One of my favorite parts of any Midwinter Meeting is the announcement of the Youth Media Awards. There’s an Oscar-like buzz in the room. I love the pride and enthusiasm from juries and selection committees (many of whom dress up for the event). I get chills at the emotional outpouring for beloved authors and titles, and it’s a particular thrill when a dark horse title wins.

But if you can’t be in the room for the announcements, have no fear–YALSABlog and The Hub will be jointly covering the YMAs with a live blog, complete with streaming video! Join the session here or on The Hub to watch the video, answer reader polls and add your own commentary live. We’ll also be pulling selected hashtags (like #yma13, #printz, #alexaward and #morrisaward) to bring you thoughts and reactions from Twitter.

If you miss the live session, you can replay the whole thing (including the video) at any time after the live session ends. Don’t miss out on one of the best parts of Midwinter!

One of the reasons I love working with teens and kids is that their books are so awesome. There are so many amazing authors in YA right now, from John Green to Holly Black to Stephanie Perkins. I could spend all day, every day reading amazing YA lit and still not even make a dent in my to-read pile. That’s not even mentioning the great kidslit out there, including Rebecca Stead and Catherynn Valente. ‘ Just thinking about all the books and authors I want to read makes me giddy.

So, in terms of reading, I’m a pretty busy lady. As you all know, librarians don’t really get to sit around reading every day, so I have to squeeze in what I can during lunches, after work, and on my commute (don’t worry, that’s an audiobook happening there). With all of the pressure to keep up with popular authors and series, I sometimes forget about all the books over in ol’ Dewey. I mean, I know they’re cool (probably. maybe? definitely.), but nonfiction just seems less appealing when I’m plucking my next book to read off my stack of library tomes. I know that connecting to all types of books – nonfiction included – is just as important as connecting to readers and community members when serving teens successfully.
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I’m en route to Seattle even as I type this! What will the board and I be up to at the 2013 Midwinter conference? Keep reading to find out.

It’s going to be an awesome conference. We’ve got programs, meetings and activities everywhere. We’ll be talking about advocacy, collaborations, books and reading, the future of teen services in libraries and more.

First, I’ll be helping YALSA host the first National Forum on Teens & Libraries on January 23 and 24. This is the first summit of its kind, and we’ll be bringing leaders on youth development, libraries, technology, publishing, everything. The goal is figure out where teen services is going and where it needs to be in the 21st Century. ALA President Maureen Sullivan will be the lead moderator, and we’ve got some amazing special guest stars, including Lee Rainey, head of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, Mizuko Ito, Professor in Residence and MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning at the University of California, Irvine, Renee Hobbs, Director of the Harrington School of Communications & Media at the University of Rhode Island and George Needham, Vice President for Global and Regional Councils at the Online Computer Library Center. We’ll be talking lots of teens, literacy, library, technology and more. I’ll even be leading the Youth Panel portion of the forum with special awesome teens from YALSA President-Elect Shannon Peterson. We’ll be tweeting, blogging and posting the entire time, so check out our social media channels to find out what’s going on.
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How far would you go to promote a book you really loved?’  Actor Matthew Lillard went to amazing lengths to share one of his favorite teen stories (which also happens to be a Printz Honor Book!):

“OK. So, I first stumbled across FAT KID RULES THE WORLD when I was hired to record the audio version of KL Going‘s award winning novel.’  The book blew me away. It was funny and true, and it told the story of a lost kid – Troy Billings, alienated and alone – who finds his purpose in life through the magic of punk rock music.’  The book rocked my world. ‘ It was crazy! ‘ It spoke to me, in a deep way because I had been my own version of Troy Billings in high school. I was lost and an outcast and didn’t really fit in anywhere… that is until I found acting, which pretty much changed my life forever. ‘ After I read the book I knew I had to tell THIS story. ‘ I made this movie for everyone who has ever felt like they just didn’t belong… the misfits, the outcasts. the kids that are lost… this movie is for you! ” Read More →

You! Yes, YOU! What kinds of programs are you doing in your library?! Have you created an innovative program that addresses a new teen interest or need, or a program that might meet an old teen interest or need in a new, unique way? Tell YALSA all about it, and you could win a cash award AND be included in the sixth edition of Excellence in Library Service to Young Adults!

