Are you planning on going to ALA Annual in June 2022? Would you like to write about your experience for YALSAblog? We’d love to feature you as a guest blogger! 

As a reminder, YALSAblog posts are typically 500-750 words. We ask that bloggers link to YALSA information when relevant – there are some guidelines on the blog that might help you out herehere, and here

And here’s an example of what these ALA Annual recap posts look like: https://yalsa.ala.org/blog/2018/07/05/ala-2018-annual-recap-from-a-first-time-attendee/ 

Feel free to reach out to Kelly Czarnecki l if you’d like to write a post about ALA Annual, or if you have any questions about deadlines.

On February 3, YALSA welcomed LaMoya N Burks, as our new Interim Executive Director. LaMoya N. Burks, is currently the head librarian at Texarkana (Texas) College’s Palmer Memorial Library, a doctoral student at Texas A&M University – Texarkana, and a longtime member leader within YALSA. Dawn Kirkpatrick, Board Director, interviewed her for the YALSA Blog.

Q: You have an extensive background working within ALA and YALSA, can you speak to some of the roles and work that you are most proud of?

I loved the opportunity to team build with Pura Belpre Task Force members even in the turbulent times of lockdown. The work continued with bright smiles on computer screens. The Committee on Legislation and Committee on Literacy moves with urgency. My first opportunity was as an intern for the Chapter Relations Committee where I spent a lot of time exploring and understanding the importance of each state’s role in the association. 

Q: What will be the most exciting aspect of your new role? The most challenging?

I am thrilled to work with staff and all of our team members across the nation to spend more time on something so precious -young lives. I am up for the challenge to improve how to invite and provide equitable services for them to inspire ideas and eagerness to explore all things in the library. The pandemic presents both known and unknown areas we can improve and strengthen our profession in an effort to support young adults. It is vital to support YALSA staff and the Board to bridge those gaps and remain abreast of trends. 

Q: Tell us a bit about your doctoral research and how you think this will benefit you in your new role.
The role of the librarian to ensure quality services is critical as we advance in society. How we continue to improve services for communities, such as in rural areas, meets economic development efforts by providing equitable access to impacting the livelihood of all people. Skills, tools, and an avenue for creativity are provided by our libraries and are certainly necessary to thrive in society. Our youth depend heavily on being heard-focus groups and design strategies can be used to invite the conversation. My research presents the scope of the librarian professional’s role and futuristic planning and action to address the information-seeking behavior of all patrons. 

Q: As Librarians we all have that favorite or most impactful book from our youth, what was this title for you?
So many. Anything by Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Virginia Hamilton, or Mildred Taylor, and definitely the Babysitters Club book series. My favorite thriller was Wait Until Helen Comes. As a very young child all books from the I CAN READ BOOK CLUB such as Arthur’s Tooth because my father’s name is Arthur LOL. 

Q: What are you reading? What are you listening to or watching?

I am reading Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Freire again, one of my favorites. It’s just a great motivator for me.  Also, What the Fireflies Knew by Harris, and I am anxiously awaiting my copy of The Black Librarian in America by Josey. I am finishing up Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk by McDonald, with my boys, 

 I make a practice to remain abreast of trends weekly as much as possible with journals, news, and podcasts ranging from school, trade, and higher education, computer automation  . . and definitely a browser of all things. 

Q: What else would you like us to know about you that you haven’t had the opportunity to share yet?

As I continue in the interim position with YALSA, the growth over the next few months will present my leadership abilities, with the strength of the team and YALSA. ALA is on its way to new horizons. I challenge everyone to synergize alongside us -our association thrives with the assessment of where the profession has taken us, where we are now, and what we expect and project for the future. It begins now. 

Congratulations to the following individuals that have been elected:

President-Elect
Colleen Seisser

Board of Directors
Matthew Layne
Melissa Malanuk
Josie Laine Andrews

Secretary
Joel D Shoemaker

Thank you all that were on the ballot this year! We’re grateful that you selected to be a part of YALSA. View the final ALA election results here. To learn more about YALSA elections or governance please visit here!

