Hello there! My name is Joel Shoemaker and I’m the new chair of the Financial Advancement Committee for YALSA. I’m very excited about this new endeavor and thought I’d utilize this opportunity to introduce you to our charge and our committee members. 

If you’ve never heard of it, the Financial Advancement Committee supports the Friends of YALSA and works to create and implement various fundraising efforts, both virtually and, when the time comes, at in-person conferences and events! This work is an effort to support scholarships and stipends that YALSA gives out annually.

We are a small but mighty group! Here is a bit about a few of our members:

Angelique Kopa is a Collection Development selector for the Baltimore County Public Library in Maryland. She loves serving YALSA and ALSC by volunteering for committees and is also a committee member for ALSC’s Children and Technology committee. In her free time, she enjoys being active and doing anything outdoors.

Celeste Swanson (she/her) is the Youth Services Coordinator for the Lane Libraries in Ohio. In addition to the Financial Advancement Committee, she also serves as chair of the Selection List Oversight Committee. She is currently reading (and loving!) Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley. 

Yvette Garcia has served in various roles throughout her career with Chicago Public Library, with nearly twenty years of experience advocating for patrons of all ages in libraries. Outside of CPL, Yvette has contributed to the field of librarianship by taking on leadership roles with the young adult division of ALA, YALSA. Additionally, she has presented in a variety of settings and topics. Yvette graduated with an MLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.A. in Economics from Knox College. 

As for me, I’m the library director for the Illinois Prairie District Public Library and a magician. I’m in my second year of a three-year term on the Rebecca Caudill Committee, which is a statewide committee that chooses books for fourth through eighth graders to vote on a favorite each year! I’m married and have a dog named Maximus. One day, I long to have a smaller dog called Minimus.

We’re looking very forward to serving our members this year!


From earlier parts of this blog series (part 1, part 2, and part 3), you’ve read about reasons to give to YALSA–particularly to Friends of YALSA.

When I first joined ALA in 2010, I didn’t know what Friends of YALSA stood for.  I thought it simply meant: “YALSA is awesome” and “I will be friends with anyone in YALSA.” It was naive of me, but in my defense, I was new to the field and had just started library school.  It wasn’t until I saw a list of names in a monthly YALSA newsletter that I realized what it meant.  The Friends of YALSA are those who donate to these funds. The Friends of YALSA support over $16,000 annually in member stipends, grants, scholarships, and awards.  The Friends of YALSA are likely to be highly passionate about YALSA and teen services.

As a YALSA member, you get access to hundreds of outstanding professional tools and online learning opportunities such as webinars and videos. You’re also eligible for YALSA grants, stipends, and awards.

However, as a donor to Friends of YALSA, you’ll help fund these member grants, stipends, and awards which in turn allow more librarians to do great work, which then increases the likelihood that they’ll bring back their experiences to share with the wider YALSA membership!

So here are more reasons why you should give to YALSA.

Reason #13: Webinars

Why give to YALSA? There are plenty of reasons, but professional development appears high on that list. YALSA members get free access to over 75 webinars which are high quality in information and relevant to your work with teens… plus, you can learn at your own pace and at your convenience.

Here are some recent and upcoming webinars:

  • What I Stopped Doing: Improving Services to Youth by Taking On Less
  • Connecting with Immigrant and Refugee Youth in your Community
  • Content Creation Tools for You & Your Teens
  • Cultural Competence in the Library
  • Identifying and Serving Homeless Youth
  • Welcoming Spaces: Serving Patrons with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders)
  • Serving LGBTQ Teens
  • Ready, Set, Go! 30 Ways to Reach Reluctant Readers in 60 Minutes
  • Community Collaborations: School and Public Library Partnerships
  • Collecting and Vetting Digital Content
  • Commence Learning! Prepping for College Readiness Library Programming and Services
  • Life Hacks 101: Strategies for Preparing Your Teens for Adulthood
  • Making the Leap from Summer Reading to Summer Learning to Increase Impact
  • (Upcoming) July 21: Connecting Teens & Community Inside and Outside the Library
  • (Upcoming) August 18: Connecting Teens to Mental Health Support and Services

More about webinars can be found:  http://www.ala.org/yalsa/onlinelearning/webinar

“YALSA’s free webinars for members are a great way to squeeze in professional development if you can’t get away from your [library]!” -Ariel Cummins, New Braunfels Public Library

Reason #14:  Toolkits

Did you know that in addition to all the various resources available on the website, wiki, courses, webinars, blogs, member communities, and other resources for members, YALSA has toolkits that features step by step instructions and best practices for a variety of hot topics for teen services? Check them out.  These toolkits are available to download.

