As we all know, having teens involved in your library is greatly beneficial to both teens and librarians. One of the best ways to invite teen involvement is by forming a Teen Advisory Group. TAGs can benefit everyone, from the smallest rural libraries to the largest city library.

The Teen Advisory Group interest group has been formed to provide a forum for the learning, discussion, promotion of Teen Advisory Groups (TAGs) as a critical part of library services to all teens.’  This includes library Teen Advisory Groups and all other forms of teens as advisors in libraries.’  The Interest Group will promote and maintain a YALSA TAGs online presence, including but not limited to blog postings and web site and wiki content.

Whether you’re just starting out, or already have a thriving group, the TAGS Interest Group wants to hear from you! If you’re interested in being the Convener or Co-Convener, please email me (Clio) at by May 3rd. Please join us as we expand our group!

The Youth Participation Interest Group promotes the input and involvement of’ young adults’ in the creation and development of library activities, programs and publications, as well as’ in the decision-making process which affects their access to information and library services. ‘ 

Why is youth participation so important? By encouraging youth participation not only can we insure the relevance of materials and services to the teens we serve, but we also provide an experience through which young adults can enhance their learning and personal development.

If you are interested in discussing the ways we can increase youth participation, please join our ALA Connect group.’  If you would like to be the convener, or co-convener, please submit your name to me at by Monday May 3, 2010.’  Elections will be held the week of May 24, 2010.

We have spent the last generation building up strong teen programs in our libraries.’  Many, if not most, public libraries now have a dedicated teen space.’  With YALSA taking the lead, we can be proud of the progress we have made in serving middle- and high-school students.

But what happens when our library teens graduate?’  They are unceremoniously dumped, cut off from library programs and relationships that we have worked so hard to provide for them.’  Or perhaps they lose interest in our programs as they become older teens, wearied by the presence of young middle-schoolers at teen events.

Either way, older teens and graduates lose an important connection to the library.’  Many do not return until they have children of their own.’  Others leave forever, seeking elsewhere for social and educational events they once found at the library.

Last summer YALSA approved the formation of a new interest group to address the needs of these older teens and twenty-somethings.’  The “Serving New Adults Interest Group” focuses on the issues of programming, collection management, and advocacy for this decidedly underserved age group.

Several of us gathered for the YALSA First Wednesday Chat this week to discuss ideas on how to best serve 16- to 26-year-old patrons.’  We generated a long list of programming ideas, including manga/anime, cake decorating, car repair, game nights, cooking for two, The Office Olympics, Minute-to-win-it, and many others.’  We acknowledged the challenge of finding the time, money, and staff to expand our focus to these older teens and young adults.’  We identified collaboration opportunities with community colleges and other groups.’  ‘ We also brainstormed for a few fun minutes on what to call this demographic.’  What would it take to change the definition of “young adults” to college-age, and use “teens” exclusively to mean 12-18 year olds?’  And if we did that, what would we call YALSA???

If this conversation interests you, I invite you to join the “Serving New Adults Interest Group”.’  I also urge you to subscribe to the “serving-OTYA” email listserv.’  Help us expand the YALSA focus to include the “new adults” in our communities.

The Partnerships Advocating for Teens Interest Group is affectionately referred to as PAT.’ ‘  The goal of PAT is to “explore, recommend, initiate and implement ways of working with other organizations that work for youth. “

If you’re asking yourself why do partnerships matter?’  Consider some of the potential benefits of partnering with outside organizations.’  Partnerships can:

  • Provide a way to share resources and publicity efforts in a time of reduced funding
  • Help each organization work to achieve a common goal or realize a common vision
  • Help each organization be more effective
  • Reap mutually beneficial rewards and credibility
  • Help you gain additional funding sources
  • Provide an opportunity to reach a new audience of teens
  • Lead to other new, exciting and successful partnerships
  • Offer a way of garnering new skills, competencies, and awareness as a result of working with each other

Intriguing, yes?’  For a wonderful overview of’  the research involving libraries and partnerships for youth, check out the literature review that Vikki Terrile, a member of PAT, has created here.

