YALSA currently seeks program proposals for its 2021 Young Adult Services Symposium. The theme of the symposium is “Biggest Little Safe Spaces: Serving Teens During Times of Adversity.” It will follow a hybrid virtual/in-person format and will be held from November 5-7, 2021 in Reno, NV. Submit a program proposal by April 1.

The past year has presented teens and the libraries that serve them with numerous challenges that will continue to affect them in 2021 and beyond. What does the future hold for today’s teens? Where do we as librarians go from here? What’s next for our libraries? Join YALSA, librarians, and YA authors as we discuss strategies for serving teens during difficult times and continue to develop programs that ensure our biggest little safe spaces thrive for years to come.

YALSA is seeking program proposals that address the following questions:

  • How do staff provide inclusive programming and diverse collections? How do we ensure representation and equity of access to materials and information? e.g. book and program challenges, the library as a “neutral” space. How can literature assist us?
  • How does staff provide outreach to teens in their community? How do you meet teens where they are?
  • How do we create more inclusive and “safe(r)” spaces? How do we empower teens to find their voice and speak out about issues important to them? e.g. gun violence, global warming, #metoo, institutional racism, LGBTQ rights.
  • How are staff affected by adversity on the job? How do we address this and other experiences like compassion, fatigue, and burnout? e.g. self-care

YALSA’s symposium is an annual event that has expanded its focus over the years and features programs that cover the entire spectrum of topics related to providing services for and with young adults. In addition to addressing the theme, proposals should also highlight best or emerging practices for libraries of all sizes and capacities in one or more of the following categories:

  • Collections and Content Curation
  • Digital and Print Literacies
  • Equity and Inclusion
  • Outreach
  • Partnerships/Collaborations
  • Programs and Services (including planning, implementing and evaluation)
  • Tools for Practice (cultural competency models and training, trauma-informed care, mental health first aid, 40 developmental assets, social emotional learning, etc.)
  • Youth Participation

Interested parties are invited to propose 60-minute programs centering on the theme via the online form found on the symposium site by April 1, 2021. Applicants will be notified of their proposals’ status the week of May 1, 2021.

Registration for the 2021 YA Services Symposium will open in June. Sign up for updates here. To learn more about the symposium, visit www.ala.org/yalsa/yasymposium.

Are you a writer or blogger? YALSA offers several opportunities for members and non-members to contribute to YALSA. One of them is writing for our publications, which includes our blogs and journals, and is a year-round opportunity. See below for descriptions of each publication, along with information regarding the type of content each publication seeks.

  • *The Hub: YALSA’s teen collections blog is looking for diverse voices to blog about issues related to working for/with teens to develop and curate materials in all formats for teen collections.
  • The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults (JRLYA): YALSA’s open-access research journal seeks research concerning the informational and developmental needs of young adults; the management, implementation, and evaluation of library services for young adults; and other critical issues relevant to librarians and library staff who work with young adults.
  • *YALSAblog: YALSA’s teen services blog is looking for diverse, forward-thinking, and innovative voices in teen services to blog about challenges, successes, and failures relating to teens, learning and libraries.
  • Young Adult Library Services (YALS): YALSA’s official journal serves as a vehicle for continuing education for librarians serving young adults, ages 12-18. Each issue is themed and calls for article proposals are made each quarter. Articles should be of current interest to the profession, showcase best practices, provide news from related fields, spotlight significant events of the organization or offer in-depth reviews of professional literature.

*indicates members’ only opportunity, but there is also an opportunity for individuals to guest blog. Those who write for YALSA also have the opportunity to be selected as a recipient for our annual Writing Award.

YALSA continuously strives to uphold its commitment of featuring content and contributions from a diverse range of voices, experiences, interests, backgrounds, and more. If you’re interested in writing for YALSA, please fill out the interest form. This opportunity is open on a rolling basis.

Friends of YALSA is happy to introduce our 2021 Campaign, YOU + YALSA = the Sky’s the Limit.  We invite you to donate to Friends of YALSA to help fund our array of scholarships, awards, giveaways, and a new idea that we’d like to offer to volunteers this year and in the years to come.

Why donate in 2021?

This year’s new initiative is supporting volunteers with slow or unreliable internet access. With virtual activities becoming a bigger part of professional organization opportunities, we want to make sure that everyone who wants to volunteer with YALSA does so without concern about internet service. We’d like to use a portion of funds raised from our 2021 campaign to purchase hotspots to be loaned out to volunteer members whose internet service does not support the amount of virtual work that needs to be done throughout the year. YALSA’s current membership is over 3,700 strong.  Please consider a donation to help colleagues from around the world the opportunity to participate in YALSA volunteer appointments to the best of their ability, regardless of internet service.