ALA Wall

I knew the end of March was approaching as I checked my calendar the beginning of this week. As I was journaling this morning I looked up at my phone to note the date-and sure enough the month of March has closed! And what a month it was! The highs and lows and storms that is typical of this gateway into spring definitely played out in all the ways…This month I was fortunate to set foot in ALA offices in Chicago and spend time with YALSA staff as well as Tracie Hall, ALA Executive Director, and LaMoya Burks, Interim YALSA ED. This is where a lot of the magic happens! Here’s a few other highlights from this month as well:

  • Supported ALA statement to stand with Ukrainian Library community.
  • Connected Booklist Liaison with the important work of the Odyssey committee
  • Worked with President-Elect Franklin Escobedo to get the word out about current volunteer opportunities. Check out his post here!  
  • Participated in several YALSA e-learning opportunities; a snack and chat presentation as a panelist with Presidential Taskforce members on re-building Teen Social Capital. (Thank you Anthony, Molly, Kaitlyn, Brooke!)
  • Introduced presenters for the member webinar with NYPL speaking on re-building Teen Social Capital (Thank you Siva, Rachel, and Darro!). And a big thank you to Carla, YALSA Program Officer, for making this happen seamlessly!
  • Welcomed Laura T. and Shaira R. to YALSA Board Chat for their feedback and expertise on their work as Taskforce members for our ongoing work with EDI. Specifically, the Promoting Professional Success for Underrepresented Groups within YALSA Taskforce. Thank you both for your time and knowledge!
  • Confirmed new Hub Manager, Stephanie Johnson!
  • Assisted Liz N., YALSA Liaison to ALA groups on a resolution for a former YALSA member
  • Preparing for Annual and vicariously enjoyed PLA! If you plan on being in DC please reach out! I’ve got a packed schedule but can always make time for a walk and/or coffee!

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

This is a guest blog post from the 2021-2022 AASL/ALSC/YALSA School & Public Library Cooperation Committee.

It’s that magical time of year. Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and Summer Reading planning is in full swing! This is the time of year when I get to work most closely with my school librarian colleagues. I am a Family Services librarian in a suburban public library. I’m lucky to be in a town that really loves its libraries, both public and school. We get to see kids after school all year, and we hear a lot about the fabulous author visits and book recs that their school librarians bring to them. We plan programs and recommend reading to build on the learning that happens at school, and the school librarians likewise guide students to further develop learning they’ve started in public library programs. Summer, of course, is different. That daily exchange of learning changes shape, as school days transform into summer camp days and engagement in our public library’s Summer Reading program. Still, even without physically entering their schools, families’ connections to their school libraries remain strong. The biggest question that we get over the summer is, “What do the schools say that we should read?”

What a child should read is always a tricky question to answer. Our school librarians and reading specialists fully agree with my Family Services team that children should read books that interest them, not simply books that fall at a particular reading level. Yet “What do the schools say that we should read?” expresses a lot of valid concerns, which should not be brushed off with a simple, “Read whatever you like!” There’s the question, “What should we read to be ready for class next year?” of course. There’s also, “I miss my fabulous school librarian. What would they recommend?” School, and the school library, is so central to students’ lives all year—it’s only logical that we should do what we can to celebrate that connection and keep it strong over the summer!

To make the transition to Summer Reading as seamless as possible this year, my school librarian colleagues and I started meeting in March to plan a joint Summer Reading list. We’re working together to create online and print book lists, centered around a guide to text complexities that the schools share with parents. We’ll all throw in the books that we know our students love, along with new favorites. We will ensure that the public library owns every book on the recommended reading lists so that access will be easy for families. We will also build information about our public library’s Summer Reading activities and theme—and even some thematic recs!—into the Summer Reading guide that the schools distribute. The schools will provide guidance for parents to create thematic text sets for their kids over the summer, and all of our Family Services team will be ready to help families in this endeavor. Our Family Services team will visit every school for a Summer Reading kickoff assembly in June. All of the schools’ Summer Reading info will include links to our public library’s webpage, and our webpage will link to the schools’ lists. We’ll bring a little of the schools into the public library for the summer (including the best-loved books of all the kids’ favorite school librarians!), and the schools will welcome us into their classrooms as the year winds down. “What do the schools say that we should read?” Exactly what your public library says you should! And a marvelous variety it is! 

Rebecca Fox is the Assistant Manager of Family Services at New Canaan Library. When she’s not at the library, you can find her curled up with a book or a crossword, or crafting goofy bead animals. You can reach Rebecca at rfox@newcanaanlibrary.org. 

