Posted by Linda W. Braun

If you are a regular reader of this blog you might want to use the RSS feeds to keep up with new posts and comments. If you haven’t used RSS feeds before this is a perfect opportunity to get started with them. You could find that feeds help you keep up with what’s happening on topics in which you are interested. I subscribe to lots of technology and library feeds and through them I quickly and easily find out about new and interesting developments in those fields.

Library websites incorporate RSS feeds so users get information about what’s happening in the library pushed to them. Database vendors are beginning to integrate RSS. With RSS enabled databases, researchers get notified when new information is added to the database on a specific research topic.

To subscribe to feeds you need a feed reader – you can use something that’s web-based or a special piece of software. Find out more about RSS and how you can use it read Will Richardson’s RSS Quick Start Guide for Educators.

Posted by Linda W. Braun

This week the Pew Internet in American Life Project came out with a report on the impact of technology on social networks. While the report isn’t specifically about teens, there are several topics within the document that relate to the way teens use technology and what they will expect from technology when they become adults.

The report describes two types of networks/ties. They are:

Core Ties: These are the people in Americans’ social networks with whom they have very close relationships — the people to whom Americans turn to discuss important matters, with whom they are in frequent contact, or from whom they seek help. This approach captures three key dimensions of relationship strength — emotional intimacy, contact, and the availability of social network capital.

Significant Ties: These are the people outside that ring of “core ties” in Americans’ social networks, who are somewhat closely connected. They are the ones with whom Americans to a lesser extent discuss important matters, are in less frequent contact, and are less apt to seek help. They may do some or all of these things, but to a lesser extent. Nevertheless, although significant ties are weaker than core ties, they are more than acquaintances, and they can become important players at times as people access their networks to get help or advice.

As I read this I thought about how teens use websites like My Space, along with blogs, to build and support their social networks. Do teens think about the differences within the social networks they build? I’m not sure they could articulate differences, but I bet they use online tools in different ways in order to create core and significant ties.

I have posted some candid snapshots from the All Committee Meeting and from the Awards Press Conference to my Flickr account. Go see YALSA and its members in action.

Posted by Teri Lesesne

Posted by Teri Lesesne

Though the exhibit halls look like ghost towns, and many participants are now home and busily unpacking their ARCS from their overstuffed luggage, some work still remains for the folks on various YALSA Committees. My roomie and I head off shortly for the final meeting of the Quick Picks List for 2006. Today we cast our final votes for the books, write annotations to go along with the titles, and settle on our Top Ten Books.

Other committees are meeting as well so that soon members can access BBYA and Notable and other important collection development lists. Of course, YALSA officers and Board Members are still meeting to plan for New Orleans and beyond. Get involved and see how it all works behind the scenes at ALA and YALSA.

Posted by Teri Lesesne

There was a palpable thrill in the air of Hall C as Pam Spencer Holley opened the first ever live web cast of the awards ceremony known as the Oscars of the juvenile literature world. Librarians and publishers mingled before being called to order with lots of us getting in our last picks for winning titles before the actual announcements.

After viewing footage from the forthcoming Pura Belpre video that celebrates the 10th anniversary of this award, President Michael Gorman opened the ceremonies by announcing the winners of the Schneider Family Award. (for a full list of awards: http://news.ala.org/releases/announce.html). ALEX Awards were announced and then it was time for what all the YALSA folks had been anticipating since the beginning of conference: the winners of the Margaret A. Edwards Award and the Printz winners.

Pam Spencer Holley’s announcement of Jacqueline Woodson as the recipient of the 2006 MAE Award we met with much enthusiasm. Printz winners came next, again to thunderous applause. (List of Winners.)

After announcements for all the awards were made, we scurried off to call friends and colleagues. Immediately, the listservs lit up with the post announcement discussion also known as Monday morning quarterbacking. It was an incredibly exciting way to start a day here in San Antonio.

Posted by Linda W. Braun

Today I attended my first meeting of the “big” ALA Web Advisory Committee. (I am the YALSA rep. to the Committee.) One of the things that was discussed was that YALSA is the first ALA Division to be using blog software hosted on the ALA server. Other Divisions have blogs but we are the first to have the blog integrated into the ALA structure. ALA staff members did mention that other Divisions could do the same thing.

We also talked about ALA’s Online Communities. ALA staff is waiting to announce the Communities to the larger ALA world until the larger divisions are integrated fully into the Community environment.

There was a presentation from ALA publications about the different electronic publications that exist or are in the works. There is a new enewsletter for subscribers to American Libraries (if you don’t want to get the enewsletter you need to opt-out.) Booklist is going to be available online via subscription and there are several books that are being revised that will have online versions. I hadn’t realized that text chapters are available for download from some third party vendors. I’ll have to check that out.

American Libraries, ACRL, and HRDR are working on an online career center. It will allow employers to post job ads and employees to post resumes. (That’s just some of what will be available.) It sounds like the resource will be ALA’s version of Monster.com. Not a bad thing to have access to.

Sitting through the meeting it seemed to me that past mistakes have been taken to heart. It sounds like there is a good process in place for ALA to use to determine website needs and how to handle those needs. It also seems like they are very aware of the amount of testing that is needed in order to achieve success.

Well, the sun sets (at least I think it did behind the clouds) on the ALA conference. The day began with rain but the weather did not dampen the spirits of the thousands in attendance. More than 30 people joined in the conversation this morning for the Teaching YA Literature Discussion Group chaired by Shannon Sword. The discussion centered around several issues such as how to manage classes that are online versus ones that are hybrid and/or FTF. Following the meeting, I hurtled myself through exhibits quickly to scoop up some ARCs and then headed off to the second Quick Picks Committee meeting.