So, what else does Friends of YALSA support? 100% of your donations fund FOY’s initiatives, which includes YALSA’s Awards and Grants.

Here are some recent recipients:

  • 2020 Emerging Leader:  Seungyeon Yang-Peace, Las Vegas Clark County Library District, Nevada
  • 2020 Innovation Award:  Brittany Garcia, Rancho Cucamonga Public Library, California
  • 2021 Writing Award Winners:  Jennifer Banas (The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults); Terry Lewis and Cate Sweeney (Young Adult Library Services); Deborah Takahashi (YALSABlog)
  • Shipping of Great Books Giveaway:  Belfast Area High School; Franklin Township Public Library; Townsend Harris High School

Would you consider making a donation to Friends of YALSA during 2021? You may donate by credit card via the ALA Development Office’s secure website, or send a contribution by mail by downloading and completing the paper form. Send your donation to: Friends of YALSA, 225 North Michigan Ave, STE 1300, Chicago, IL 60601.

Thank you in advance for your support, gift, time and generosity.

Sincerely,

~Amanda Barnhart, YALSA President 2020-2021,

~Traci Glass, YALSA Financial Advancement Committee Chair on behalf of the Financial Advancement Committee

In August of 2020, I started my seventeenth year in education and my fourteenth year in a school library at Liberty High School in Lake St. Louis, MO. As I began to plan for the year, I felt the overwhelm that I know all of us, regardless of tenure in our libraries, experienced. The programming, the flexible spaces, the collection of tech–many of the “Future-Ready” elements I had dedicated time and money to build or curate–suddenly weren’t what teens or staff needed as our school district launched with a hybrid schedule. And that general “groove” I’d found myself in professionally for the last few years? It was gone. I felt scared, I questioned my value, I didn’t know how to help.

I did, however, have a dynamite network of local school librarians I had grown even closer to in the first few months of the pandemic, thanks majorly to our frequent Zoom meet-ups. And as I began to kick around the idea of trying a school-wide shared reading experience, I felt safe asking for their opinions and guidance. Was I too ambitious? What did they think about my book choice? Would they be interested in collaborating? These amazing women were immediately supportive and open to working together so the project could benefit not just my school community, but theirs as well. We dove in as a team, choosing Kate Moore’s The Radium Girls, titling the program, “One Read,” and dividing the work.

Our visit to one of the towns featured in The Radium Girls

Through our collaboration, we created a shared slidedeck full of lesson ideas, discussion questions, video links, activities, and more. We connected the book to various curricula including science, health, English language arts, business, art, and social studies, and we even took a group trip to film a virtual field trip of one of the towns featured prominently in the book. We agreed on a program hashtag, created a kick-off video, and created our own t-shirts. We even got our hands on a couple of Geiger Counters to enhance our students’ learning. We geeked out! Multiple switches to and from remote learning in my district complicated our efforts to talk with students about their One Read experiences, but teachers shared grateful emails and visited us in person to speak about how they were engaging students with the content. Read More →

It wasn’t until I was drafting my essay for my graduate school application that I knew what kind of librarian I wanted to be. Currently, I work as an academic librarian, where I tend to non-traditional students and their woes of returning to college. I enjoy my job very much; however, working with the youth, particularly teens, has been my goal since I began grad school. There are youth librarians all over the United States, all of them with varying reasons on why they wanted to work in this area of librarianship. For instance, they may have a passion for interacting with kids and teens, or perhaps working with youth keeps them young and vibrant themselves.

My reasons for becoming a youth librarian are probably the same as others, and I’ve got three of them. For one, I want to give teens a voice. Second, I want to show them how the library is still relevant to their lives, and third, I want to show them that as a person of color, we exist in all professions, including as youth librarians.

With social media platforms freely available, teens have multiple ways to voice their opinions. Even with Facebook and Twitter, not everyone takes teens seriously because some are treated like children; they should be seen and not heard. Sometimes, I catch myself dismissing my 14-year-old brother’s opinions, which isn’t right. As a future youth librarian, I’d like to ensure that teens can freely and safely express themselves. When they can share their thoughts and feelings, they have the agency and autonomy to make choices that benefit them. Teens of color need to be comfortable with expressing their views about the world. It has been my experience that they are silenced and punished for being who they are, be it through their natural hair, sexuality, religion, etc. As a future youth librarian, I plan to create programs and spaces where teens can be honest, and that’s enormously important. Read More →

YALSA would like to thank the Teen Programming HQ’s current manager Dawn Abron for all the great ideas and leadership she’s poured into the HQ the past two years. Thank you for all your great work, Dawn!