Because we want to hear from YOU, YALSA has extended the deadline’ in the search for Excellence in Library Services’ to Young Adults. We want to hear about your creative programming ideas! Maybe you know someone who came up with an idea that is innovative?! Let us know who they are and we’ll get in touch with them! Email me at and our committee will ask you all about it! Don’t worry about the application, we want to hear from you directly!


Hey Everyone,

As you can guess it’s been another super-duper busy month in the YALSA world. Here’s what we’ve been up to!

Key Activities:

Worked with the Capacity Building Taskforce to initiate plans for implementing YALSA’s new goal in the Strategic Plan.

Hosted two online trainings for Selection and Award committee chairs and members. Thanks to everyone who was able to participate!

Worked with the YALSA Executive Director to appoint YALSA’s new Blog Manager, Wendy Stephens. Congratulations, Wendy!

Worked with YALSA’s Executive Committee and the Executive Director to plan and create the agenda for the 2012 Midwinter conference.

YALSA is finalizing an exciting new partnership with a national retailer that will expand programs and improve digital services for teens in libraries across the country! Stay tuned for the official announcement in late January!

Outreach and Media:

Interviewed by for a story on trends in teen reading and literature.

Statistics & Data:

December donations received were $1,775.00 for Friends of YALSA and $250.00 for YALSA’s Leadership Endowment.

The most recent membership stats are from November 2012. YALSA currently has 5,218 members, down .9% from last year.

Thank you!

A big shout-out to the Morris and Non-fiction committees for choosing their finalists!

Thank you also to the Teen Tech Week committee for launching the 2013 website:

Congratulations to The Hub for having its best month ever in terms of the number of visits to the site:

Thanks again for all that you do for our association,



The deadline to apply for YALSA’s Excellence in Library Services to Young Adults is quickly approaching! Applications are due December 17th.

From –

YALSA will select up to twenty-five innovative teen programs from all types of libraries to feature at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference and to include in a sixth edition of’ Excellence in Library Service to Young Adults. Successful applications will focus on programs that address new teen needs or interests, or that address ongoing teen needs or interests in an innovative or unique way.’  The top five programs will receive cash awards of $1000 each. Up to twenty “best of the rest” programs will receive cash awards of $250. ‘ Each award will be presented to the applicant’s institution for use with future teen programs and/or for the applicant’s travel to the 2013 conference to participate in the YALSA President’s Program.

As the chair of the President’s Program Planning committee, I look forward to learning about the innovative programs our colleagues are creating. Be sure to get your application in on time!

Teen librarianship isn’t always the most glamourous of positions in the library world. Fortunately, the back-up we have available to us through YALSA and the many awards they offer feel priceless to the winners. As Katie George, winner of the 2011 MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, puts it, “Receiving recognition like this from teen-serving peers… at this level… is a shot in the arm. It reminds you, ‘Yes! You are making a difference! Keep going!’”

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Allison Cabaj was a first-year school librarian, splitting her time between the school library and the English classroom, when she created her MAE-Award-winning program that helped to build “an interactive community of readers” at Riverside Brookfield (Ill.) High School. Whether you are a brand new or an experienced librarian, if you ran an outstanding reading or literature program for young adults in the past year you should consider applying for the MAE Award.

Cabaj replied by email about her experience with the MAE Award.

Q: What would you tell librarians who are considering applying for the MAE Award this year?
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Friends! What with Fall Exec, the YA Lit Symposium a whole lot more, the past few weeks have been super duper busy for me and all of YALSA. Here’s what we’ve been up to, but if you want to read about all of YALSA’s activities, be sure to read our eNewsletter, emailed directly to your inbox the second Tuesday of every month:

Key Activities:

Coordinated with Valerie Davis, chair of the Virtual Selection/Awards Manual Committee, to build out the first draft of the the manual which will launch after Midwinter 2013.

Attended the first meeting of the National Forum on Youth Services in Libraries Advisory Board meeting.

Met with ALA President Maureen Sullivan, Beth Yoke and Linda Braun to plan out the agenda for the upcoming National Forum on Youth Services in Libraries in Seattle.

Along with Shannon Peterson, led the 2012 ALA Fall Executive Committee meeting with the YALSA Executive Committee. You can find our agenda items and notes here.
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