Extra! Extra!You have been hearing about the new organizational plan for months and that is not by accident or happenstance. When the YALSA Board began working on the new organizational plan, we made a commitment to emphasize communicating that work out to YALSA members and stakeholders. In every step along the way, the Board has been carefully and intentionally planning the ways we can best reach members to ask, inform and engage them around the new plan.

As we reach the last step of the organizational planning process (not to be mistaken with the last step of the plan itself, we still have a long way to go!), we wanted to look back on the past few months and evaluate the ways we have reached out to members. Here are few highlights of what Board members and YALSA staff have done to spread the word about the new organizational plan.

  • 11 blog posts from Board members and YALSA Blog contributors with over 800 cumulative views
  • Over 1,000 unique page views on the organizational plan website
  • Mentions in YALS President’s Column, Editor’s Column and special highlights article from President-Elect, Sarah Hill, in the Spring issue
  • Engaging in conversations with stakeholders and committee chairs (95% of chairs surveyed were familiar with the plan by mid-May)
  • Too many social media posts to count!

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Florida has no shortage of beautiful gardens and vistas to experience.  Experience the true beauty of Florida.  If you enjoy lush gardens, beautiful sculptures, and tranquil settings, these gardens are sure to delight.

kraft-azalea-gardenKraft Azalea Gardens

136 S Alabama Drive, Winter Park, FL 32789

Open:  8am until dusk

Admission:  Free

Features:  5 acre public garden, dock, and Exedra Monument

mead botanical gardenMead Botanical Gardens

1300 S Denning Drive, Winter Park, FL 32789

Open:  7:30am until dusk

Admission Free

Features:  board walk, 20 minute jogging trail, Greenhouse, Butterfly Garden and Native Plant demonstrations


polasek gardenAlbin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens

633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789

Open:  Tues-Sat 10am-4pm; Sun 1pm-4pm

Admission:  $5

Features:  museum and sculpture garden, gift shop


Leu gardens

Harry P. Leu Gardens

1920 N Forest Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

Open daily 9am-5pm

Admission:  $10

Features:  19th historic home museum, 50 acres of gardens,


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Conferences can be difficult to navigate.  Between arriving on time, knowing where to park, and finding a cup of coffee, one can easily miss that important session.  Don’t get lost trying to prepare for the day!  Here are a few tips to make your conference go smoother.

cup-of-coffee13There is a reason why all of the hotels around the convention center have coffee shops…the coffee offered in the convention center by the vendors, shall we say, leaves much to be desired.

Pro Tip:  Most hotels have K-cup coffee makers in room.  Bring your own K-cups and your own travel mug to make your morning coffee.

Desperate Measures:  Nearest Starbucks:  10725 International Drive #110

711-lunch-break-isolated-icon-on-light-brownLunch can be the most costly meal of the day if you are not careful.  Meals in the Convention Center Cafeteria are usually $20.00.  The vendors in the exhibit hall have a slightly lower price for a lunch plate, but remember it is fast food.

Pro Tip:  Purchase a ticket for one of the many author or other value added luncheons offered.  You will have a great meal and an experience.

Desperate Measures:  Option 1:  Remember, some of the vendors will be inviting you to a “lunch and learn”.  You will receive a free meal while you listen to their pitch.  Option2: Pack your own lunch. (Granola bar, trail mix, piece of fruit from breakfast.)  Option 3:  Optimize the snack breaks offered in the hall between sessions.

gasInternational Drive has numerous restaurants and attractions, but you won’t find a gas station.  Many folks find themselves on Sand Lake Road paying “tourist inflated” prices.  Don’t buy gasoline there.

Pro Tip:  Go to 7-Eleven @ 6026 Destination Parkway.  Grab a Big Gulp and a Lotto ticket while you fill up.

Desperate Measures:  Well, you did bring comfortable shoes, right?

parkingThe OCCC charges $15 per day for standard vehicles and $25 per day for oversized vehicles.

Pro Tip:  Arrive early as parking fills fast or leave car in hotel parking and take the ALA shuttle.

Desperate Measures:  If you are healthy, most hotels are within one mile of the convention center.  Watch for traffic and use the crosswalks.

drug-store-icon-vector-illustration-53855958Sunburned. Forgot your prescription.

Pro Tip:  Nearest drugstore: Walgreens @ 9858 International Drive

Desperate Measures:  Remember most hotels have a basic needs bodega or closet to assist their quests.  It never hurts to ask.

Vandy Pacetti-Donelson is a Library Media Specialist. She is a Florida Native, library advocate and Board Director for the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME). Find her online at www.eliterateandlevelingup.com or follow her on Twitter @VandyPD.