YALSA is seeking a Member Manager for its programming web site, Teen Programming HQ for a one year term starting March 1, 2021. The Member Manager will receive an honorarium of $500 per year. Please note that this is not a salaried staff position, but a member volunteer opportunity. Apply by February 15, 2021 by sending a resume and cover letter to Anna Lam at alam@ala.org.

The mission of the site is to provide a one-stop-shop for finding and sharing information about library programs of all kinds for and with teens. The site promotes best practices in programming by featuring user-submitted programs that align with YALSA’s Teen Programming Guidelines,  Futures Report and Mission Statement. Additionally, the site enables members and the library community to connect with one another to support and display their efforts to continuously improve their teen programs.

The Member Manager will work with YALSA’s Communications Specialist to ensure the site is relevant, interactive, engaging and meeting member needs for information about innovation in teen programming, as well as participates in the maintenance of the site and work within the guidelines for the site as set by the YALSA Board of Directors. The Member Manager drives the recruitment of experts and the collection of content for the site; generates ideas for direction and content; obtains, analyzes and uses member and library community feedback about the site; assists with marketing; and ensures programming related activities, news and resources from YALSA are integrated in the site, and vice versa.

List of Qualifications for the Member Manager:

  1. Strong project management and organizational skills
  2. Ability to delegate work and to manage a variety of contributors and volunteers
  3. Dynamic, self-motivated individual
  4. Excellent verbal and written communications skills
  5. Experience in web site maintenance
  6. Ability to set and meet deadlines
  7. Knowledge of best practices in teen programming, as outlined in YALSA’s Teen Programming Guidelines, Futures Report, and Mission Statement
  8. Ability to work well in a team environment
  9. Ability to work well in a mostly virtual setting, including using tools such as Google Drive, Google Calendar, Skype, etc. to coordinate work and communicate with others
  10. Membership in YALSA and a passion for YALSA’s mission
  11. High ethical standards and no real or perceived conflict of interest with YALSA or its portfolio of print and web publications

General Member Manager Responsibilities:

Oversight & Coordination

  • Effectively motivate, support and supervise a group of volunteers
  • Update and maintain systems and processes to ensure efficient oversight, promotion and integration of the site and database. Make adjustments as needed
  • Ensure the vetting process is consistent through the utilization of guidelines, standard messaging, etc. Make adjustments as needed
  • Work with the Communications Specialist to recruit and vet experts to vet the program proposals
  • Communicate with the Communications Specialist on a regular basis to assign tasks, discuss marketing strategies, discuss site management, etc.
  • Work with the blog managers and YALS and JRLYA editors as appropriate to coordinate dissemination of information to members and the library community.
  • Maintain communication with YALSA member groups whose work relates to teen programming
  • Follow all established policies and guidelines, enforce them as necessary and periodically conduct a review of them to ensure currency
  • Direct questions about sponsorships, advertising, etc. to YALSA’s Executive Director
  • Write reports prior to the Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting for submission to the YALSA Board

Seek Out & Manage Content & Contributors

  • Provide oversight to the panel of experts to make sure the quality of program submissions is acceptable and complies with YALSA’s Teen Programming Guidelines and Futures Report
  • Work with the panel of experts to recruit contributors on a continuous basis
  • Work with the panel of experts to seed questions and spur discussion in the community portion of the site
  • Manage a strategy to deal with comments and spam daily to guarantee that the site content is appropriate

Promotion

  • Regularly highlight contributions to the site through social media, listservs, the YALSA eNews, online communities, and other means
  • Plan and implement incentives, contests and other activities to drive traffic to the site and encourage contributions
  • Leverage relevant events, such as Teen Read Week or summer learning, to encourage new contributions and to promote existing content
  • Answer questions and inquiries about the site in a timely fashion
  • Work with the YALSA Communications Specialist to create cross-promotion of all YALSA’s web presences
  • Utilize social media and YALSA communication channels to increase awareness of the site and its content

Technical Maintenance

  • Work with YALSA’s Communications Specialist as appropriate to update and manage software
  • Monitor new technologies and their potential to impact the site, and make recommendations to the Communications Specialist, as appropriate

YALSA Communications Specialist Responsibilities:

  • Communicates regularly with Member Manager to provide support and facilitate work
  • Works with the site developer and the ALA IT Dept. as needed on technical issues
  • Handles all financial transactions for the site
  • Promotes the site through appropriate venues
  • Coordinates efforts and facilitates communication among all YALSA publications, including the blogs and journals
  • Manages the site software, including liaising with the developer and ALA’s IT Dept. to troubleshoot technical issues
  • Ensure site guidelines and policies are complied with
  • Oversee the recruitment process for Member Managers, as needed

