During the past month I have continued to work with YALSA’s Executive Director, Beth Yoke, the Executive Committee, and Board members on programs and services of the Association.


  • As a part of ALA’s strategic planning process Division Executive Directors and Presidents, Roundtable representatives, along with ALA Executive Board members and some ALA staff members participated in a strategic planning retreat. The planning was facilitated by Paul Meyer of the Tecker Consulting Group. During the retreat sessions participants discussed ALA’s mission, vision, and goals for the future. Over the next few months ideas developed at the retreat and at follow-up ALA meetings will be released for feedback to members and member groups.
  • Each fall members of ALA Division Executive Committees meet in Chicago to discuss plans for the coming year. Over the past few weeks I’ve worked with YALSA Executive Director Beth Yoke on the agenda and support materials for meetings of YALSA’s Executive Committee. Read More →

There’s been a lot of activity at YALSA since Annual Conference. In my six weeks as the President, I’ve had the chance to speak with many members, work on projects with fellow Executive Committee and Board members, and plan for future events and programs.


  • Following discussions at Annual about BBYA in particular and modernizing YALSA’s selected lists in general, the YALSA Executive Committee discussed, via phone, next steps in developing a proposal, to be fine-tuned at Fall Executive Committee Meeting. An overview of the information from that conversation is available as a pdf file.
  • The work of YALSA’s committees/juries/taskforces goes on year-round. Read More →

In late July, a second round of A Day in the Life of a Library, launched. As I read posts librarians wrote for this project about how they spend their days as librarians, I started thinking how I spend my time as YALSA President. And, while it’s not a 9 to 5 job as is that of many librarians, it is something that I spend at least a bit of time on every day. I thought to myself, what about a blog post on a month in the life of a YALSA President?

It’s just over a month since I took on the job of YALSA President, and I can’t quite believe both that it’s been that long and all the conversations I’ve had about YALSA with a variety of people in that time. Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to go through every day of my first month as YALSA President, Read More →

Over the last 4 years at Red Deer Public Library, I have found that there is a fine line between social work and teen librarianship. I am quite comfortable with the tweeny boppers plunking themselves down in a chair every day after school (or during if they are skipping) and telling me all about their lives.’  This I can handle, as usually they just want someone to nod and smile and offer the occasional bit of advice. Read More →

Yesterday the Pew Internet in American Life project released a report on wireless Internet use. When I first heard about the report I didn’t think very broadly about what the data might have to say about the impact of access for teens (and for libraries for that matter). But, when I read several news reports that highlighted findings that wireless access, particularly on mobile devices, is serving to lessen the digital divide I started thinking about teens. While not everyone has what some might consider traditional internet access at home – a wired or wireless connection that is used with a laptop or desktop – that doesn’t mean that the Internet isn’t available in the home. People are accessing the Internet with laptops and desktops and they are using game consoles and handheld devices for their access.

If outside of the school teens use handheld devices and gaming consoles to access the Internet, we need to look at how our resources are provided to the age group. We need to make sure to provide access to programs and services in ways that work well for someone using an Internet enabled device. For example: Read More →

I attended the rollout of Best Buy’s @15 TeenVoice 2009 study on Monday, July [correction: June] 8. ‘ Best Buy built the @15 website as a place for teens to find each other and express themselves and their concerns for the world, as well as suggest where Best Buy should donate its money to truly make a difference.’ ‘ Best’ Buy’ tapped experts from around the country to mentor the teens and study their feedback.

Best Buy and its many partners, including the Search Institute, and its’ Advisory Board have created a simple and elegant tool for measuring and developing youth development goals.’ Richard Lerner, an @15 board member from the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University, was particularly enthusiastic about the new positive language that evolved from the project, based on three concepts:

1 – Identify the SPARK that lights up a teen (talents, interests, strengths)
2 – Measure the TVI (Teen Voice Index) which monitors teen involvement in social issues and civic life
3 – Measure the ROI (Relationships & Opportunities Index) which measures the community support around a teen

For those of you familiar with YPulse, Anastasia Goodstein is a board member for this initiative and has a great blog post summarizing the information and what adults and communities can do to help support positive youth development.

Many youth in the United States have fully integrated the Internet into their daily lives. For them, the Internet is a positive and powerful space for socializing, learning, and engaging in public life. Minors use the Internet and other digital technologies to communicate with friends and peers, to connect with religious leaders and mentors, to conduct research for school assignments, to follow the progress of favorite sports teams or political candidates and participate in communities around shared interests, to read the news and find health information, to learn about colleges and the military, and in countless other productive ways. Most minors do not differentiate between their lives off and online, in part because the majority of online social interactions involving minors do not involve people who are not part of their offline lives.

That quote is from the first paragraph of the Introduction to the just released report Enhancing Child Safety and Online Technologies: Final Report of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force to the Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking of State Attorneys General of the United States. If you work with teens, or with people who work with teens, you should stop what you are doing, download this report, and read it. Read More →

Every year, beginning sometime in December, media outlets, bloggers, and others publish articles on the best and worst of the past 12 months.’  When I read these I automatically start to think about what’s been going on with teens and libraries over the past year. One way I find that out is to look at a year’s worth of YALSA blog posts. Here’s some of what I found when I did that:

  • Over the past twelve months video production became a real-live possibility for librarians and the teens that they serve. Read More →

Two articles I read recently have me asking myself over and over again, “Where are the parents?” The first, Compulsive Gamers not Addicts, appeared on the BBC News web site in late November. The article discusses how young people being treated in in Britan for gaming addiction are actually not addicts at all.’  The founder of a UK clinic to treat gaming addiction, Keith Bakker is quoted saying, “…the more we work with these kids the less I believe we can call this addiction. What many of these kids need is their parents and their school teachers – this is a social problem.”

That seems to say it all.’  Many teens who game hours and hours on end aren’t necessarily doing it because they are addicted. They are constantly gaming because they don’t have anything else to do and don’t have anyone else helping them to figure out what to do with their time. Read More →