Orlando is a large city with many food options, but sometimes when we have special dietary requirements, finding good places to eat can be frustrating.  There is no shortage of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices here in Orlando.

Top Vegetarian Choices

Veggie Garden 1216 E Colonial Dr Ste 11, Orlando, Florida 32803 407-228-1740 Now Open: Mon-Thu 9:00am-8:00pm, Sat 9:00am-9:00pm, Sun 9:00am-8:00pm Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Take-out, Asian, Vietnamese Serves Vietnamese vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Menu features a signature soup broth which uses over eight kinds of fresh vegetables and fruit. Small and cozy, sit down for a quick bite or take food to-go. Accepts credit cards. Inexpensive.

Dandelion Communitea Café 618 N Thornton Ave (at downtown), Orlando, Florida 32803 407-362-1864 Mon-Sat 11:00am-10:00pm, Sun 11:00am-5:00pm Cuisine: Vegan-friendly Orlando vegetarian cafe and urban teas shop. Provides a friendly and relaxing environment. Find Sweet Tooth vegan goodies here. Moderate.

Woodlands Pure Veg 6040 S Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, Florida 32809 407-854-3330 Call for hours – tell us Cuisine: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Indian, Buffet, Catering Vegetarian Indian restaurant features south Indian cuisine. Has a varied. daily lunch buffet. Food can be spicy. Simple decor. Open Tue-Sun lunch and dinner, closed Mon. Moderate.

Vegan Choices

Fresh 24 2816 Corrine Dr, Orlando, Florida 32803 407-897-1355 Mon-Sat 10:00am-6:00pm, Sun 11:00am-4:00pm A produce market selling only local farm fresh produce which arrives at the store within 24 hours of being picked. Daily produce arrivals include hydroponic, organic, and conventional farming.

Rhaphsodic Bakery 710 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Florida 32803 407-704-8615 Mon-Thu 11:00am-7:00pm, Fri-Sat 11:00am-8:00pm Vegan except for jars of honey, this bakery makes all-vegan desserts and baked goods and has a cold case with drinks, cakes, cookies, biscuits. Rotating local artwork displays. Free Wi-Fi. Wheelchair accessible. Accepts credit cards.

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Florida has many adventures for your budding scientist. Explore many hands-on experiences.  Do you have a budding astronaut at home?  Are you looking for Science experiences to bring back to your teachers?  Is science just “your thing”?  These local experiences will not disappointment.

Orlando Science Center

Orlando Science Center attracts nearly 400,000 visitors each year with dynamic and engaging content. The goal has always been to personalize the guest experience; demonstrating how science impacts everyday life. Structured programming ranges from on-site experiences that utilize exhibits, theatrical performances, classes, and events, to off-site educational programs in the schools.


Open:  Thur – Tues 10am – 5pm, Closed Wed

Admission:  $19.95 Adult, $13.95 Child, Florida Teachers free with Valid credentials

Admission includes 4 floors of intereactive exhibit galleries, films in the Dr. Philips CineDome, Digital Adventure Theatre and Science Live!  Admission also includes one Hollywood Movie per visit.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is where you can see the largest rocket ever flown, touch a moon rock, meet an astronaut, and stand nose-to-nose with shuttle Atlantis all in the same day. Make it a more memorable experience by having lunch with an astronaut!


Open:  9am – 7 pm daily

Admission: Prices begin at $50 Adult, $40 Child.  Lunch with an Astronaut $29.99 Adult, $15.99 Child

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Are you a nature-loving, trail riding, hiking adventure kind of traveler?  We have those eco-friendly experiences right here in Florida.  Make the most of your visit to Florida and enjoy some Florida eco-fun as well.

Forever Florida

Forever Florida is a unique eco-tourism attraction located in St. Cloud, Florida; just one hour southeast of Orlando. Departing from a picturesque Florida cattle and horse ranch, guest’s journey deep into the 4,700-acre Forever Florida Wildlife Conservation Area.  Enjoy a horseback, zipline, or coach safari. The profits from these adventures fund the Allen Broussard Conservancy that seeks to preserve Florida lands and species.


The Florida Trail

More than 1,000 miles of scenic trails traverse the state along The Florida Trail. The section of the trail that passes through central Florida and Kissimmee takes serious hikers into the heart of Florida’s cattle country and the Kissimmee River floodplain. Pick up the trail at one of 12 trailheads that access 100 miles of natural beauty. At Yates Marsh, stroll through pine forests and open prairie, thickets of palm and open cattle ranches. Hit the trail at the Chandler Slough trailhead and walk under a canopy of live oaks and weave in and out of wetlands. The trail also follows the route of the Kissimmee River and heads through the bird-rich Kissimmee Prairie and by numerous area lakes.



