I am please to share the following YALSA President’s Program at ALA Annual 2024 in San Diego. A reminder that the session will begin with a YALSA Membership meeting at 10:30 am. Makes sure to mark your calendars, or add it to your conference schedule via the scheduler app now live. I look forward to connecting with any of you that will be attending the conference!

ALA Annual 2024 logo

YALSA’s President Program: Teen Activists and the Freedom to Read

About: Learn how teens have successfully engaged with and activated their communities around the freedom to read. This moderated panel discussion will feature teen advocates and address book banning, censorship, and how they engaged in civic leadership and built coalitions in the face of challenges. The panel will be preceded by a YALSA Membership meeting from 10:30-11am. It will take place at ALA Annual in San Diego. All are welcome!

Date/time: Monday, July 1st from 10:30a.m.-12:00p.m.

Panelists:

Teen Activist: Nationally Recognized: Da’Taeveyon Daniels

Teen Activist: Midwest: Meghana Nakkanti

Teen Activist Group: California, Golden State Readers: Gianna Goodman-Bhyat, Anais Lee, Mirabelle Lee, and Elizabeth Goldman

Respectfully submitted by Colleen Seisser, YALSA President

Cover of YALS Journal Winter 2022 Vol 20, Number 02 of YALSA

CFP:  Theme Issue on Book Banning and Book Challenges – Young Adult Library Services (YALS) Journal

Call for articles on the theme of book banning and challenges for the Spring/Summer issue of the journal of the Young Adult Library Services Association, Young Adult Library Services (YALS).

Over the last few years, newspapers, ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, and librarians across the country have seen a steep increase in book bannings and challenges in both public and school libraries. It has become increasingly politicized, using social media to spread through both large and small groups and communities.

In 2022, according to the American Library Association, there were 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources, the highest number ever recorded in the more than 20 years that the ALA has compiled statistics. A record 2,571 unique titles were targeted for censorship, a 38% increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted for censorship in 2021. Of those titles, the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color, and many also targeted more than one book. Of the reported book challenges, 58% targeted books and materials in school libraries, classroom libraries or school curricula; 41% of book challenges targeted materials in public libraries. Of the overall number of books challenged, 90% were part of attempts to censor multiple titles, and 40% were in cases involving 100 or more books. Prior to 2021, the vast majority of challenges to library resources only sought to remove or restrict access to a single book.

Has your library had any recent book challenges?

If so, who were the individuals or groups that made the complaint, i.e., individual parents, social media groups, local formal or informal organizations, local/state/national organized groups? What was the result of the complaint?

How has the staff of your library been impacted by the increased number of challenges and bannings? This could include, but not be limited to, increased stress both on and off the job, quitting work at the library, changing to other careers.

Does your library provide training for library staff on what to do in a challenge situation? If so, what topics does it include?

How do your librarians help create your library as a safe space for teens? How do they get this information out to teens?

Does your library offer programming for teens on how to combat book challenges and bannings? Are there displays about the importance of reading/viewing banned and challenged books and other media? Does your library have displays on challenged/banned titles during the entire calendar year, or just for BBW?

How have the teens in your library spoken up on the topics of book challenges and bannings? What have they said, what have they done, and what has the result been?

Since most of the book challenges have been about books written by the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color, how has your library focused on these two groups when adding their titles to your teen collection?

How does the library staff prepare for meeting materials challenges when new titles that are likely to be challenged are added to the teen collection? (a challenge file with supportive information on these titles? Interviews with authors defending their books, and explaining why they wrote them? Other methods?)

Have the selectors for your teen collection ever decided not to buy a book or other material because it was likely to be challenged or banned? How frequently does this happen? In other words, are any of your book selectors self-censors? What kind of training have your selectors had concerning purchasing titles that are likely to be controversial or to be challenged?

Are there politically oriented groups in your community or region that are actively promoting a conservative agenda about materials in library collections? Are there active groups that support libraries, their staff, and their collections?

What is most important to you, and why, concerning book challenges and bannings? What is your reaction to recent legislation and local attempts to prevent teachers from having classroom libraries, harassment of school and public librarians who want to have diverse and inclusive teen collections, and the librarians who are leaving the profession because the stress of doing their jobs is too great?

Book banning is nothing new, and is becoming more widespread through social media and through politically oriented groups. This is one of the most important issues facing our profession, and our collections for teens are among the most vulnerable, in both school and public libraries. Please speak up, and add your experiences and your beliefs about this serious situation to the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of YALS (Young Adult Library Services)

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

If you have an article idea for this themed issue, please submit article proposals by May 1, 2023.

