Although the national networks do not seem to be aware of this, school is back in session in Texas. Students returned to classes in the last week or so in many states. As a matter of fact, school librarians are already busy with book talks. One posted a tweet that she made certain every student had a book before he or she left the library. Wow! Of course, public librarians are switching from SRP to back to school mode as well, packing bags of books and applications for library cards to take to schools in their area.

But what about you? Are you ready for school? Have you looked at the courses YALSA is offering online for the fall?’  Check out the offerings here:

YALSA continues to offer courses to meet the needs of its members. So, if there is a burning issue or topic you think needs to be covered in YALSA’s continuing education, let us know by taking our Future Topics survey. In the meantime, think of taking some time to add to your knowledge base.

Last night on Twitter, I saw postings from two of my LS grad students. They have completed work for an elective they took this summer that required them to tweet, produce book trailers, listen to audiobooks, and blog about their summer reading. Summer classes are intense since the turn around time for assignments can be days instead of weeks. However, these two postings assured me that the students are making the connections I envisioned. Both postings revealed that, even though the class is over, the students will continue to listen to audio and post to their blogs and stay with Twitter. Here are two newly minted school librarians who know the importance of connecting via various networks. They understand that Facebook and Twitter and other networks are functioning as their PLNs (personal learning networks).’  They can connect not only to one another but to librarians across the country and even across the ponds.

As school opening draws closer, how will you extend your PLN? Are you blogging and tweeting? Is there a listserv for your district or state? Do you monitor lists sposored by YALSA? If you do (and chances are good since you are reading the YALSA blog), why not tell others in your district about the values of social networking? Give them links to blogs; share your “twibe” from Twitter. Help others get and stay connected.

As a member of the inaugural Odyssey Committee, I was thrilled when the 2009 Committee presented the awards for distinction in audiobook production. Monday afternoon at the Convention Center was the place to be for audiofiles. Pam Spencer Holley welcomed the audience and presented plaques to the producers of the winning titles. As a wonderful bonus, 4 of the narrators were present to make remarks. Read More →

I have been remiss about blogging from ALA due to spending most of the day yesterday either in an unairconditioned cab or a meeting room. However, business is being done. Yesterday, the USBBY Board ( met to conduct business. If you have time today, plan to attend the USBBY sponsored session from 3:30-5:30 (co sponsor is YALSA) with the author of HEARTSINGER and her translator and editor.

Today began with a Neil Gaiman spotting. I think that bodes well for the day.

Most of the talk this morning was about the Board meeting Monday when the topic of BBYA will come to the floor for discussion. YALSA members should plan to come and listen and provide feedback.

In the past week, there have been two cases of censorship that have left me scratching my head once again.’  The first concerned Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls.’  Someone took the book to task for encouraging anorexic behavior among teens, calling it a “how-to” manual (’  Then, later, a group in Tennessee have removed a link from their summer reading list that directed folks to YALSA’s BBYA list of recommendations (

I am bothered here because both of these’ instances seem to suggest to me that’ there are adults out there that think teens are not intelligent, that they are unable to separate fiction (what they are’ reading) from reality (what they are living).’  This’ attempt to somehow protect teens from reading about any difficult issues and topics seems not’ always to be a matter of’ being overly protective.’  Read More →

The list of books nominated for the 2009 Teens Top Ten List are now available (’ ‘  Teens (from select teen groups) nominate the books. Then, teens across the country have the chance to read the books and vote for their favorites. This year’s list of nominees include the Newbery winning THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman, one of the Morris shortlist books, GRACELING by Kristin Cashore,’  and National Book Award Finalist THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU BANKS by E. Lockhart.’  Of course, there are the requisite vampires, dystopians, and’  teen road trip books as well.

Get the list out to your teens now.’  Encourage them to read.’  Voting will take place in October.’  What better way to celebrate TEEN LITERATURE DAY than to locate the ones you have not read and give them a test drive?

I am freshly returned from the Texas Library Association Conference in Houston. I do not know the numbers in attendance, but if my observations were correct, there were thousands upon thousands. (Session handouts are available). A few things I noticed:

1. There were many of us using Twitter to provide some updates on sessions and hot books to be had.

2. Facebook friending (and posting) was occurring at an alarming rate.
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Those of us who blog for YALSA were asked to go back and tag all of our entries for the past 3 years (for me, it’s three years).’  As I went back in the archives, I found myself opening posts from other bloggers and enjoying some of the wonderful memories of YALSA events past.’  San Antonio, DC, Philly, media ward cerremonies, preconferences, podcasts:’ ‘  YALSA has been there.’  And reporting from there.’  And preserving memories from it all.’  How fortunate we are to have this resource.’  Thanks to the leaders of YALSA who maintain this blog, our listservs, and our organization, too.’ 
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One of the pleasures of coming to Midwinter is that there is some oportunity to not only network with colleagues but spend some time with friends. And to make some new friends, too. I finally had the chance to meet Lynn Rutan and Cindy Dobrez this morning. Jen Hubert was at the same breakfast as was Monica Edinger. Talk about brain trust! Atfer the meal, severa of us stood and waxed about our personal favorites for the awards. Who knows if any of our selections will be announced tomorrow? The fun is making predictions and sharing thoughts about our reading.

I hope all of you will tune in for the announcements. Some of us will blog here.

So, rise and shine and join us for the Academy Awards of Children’s and YA Books.

Whether you prefer the printed or the spoken word, here are a few books that would make excellent gifts for readers and perhaps even some reluctant readers as well.

For Tweens:

THE 39 CLUES by Rick Riordan (and other authors for subsequent volumes in the series)
This new series from Scholastic is filled with action and adventure and espionageEach book will be penned by a different authorLook for the web site that supports the series and offers a treasure hunt for readers, too. Read More →