YALSA’s Future of Library Services for and with Teens report‘ highlights the 2010 census data that confirms something we have all seen in our libraries: the changing demographics of our youth. When teens encounter our library space (physically or virtually), they come with very diverse backgrounds that include various cultures, ethnicities, family structures, gender and sexual identities, income, health needs, social issues, and education. Librarians work hard to ensure that all patrons feel welcome and respected, but sometimes trying to meet everyone’s needs can seem overwhelming. But, you’re not alone!

One YALSA Board discussion at Annual 2014 will be a proposal to create a cultural competencies task force to assist members in creating and maintaining welcome spaces for all young adults. We hope to engage our experienced members so that they can provide resources to members in support of cultural competence and develop competencies that best support diversities.

You can read the full proposal when the Board documents go online this week.

Please feel free to share your thoughts with me, Candice Mack or Shannon Peterson (co-authors of the proposal) via e-mail or Twitter, especially if you are interested in joining the taskforce.

Our contact information is below:

Carrie Kausch

Email: ckausch@gmail.com

Twitter: @DogearedCarrie


Candice Mack

Email: cmack [at] lapl.org

Twitter: @tinylibrarian


Shannon Peterson

Email: shannon.peterson@gmail.com

Twitter: @YALSAPresident


Last week, I stopped to chat with three students sitting together in our high school library. One of the students is a known parkour practitioner. While chatting, I learned that he has become a mentor to the other two, supporting them as they develop their skills and learn how to do parkour. Thinking about this, I realized that it is a small example of connected learning that happened naturally in our library. These three young men got to know each other while hanging out in our space and are now working together on a shared passion. I didn’t make this happen (my parkour knowledge is limited to an episode of The Office) but by providing a space where the students felt comfortable hanging out and connecting with each other, it happened organically.

This has inspired me to ponder what more I can do in my school library to provide opportunities for connected learning. Is connected learning happening in your library? Whether you are a connected learning expert or just learning about it, plan on attending the YALSA President’s Program at Annual 2014 to be a part of the conversation!

At the 2013 ALA Annual Conference, the YALSA board discussed possible methods to increase accessibility between members and the board, as well as improve transparency of the work of the board. The topic surfaced after the board received positive feedback when I “live-tweeted” the 2013 Midwinter board meetings. You can read the full board document that supported the discussion here.   The board agreed to adopt the suggestions made and to evaluate the progress in 2014.

Some of the ideas have already begun to happen:

As the board continues to explore ways to be accessible and share information about board work, we encourage YALSA members to keep the flow of communication going both ways. Let board members know if you have an idea or a concern about something. Be sure to continue your involvement by volunteering for a task force or committee, or even run for board!

You! Yes, YOU! What kinds of programs are you doing in your library?! Have you created an innovative program that addresses a new teen interest or need, or a program that might meet an old teen interest or need in a new, unique way? Tell YALSA all about it, and you could win a cash award AND be included in the sixth edition of Excellence in Library Service to Young Adults!

Because we want to hear from YOU, YALSA has extended the deadline’ in the search for Excellence in Library Services’ to Young Adults. We want to hear about your creative programming ideas! Maybe you know someone who came up with an idea that is innovative?! Let us know who they are and we’ll get in touch with them! Email me at ckausch@gmail.com and our committee will ask you all about it! Don’t worry about the application, we want to hear from you directly!


The deadline to apply for YALSA’s Excellence in Library Services to Young Adults is quickly approaching! Applications are due December 17th.

From YALSA.org –

YALSA will select up to twenty-five innovative teen programs from all types of libraries to feature at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference and to include in a sixth edition of’ Excellence in Library Service to Young Adults. Successful applications will focus on programs that address new teen needs or interests, or that address ongoing teen needs or interests in an innovative or unique way.’  The top five programs will receive cash awards of $1000 each. Up to twenty “best of the rest” programs will receive cash awards of $250. ‘ Each award will be presented to the applicant’s institution for use with future teen programs and/or for the applicant’s travel to the 2013 conference to participate in the YALSA President’s Program.

As the chair of the President’s Program Planning committee, I look forward to learning about the innovative programs our colleagues are creating. Be sure to get your application in on time!

For the past four months, I have been serving as the first YALSA’ Board Fellow. Applications for the next term are due December 1st . Because I am having such a positive experience, I want to share a bit about it to encourage members to apply. I will divide this up into a few different blog posts. Today, I want to address why I applied. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments, or you can find me on Twitter @DogearedCarrie.

I have been actively involved with YALSA since 2009, which is when I volunteered to serve on the Local Arrangements committee for Annual in Washington D.C. Since then, I have served on and chaired several process committees. I have enjoyed learning about different aspects of YALSA, yet I knew there was more to the organization. When I learned about the creation of the Board Fellow, I knew it was an opportunity to learn more about the bigger picture of YALSA, how it is run, and how it fits in to ALA. Leadership skills were something else I hoped to gain if I was selected to serve.

While I had some experience in YALSA, I believed I was still fairly new to the organization. I hoped that I could be a voice on the board for those who are new to YALSA, feeling a bit overwhelmed, or don’t know where to start. I also thought I would be an additional voice as a school librarian. Surveys conducted by YALSA consistently show that school librarians often feel as if they are a minority in the organization. I knew that several YALSA board members were school librarians, but thought another one can never hurt.

Think about applying! Ask yourself: what can I do for YALSA? What could I gain from this experience? I found that I benefitted from the reflection that took place as I completed my application. Don’t forget – applications are due December 1st!