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, Joni Richards Bodart at joni.bodart@sjsu.edu or yalseditor@ala.org. While the journal’s main focus is on teen literature, and programming and services for teens, articles from those dealing with the issue of challenges to materials in different professions.

Intellectual freedom, freedom to read, academic freedom. We’re all familiar with these phrases, and in so many ways, what we do as librarians and teachers is to protect the very principles of these phrases. Unfortunately, we are at a time in our history where it seems that we are not sure if we are winning battles but losing the war. Over 36 states have introduced bills that, in some way, censors language and/or curriculum and books that are used in classrooms. Political and parent groups are consistently challenging books that are used in school and public libraries and school curriculums. Citizens are even filing criminal complaints about books. Some librarians and teachers have faced this onslaught of challenges head on while others have heard horror stories and worry, even fear, that they will also face a reckoning of some sort. Through it all, however, librarians and teachers must consider what is best for students. 

In this issue we want to consider what happens when we challenge intellectual freedom. This issue is open for articles that provide broad and specific discussions that address questions/topics such as (but not limited to):

  • What happens to our students when we censor the very materials that depict the lives that they lead, their homes, their families? Are they themselves being censored? 
  • What constitutes truth? And, whose truth gets to have representation?
  • How does censoring cause further harm to marginalized groups?
  • Personal experiences of book and/or curriculum challenges
  • Proactive ways to get ahead of challenges?
  • Self-Censorship and the harm that it can cause
  • Teens who advocate for challenged books and curriculums
  • Events and programs that promote Banned Books Week

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

If you have an article idea for this themed issue, please submit article proposals by October 21, 2022. https://www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/3bQc9KldF3R

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

It’s been a tough month for many reasons. I hope you’re taking care of yourself and able to find some time to rest and recharge if that is what is calling for you.

Here are some of the highlights from May:

-May has been a busy month for YALSA. We’re planning for Annual of course; working with the Board Development and Division of Membership Promotion to create YALSA 301 and 101 where you’ll learn more how to get involved. I’ve been meeting with my Presidential TaskForce all year to prepare for our program on Monday of conference. For more information on YALSA at ALA Annual, visit here.

-We also held our first YALSA Membership Forum since sharing the Strategic Plan with members earlier this year. We anticipate having the forums on a more regular basis. Thank you for all that were able to attend. The meeting was recorded, so if you were unable to make it, you’ll get to watch the replay.

-Membership has steadily increased each month! We are currently around 3400 of total members! Welcome everyone-we’re so glad you’re here!

-Met with ALA Continuing Education and YALSA ED to continue planning future YALSA CE offerings

-Appointed a Board rep for the ALA EDI Assembly for next term (Thank you Liz!)

-I worked with our YALSA Spectrum Scholars to include a quote from their experiences and will include in my end of year report.

-Connected those YALSA members that have stipend positions with the Executive Director so they’re ready for attending Annual.

-I shared applications for the YALSA ALA Liaison with the YALSA President-Elect and Immediate Past President.

-Attended a meeting with other Division leads (ED and President) to be informed of the recommendations TAG (Transforming ALA Governance) is presenting to Council at Annual.

Any questions or comments, feel free to email: kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com.

2020-2021 YALSA President-Elect Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki (she/her)
YALSA President
2021-2022

Photo credit: spring by promanex is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Do you have in-depth knowledge of a disability related topic?  Are you the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) expert at your library?  Are you a person with a disability or a disability rights ally who wants to share your knowledge?  Let’s talk!

The Accessibility Assembly is looking for volunteers to help us update the Library Accessibility Toolkits: What You Need to Know, ALA’s seminal resource on library access for patrons and staff with disabilities.  These toolkits are the front line resource for libraries on accessibility issues.  They provide information and resources for both patrons and staff.

If you are interested or just want to find out more, please respond directly to Lauren Kehoe at lsk221@nyu.edu

We are all different, and that’s okay.  I say this statement out loud at minimum once a month, usually when confronted with the unsavory news about banned and challenged books, book burnings, etc.; activities that are, at best, seriously misguided attempts to protect young minds from being exposed to topics deemed to be above their maturity level. The empath in me is always seeking to fully understand and walk in the proverbial shoes of someone else. However, the more I peruse the list of challenged titles, the more confused I become. Our country is a gumbo of cultures enhanced by the lived experiences and traditions of diverse people whose uniqueness adds flavor to our Americanness.  Just as there is no such thing as a one ingredient recipe, neither should there be the promotion and elevation of one singular story. To say that there is not room for more than one type of story is to belie this country’s composition. Yet, somehow, in an increasingly diverse society, books featuring BIPOC and LBGTQ characters and authors continue to be targeted for such efforts.

