One of the things we (the Program Clearinghouse Committee) saw a lot on the ALA Annual conference survey results was a wish that there was a “conference buddy” type program for first time conference attendees and new YALSA members. There is an ALA program in place.

When people register for conference, they are asked if they are first time attendees. If they say yes, they are automatically contacted by an ALA Ambassador, who is a veteran conference attendee. Each Ambassador has three to five contacts to make, which includes sending an welcome email to the attendee to check and see if they have any questions, or if the Ambassador can help in some way to make the conference experience a good one.

Each Ambassador spends at least two hours at either the Membership Pavillion on the Exhibit Floor or at the Registration Desk. Ambassadors wear an ALA Ambassador ribbon on their badges so as to be easily identifiable. There was also a “Text an Ambassador” service for the first time in Chicago.

Information about the program is sent out in email blasts to all conference attendees and is available on the conference wiki.

In this podcast, Best Books for Young Adults Chair Summer Hayes talks about the importance of the BBYA Teen Session, held at Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference. Afterwards, listen to teens talk about their favorite nominees for the 2010 list at the 2009 ALA Annual Conference BBYA Teen Session.

See the full nomination list online at the BBYA webpage. Thanks to YALSA intern Thiru Selvanagayam for creating this podcast.


You can also subscribe to YALSA’s podcasts.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve probably heard about the controversy surrounding one of YALSA’s best-known lists: the Best Books for Young Adults. Heck, you’d have to be ignoring Twitter, various journals, and this very blog to have not heard a peep about the kerfuffle.

But what really happened?

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After all the build-up and excitement of the 2009 American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago, it’s now over. Attendees are heading back to their respective positions to implement new new programs, develop new strategies, and apply new techniques to the field. And, of course, share all the exciting news with colleagues.

But what if you’ve forgotten that pithy quote, the moment of wit, the sharp phrase? Well, thanks to Twitter and hashtags, you can quickly search for your favorite ALA moments.
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Yesterday I was officially installed as YALSA’s President for 2009-2010. I am very excited about working with the Division and its members on an array of projects that will help support librarians working with teens.

yalsa knows risky businessOne thing YALSA will be focusing on over the next year is my presidential theme which is Risky Business. I developed this theme with the support of the Presidential Advisory Task Force. (Thanks to Frances Jacobson Harris, Lisa Lindsay, Jack Martin, Becky Mazur, Jami Mayo, and Connie Urquhart for their hep in getting ready for this year.)

YALSA knows librarians take risks every day of the year when they purchase materials that might be controversial, when they have conversations with teens which might lead to topics that are sometimes difficult to discuss, when they advocate for the programs and services teens need. In order to support librarian risk-taking, during the year YALSA will collect stories about risk from librarians, Read More →

If you offer me a choice between going to a conference program and observing the work of a committee or board…I’ll pick the committee’  and board stuff almost every time. You’ll find debate, controversy, and loads of interesting discussions.

Yesterday, I observed the ALA Executive Board. They had a pretty interesting agenda, including a report on librarian demographics. It was fascinating stuff and merits discussion amongst a wider audience.

The demographers have not compiled their findings into a final report, and it will probably be a while before we see their interpretations. I’ll walk you through the slides, but keep in mind…while the numbers aren’t completely raw, you might consider them still medium-rare. Read More →

I have a feeling that my first stop in Chicago wasn’t one that many other librarians visited. I didn’t pick up my conference materials or check into my hotel. I didn’t wander through the new modern wing at the art museum or indulge in my first hot dog. I didn’t go anywhere near McCormick Plaza.

Instead, I went to a tattoo parlor.

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I have been remiss about blogging from ALA due to spending most of the day yesterday either in an unairconditioned cab or a meeting room. However, business is being done. Yesterday, the USBBY Board ( met to conduct business. If you have time today, plan to attend the USBBY sponsored session from 3:30-5:30 (co sponsor is YALSA) with the author of HEARTSINGER and her translator and editor.

Today began with a Neil Gaiman spotting. I think that bodes well for the day.

Most of the talk this morning was about the Board meeting Monday when the topic of BBYA will come to the floor for discussion. YALSA members should plan to come and listen and provide feedback.

Later today I’ll be jetting my way to Chicago for what I expect will be a whirlwind week at Annual Conference. There’s a lot that I’m looking forward to. I thought about writing about all of it here, but then thought, readers can find out about all of the great programs on the YALSA wiki. There are, however, a couple of things I want to highlight about Annual Conference 2009, particularly to those that are new to Conference and perhaps to YALSA.

First, if you are new, YALSA Is made up of a great welcoming bunch of people. Read More →