Alligator and crocodile park with free-fligh aviary, petting zoo, and animal shows.   Gatorland has the exciting “Trainer for a Day” experience where you can experience what it takes to be able to work with and around dangerous animals.


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We may be librarians, but that doesn’t mean we spend all our time behind a circulation desk.  If you have a sense of adventure or a need for speed, maybe one of these activities are just ticket for a break from annual conference.

Indoor Trampolines –

*Rebounderz – Indoor Trampoline Arena

6725 South Kirkman Road, Orlando, FL 32819


Admission:  All Access Unlimited Pass $38.99 +Jumps Socks $2.75


*Airheads – Indoor Trampoline Arena

33 West Pineloch Ave., Orlando, FL 32806


Admission:  Unlimited Jumping: $19.95 + Grip Socks: $2.99                                                                                                                   

*Jumpers 2 & Under: 50% off Admissions – Not combinable with other existing deals


Indoor Sky Diving –

*IFLY Orlando — Experience true free fall conditions, just like skydiving, without having to jump out of an airplane. iFLY’s vertical wind tunnel creates a wall-to-wall cushion of air on which you can safely float. There’s no parachute, no jumping and nothing attaching you to planet Earth. It’s just you and the air, and it’s the most incredible adrenaline rush.

6805 Visitors Circle, Orlando FL 32819


Admission:  Price Packages, see website for details

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Orlando is a city of neighborhoods; each with their own distinct character and appeal.  To truly enjoy Orlando, venture off International Drive and explore the diversity of Orlando through its neighborhoods.

College Park

College Park, where many bungalow-lined streets (Harvard, Yale, Vassar, etc.) are named for famed institutions of higher learning. Ground zero for shopping, dining and nightlife is the intersection of Princeton and Edgewater – CP’s de facto “Main Street.”


Truffles and Triffles—Take a cooking class.  http://trufflesandtrifles.com/


Jack Kerouac House—are you a budding writer and need to spend some focused time working on your craft.  Check out the Kerouac Project.  http://www.kerouacproject.org/


Dechoes Resale Emporium– this enterprise is upscale and filled with high-end merchandise. Filled with cardigans, funky knickknacks, vintage tees, granny dresses, shoes, hats, jewelry, and belts, this store is a treasure trove of style. You can also sell them your own things for cash, but note that their standards are very high.


Infusion Tea– Bright cafe & shop provides light vegetarian fare & a tea selection highlighting organic blends. http://www.infusionorlando.com/

Les Petit Pleasures—authentic French bakery, crepes, croissants, and café au lait.

The Soda Fountain– an old-fashioned soda fountain experience. They serve ice cream, shakes and malts. http://www.thesodafountain.com/


Ollie’s Public House— tattooed hipsters of varying generations happily share space with jersey-clad sports fans and young suburban parents with wee ones in tow, any of whom might be enjoying one of the televised games. Ollie’s is a clean, comfortable space, serving up a decidedly local’s-joint kind of vibe that’s offset by a simple but surprisingly creative roster of food and drink.  http://www.olliespublichouse.com/

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Orlando is a city of neighborhoods; each with their own distinct character and appeal.  To truly enjoy Orlando, venture off International Drive and explore the diversity of Orlando through its neighborhoods.

Mills 50

Centered on the intersection of Mills Avenue (SR 15) and Colonial Drive (SR 50) and affectionately called Little Saigon by locals.  Described as Orlando’s intersection of culture and creativity, this hipster hub fosters a mix of artists, restaurants, businesses, specialty shops, markets and bars. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see larger-than-life surrealist graffiti and murals covering walls, dumpsters and electric boxes.


Dandelion Communitea Café– a vegetarian teahouse set in a historically refurbished and colorful, bungalow-style home. Check out the “Dandy” for nightly events and performances as well as monthly full- and new-moon parties and drum circles. http://dandelioncommunitea.com/

BART–A family-owned and operated beer bar, arcade and art gallery, BART is located in the heart of Orlando’s trendy Mills 50 district. A rotating variety of classic video arcade games are almost all free and include everything from Pac-Man to Frogger. The cozy storefront bar also features an impressive selection of craft beers and wine.  http://bartcade.com/


Hawker’s Asian Street Fare—Their motto is “Eat the Streets”, featuring Asian style street vendor fare without leaving the neighborhood.  http://eathawkers.com/