Children and teens need to see themselves, their family structure and their communities reflected back to them in books. I won’t belabor the importance of access to materials that are windows, mirrors and/or sliding doors to their worlds and those that are different from them. However, there is an urgency in continuing this charge. To the librarians in school and public libraries, I salute you for your work in standing firm in the face of serious opposition and working to create a more inclusive and just world one book at a time, one child at a time.  Your work is instrumental in normalizing and honoring differences without “othering” and a testament to the ways our differences make for a better collective. 

The AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation has been hard at work on a resource list that will hopefully make our jobs easier in the face of so much uncertainty. Keep an eye out; it should be coming very soon!

Tamela Chambers is a branch manager at the Chicago Public Library and a member of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation.

Greetings all! What a year it’s been! We’re a few days into the new year as I wrap up last month. Even in unsettling times, I hope you were able to experience some moments of ease and will continue to do so as we welcome in 2022. Here are some highlights from December:

Membership numbers (reported from August 2021):
Personal members of YALSA: 3,239
Renewals: 201 (this is an 11.6% increase from 2020)
New members: 90 (this is also an increase from 2020)

  • Directed the Board to continue responding to the History of Four EDI Taskforce Report recommendations
  • Submitted a President’s column for upcoming YALS issue. Co-written with social worker. (YALS is a great member-perk! Chock-full of useful information-free to members)
  • Worked on promoting the need for and appointing interested members to YALSA’s Division and Membership Promotion Committee.  (We still have openings to this important committee. Fill out the Committee Volunteer Form if you are interested!)
  • Continuing to seek a Member Manager for the Hub by reaching out to folks and updating call for applicants. Thank you Board Member, Director-At-Large Traci Glass for stepping in as interim!
  • Posted about YALSA’s partnership with Michigan State and Indiana University regarding Artificial Intelligence
  • Met with YALSA President’s Taskforce to develop ideas to continue moving forward on re-building social capital for and with teens
  • Working with AASL/ALSC to determine joint Executive Committee meeting
  • Working with Chairs and Board Members to submit board documents for January meeting (*more information will be shared on this within the next week or so)
  • Called for vote from Board Members for several Board Documents (will be linked here soon) regarding Virtual Option for Award Committees as well as Extension of Evaluating Volunteer Resources Taskforce. Others currently under discussion.

As always, grateful for the passion and work from dedicated volunteers to YALSA! Take a moment to look back on 2021 for all that you’ve accomplished and we’ll continue moving forward-one day at a time! Here’s to 2022!

Any questions or comments, feel free to post below or email: kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com.

Kelly Czarnecki (she/her)
YALSA President
2021-2022

 

“I Remember When the Future was Unevenly Distributed” by cogdogblog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

We’d like to thank the Hub’s current member manager, Sara Beth Coffman for the tremendous work and dedication she’s put into The Hub the past year.

You may have seen previous posts for this position. We’re still seeking! If you want to try it out short term such as 3 months and see if this is a good fit for you-we encourage you to still apply!

The most common feedback I’ve received from inquiries-and understandably so-is how much time is expected to be devoted per week. If selected, that will be up to you, the manager. You will also have a team you are working with.  A rough estimate from past managers is to plan for 4-8 hours a week. This will ebb and flow throughout the term as well. You will be in great hands with Board Liaison Traci Glass, who has written for the Hub before and can help guide you each step of the way.

The other most common response I receive is the qualifications feel somewhat daunting and folks may feel they are not eligible. While it is true that there is a bit different process to this position than some other volunteer positions in terms of qualifications-don’t let that hold you back from applying even if you don’t think you meet everything 100% perfectly!

If there are any questions or concerns, please contact Kelly Czarnecki, YALSA President (2021-2022); kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com. If you’re ready to apply please send a resume and cover letter to YALSA Member manager; Letitia Smith at lsmith@ala.org as soon as possible.

For qualifications and responsibilities, please review a previous post. Thank you for your interest!