The ‘School-Pub’ Update

Last year, the AASL/ALSC/YALSA School & Public Library Cooperation Committee was charged with developing an informational list of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) resources and brainstorming ways to ensure the resources remain relevant and up to date. The committee is pleased to announce it has presented the ‘Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Resource Exchange for ALA Youth Divisions (AASL, ALSC, YALSA)’ to the three divisional presidents and now await guidance on where it will be hosted. On behalf of last year’s committee chair and myself, I thank all of our committee members for their hard work and insight in developing this document. 

Our committee now looks forward to working on our next charge: constructing some strategies for how our youth services libraries can all work together in the face of the current climate of book challenges. 

Jodi Silverman is the Youth Services Department Supervisor of the North Plainfield branch of the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey. She is a 2020-2021 ALA Emerging Leader and the 2021-2022 Chair of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA School & Public Library Cooperation Committee. When not designing escape rooms for teens, you can find her playing MMOs and running virtual karaoke get-togethers. You can reach Jodi at jsilverman@sclibnj.org.

American Library Association election polls are open now through April 6, 2022. If you are an ALA member, you will have received an email ALA Governance Office with information about how to vote online. More information can be found here.

The ALA JobLIST Placement & Career Development Service will host complimentary virtual career coaching sessions on June 8th & 9th. Each one-on-one session is open to any library worker. More information can be found here.

Committee on Library Advocacy (COLA)

  • ALA is hiring for a Deputy Director for Broadband & Digital Inclusion based in Washington, D.C. The application can be found here.
  • National Library Week is April 3-9, and ALA has provided a free online toolkit. Download resources here.

Committee on Legislation (COL)

  • ALA encourages library workers to check eligibility and apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness waiver before October 31. More information be found here.
  • ALA predicts the need to significantly increase advocating for more federal funding the FY2023 budget. More information can be found here.
  • ALA announced $1.55M in a second round of emergency funding for libraries impacted by COVID-19. More information can be found here.

Conference Committee

  • ALA Annual Conference registration is now open. Advanced registration rates are only available through March 31. Register here.

Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE)

  • COPE is working on a Q&A document to provide guidance to ethical issues on ableism through the ALA Code of Ethics. Please consider completing this survey to support the creation of the Q&A by March 31.

Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF)

  • ALA released a press release in support of Ukrainian library community.

Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC)

  • IFC and ALA have released Privacy Field Guides. They can be downloaded and printed here.

EDI Assembly

  • The ACRL EDI Committee will award memberships to both ALA and ACRL to 25 library workers who identify as BIPOC. Applications are open until May 1 and can be accessed here.

We’re currently looking for volunteers to serve on YALSA strategic committees and task forces.  What’s a strategic committee?  These are all the committees that help move our association forward. They include both a year commitment or less.  This is a list of the current volunteer opportunities:  

AASL/ALSC/YALSA Committee on School & Public Library Cooperation: This joint committee will identify, develop, promote and disseminate information on effective cooperative or collaborative projects that link schools and public libraries.

Division & Membership Promotion: Help spread the word about YALSA and welcome our new members! 

Editorial Advisory Board (for YALS & the YALSAblog): To serve as advisor to the co-chairs of the Advisory Board, the editor of YALS and the YALSAblog Member Manager, on the overall content of the journal and blog. To take an active role in determining content for both publications and an annual editorial calendar that identifies timely topics as well as authors for articles and blog posts.

Education Advisory Committee/Board :  The role of the Education Advisory Committee is to assist with providing appropriate and timely topics for continuing education offerings to the Executive Director and Program Officer for Continuing Education and Development and to identify qualified individuals to facilitate continuing education sessions.

Financial Advancement: This is the committee that helps supports YALSA mission by fundraising.  The part of the work is writing thank you notes to members who have donated.  They also help raise money through silent auctions at conference and at the symposium.  One year we had shot glasses!  

Hub Advisory Board: The Hub Advisory Board participates in the development and maintenance of the Hub and follows the guidelines for the site as set out by the YALSA Board of Directors. The Advisory Board also serves in an advisory capacity to the Member Manager of the site and assists with the collection of content for the site, generates ideas for content, works on getting teen and library staff input and feedback, facilitates marketing and PR as needed, and writes for the site as needed.  

