Wowsers is right, the ALA Annual meeting was an action-packed few days for the YALSA Board. Several Board members will be sharing background and information on select proposals that were brought forth over the course of the next few weeks, so please stay tuned. Obviously I’m a bit of a governance nerd myself, but I hope you’ll find that the processes and paths that the Board follows to come to these decisions are almost as thoughtful and interesting as the results themselves. I said it once and I’ll say it again: your YALSA Board volunteers are awesomesauce.

Part of my follow-up over the course of the next few months will be to madly appoint to some amazing new taskforces. Either as a newer member looking for a way to get more involved or as a seasoned vet ready to share your expertise, this could be you! Check out the taskforce descriptions below and if interested, please fill out a volunteer form.’ ‘ The more information you can give me related to the group(s) that you’re interested in serving on, the easier it will be for me to place you. And remember, if you aren’t selected in this round of taskforce appointments, President-Elect Chris Shoemaker will soon be perusing selection committee volunteer forms which are due September 30th.’ ‘ Thanks for considering!
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Even if you don’t work in a school media center, I’m guessing your life still tends to run on an academic schedule when you work with teens. So welcome to the new school year! Here’s what I think might be interesting, useful, or intriguing to you and your patrons this month.

  • If your teens are interested in what’s new in the going green movement, have them look more globally to see what’s going on. In coastal Ecuador, young people from farming families are heading up efforts to save, cultivate, and redistribute heirloom seeds to revitalize the environment and help farmers prosper. Part of an organization called FOCCAHL, 20-year-old Cesar Guale Vasquez travels throughout nearby areas collecting seeds from farmers and also hosts swapping events so that farmers can trade seeds with each other in order to have more vibrant and diverse crops. Now take that for inspiration and add to it your own library’s resources on climate change, farming, and nutrition and plan an interesting program that combines science with activism and see what your advisory board wants to do with it. Many libraries now are creating their own seed libraries, and whether they’re for wildflowers or corn, they can be a great way to bring communities together, get young people to work with older people, and freshen up your local environment while doing your small part to keep the world cleaner and greener.
    Matthews, J. (2012). Ecuador’s seed savior. World Ark, May 2012: 10-15. Read More →

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 →

Our teens are not the only ones going back to school, colleges and graduate programs for future librarians are also starting up again this month!

Are you a student interested in Young Adult Library Services?’ ‘  The YALSA Student Interest Group is back in action and ready for all of your discussion and resource needs.’  What are you reading? What are you researching?’  What are your questions? Or your plans and ideas for working with teens? Join the conversation: check out’ our ALA Connect page.

Co-conveners Rob Bittner and myself, want to know how we can make this group great.’  Feel free to email us:‘ or

If you know any’ library school’ students or interested undergraduates, please spread the word!

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).