We meet on ALA Connect once a month for “Pat Chats” to discuss these ideas and more.’  We are excited about producing a definitive resource for those librarians wishing to forage partnerships with outside organizations – a place for inspiration, examples and other resources.’  If you’d like to get involved, join our Interest Group!’  Find us on ALA Connect under the group “YALSA Partnerships Advocating for Teens,” or just click here.’  Next Pat Chat is on April 22 at 10AM CST. And don’t forget that elections are happening in May and our Interest Group will be looking for a Convener!

Professional Development in Teen Services is vital to our organization and our members. YALSA should not just be about those we serve but about our careers and librarianship development as well. This is why we have taken the PD committee to an interest group. We strongly believe that Professional Development of all the YALSA members should not be contained to just 7 people on the committee but open to everyone.

We are now seeking energetic, career minded, members to join this new exciting interest group. Like the other interest groups you have read about this week, we are also seeking those who might want to lead this exciting new adventure. If you are interested in becoming involved in YALSA as a convener please submit your name to me (Brijin Boddy) at by Monday, May 3, 2010. The elections will be held May 24, 2010.

Intellectual Freedom matters.’ ‘  As Young Adult librarians we are constantly facing down book and material challenges.’  If you take a look at any year’s list of ALA’s top ten challenged books, you’ll see that the majority of the books being challenged are YA books.’  ALA is a leader in the defense of the First Amendment, and has a large Intellectual Freedom community.’  From the Freedom to Read Foundation, which fights for reader rights in court cases, to the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, ALA works hard to combat censorship and protect reader’ privacy.’  For’ YALSA members’  interested in staying up to date on’ intellectual freedom issues, a great place to start is the’ YALSA’ Intellectual Freedom Discussion Group.’ 

Here’s what we’ve been doing:

  • Staying informed and sometimes blogging‘ about current issues surrounding intellectual freedom, teens,’ and libraries.’  For example, we’ve recently been discussing the Mississippi teen fighting for her right to take her girlfriend to prom.
  • Planning ‘ ALA’ Conference programs‘ in conjunction with AASL and ALSC Intellectual Freedom Groups.’  YALSA plans a program every third year.’  In 2009, we presented a panel discussion on the fine line between selection and censorship.’  Our next program will be in 2012.
  • Liaisoning with ALA’s’ Intellectual Freedom Committee‘ &’ the Freedom to Read Foundation.’  Liaisions attend meetings at conference, and sometimes attend the ALA-IFC Spring Meeting in Chicago.

You can join us by contacting the current convener (me).’  I’ll add your to our email distribution list, and then ask you to join our ALA Connect group.’  Speaking of conveners, it’s nearly time to vote for a new one (or two).’  If you think you’d’ like lead or co-lead this interesting interest group, submit your name to me’ by Monday, May 3rd.’  Convener elections will be held via ALA Connect on May 24th.

If you are interested in joining or convening, please email me at’ 

Holly Anderton

Anime Discussion Group needs your participation!’  Please join us at ALA Connect.’  Share your ideas and recommendations.’ 

The purpose of this discussion is to discuss issues relating to anime and to develop and disseminate best practices in collections, programming, and related topics in the popularity of anime and its affects on teens.’  Regularly share good program practices and successful anime events as well as making anime title recommendation to the group.

Please contact me at if you have any questions or suggestions for the discussion group.’ ‘ Please submit your name to me’ if you are interested to be the next convenor. ‘  Thanks!

Urban teens are different. They have a million things going on around them all the time. They have incredible ranges of options. Indeed, all too often it seems as if they have altogether too many options. For all of this surface sophistication they can be stunningly provincial, never leaving their neighborhood niches and filled with all the fears and frailties of any teen anywhere. Urban teens, particularly in the inner city, can come across as really world weary and tough yet scratch a little below the surface and these bangers, ballers, and babies havin’ babies are much like any teen anywhere. YA librarians in these neighborhoods have incredible challenges to be sure, at the same time they have amazing opportunities. The library can be a sanctuary, a wellspring, indeed even a beacon for young people in the city.