Organization & Bylaws: To periodically review the Bylaws and, when necessary, to recommend revision and amendment to improve them for the effective management of the Division, for the achievement of its stated objectives, and to keep them in harmony with ALA Constitution and Bylaws; to study and review committee functions, recommending changes in committee structure; to regularly review and when necessary recommend and draft revision of content for the YALSA Handbook; and to make recommendations on other appropriate policy and process matters.  The O&B Committee will be instrumental in the coming year as we begin to implement our new strategic plan.

Research:  To stimulate, encourage, guide, and direct the research needs of the field of young adult library services, and to regularly compile abstracts, disseminate research findings, update YALSA’s National Research Agenda as needed.

Research Journal Advisory Board: Oversee the peer reviewing process as outlined in the Refereeing Process Guidelines as approved by the YALSA Board of Directors.  The JRLYA Board also serves in an advisory capacity to the Member Editor of the journal by assisting with the solicitation of contributors and articles as well as generating ideas for topical articles or themes, when requested from the Member Editor

Teens’ Top Ten: To facilitate the exchange of information and galleys of books published within the current and previous publishing years among the voting teen group members as well as the non-voting members; to annually prepare the “Teens’ Top 10” list for Teen Read Week; and to coordinate the public electronic vote. To assist with the collection and vetting of applications from libraries who wish to host an official reading group.

Teen Programming HQ Taskforce: This is a new taskforce that will assist the Teen Programming HQ manager find and assist with putting teen programs into the HQ. 

Social Media Marketing Committee:  I chaired the taskforce prior to this became a committee, if you are a social media maverick at your library this is the committee for you!  The mission is to help promote and share the work of our selection lists and awards though various social media platforms, i.e., twitter, Instagram, Facebook.  

Teen Civic Engagement Committee:  To create resources, training, and events that support members in centering engaging diverse teen voices and elevating the issues that are important to them; to highlight all aspects of civic engagement programming, with a special focus on teens being heard, counted, and active during elections; explore partnership opportunities with other ALA divisions or groups to develop trainings, toolkits, or other resources.

CALA YALSA Joint Taskforce:  This is a very exciting new task force: To determine a booklist to highlight and promote Chinese American creators and characters to commemorate the 50th anniversary of CALA. To select titles for the list in conjunction with ALSC (to begin work in February 2022). To provide recommendations to the board for review. To make changes as necessary depending on feedback from the YALSA Board. 

President’s Program Planning Taskforce:  This last one is for me.  When I go from President-Elect to President, this task force will help me shape my theme and eventual program for Annual 2023 in Chicago.  This is from the charge of the task force: To provide support, guidance and advice to the YALSA President in the implementation of their theme.  Activities may include working with the President to review Organizational and Implementation Plans to develop and coordinate appropriate theme-related goals, activities, and initiatives.

If you have questions about the committees or task forces feel free to email the chair of each group, you can find their contact info here

Any other questions don’t hesitate to email me.  You can fill out the volunteer form here.  

I look forward to working with you! 

Franklin Escobedo
President-Elect 2021-2022
fescobedo@cityoflarkspur.org
Follow me on twitter: @adrithian

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

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2022 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 14 through April 6, 2022.

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board members are responsible for jointly determining YALSA’s current and future programs, policies, and serving as liaisons to YALSA’s committees, juries, taskforces and advisory boards. Members work year-round, and attend in-person meetings at ALA’s Midwinter and Annual Conferences. A full description of Board duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Melanie Wachsmann, Library Director, Lone Star College – CyFair Library

How has your experience prepared you to address issues within YALSA related to equity, diversity and inclusion?
I began my career in education as a high school ESL teacher over 20 years ago. Those years instilled in me how important it is to listen to all voices and that they all have their own, different stories to tell. Those students taught me so many lessons, and I was often their advocate when they didn’t have one. Those experiences have carried on into my library career as a school librarian and now as the library director of a joint use community college and public library. I strive to ensure that the voices of my community are welcomed and represented in our collection and programming. Most of all I’ve learned how to listen. By listening to other’s ideas and experiences, I am better able to ensure that equity, diversity, and inclusion is not simply an acronym, but a part of everything. 

