Being an Emerging Leader is the easy part; it is the balancing of the rest of your life that gets difficult.

Sitting down to write this blog post, it has now been three months since we completed our project with YALSA and for something so major that occupied six months of our lives, it feels like it was over in no time at all.

But before I start reflecting too deeply on the experience, I’ll try to remember that someone told me this post was supposed to be about collaboration.

Collaboration can be such a scary word right? Going through life, we have all had some kind of experience where we were forced to collaborate. Maybe it was a group project in school where you partnered with your friends and things backfired horribly. It could have been that work assignment with Steve over in Accounting who you didn’t know real well, but things worked out and you wound up with a promotion. But I think for many of us, collaborating and that idea of “group projects” will always have a negative association.

So you can imagine my anxiety level heading into my first meeting with the YALSA group. And I know that they won’t admit it, but I would bet my teammates felt pretty similarly too.

That said, I think the community anxiety and general dread towards group work may have been the foundation of what exactly made this project run so smoothly. Each member of Project K seemed to enter that first day with a desire to try and make this process as easy and painless as possible. It was that mutual understanding and goal of trying to get through the Emerging Leaders program together, that provided the common ground that got us started.

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Focus on Facebook and Twitter. Share ideas, and tell us library success stories. Keep the messages brief.

That’s what you said you wanted from YALSA.

Earlier this year, more than 400 members responded to an online survey regarding social media – and we listened. “We” being the six American Library Association Emerging Leaders selected to work on a project spearheaded by YALSA.

First, a little about the ALA Emerging Leaders program: Each year 50 diverse library workers who are in their first five years in the field come together for leadership development and to tackle various tasks from ALA’s divisions and roundtables. Our work began at the Midwinter Meeting in Boston and concluded with a poster presentation during the Annual Conference in Orlando.

Our project: Over six months we developed a social media marketing calendar that YALSA can use to manage its presence online. We started with the survey to determine the preferences of YALSA members, specifically what social media sites you prefer, what types of information you would like to receive, and what you think YALSA should do to better engage its members.

During our team’s initial phone meeting — prior to the survey being conducted — we discussed the popularity of Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and other online tools. Would it be worthwhile for YALSA to invest time in these websites and apps? Thanks to your feedback, we learned that YALSA is better off continuing its focus on Facebook and Twitter. And with social media blocked in so many workplaces, respondents also noted that they rely heavily on YALSA E-News, the organization’s weekly email newsletter.

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I initially got involved in ALA because of the Emerging Leader program. I was forwarded an email by an administrator talking about the program the year it started, and I applied and didn’t get in. The year after that I applied and was sponsored by YALSA, but had to withdraw at the last minute because of health issues. In 2009 I was again sponsored by YALSA and finally made it! During the three years before, however, I was becoming more and more involved in ALA, and particularly in YALSA. My desire to just get into the EL program inspired me to push myself to join committees and attend conferences. Since “graduating” I’ve been on several more committees and have chaired a few, most recently taking on chairing the YALSA Mentoring Taskforce this year.  I was elected to two terms as an ALA Council member-at-large and I’ve served as a YALSA Board Fellow and At-large Board Director. I have taken on more of a leadership role in my state organization, and I am not afraid to branch out and get involved in other ALA divisions and round tables which has helped me to grow and develop new skills and meet people I wouldn’t normally meet. The Emerging Leader program really opened up a whole new aspect of being a librarian to me and helped me get involved on many different levels. It was a really great experience and one that I am glad I had the chance to experience.

Please help us raise $1000 to support our next Emerging Leader. Give to YALSA:

Carla Land was a YALSA Emerging Leader and current Chair of the Mentoring Taskforce.




I started my journey in libraries determined to be a teen services librarian. I knew those jobs, especially full-time, were few and far between but I was able to land a position as a part-time teen services librarian for Santa Clara County Library District. There, the amazing team of teen services librarians showed me all of the resources available to me, primarily from YALSA. I was blown away with the breadth of tools for different types of programming, collection development and so much more that was available online, right at my fingertips. I took this invaluable resource with me and as I entered a full-time teen services librarian for San Mateo County Libraries and continued to use them for the next 4 years. I kept my membership to YALSA current as it was my primary resource for keeping up to date with innovative programming, learning the changing need for teens, as well as opportunities for grant funding.

When I attended my first ALA Conference, I immediately sought out the YALSA booth as they are easily my go-to, library family. I learned about the YALSA-sponsored programs, networking opportunities and was introduced to more teen services librarians. When I applied to the 2014 ALA Emerging Leaders program and was accepted, YALSA was right there for me as my financial sponsor, which helped me tremendously as attending conferences can be costly. The Emerging Leaders program impacted my professional career by introducing me to exceptional library professionals from all over the state and internationally, and I was also able to learn about the various leadership opportunities within the ALA organization and committees, something I was not familiar with prior to attending. After Emerging Leaders ended, I was asked to be on the 2015 Printz Award committee, an honor that a teen services librarian only dreams of. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I would never forget and introduced me to another set of inspiring librarians working in teen services.

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ALA is currently looking for its next class of Emerging Leaders. Emerging Leaders (EL) puts participants on the fast track to ALA committee volunteerism. But why should YALSA members consider applying for the EL program? We decided to ask Amy Fiske, librarian at Winchester High School in Winchester, Massachusetts, active YALSA member, and 2008 Emerging Leader.