Advocacy Toolkit

Legislative Advocacy Guide (PDF)

Making in the Library Toolkit (PDF)

Research Tools

Social Networking Toolkit (PDF; updated 2011)

Social Networking: A Guide for Teens (PDF; updated 2011)

STEM Programming Toolkit (Word doc)

Teen Intern Toolkit (PDF)

Teen Reading Guide for Parents and Caregivers (PDF)

Teens’ Top Ten Toolkit (Word doc)

YALSA Road Trip (PDF)

“YALSA tool kits are essential to every Teen Librarian and helps me advocate for my teens!” -Dora Ho, Los Angeles Public Library

To view YALSA’s whole list of professional tools and online learning resources, visit:

Online Learning:  http://www.ala.org/yalsa/onlinelearning

Professional Tools:  http://www.ala.org/yalsa/professionaltools

Read More →

Read reasons #1-4 here, and #5-8 here.

We asked YALSA members to share their top reasons to give to YALSA, and here are some of them:

Reason #9:  Grants and scholarships

Yep, you heard that right. There’s money out there. YALSA offers nearly $200,000 a year in awards and scholarships to members. Some of these are sponsored by library vendors, like Baker & Taylor, and Greenwood, but others are sponsored directly by the Friends of YALSA. YALSA supports Spectrum Scholars and Emerging Leaders, and gives grants to members so that they can attend conferences and Library Legislative Day. By supporting YALSA, you are supporting members who are working directly with or on behalf of teens. Find out more here: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/awardsandgrants/yalsaawardsgrants.

Reason #10:  Recognition and Awards

In addition to scholarships and grants, YALSA acknowledges the good work that YALSA members do in a variety of areas. The YALSA Writing Award acknowledges the best writing each year in YALSA’s blogs and journals. The Volunteer of the Year Award acknowledges the contributions of YALSA members who have demonstrated outstanding service to the mission, goals and work of YALSA during a given service year.  Awards are given out for chair, member, and/or a group as a whole. http://www.ala.org/yalsa/awardsandgrants/yalsaawardsgrants.

Read More →

Here are some truly awesome reasons to give to YALSA.  Read reasons 1-4 here.

Are you looking for ways to better serve the teens in your community? Then you, yes YOU, should be looking at YALSA and how you can support this fine organization.

headsReason #5:  You will get great ideas
Programming ideas from nation-wide programs like Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week. Plus all of the valuable ideas you’ll get from you fellow teen librarians from around the country and the world. A great place to start is YALSA’s Programming Headquarters.

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I’m the only high school librarian in my school. I love the independence, yet constantly updating and fine-tune services is challenging. YALSA has developed robust programs that help me succeed every year. When I use these resources, I know I am getting the latest and greatest professional information. And, when I give to YALSA, I am helping YALSA continue to improve my profession.

Why do I join YALSA every year?

Reason #1:  YALSA helps me keep ahead of the trends

YALSA published The Future of Libraries for and with Teens: A Call to Action in 2014 to help me meet the needs of today’s and future teens. While I can read and share this document without joining YALSA, my membership makes projects like this possible.

This document is dense with substantial ideas explained in clear, succinct language. It has produced shifts in my attitude resulting in real changes in our library program. The section “Embracing Our Role as Facilitator Rather than Expert” gave me permission to learn on the job, learn in front of students–and enjoy learning from them. Thanks to The Future of Libraries for and with Teens: A Call to Action, I confidently step aside and learn alongside students. Next year I plan to implement some action around the section “Supporting Library Staff in Gaining New Skills.”

“The Future of Libraries is affecting change in libraries across North America. Read about five libraries’ work in Case Studies: Real-World Examples of How Libraries Are Re-Envisioning Teen Services. And, the change isn’t limited to libraries. Using this document as a guiding force, YALSA has developed a new 3-year strategic plan.

With a YALSA membership, you get guidance on how to implement The Future of Libraries by listening to this webinar on YELL!, the YALSA e-Learning platform:

What I Stopped Doing: Improving Services to Youth by Taking On Less by Jennifer Velasquez.
Listen to the Recording
View the Slides

Read More →

The Charge of the YALSA Financial Advancement Committee (FAC) states that the Committee “provide[s] oversight and continued enhancement of the Friends of YALSA (FOY) program, including fundraising efforts and donor recognition”.  As a part of that work, FAC develops and presents a fundraising plan to the YALSA Board for approval each year. At their Midwinter meetings in Boston, the YALSA Board will review and take action on item 22, FAC’s proposed 2016 plan.  The Board wants to act on the item during their Midwinter Meetings so that FAC is able to move forward with their plans without interruption.

An effective Fundraising Plan is integral to YALSA’s ability to support several FOY initiatives. These include the Advocacy Travel Stipend, support of the ALA Emerging Leader Program, support of the ALA Spectrum Scholar Program, and the association’s Board Fellow.  All of these give YALSA the opportunity to help members grow professionally.

For the 2016 plan, FAC outlined a set of year-long virtual and face-to-face initiatives that provide YALSA advocates a variety of opportunities to give to FOY.  If you have questions about FAC, FOY, or other YALSA financial topics feel free to get in touch with FAC Chair Jane Gov or YALSA’s Fiscal Officer Linda W. Braun.

