Last year, for the first time, YALSA exhibited at the ALISE (Association for Library and Information Science Education) Conference. This year ALISE takes place January 4 – 7 at the Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa and YALSA wil again be exhibiting. YALSA members will staff the booth on January 5 and 6 from 8AM to 4PM and on January 7 from 8AM to noon. If you are going to be at ALISE be sure to stop by and talk with YALSA members about the initiatives of the association. Of course there will be YALSA swag at the booth as well as useful informational items about the association’s publications, including the new research journal, and information about how to get involved.

YALSA is also sponsoring a happy hour during ALISE. The happy hour will take place on Wednesday evening, January 5, from 5:30 to 7PM at the olive in the Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa. Those attending ALISE should make sure to stop by for some informal networking and socializing with colleagues.

The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association is to advocate, promote and strengthen service to young adults as part of the continuum of total library service, and to support those who provide service to this population.

Mission Moment
How Recent YALSA Activities Support the Association’s Mission and Strategic Plan

In December YALSA hired the first editor of the Association’s research journal. Jessica Moyer was selected by the search committee. The research journal is slated to launch in the fourth-quarter of 2010 and is both directly tied to YALSA’s mission and the Association’s strategic plan. As a demonstration of supporting YALSA’s mission, hiring Jessica is a key step in publishing a journal that will help members understand teens and how to serve them effectively. The YALSA strategic plan includes a goal area for research which states, “YALSA is a recognized source for access to targeted research benefiting members and the library community.” Hiring a journal editor is an important action in reaching this strategic goal.


In early December I facilitated two conversations for Committee Chairs on planning and getting ready for Midwinter Meeting in Boston. Information covered in the conversations included submission of pre-conference committee reports, building an agenda for committee meetings, what to expect at all-committee and leadership development meetings, and events (outside of committee meetings) to attend at Midwinter. Read More →

Yesterday I had the chance to attend a meeting at ALISE about participatory librarianship. (The main focus was on bringing participatory librarianship ideas to library education.) I’d read about the concept of participatory librarianship about a year ago when the ALA Office of Internet Technology Policy (OITP) and Syracuse Univesity published a report (and launched a web site) on the topic. However, after looking at the information all those months ago I didn’t spend much more time thinking about the ideas expressed.

The Participatory Librarianship site defines the concept this way:

Simply put participatory librarianship recasts library and library practice using the fundamental concept that knowledge is created through conversation. Libraries are in the knowledge business, therefore libraries are in the conversation business. Participatory librarians approach their work as facilitators of conversation. Be it in practice, policies, programs and/or tools, participatory librarians seek to enrich, capture, store and disseminate the conversations of their communities.

Isn’t this what those serving teens in libraries try to do every day – have conversations with teens, and those in the community that support and serve teens, in order to provide better programs and services?

Throughout the meeting I took notes of some of the key ideas (sound bites) expressed by participants. Three of these include:

  • If libraries are in the information business then they are also in the conversation business. In other words as a part of the information gathering and seeking process librarians and searchers need to have real conversations about the process, the information, the tools, and so on. Searchers and librarians participate in discussion in order to succeed in the process and to develop ideas.
  • Let users design systems if they are using them. This means that customers – teens and adults – get to mashup and customize tools libraries/librarians provide. For example, instead of forcing users to stick with the technology tools that they find hard to use, why not find ways to give them tools that they can customize in order to make their use more meaningful and easy? For example search widgets, wiki tools, and so on.
  • In the library field we want problem-solvers who can communicate with the community. For those of us working with teens, that seems to mean looking at the barriers to successful teen service in the library and then going out and having conversations with community members, colleagues, administrators, and teens in order to find possible and effective solutions.

There’s a lot to think about within this idea of participatory librarianship and the world of teen services. Why not start a conversation at your library about what the concept is and how you can start integrating it in order to enhance your programs and services – to teens and to the community at large?