2020 has been a challenging and difficult year. As we move through this final month of 2020, I’ve been thinking about the things I’m most grateful for and a big piece of that is the support I’ve felt from my YALSA and ALA colleagues. Just being able to talk about books, attending sessions at the year’s virtual YALSA Symposium, and “seeing” everyone at this year’s virtual Annual conference was something that buoyed my spirit and reinvigorated the love I have for this work. Coincidentally, we recently celebrated #GivingTuesday, and I was excited to donate to Friends of YALSA (FOY) to help others achieve their dreams of studying and working in the library field. As someone who was helped by FOY funds through the Board Fellow Program, I know how important these opportunities are to growing passionate and dedicated folks in the profession. During this unprecedented time, teens need us more than ever, and Friends of YALSA provides scholarships, leadership opportunities, conference attendance assistance, and much more through monies donated all year to support those who work for and with teens.

This year, our big fundraising raffle was cancelled due to the Symposium being virtual, but in light of that, we have a fun surprise!  YALSA is offering the chance of winning a free virtual author visit from Gretchen McNeil, author of 2020 YALSA Teens’ Top Ten winning title, #MurderFunding and 2019 YALSA Teens’ Top Ten winning title #MurderTrending. While donating is not required to enter to win, we truly hope you will consider donating to FOY or specifically to our Give $20 in 2020 campaign as it winds down for the year. If you have already donated this year – THANK YOU! If you have not donated, please consider giving if you are able to help support your colleagues during these difficult times. And, be sure to fill out the form to throw your name (or the name of a colleague if you’d like to gift the visit) in the hat for the opportunity to treat your teens to a virtual author visit. Please submit the form by January 30, 2021.

Thank you to Gretchen and Freeform Books, an imprint of Disney Publishing Worldwide for donating this awesome prize.  And, thank you, to all of you, for supporting each other in all the ways you do during this time.

-Traci Glass, Financial Advancement Committee Chair

Join YALSA on Dec. 17 at 12pm CST for an open discussion session titled, Chat & Snack: Supporting Teens During Difficult and Challenging Times. Come listen, learn and share your thoughts about how teens have and are adjusting to the new normal, post-election media and other challenging aspects of 2020. This is a great opportunity to come together to reflect, share stories, ask questions and support each other as we continue to strive to serve and support teens to the best of our ability. This session is open to everyone, so please feel free to share with your colleagues and network. 

Register now.

With the recent release of the 2021 Nonfiction Award Finalists, we want to be transparent (while respecting confidentiality) about the award’s criteria and selection process. The process for the Nonfiction Award selection is a rigorous task.  The Nonfiction Award Committee is charged with recognizing the best in the field of nonfiction books. With that in mind, each meeting is conducted with a thorough review of the purpose and eligibility requirements, with a particular emphasis on excellent writing, research, presentation, and readability for young adults. All finalists are vetted through a year-long process following YALSA’s protocol.

For the past several years, YALSA has been utilizing an EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) lens to transform the foundation upon which YALSA’s policies and procedures are built. As part of the year-round virtual work undertaken by the board, they recently identified the need to re-evaluate all volunteer groups’ charge, including all book awards’ and selection lists’ evaluation criteria for nominated titles according to YALSA’s EDI Statement and EDI Plan, which is embedded within YALSA’s current interim strategic plan. The YALSA Board’s interim strategic plan’s goal is that “100% of all programs, products, events, and education will support YALSA’s statement on EDI.”

Article proposals for the Spring 2021 issue of YALS are currently being sought. The theme is Race(ism).

Prospective articles should provide broad and specific discussions that address questions such as:

• How has your library addressed race and/or racism or microaggressions/implicit bias/etc?
• How do we train ourselves, especially in libraries, to recognize race and the harms that can be perpetrated against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)?
• What are the roles that BIPOC YA librarians can/do play in creating a safe space for teens in their libraries?
• How are BIPOC YA librarians helping to bring the issues of race, equity, diversity, inclusion, and/or social justice to the forefront in their libraries? Likewise, what are non-BIPOC YA librarians doing?
• Why are there so few YA librarians of color and how can we address this? (who recruits them, which libraries have been successful & how)
• How has your library taken a strong stance against racial injustice?
• What are teens’ thoughts on race as it relates to the library community and how can we provide guidance on the topic?
• Are there programs, presentations, or resources that your library or your teens have created centered around race?

Please note that this is a volunteer writing opportunity with no monetary compensation. YALSA has the right to first refusal.

Please submit article proposals by December 28, 2020 the extended deadline, February 1, 2021.

If you know someone who has experience on this topic and would be interested in writing for YALS or have questions, please contact YALS’ editor, Yolanda Hood at yhood@upei.ca.