All YALSA Board Meetings are open to Midwinter Meeting attendees. Feel free to drop by for a short or long period of time. The meetings are an excellent way to learn what YALSA is working on and get a sense of how the association’s governance works. If you’re not in Boston, follow @yalsa for live Tweets from the meetings.  


Jane Gov is a librarian in the City of Pasadena, CA and Financial Advisement Committee Chair. 


image courtesy of Pink Sherbet Photography on flickr

Today is YALSA’s 56th birthday! For over half a century YALSA has been helping libraries, library workers and advocates expand and improve library services for teens. All of the wonderful work that YALSA has done over the years would not be possible without the passion and hard work of members like you. On YALSA’s birthday please become a Friend of YALSA by donating to support scholarships and stipends to continue to grow young adult library services.

Let’s look at some other famous people who share this day with YALSA:

  • Solange Knowles, young sister to Beyonce who has tried her hand at acting, modeling and running her own business, turns 27 today.
  • Star of the popular TV series Friday Night Lights, Minka Kelly turns 33 but still looks like she could be in high school!
  • Best-selling author and fan favorite from’ The Office, now’ staring in her own show, Mindy Kaling turns 34.
  • Iain Glen, who you may know from the series’ Game of Thrones, turns 52 today.
  • The Chuck Taylor, the basket ball player who made the shoes famous was born on this day in 1901. What would we wear without him?!
  • And for those children of the 70’s and 80’s, the two stars of RoboCop, Peter Weller (RoboCop) and Nancy Allen (Officer Anne Lewis) both celebrate June 24 as their birthday! I hope they had a party on set! I would love to see RoboCop with a birthday hat on.

If we could get them all together, it would be one heck of a party! You can celebrate by donating‘ to YALSA and helping to provide an even better 57th year!

Image courtesy of Justin Henry on Flickr

YALSA’s 56th birthday is just a week away on June 24! As you probably know, choosing the perfect birthday card can be difficult. Not too sentimental, nor too sarcastic, the perfect balance is hard to find. If you are looking for the right message to send on Monday, please consider one of these cards (that, unfortunately, do not exist) inspired by our favorite books.

Harry Potter’ by J.K. Rowling

Front: Happy birthday! We would like to cordially invite you to attend Hogwarts!

Inside: Unfortunately we sent your original letter by owl and Errol is so slow it took 45 years to get to you.
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CC Image courtesy of Rachel Ford James on Flickr

YALSA turns 56 this month and we want you to be ready to party! There is no better party planning tool than Pinterest, and I certainly don’t need an excuse to peruse the plethora of party planning pins, so here is your guide to an orange and blue theme YALSA party!

The ideas for your YALSA birthday party range from simple and quick to ‘ requiring a Martha-Stuart-like array of tools and attention to detail. But no matter your budget, time or money, you will find something here that can help create the perfect party and draw attention to the wonderful things that YALSA does.


I will be hosting my party in our staff break room next week, complete with orange soda, popcorn (in blue bags) and cupcakes! You can throw a party as big or as small as you like and ask for donations to support the Friends of YALSA, to provide stipends and scholarships for your fellow librarians.

Post a picture of your cake or treats to YALSA’s facebook page by June 17th for a chance to win a gorgeous apron from The Cornish Hen’s Etsy shop and a signed book!

What themes can you come up with? Or perhaps you are looking for another activity, check out the YALSA fundraising guide for more ideas!

The Cornish HenYALSA’s fifty-sixth birthday is just a few weeks away and we want you to be at the party! We will be celebrating here all month long and we want you to get involved. Here are just a few ways you can participate:

1. Donate your time: The YALSA Fundraising Guide (PDF) has several great ideas about how to throw a party, family game night, Dinner by Genre or book trivia night! Take a few hours to host an event that celebrates YALSA’s accomplishments and benefits the Friends of YALSA.

2. Donate your money: Your financial support goes to grants, stipends and scholarships that help foster our profession. Friends of YALSA members also enjoy many benefits. Friends of YALSA attending the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago this year, will enjoy reserved seating at the Printz and Edwards Award Receptions (tickets required) as well as a special reception for Printz-winning author Nick Lake before the Printz reception on Monday evening. Friends in the Gold and Platinum circles are invited to meet with Margaret A. Edwards Award winner Tamora Pierce‘ on Saturday afternoon before the luncheon. Donate today to support your fellow librarians and enjoy the benefits of being a Friend of YALSA!

3. Donate your status: Check out your favorite cookbook and get baking! Help us spread the word about YALSA’s birthday by baking a birthday cake! Theme your cake after your favorite YALSA award, blog or week (Teen Tech Week and Teen Read Week) and post the picture to YALSA’s facebook page by June 17th. Fans will vote on their favorite cake and the baker will win a prize pack including beautiful handmade apron from The Cornish Hen’s Etsy shop.

Find your way of telling YALSA how much you appreciate the past fifty-six years!