions about the application process, please contact Nichole Gilbert at 1.800.545.2433 x4387 or Send all completed applications to

-Amy Alessio

Tickets Available Now for the YALSA 50th Anniversary Quilt

YALSA 50th Anniversary Quilt Get your tickets now for the YALSA 50th Anniversary Quilt. Sixty signed blocks with names and favorite YA titles plus four friendship stars make up this lovely quilt. Completed (it is not quilted yet) it will be 50 inches square! It is the perfect size to curl up on the couch with and read the latest young adult titles!

Tickets are available with a minimum donation of $10 to the Friends of YALSA. A bonus ticket will be given to folks who donate $50, the magic number for this Anniversary year. That means for $50 you will have 6 chances to win this work of art. This account goes to help YALSA fund special initiatives and programs for members. This year the Friends account funded two students in the Emerging Leaders program. We also plan to fund a Spectrum Scholar as soon as the fund grows. More information on the Friends can be found at: See more pictures of the quilt on YALSA’s Flickr page!

Donations can be a few ways:

  • Send a contribution with a check or credit card information by mail, using the printable, mail-in form. Under donation amounts, mark ‘Other’ and a minimum donation of $10 per ticket. If you are donating $50, mark ‘Other’ as well for the amount and then write $50 – 6 TICKETS next to the amount. Complete the form and mail it back with your donation to: Friends of YALSA, Quilt raffle, 50 East Huron, Chicago, IL 60611.
  • Checks or credit card orders must be received by Monday, June 18, to be entered in the raffle.
  • For people going to the Annual Conference, raffle tickets will be available for purchase at the YALSA Booth (with exact change or checks) through Sunday, June 24, or from Amy Alessio. The quilt will be on display at the Saturday, June 23 All-Committee meeting.

The name of the winner will be drawn on Monday, June 25, at the YALSA Membership Meeting, prior to the President’s Program. The winner need NOT be present at the conference to win.

If you have questions, please contact Amy Alessio at

Mystery Writers of America has launched MWA: Reads Library Initiative, to help financially struggling libraries throughout the U.S. The program aims to bring attention to the needs of public library systems by donating books to libraries for their collections, focusing on books for children and young adults.

MWA is starting with a pilot program in West Virginia, where it is seeking donations (especially children’s mysteries) to the West Virginia Library Commission. Booksellers and publishers may send books in new or “great” condition to MWA:Reads LI, attn: Suzy McGinley, WVLC, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. East, Cultural Center, Charleston, W.Va. 25305. More information is at

Be part of history with the YALSA 50th Anniversary Quilt! If you can sew two straight seams of 6 inches each, you can make a YALSA quilt block. How does this work?

1. Send $5 to Amy Alessio, Schaumburg Twp. Dist. Library, 130 S. Roselle Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60193 by March 25. That donation will cover mailing and supply costs. Anything left over will be put into the YALSA Friends account. (This is how ALA Auctions are handled for each Annual Conference Auction as well.)

2. You will receive three strips to sew into a quilt square of 6 inches. On the middle, silver, strip, you will write in permanent blue ink your name and the title of a favorite YA book. Directions will also be provided with the materials.

3. You will send the block back in the provided envelope to Amy by April 15.

4. The quilt pictures and raffle information will be posted on the YALSA website by May 15. Raffle tickets will be $10 and only a limited number will be sold, to increase chances of winning! All proceeds from tickets will go into the Friends of YALSA account to help fund program and member initiatives.

5. The winner will be announced at the Annual Conference, but the winner need not be present at the conference to win .

The finished lap quilt will be red, blue and silver with a simple zig-zag strip pattern.

Questions? Please contact Amy Alessio at

Posted by Amy Alessio

Thank you YALSA Members! From the 15% of membership who voted in last year’s election, you have increased participation to 25%!

Thank you also for passing the dues increase! While that makes me especially happy as your Fiscal Officer, you all will be enjoying the new and regional opportunities we will now be able to support.

YALSA membership also voted to increase the nominating committee from 3 to 5 members and to establish Interest Groups. A few are already getting started, but if you have a group who want to form officially on a teen topic, check out the handbook for the procedure. (YALSA page, under About YALSA, then Handbook)

Speaking of the nominating committee – they strive to offer a slate each year of truly excellent people, which can make voting hard! Thank you to everyone who took a risk in front of their peers and agreed to run for positions which require large time commitments. Many of those people wrote all about themselves on this blog and in other ways for the past 7 months since they were approached before this election. From someone who went through this last year, the process can be nerve racking.

Both the winners and the others who were not chosen represent some of the hardest working and enthusiastic of our members. It is not uncommon in our organization for people who are not elected one year to be chosen in future years. It is certain that YALSA will continue to need their valuable contributions.