 

 

 

Greetings all! Sending some fall energy your way! The highlight of this month has definitely been the YALSA Symposium in Reno. So much hard work went into what was a phenomenal event. Thank you all for making this hybrid (virtual/in-person) learning and networking opportunity a huge success!

This time of year means different things to everyone depending on what traditions (if any) you may participate in. I know I typically feel the winter months gain speed though for others it might be ‘normal’-just a bit colder-again dependent on where one resides. At any rate, whatever your unique experience may be, thank you for your involvement with YALSA and your continued work to help teens have quality access to library programs and services!

Contributions I made this month as YALSA President:

  • Assisted with the YALSA Symposium; recorded several introductions, attended virtual sessions and participated in the virtual Board info session. Called to vote on Symposium 2022 location (Baltimore here we come!)
  • Connected over email with Sam Helmrick, YALSA Liaison for ALA Executive Board
  • Held meeting for Presidential Taskforce to re-build teen social capital! So excited to work with such great volunteers!
  • Extended the Hub Manager assignment for one more month. Grateful for Sara Beth!
  • Connected with the Chair, Melissa, and Board Liaison, Carrie, for the Teen Civic Engagement Committee
  • Met with AASL/ALSC Presidents to develop a charge for the Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation. Thank you Jennisen and Lucia!
  • Wrote an article for the Presidents Column for the upcoming YALS issue on Adulting
  • Contributed to updating the DMP charge along with Board Member Karen Lemmons and YALSA ED, Tammy Dillard-Steels
  • Created EDI timeline draft for the Board as a recommendation from ODLOS Director, Kevin Strowder, to see our progress
  • Appointed a new Chair, Rebecca Denham, for the Evaluating Volunteer Resources Taskforce
  • Supported the ALA Statement on Censorship

Any questions or comments, feel free to post below or email: kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com.

Kelly Czarnecki (she/her)
YALSA President
2021-2022

 

Photo Credit: “Deer” by Kelly Czarnecki

The Rolling Stones performed a live concert in my town last month (September). The night before they played, Mick Jagger was captured in a photo standing outside a local (and quirky!) establishment completely unnoticed. The photo actually made national news because he looks so unassuming. Hiding in plain sight.  (Note-the photo in this post is not the photo discussed!) It made me think-if you were hanging out at the park with your pet, shopping for groceries down the street, or out to eat somewhere-which author would cause you to change expression if you saw them and recognized them? Jason Reynolds? Jacqueline Woodson? David Levithan? What about a YALSA member or a potential YALSA member? Those rock stars in their own right who’ve won a scholarship? Put together a program you’ve admired? Presented at a conference in a way that made you feel seen? We never know who we’re crossing paths with all the time but the potential for something-a connection, recognition-is always there.  That’s a bit how I felt with all the great interactions (albeit virtual) I’ve had with members in September. In addition to meeting regularly with the YALSA Executive Director, Board and Executive Board I also:

    • Made an appointment of  YALSA representative to the PLA Committee on Family Engagement
    • Appointed a Director-At-Large position to fill a gap on the YALSA Board
    • Speaking of rock stars – sent a request for a memorial resolution to YALSA’s ALA Liaison for Teri Lesesne
    • Responded to Board Liaisons regarding August Quarterly Chair reports
    • Appointed YALSA Liaison to ALA EDI Assembly
    • Participated with YALSA Staff in the ALA Virtual Volunteer Fair
    • Held first meeting of Implementing the President’s Theme Task Force (still seeking members!)
    • Connected with 2021 YALSA Spectrum Scholar, Cordiah Hayes
    • Along with Tammy Dillard-Steels, YALSA Executive Director, shared the YALSA 2022-2025 Strategic Plan with members and potential members (link coming soon!) in webinar format
    • Issued a statement supporting the selections from YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens list
    • Met with AASL President Jennisen Lucas
    • Appointed a YALSA representative with ALA for USBBY
    • Put a call out to members for participating on the Teen Programming HQ Advisory Board
    • Took a virtual tour of Reno with Carla Jamison, YALSA Program Officer, and representatives from the Nevada area (public, university library, etc.) for the YALSA Symposium (super excited!) in November

Any questions or comments, feel free to post below or email: kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com.

 

2020-2021 YALSA President-Elect Kelly Czarnecki

 

 

 

Kelly Czarnecki (she/her)
YALSA President
2021-2022

Photo credit: “Silhouette at a Sigur Ros Concert” by Tom Olliver