Q: Why did you apply for the Emerging Leaders Program?
Amy: I guess because I’m ambitious! At the time I was moving from a branch position to a Library Administration position with system-wide responsibilities. It was a good fit at the time. I was also interested in being involved in ALA and Emerging Leaders seemed like a faster track to do that.

Save $10 on next Thursday’s webinar If you register for YALSA’s Risky Business webinar by July 14, , taking place next Thursday at 2 p.m. Eastern, you’ll save $10 over normal registration rates. That means the webinar is just $29 for individual YALSA members and $39 for all other individuals. Register today at

WrestleMania: We’ve made the Challenge shorter and simple. The WrestleMania Reading Challenge has changed this year to take place during just one week, making it simpler for you and your teens and tweens to particpate. Registering automatically enters you into a drawing for one of five sets of books from Penguin — and it gives teens and tweens at your library the chance to win tickets to WrestleMania and $2,000 for your library. It’s a surefire way to get new YA readers into your library. Don’t believe us? Then find out what happened at Bambi Mansfield’s library.’  Register today at

Win cold, hard cash from YALSA. Do you have an idea to make YALSA’s awards and booklists into household names, ensure young adult and school librarians have access to important research, help YALSA better advocate for quality library services for every teen in every library, develop continuing education or career services that librarians need or engage YALSA’s current membership and recruit new members? Of course you do. Well, YALSA will pay you $250 for that great idea (and YALSA committees are eligible to submit an idea, too). But you have to submit your idea to the Great Ideas contest by July 15.

New Books from YALSA Now available in the ALA Online Store: Risky Business: Taking and Managing Risks in Library Services to Teens by Linda Braun, Hillias J. Martin, and Connie Urquhart and Multicultural Programs for Tweens and Teens, edited by Linda B. Alexander and Nahyun Kwon. Order your copy today!

After the jump, find out how you can win FREE BOOKS simply by registering for Teen Read Week, be a 2011 YALSA Emerging Leader, and more!

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Summer Course Registration Ends Tuesday Registration ends July 6 – that’s Tuesday – for YALSA’s summer online course, Power Up with Print! Instructor Jamie Watson will show participants how to boost the library’s circulation’ through the development of teen-centered programs,’ material evaluation and selection, booktalks and more, as well as discuss the latest trends in YA lit. Course registration now open at Courses cost $135 for YALSA members, $175 for ALA members, and $195 for nonmembers and will take place July 12 to August 9.

Congrats to YALSA’s Newest Spectrum Scholar! Congratulations are in order for Hoan-Vu Do, YALSA’s 2010-2011 Spectrum Scholar. Do will attend San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information’ Science.

WrestleMania Reading Challenge Registration You only have 30 days to register for the 2010-2011 Challenge! Remember, the Challenge has changed this year to take place during just one week, making it simpler for you and your teens and tweens to particpate. Registering automatically enters you into a drawing for one of five sets of books from Penguin — and it gives teens and tweens at your library the chance to win tickets to WrestleMania and $2,000 for your library. Register today at

Register for our July webinar! Registration is open for YALSA’s July webinar! Our July 15 webinar (Risky Business, hosted by Linda Braun) offers participants insights into effectively taking risks to manage and improve services to teens at your library. This in-depth, one-hour webinar will be held at 2 p.m. Eastern. Registration costs $39 for individual YALSA members, $49 for all other individuals. A group rate of $195 is available. Learn more (and find out details on our August and September webinars) at

After the jump, see how to win $250 from YALSA for your Great Idea,’  how you can get a free copy of Excellence in Library Services to Young Adults, 4th edition; how to win books’  simply by registering for Teen Read Week (it’s free!); who’s speaking at the Bill Morris Memorial Author Luncheon at the YA Lit Symposium, and how you can be a 2011 Emerging Leader!

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Posted on behalf of Team U.

Team U from the Emerging Leaders program is working on a project for YALSA to develop a job shadowing initiative for teens to promote teen librarianship (in school or public settings). Because of Skype and other wonderful technologies we can cheaply connect teens who cannot participate in in-person job shadowing to fabulous practicing librarians. We are working on a video that will be about a half hour long to show teens before they attend a Skype or video conference with a librarian. It would be a busting-myths-about-librarians-look at the activities of librarians who work with teens.

Are you willing to grab a video camera and get one of your kids/co-workers/significant other to film you showing us what your job is *really* like in a way that would appeal to teens and bust those bun-cat-shushing myths? Or do you already have something we could cull from (maybe on YouTube or something your TAB created)? Even 60 seconds worth of footage that shows teens what librarians really do on the job is appreciated and needed!

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Posted on behalf of Project U.

Attention all teen librarians: Emerging Leaders Project U needs your help! Our team is creating a job shadowing initiative for YALSA to encourage teens to enter the field of teen librarianship. This initiative will include resources and materials that teen librarians can use to run a job shadowing program in their own library without having to start from scratch.

We’d like to showcase how fun, exciting, and interesting a teen librarian’s job can be, and we’d like your input. Please send an email to with your name, where you work, your title, and a short narrative answering this question: “What is your favorite thing about being a teen librarian?” Your answers may be used in promotional materials that will be included with the job shadowing resources we’re creating. Thanks for your help!