Mamak Asian Street Food– offers delicious dining, carryout and delivery to Orlando, FL. Mamak Asian Street Food is a cornerstone in the Orlando community and has been recognized for its outstanding Chinese cuisine, excellent service and friendly staff. http://www.mamakasianorlando.com/

Pho88 –the signature dish is rice noodles in a savory soup served with paper-thin slices of beef that cook the moment they hit the broth, and it’s served with stalks of fresh cilantro, basil, lemon wedges and fresh bean sprouts. Be sure to get a creamy iced coffee for dessert.  Vietnamese Cuisine.  http://www.pho88orlando.com/

Little Saigon– Little Saigon Restaurant’s dishes are made from the best ingredients, freshest meats, and vegetables. They have a delicious selection of unforgettable Vietnamese dishes: rice vermicelli, popular pho (rice noodle soups), chicken with lemon grass, fish with ginger sauce, shrimp with tamarind sauce, and so much more! Vietnamese Cuisine.  http://www.littlesaigonrestaurant.com/

The Strand— The Strand was conceived as a small neighborhood restaurant featuring the “New Old,” contemporary interpretations of classic culinary fare. Seasonal dishes made from scratch, with daily Chef’s specials inspired by fresh ingredients. Craft beers and wines.  http://strandorlando.com/

Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa– a sleek, Latin/Caribbean-inspired place specializing in Barbacoa served in tacos or on rolls.  http://www.pigfloyds.com/

Anthony’s Pizza –preparing Italian cuisine with the finest meats and cheeses, freshest ingredients, specially prepared dough and homemade sauces. http://anthonyspizza.com/

Tako Cheena– a hipster dive serving a delicious fusion of Korean and Mexican flavors wrapped inside tortillas.   http://www.takocheenaorlando.com/

Bubbles and Ice– makes a huge range of sweet boba drinks (the bubbles are chewy rounds of tapioca), and shaved ice with exotic toppings such as sweet red bean, coconut or fresh tropical fruit.  https://www.facebook.com/bubblesandice

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Orlando is a city of neighborhoods; each with their own distinct character and appeal.  To truly enjoy Orlando, venture off International Drive and explore the diversity of Orlando through its neighborhoods.

The Milk District

Centered around the landmark T.G. Lee Dairy, site of one of the largest milk producers in the state, this hip, bohemian stomping ground features a variety of popular bars, casual eateries, boutique shops and live music venues.


Sportstown Billards –Established in 1958 in Orlando’s Milk District, Sportstown Billiards was responsible for launching Central Florida’s craft-beer craze in the late 2000s. Serving over 250 craft beers, a full menu of bar fare and an expansive array of arcade and board games, Sportstown is more than a pool hall. Tables can be rented by the hour, and there’s also ping pong, air hockey, basketball shootout, darts and foosball.  http://sportstownbilliards.com/


Beefy King — Serving the BEST Roast Beef sandwich for over 40 years!  Offering a variety of mouthwatering Roast Beef, Ham, Turkey, Pastrami, Corned Beef, Bar BQ Beef and Bar BQ Pork all served hot, fresh and made to order! http://beefyking.com/

Tasty Tuesdays– A solid rotation of 12 trucks convene for Tasty Tuesday, with over 30 food trucks each month. While trucks serve food at the weekly meet up, The Milk Bar, Spacebar, Sandwich Bar, and Etoile Boutique all open their doors to guests at the event. Trucks convene rain or shine, so bring an umbrella if the weather is bad or enjoy the indoor seating. Visitors are encouraged to grab plates from multiple trucks and give everything a try. Share amongst friends and family to get a taste of all the different culinary options offered. Tasty Tuesdays are located in the Milk District. Trucks are parked in the back lots of 2424-2432 E. Robinson Street between Bumby & Primrose.


Milk Bar– Great little beer bar in the Milk District. They have a couple video game consoles that are available to play for free and are a nice distraction if you’re waiting for someone to arrive. Bar tenders aren’t snobs, but knowledgeable and friendly.

Bull & Bush—oldest authentic pub in Orlando.  Cold beer and warm atmosphere, best darts in town.  http://www.bullandbushorlando.com/

Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar– Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar was conceived as a college-town coffeehouse. The coffee is top shelf only, fair trade and organic or rain forest alliance.  Coffee is roasted in house.  All of our gourmet soups are drummed up fresh in our kitchen.  Lots of veggie and vegan choices as well as non-veggie foods. Serving breakfast and lunch foods all day including great quiches, grilled wraps and panini that will keep you coming back for more. Try the ANZAC COOKIES.  http://drunkenmonkeycoffee.com/

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