The Serving YAs in Large Urban Population discussion group is dedicated to those keepers of the light. It is a place to swap strategies, share stories, and show scars of service in the cause of educating and enlightening the youth of the city. The group of us who met in Boston were a small but scrappy bunch of librarians who want this discussion to grow to include many more members.

We are on ALA Connects and we would like to use it as a platform for bibliographies and programming ideas. We invite dialogue with other groups and with various minority and ethnic caucuses and roundtables in ALA. We reach out to our colleagues who are working the desk and pounding the floor in city libraries. We invite students to discuss careers in YA services in urban centers. We need leadership and membership and call for nominations for convenor and for activists to help carry the load. We finally hope for, work for, sweat for, and slave for the kids who are living their lives and chasing their dreams in the cities of today.

You got connected during Teen Tech Week, observing the importance of teens and technology, and now you want to do something more. There’s no better time to join the Technology for Teens Interest Group! (Note: the Teen Tech Week committee is separate from Technology for Teens, but we did collaboratively host a YALSA chat about technology a few months ago.)

You might recall when former chair, Kelly Czarnecki posted about the transition, looking for people to sign the petition for the IG. We’re still kicking back in our committee’s ALA Connect space. (If you’d like to be added to the group, e-mail me [Karen Keys] at I’ve made some of the group’s info public, so you can see what we’ve been up to.

T4T’s purpose statement is as follows:

To provide a forum for learning and discussion of the use of technology with teens, to liaise with other groups and organizations on technology issues, to promote the use of technology and other media, to suggest ways to use those media with teens, and to advocate equal access.

In the past, the group has worked on a variety of things: drafting technology core competences, proposing awards, blogging, and hosting programs at ALA Annual.

The group is holding a humdinger of a session at this year’s ALA Annual in Washington, DC. The program, Lights! Camera! Booktrailers!, will feature best practices for creating and promoting booktrailers and video to highlight collections, programs, and services for teens.’  Several of the best and brightest young adult librarians will be participating in the panel, as well as teen author Simone Elkeles.

Like the other interest and discussion groups featured on the YALSA Blog this week, the T4T Interest Group will be soliciting the names of YALSA members interested in convening (or co-convening) the group in its next stage. Like Jennifer Balaco previously stated, it’s a good way to get involved. Submit your name to me [Karen Keys] at by Monday, May 3. Convener elections will be held May 24.

Chant with me now, “T4T IG! T4T IG! T4T IG!”

Are you just entering the library field? Maybe even still in school, trying to figure out what work you want to do in a library? Or, do you have a ton of teen librarian knowledge that you’d like to share with us who are new to the field (yes, you could be the next convener!)?

If you are even slightly interested in working with young adults, the YALSA Student Interest Group (SIG) is for you. We are here to answer questions as well as facilitate discussions with undergraduate and graduate students and librarians just entering the profession. The SIG hosts a forum on Ning (, where you can also connect to other members of the group. Many opportunities exist for in-person discussions too, especially at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, Annual, and at the YALSA Literature Symposium.

This might also be the perfect time for the SIG to partner with the new YALSA Mentoring Program to open more discussions and provide networking opportunities for those who don’t get the chance to participate. It might be the time to consider where the best place to hold discussions is (Ning? Facebook or Twitter? Skype? Something completely new?). As the convener you could help make changes that create a better experience for those new to the library field.

Are you interested in being the next convener for the YALSA SIG? Let me know by Monday, May 3. It’s an easy way to get active in YALSA without a major time commitment. You also do not need experience to become the convener – I was appointed while in my 2nd semester of library school! If you are thinking of applying for the Mentoring Program, you might consider taking the plunge and volunteer to be the next convener of the SIG too!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at jlbalaco{at} with any questions or to volunteer to be the next YALSA Student Interest Group convener (or co-convener).