In this podcast (click through to download or connect to online player), LeeAnna Mills, Former Legislative Chair and Past President of the Alabama School Library Association, librarian at Northside Middle School and District Library Media Coordinator for Tuscaloosa County Schools, discusses how you can use data to reach administrators, school board members, and legislators in support of library services for young people.  And, don’t forget to check out YALSA’s advocacy resources at

Wendy Stephens is a member of the YALSA Advocacy Resources Taskforce.

As a school librarian, I spend most of June (or the end of May, if we’re lucky) in panic mode–cramming as many classes as possible into my labs when teachers are looking for computers, squeezing every last drop out of my budget, trying to coordinate summer reading with the public library… and on and on. Some days it feels like I get absolutely nothing done; on others I’m crossing tasks off my to-do list left and right.

But when all is said and done, my library will be closed until the end of August. I might come in once or twice to do some summer work (and raid the shelves for my own summer reading), but I won’t see any of my students until school starts up again in the fall. It’s hard to believe that the slowest season for my library is one of the busiest for public libraries. So how are we spending our spring?

Collecting obligations.

I hate this phrasing, but “obligations” describes anything a student may have forgotten to return or pay for throughout the year–an activity fee here, a biology textbook there, class dues, library books–you name, we bill for it. At my school underclassmen get bills mailed home over the summer, but they’re not technically required to settle up until the end of their senior year, when we can withhold their cap and gown until they pay. Read More →

After the Summer Reading Program Ends…

This year the teen summer reading program ended August 1st, giving the teens six weeks of reading and earning prizes and lots of programs to attend. I held about three programs a week. The rest of August is spent helping teens track down their summer reading books – at this point, most of the books are out, so it’s a struggle finding something they want to read and that’s on the list.

Once school starts, the library will be quiet until the afternoon when teens start coming in to use the computers. During the day, I’ll start inventorying the collection. Doing an inventory also counts as shelf-reading as I make sure everything’s in the right place. It also helps with weeding. I check to make sure the book’s circulated in the last three years. If not, then I make a decision to keep or toss that book. I don’t have extra shelf space and with all the great new books that keep coming out, I need all the room I can get. Read More →

Part 2: Forming a Committee and Involving Teens

In the Part One of this series, I discussed why you should try big programming. Big programming isn’t so much a numbers game as it is an approach to program planning. However, with this approach, your programs will scale up over time. And bigger programs require more money, more planning, and more support.

Last weekend, our Teen Planning Committee and I ran a Library Comic-Con that attracted 100 people. This was a “big” program, in both planning and in numbers. We’re still learning from each experience, but I’ll walk you through our basic recipe for success. Read More →

Although we are still about 3 weeks away, I am already thinking of the conference in DC. Before I became active in YALSA, I spent lots of time cruising the exhibits. So, first timers, wear comfy shoes and plan your attack on the aisles of exhibitors. I make a list of booths I want to be sure to hit (for me, those are the publishers of YA boks in patrticular) so I do not miss anyone.

Much of my time on the weekend will be spent in committee meetings. For those of you looking for a great time, stop by and spend some time with BBYA and QP and listen to the book talk. Of course, if you can go listen to the teens when they come to the BBYA meeting, you will marvel at the depth of their passion about favorite books.

YALSA All Committee meeting is a must see especially if you are looking to be more active in our organization. This is where a great deal of YALSA business is conducted. If there is a committee you are particularly interested in, visit them.

Receptions, dinners, meetings, exhibits: is it possible to get it all in? Yes, if you do not mind coming back home exhausted. Since I head to the Virgin Islands for a week after I get back, I can relax then. For now, I am already mentally packing my suitcase (and bringing an empty one to be checked on the way home with “stuff.”

Oh, and don’t forget to visit the YALSA booth!

Posted by Teri Lesesne