Image courtesy of ALA 2018 Annual

Last month, I went to my first ALA Annual Convention. As a MMLIS graduate student at the University of Southern California, attending ALA Annual in New Orleans was an opportunity to meet fellow students, network with current librarians and library staff, and to learn more about how I can participate as a new member of ALA in the various divisions, roundtables, and chapters.

The ALA Annual Convention is a wonderful experience where you meet people with the same interest and same enthusiasm for books, advocacy, learning, and desire to help. The conference ran from June 21, 2018 through June 26, 2018, with the official opening general session on Friday, June 22nd.  The Opening General Session speaker was Former First Lady Michelle Obama! The line to be able to attend Mrs. Obama’s talk, led by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, started at 7:30am that morning though Mrs. Obama would not speak until 4:00pm that afternoon.  As a first-time attendee, I will admit to being daunted by the impressive line that formed, but ALA had it all under control. They had more than enough room to accommodate everyone.  What a way to kick off the convention!  Listening to Michelle Obama and Carla Hayden in conversation was a memorable experience. Not to mention listening to Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews perform with talented students from the Trombone Shorty Foundation beforehand.
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Here’s another thing to get you geared up for ALA’s Annual Conference in Anaheim this June. The Library Research Round Table is looking for presentation proposals related to three areas of library research. Abstracts must be submitted by December 20, 2011, and notification of acceptance will be sent in late February, 2012. Accepted proposals will be presented at the ALA Annual from June 21-26. If you have recent or in-progress research relating to users, problem solving, or innovation, consider submitting.

LRRT defines their three categories as this: Read More →

This post is a bit of a departure for me; as YALSA’s communications specialist, I usually post about the latest goings on in YALSA or put up advocacy alerts. (You’ll see that post on Friday.)

But this is 30 Days of Back to School, and along with two of my fellow students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Library and Information Studies, I’m going to talk about the new SLIS student experience.

I’m currently pursuing my library degree through Madison’s distance program. It’s been almost ten years since I finished my first master’s degree, so it’s been a bit of transition to get back into the school mindset. Last time, I was straight outta undergrad, I went full time as an on-campus student, and I had almost no responsibilities. This time, I’m going as a part-time distance student, which certainly has its advantages — flexibility, cost, less disruption to my life. Plus, Wisconsin retooled its distance program so that it takes place entirely online (it used to be done via videoconferencing), so it’s kind of an experimental year for our program.

To get some differing perspectives, I invited two of my classmates to join me in Meebo so we could talk about our experiences going back to school and working full-time. I’m joined by Kayce Austin of Fort Myers, Florida, and Kathrine Rogers of Bettendorf, Iowa.

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In her presidents’ report, Linda Braun mentioned that YALSA is now offering gift memberships – that’s true for student memberships as well! As you get ready for the next term, think about asking your family and friends for a YALSA gift membership (or think about giving one to your fellow students). Student membership in YALSA costs $53 and includes ALA membership. Gift memberships can be purchased by contacting Letitia Smith, YALSA membership coordinator, at or by phone at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4390 (you can’t buy a gift membership online).

Before your parents (or aunt and uncle or boss) ask, here are five great reasons why they should consider buying you a gift membership this holiday season.

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As you begin the new academic year, think about tools available from YALSA to help you reach the future librarians in your classrooms! With more than 30 million teens in the U.S. today, no matter what type of librarianship your students choose, they’ll be interacting with teen library users in some way.

Supplement Your Syllabus with Free Stuff from YALSA

YALSA is happy to provide handouts about its grants and awards, special events, initiatives, membership, and more, as well as swag including pens, posters and pins. Interested? Fill out the Materials Request Form on our website. If you’d like free copies of our journal, Young Adult Library Services, for your classroom (limited quantities), please contact us at

We can also help you with guest speakers! If you’re looking for someone to discuss YALSA or any aspect of young adult literature or YA librarianship, YALSA can connect you with an expert speaker. Contact Beth Yoke at for more information.

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Are you a library school student interested in serving teens? Are you a librarian who works with library school students? If you answered yes to either question then add the YALSA Student Interest Group meeting to your Annual Conference calendar.

The meeting is on Sunday, June 29, from 10:30 AM to Noon at the Hilton Anaheim in the Capistrano Room.

During the meeting you’ll get to meet other students (and those that work with them), find out how YALSA can support you, discover how you can get involved in YALSA as a student, and discuss your ideas on the ways you would like to see YALSA support library school students.

As you get ready for the meeting check-out YALSA’s flyer on what’s available to LIS students. If you have questions before the meeting you can contact me, Linda W. Braun,

2008 Annual Conference LogoYes, it’s still several weeks away, but it’s really not to early to start thinking about what YALSA’s up to for Annual in Anaheim. I just decided to put programs, meetings, and events on my Google Calendar and was reminded what a full-schedule of offerings YALSA has put together for attendees. For example:

  • On Friday, June 27, there are two pre-conferences to choose from. One on booktalking and one on serving younger teens and tweens. Both require pre-registration.
  • Friday, June 27, is also when YALSA will host it’s third annual YALSA 101 meeting. This is when Conference attendees get a chance to find out what YALSA is all about. If you’ve been thinking about getting involved, and aren’t sure how, this is a good chance to get your questions answered
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When I went to library school, some professors encouraged students to join professional organizations. Whenever the profs. would talk about this I tended to tune things out. I didn’t really get why something like ALA or YALSA or even a local/regional organization would make a difference in my work as a librarian. It wasn’t clear at all how student membership would benefit a lowly student such as me.

Now, I get it. And, I get it even more now that I’ve read through the results of YALSA’s recent survey of library school students. The results are available for anyone to peruse, findings include:

  • A majority of students state that YALSA does a very good job with selected lists and promotion of young adult literature via awards.
  • While not at the very good level, a majority of the students who completed the survey state that YALSA does a good job at placing national importance on teen reading and on teen technological literacies.
  • Similarly, a majority of student respondents state that YALSA does a good job with its online and print information dissemination – for example YALS and YAttitudes.
  • 75% of the respondents said they joined YALSA for the professional development opportunities. The survey data also shows that both face-to-face and virtual professional development opportunities are important to library school students.
  • YALSA as an information source for best practices and research in the field is also important to respondents. 96% of those who answered the survey said that identification and support of implementation of best practices was important for YALSA to focus on. 95% said the same about identification and support of research in the area of library service to teens.

There is a lot of data to think about in the survey. What’s as compelling as the specific numbers are some of the ideas for YALSA that come through in the feedback sections of the responses. These include interest from students in:

  • Projects and programs from YALSA that are geared directly to library school students
  • Improved opportunities for students to network with their peers and with those already working in the field with teens.
  • Expanded online course offerings
  • Materials that provide direct connections/ideas/information between research and practice.

The YALSA Executive Committee is already working on ideas generated by survey responses in order for the Division to support library students more successfully. New, innovative, and creative ideas are up for discussion. Ideas from library school students are welcome and can be submitted and discussed on the YALSA Ning for LIS students.