During October a small group of YALSA bloggers are posting ideas and
information about positive uses of social networking tools in schools and
libraries. Here’s positive use #6.

The fact that social networking can be done in a library, might be stating
the obvious. However, if DOPA passes, the library as a relevant place for teens will be significantly effected.

The Library as a place where social networking can occur is also important
for another reason. As Beth Gallaway’s MySpace? YourSpace? WhoseSpace? post indicated, “Banning isn’t the answer. Educating is.” How effective are libraries going to be to empower teens in making good online choices if the tools to do so can’t be used, accessed, or played with in a library?

In a May 2006 interview about
DOPA, Henry Jenkins stated, “These sites play a key role in youth culture

because they give youth a space to hang out amongst friends and peers, share cultural artifacts (like links to funny websites, comments about TV shows) and work out an image of how they see themselves.”

Giving youth a space to hang out, to share, to work out their identity-is
this not already part of what we do to serve their needs with our programs and services? It only makes sense then that libraries continue to be a place where not only can social networking tools be accessed, but helped to be used creatively and responsibly.

DOPA is pretty good at pointing to ‘that predator’ which might conjure up images of an adult preying on children that need to be protected. But what about teens that are using social networking tools to be hurtful to one
another? Sending threatening text messages to one another, sharing email
passwords and then changing them in order to force control over another, or
teens using cell phones to monitor each others whereabouts every minute of
the day. In the context of dating violence among teens, use of these

technologies in this way is prevalent.

Again, the Library as place to give teens the tools to use social networking positively, know when the tools are being used inappropriately and what they can do about it is important.

Banning their use in a school or public library is not going to empower teens and make issues of power and control with social networking go away.

If DOPA is passed, many teens will not find the library to be a relevant space
for their needs nor a place that can help them through this increasingly
interactive digital world.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

I met this evening with the owner of a local bookstore who frequently tells me the story of not really being a reader growing up but was inspired by a teacher to read and opened up his own bookstore, moved over 600 miles to call it home, and does amazing outreach with the community. He goes by the name of Jaz. Next week, he’ll be accompanying me to the Freedom Reads! bookclub at Jail-North.
If anyone can inspire these young men at Jail-North in this community, Jaz can.

I am reminded of a recent conversation with Amy Cheney, librarian and founder of Write to Read, who encouraged me to give these young men (16-17 year olds) the best that I can give them.

I’ll keep you posted. Feel free to share your own outreach stories with incarcerated youth.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Sagebrush Award

Apply now for the 2007 Sagebrush Corporation Award for a young adult reading or literature program!

Are you a member of YALSA? Have you developed an outstanding reading and /or literature program that brought books and young adults together to foster a life-long love of reading? Come on, don’t be so shy! You know you have, and you should get credit for it! That’s what the Sagebrush Award was designed to do. Every year, a grant from the Sagebrush Corporation provides $1000 to the winner to support their attendance at an upcoming ALA Annual Conference. Over the years the Sagebrush Award has honored a variety of literacy related activities such as detention center programs, summer reading club endeavors, conferences, and more. So why not give it a try? You can get more information on the Award at http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/awardsandgrants/sagebrush.pdf.

The deadline for the Sagebrush Award is December 1, 2007. Good luck!

— posted by Lisa Youngblood for the YALSA Outreach To Young Adults With Special Needs Committee

Nominate a YA librarian (or two or three) for the New York Times Librarian Awards:

Who is eligible: any librarian with a Master’s degree in library science who is currently working in a public library in the United States. Nominators are encouraged to nominate librarians who consistently demonstrate the highest levels of professionalism, knowledge and public service in the execution of their duties. Nominations of family members will not be considered. Retired librarians are not eligible. Awards are not given posthumously.

Deadline to nominate: Sept. 15

Award: 21 winners will get a plaque and $2,500

-Posted by Beth Yoke

I hope everyone is as psyched as I am to see that YALSA in conjunction with ALSC and Booklist is going to honor audiobooks for children and teens. The Odyssey Award will be for distinction in audio for children and young adults. Kudos to the forward thinking people who have spearheaded this award.

Yesterday, Charlie Gibson interviewed Marcus Zusack about his new book, THE BOOK THIEF. During the interview Gibson lavished praise on the book, never mentioning the fact that it was a books for YAs OR that Zusack had just received a Printz Honor for his last book. While I am grateful for the media coverage, I wish there were some way to let those who “handle” the talent know about YA and its awards. I am certain that had Zusack won a Newbery or Newbery Honor, it would have been mentioned. How can we get out the word?

Posted by Teri S. Lesesne

It has been disappointing to see the Printz Award virtually ignored by the media who manages to cover the Newbery and Caldecott. I did note that USA Today and some other papers at least noted the winner of the Printz, but nowhere I have I seen interviews with John Green about LOOKING FOR ALASKA.

I wonder how to catch the interest of the media. After all, they seem to focus only on the recent spate of censorship cases. Why not a focus on the great new award winning books and the readers that are being nurtured by their availability? I wonder if ALSC could assist YALSA here and request that the Printz winner be included in the press events? I know we are the new kids on the block, but the Printz deserves some more recognition.

BTW, thanks to the hardy YA folks who stood outside the Today Show window and waved copies of ALASKA! Maybe more of us can plan a trip to the Big Apple for next year?

Posted by Teri Lesesne

Of course the Awards Press Conference is an incredible event. However, the ripples after the awards are announced provide plenty of drama as well. You can see John Green’s reactions to hearing his book, LOOKING FOR ALASKA, won the Printz Award at his blog site. John was walking with his family in New York when he received the phone call from Michael Cart and the Printz Committee. How wonderful it is to be able to see the reaction–almost like being UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL.

Posted by Teri Lesesne

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