Tomorrow dawns early with the Press Conference set for 7:55. Stay tuned to see if your favorites win any awards.

Teri Lesesne

Posted by Linda W. Braun

Monique LeConge and I got to meet yesterday to finish planning out the online course we are going to teach for YALSA – starts February 6 but is already sold out.

It was great to complete the process and finalize our plans. One great thing we decided to do was include Monique’s 15-year-old in the class via an audio recording and a discussion board.

We’ll also have participants create their own My Space space as a way to introduce themselves to each other. There’s lots of other great things in the works including thinking about how programs, services, and space change for libraries when they really start to integrate technology as more than an add-on and as a true tool for helping teens enhance their literacy skills.

Can’t wait.

Posted by Linda W. Braun

This morning bright and early YALSA committee chairs and board members met at leadership development. This meeting happens at each conference and gives chairs and Board the chance to talk about what’s up and what’s new. Two things were different this time around. First, there was breakfast (with giveaways) sponsored by Listening Library – thanks to YALSA staff for organizing that. And, the meeting included time for small groups to talk about how to manage difficult committee situations.

The small groups happened at the end of the meeting and it was great for two reasons. First, because it meant that we got to talk and not be talked at for the full meeting. And, we got to talk about something that was useful – how to better manage committees. Time ran short so we didn’t really get lots of opportunity to reflect on the discussions but Pam is going to collate the info. and send it out on the committee chair list and I’ll post it on the blog.

Actually, as I think about it the meeting was different in another way too. The agenda included lots of people talking about specific things. But, no person talked for more than 3 minutes I would say. That was great. Each person said what they needed to say and then we moved out. There wasn’t anything that needed lots of discussion but we still got to find out about lots of stuff.

Amy Alessio, YALSA’s fiscal officer, discussed how important it is for YALSA to be aware of our finances. Since YALSA is just striking out on its own as a non-subsidized division of ALA we have to be sure to spend money very wisely. Two things to remember within this context. First, Amy says she’s going to be always asking – do we have the money for that? And second, YALSA can only keep up with the needs of its members if the dues increase which will be on the ballot this spring is approved.

The dues increase is important so that we can continue to provide great programs and conferences, regional institutes, publications, staff, and lots more. It’s a small increase we are going to be asked to approve – $10 – but that money will go quite a long way.

Another topic addressed during the meeting was YALSA publications. I thought it was great that this conversation didn’t focus just on writing books but also on other types of publications YALSA can and does produce – this blog, booklists, journal articles, web content, and more. YALSA publications is interested in working with people on their ideas and will try to help match the idea with the best publications format. So, anyone with ideas should contact the publications committee.

YALSA Executive Director, Beth Yoke, told us about ALA’s Online Communities which is a place that committees will be able to use to conduct business. Committees can have real-time chats, upload documents, archive documents, and more using the Online Communities. Not all of YALSA’s Committees are included on the site yet but members can check it out.

Beth also gave a good rundown/overview of who does what in the YALSA Office. A good thing to remember is that if not sure who to contact the first point person is Esther Murphy.

Before we broke into small groups Pam Spencer Holley gave us her list of the top 10 responsibilities of committee chairs. The list is:

  1. communicate with committee members
  2. delegate committee members

  3. start and end on time
  4. always have an agenda – circulate in advance
  5. circulate an attendance sheet
  6. have someone else take notes
  7. read your charge – make sure know what are supposed to do
  8. be sure to submit pre and post conference reports – board pays attention to them – can email liaison with sensitive info. – it’s OK to resign from a committee
  9. contact board lisiason with questions, concerns, etc.
  10. have a good time and accept the Board’s thanks

Living la vida ALA last night was fun. Now, it is time to get down to work. Welcome to the YALSA All Committee Meeting. It is Saturday morning about 10 am. YALSA President Pam Spencer Holley brought the meeting to order thanking Listening Library for sponsoring the breakfast and providing the cool lunch boxes with audiobooks inside. A brief moment of silence for Gerald Hodges and James Cook brought a few of us to tears and then we were underway.

All Committee is the heart and soul of YALSA’s operations at conference. Dozens of committees meet here to conduct their business. Groups as disparate as Research, Teen Read Week, Publisher’s Liaison, Teens and Technology, and Publications have the chance to meet in person at annual and midwinter during this All Committee time. It is a great way for new folks to see the various committee opportunities available, to introduce themselves as volunteers, to get involved. Old hands like me can hug friends we see twice a year at ALA and catch up on the latest gossip.

Terry Young brought greetings from New Orleans as the local arrangements chair and assured us that all would be ready for us in June. A few god tips for those planning to come to annual included: book your rooms as early as possible and please remember to register soon as well.

Pam gave a report on YALSA’s activities this past year including Teen Read Week, increased membership in YALSA (we are nearing 5000 members), responses to the hurricane affected areas, a new Graphic Novel Committee, an Advisory Board for publications (YALS and YAttitudes), task forces, and many other projects. GET ACTIVE AT YOUR LIBRARY is the theme for next year’s Teen Read Week.

The members of the YALSA Board and Executive Committee were introduced. Karlan Sick asked for help in conducting the work of the Nominating Committee. Judy Nelson, President Elect talked about her appointments to the selection committees and other positions. She urged anyone interested to go to the web site and complete the committee volunteer form and return it to HQ as soon as possible.

The 50th anniversary celebration committee members presented some of their ideas for our 50th anniversary in 2007. Think 50!

ALA President Keith Michael Fiels talked about the proposed dues increase and the plan for ALA’s continued growth, “Ahead to 2010.”

Beth Yoke, YALSA’S Executive Director, mentioned some of the handout materials available for committee members and chairs.

After the various reports, Pam dismissed us to begin meeting with our committees.

Teri Lesesne