Bring together a group of energizing professionals from different backgrounds who have devoted their talents to serving teens and prepare to be inspired. The Summit on Teens & Libraries was a part of YALSA’s National Forum on Libraries & Teens funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and these two days of creative thinking about missions, opportunities, aspirations and connections was simply dazzling. After a series of speakers and small group discussions, I took away a powerful word: relationships. So often we go about our daily routine, and we take time to think of the best library programming or instructional ideas or focus on our technology and book offerings. Those things are key to our success of course, but none of that matters if teens don’t feel connected.

A teen panel took questions from YALSA President Jack Martin, and in our discussions we kept referring to what they said brought them to the library and what they wanted from their experience. It was clear that connecting with interests, friends, and the library staff kept them coming back. As studies show and our speakers stated throughout, learning driven by teens and their interests is most meaningful. Two powerful statements from the panel that resonate with me are “The library gave me a community” and “I leave with new ideas.” What could possibly be better than that?
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I’ve been avidly following the 30 Days of Innovation series, and throughout the discussion I’ve been thinking about how keeping YALSA as an organization on the cutting edge is a continual process. I was reminded of the conversations the Board of Directors had when developing the Strategic Plan. With limited time, staff, and funds, the Board recognizes the challenge of developing innovation, and in response, created the Capacity Building goal in the plan. The key question is how can YALSA increase capacity so as to devote energy to innovation and the development of ideas that support members and the mission?
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One of YALSA’s greatest strengths is the talent and expertise of its members, and here’s a chance for YOU to be a spark that helps YALSA complete its goals. YALSA’s Strategic Planning Committee is pleased to announce the 2012 Great Ideas Contest in conjunction with the new Strategic Plan.

The contest is now open to all YALSA members with applications due no later than March 16, 2011. The winner will receive $250 and will be announced the week of April 23, 2011. The winning idea will address at least one of the Strategic Plan goals:

  • Advocacy & Activism
  • Research & Documentation of Best Practice
  • Continuous Learning & Professional Development
  • Member Recruitment & Engagement
  • Capacity Building & Organizational Development

During the month of February, look for a blog post by a member of the Strategic Planning Committee highlighting each goal, and see for the contest application and guidelines. ‘ We’re looking forward to hearing about your latest inspiration!

The process for developing YALSA’s new strategic plan is approaching the finish line, and now is the time to make sure your priorities as a member are reflected. ‘ Until September 30, the draft is posted on the YALSA website‘ along with an online comment form. ‘ The Strategic Planning Committee and YALSA Board are eager to hear your take. ‘ As you look it over, focus on the content and ask yourself: ‘ Are the goal areas and objectives clear and ‘ understandable? ‘ Do they reflect YALSA’s mission? Is there anything missing? ‘ Of course keep in mind that the action plan is yet to be developed and will go into more detail with very specific activities that fit under each goal area and objective.

The strategic plan is an overview of where YALSA is heading in the next few years. ‘ Don’t forget to take this opportunity to share your opinion!

YALSA’s new strategic plan is on its way to taking shape after two very important sessions that took place during Annual Conference.’  On Friday, facilitator Alan Brickman led a YALSA Board workshop during which he guided conversations around the current mission statement asking how it should be updated. Then the group examined the current strategic plan, evaluating how YALSA has progressed towards accomplishing each goal in the time since the plan was developed.’ Board members prioritized the objectives and determined the lessons learned based on a pre-conference conversation about the member survey results and the perception of what goals and objectives should be YALSA’s focus for the next three to five years. Read More →

Attending Annual?’  Whether you are a new member or a veteran of YALSA, you won’t want to miss an important opportunity to have your voice be’ heard.

Every member is’ encouraged to attend the Strategic Planning Session taking the place of the All Committee meeting, Saturday, June 25, 10:00-12:00 in room 352 of the convention center. (Light refreshments will be available at 10:00.)

All committees, interest and discussion groups, Board actions, initiatives, resources–really everything that makes up YALSA–must fit under the umbrella of the Strategic Plan.’  The current plan was established in 2008, and a new plan should be in place by Midwinter 2012.’  The Board is seeking your input in order to ensure that the new plan is relevant,’ meets your needs as a’ member, and addresses your priorities and concerns in the profession.

The March survey provided some’ information, but more is needed.’  Grab a friend or two and plan on attending this facilitated session.’  Here’s your chance to make a valuable contribution with a lasting impact.

Thank you to everyone who completed the Strategic Plan survey in March.’  The complete results can be found here:

During Annual Conference, a special Strategic Planning Session will be held Saturday, June 25 from 10:00-12:00 in the convention center, room 352. All members are encouraged to attend and participate by discussing the issues and trends in the field important to them.

Because the plan drives all YALSA’ activities and initiatives for the next 3-5 years, it’s vital that members share their opinions on what direction the new plan should take.’ ‘  You won’t want to miss this opportunity to be involved in the future of YALSA! (Check the wiki for more details about this and other YALSA events at Annual.)


‘ Whether you are currently a member of YALSA, a past member, or just hovering on the edges of membership, you have one more day to participate in this brief (but important!) survey. The deadline is tomorrow, March 31.

‘ YALSA will be developing a new Strategic Plan. This is a dynamic plan that is fueled by input from the greater YALSA community. For example, since the implementation of the 2008 Strategic Plan, YALSA has responded to the need to increase member participation by creating more opportunities for virtual participation. There is now a YALSA Mentoring program that pairs new teen librarians with experienced librarian mentors, and’ YALSA provides many opportunities to get involved, share ideas and network with other professionals.

So what will it be next? What can YALSA do to help you better serve the teens in your library? Take15 minutes now to complete the survey’ and contribute to the future of YALSA.

See the words “Strategic Plan” and your first reaction might be to let your eyes glaze over, but truthfully, YALSA couldn’t be the dynamic association it is without this driving document. The current Strategic Plan was established in 2008 and it’s time to embark on the revision process.

The first step is to gather input from members and those interested in teens and libraries. Take a few minutes to participate in the survey and share your vision of the future of YALSA. (We want to hear from nonmembers too.) Your priorities, interests, and concerns must be reflected in the new plan, to be in place by Midwinter 2012.’  Why is this so important?’  Because every activity, initiative, resource, and service that YALSA develops is determined by the goals and objectives of the Plan.’  Look at just a few things that the current goals of Advocacy and Marketing have generated in the past year:’ 

‘ Doing your part in determining the direction YALSA takes over the next few years is crucial. The survey period ends March 31, but why not take a few moments now and let your voice be heard?

January 7 is fast approaching and YALSA’s Not-So-Silent Auction will get your Midwinter experience off to an exciting start. Taking place on Friday from 8 – 10 pm in Convention Center room 7, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind items such as a signed copy of science fiction author Cory Doctorow’s latest collection of stories, With a Little Help.’  What’s so unique about this book is that it is only one of 250 that are being printed in hardcover.’  Each copy has an embossed number on the spine and is hand bound at Wyvern Bindery in London.’  In addition, the end papers are actually “original paper ephemera donated by various writer friends.” Read blogger Hal Stern’s reverential description of opening his copy—and wonder about the surprise in yours. Read More →