What are your ideas on how YALSA can collaborate with our Affiliate organizations like AILA, APALA, BCALA, REFORMA?
There are many avenues available for collaboration, from booklists or author spotlights that can be shared via a blog or fleshed out to more of an official selection committee list. Also, conversing with the leaders of the groups to learn more about their missions and goals and find ways that those align with YALSA and teen services in general. 

In your opinion, what do you feel is the biggest challenge ahead for YALSA?
I feel that the biggest challenge is finances. First, YALSA needs to have the full and complete financial picture and make plans for retaining the members we have, recruiting new members, and inviting back members who have left for various reasons. YALSA needs to show librarians what the organization has to offer them and the benefits of joining. 

How will you make YALSA’s mission, vision, and intended impact meaningful for current and potential members and supporters?
Communication is the key. Finding ways to tell and show stakeholders more about YALSA and its benefits, speaking with current and potential members about what they need and want from a professional organization, providing members with ways to collaborate at the state, local, and national levels. Lastly, in this era of book challenges and banning, providing librarians with resources and support is a way to make the work that the organization does meaningful. 

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2022 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 14 through April 6, 2022.

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board members are responsible for jointly determining YALSA’s current and future programs, policies, and serving as liaisons to YALSA’s committees, juries, taskforces and advisory boards. Members work year-round, and attend in-person meetings at ALA’s Midwinter and Annual Conferences. A full description of Board duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Melissa Malanuk, Coordinator of Teen Services, Queens Public Library

How has your experience prepared you to address issues within YALSA related to equity, diversity and inclusion?
I’ve spent my library career working in one of the most diverse areas in the world.  While working for Queens Public Library I have had the opportunity to work in different communities and to provide programs and services for people of different cultures and backgrounds.  When I was promoted to Coordinator of Teen Services for QPL I had to think about equity, diversity and inclusion in a much larger scale.   Inclusion, equity and diversity is something I think about in all facets of my role including developing programming, finding new vendors, staff training and collection development and reader’s advisory.   Celebrating and representing all cultures in our programming is something we discuss a lot and are working to incorporate into all of our system wide programs.  I am currently working on developing training on cultural competencies for our youth serving librarians and will be working with our collection development team to train on diversity audits.  Equity and inclusion is also something I think about when deciding where to place programs or which platform to hold programs in.  This is something we were constantly discussing when the pandemic forced us to go virtual.  We are very aware that not all youth will access to the same resources and do our best to plan accordingly.  Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is something we pride ourselves on and our always striving to improve on.

What are your ideas on how YALSA can collaborate with our Affiliate organizations like AILA, APALA, BCALA, REFORMA?
I think the best way we can work with Affiliate organizations is to break down silos and to make sure we are communicating with everyone.  I imagine that we are already doing similar work around equity, diversity and inclusion and civic engagement.  Communicating with each other to see where there is opportunity to pool resources and to amplify our messages and work is a strong first step.  For YALSA we can share information via The Hub or our newsletters and email blasts.  It is also important to keep those pathways to communication open and to make sure YALSA’s committee chairs are kept in the loop and are informed about the various work the Affiliate organizations are doing.  There are so many smart and creative library professionals working on our committee and I am sure once those pathways to communication open up we will find lots of different ways to collaborate.

In your opinion, what do you feel is the biggest challenge ahead for YALSA?
Building up our membership and getting new and fresh members to volunteer for committees.  YALSA has created an exciting strategic plan that I am excited to help implement but YALSA is only as strong and diverse as its members.  We need to be better at spreading the word about all the great resources and opportunities YALSA provides and at recruiting and retaining new members.

How will you make YALSA’s mission, vision, and intended impact meaningful for current and potential members and supporters?
I think YALSA’s mission, vision and intended impact is already meaningful to the majority of us who work with teens.  I imagine that the majority of library staff who work with teens want to create inclusive and diverse programs and spaces, be it virtual or in person, and to help set teens up to successfully navigate adulthood.  I think this is something that YALSA’s members are already striving for.  The role of the Board is to help connect the mission, vision and intended impact to all of the work we are doing and to continuously reinforce that messaging.  As someone who has volunteered for many different committees and task forces I know how easy it can be to forget the bigger picture and to just focus on the work in front of you.  This is especially true for supporters who are not actively working on committee’s and taskforce.  We need to be diligent in making sure we connect all of our work back to the mission, vision and intended impact.