As YALSA works towards the new intended impact statement laid out in the 2016 – 2018 organizational plan, the board is looking at member engagement opportunities that best fit with the implementation plan to achieve the plan’s priorities. These member engagement opportunities are not only the way that the work of the association gets done, but also are ways to support member to member connections and foster leadership skills.

Right now, most associations are built around a traditional committee model, which were established before virtual work environments were popular. That model requires a long time commitment from members and leaders, demands oversight and input from boards and staff, and is slow to produce results. In many cases, it also limits professional development opportunities by sequestering volunteers away from additional networking and learning activities.

One trend associations are exploring are microvolunteering opportunities, or adhocracies, where interested parties gather together around a need and work for a short period of time to deliver timely, relevant resources. These volunteer experiences can impact a member community much more quickly than the standard model, increase the number of leadership opportunities, and allow members with similar interests to connect with one another. Volunteers are also able to give time as their schedule allows, stepping back and returning to projects as their schedules allow.

Different engagement methods also allow members to better connect with members. YALSA generally receives over 1,000 volunteers for just over 300 committee spots. That leaves at least 700 members interested in doing work that moves the mission of YALSA forward, but with the onus of work on them. They can connect with other members through interest groups, YALS, YALSA Blog, the Hub, Programming HQ, and JRLYA, but those activities aren’t necessarily built around networking and bonding either.

So what does this mean for right now? Well, the board is doing a limited pilot this fall with YALSA’s 7 juries. Sarah Hill blogged about the changes in April, and you can find that post here. It also means the board will be looking at the ways the work gets done, the activities laid out in the implementation plan, and best way to keep members engaged with the mission of YALSA!

Do you have feedback on the organizational plan? Fill out our brief survey here.

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between November 13 and November 19 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
Read More →

*Please note that the PPYA and Amazing Audiobooks Committees are virtual. YALSA members with book selection and evaluation experience and who are comfortable working in an online environment with tools like ALA Connect, Google Docs, Skype, etc. should put their names forward for consideration.

Past-President Chris Shoemaker noted in his blog post last month that the YALSA Board adopted a new policy about serving on YALSA award committees (Alex, Edwards, Morris, Nonfiction, Odyssey & Printz).  Beginning Feb. 1, 2016, any individual who has served on any YALSA award committee will need to wait two years before they are eligible to serve on another YALSA award committee.

If you have been on selection and award committees before, please consider volunteering for the new Selection and Award Committees Oversight Committee (more info can be found in this board document).  This new committee needs experienced YALSA members to serve as liaisons and to standardize policies and procedures for selection and award committees.

The Fine Print

  • Eligibility: To be considered for an appointment, you must be a current personal member of YALSA and submit a Committee Volunteer form by Oct. 1, 2015. If you are appointed, service will begin on Feb. 1, 2016.
  • If you are currently serving on a selection or award committee and you are eligible to and interested in serving for another term, you must fill out a volunteer form for this round (so I know you’re still interested and want to do serve another term)
  • Qualifications: Serving on a committee or taskforce is a significant commitment. Please review the resources on this web page before you submit a form to make sure that committee work is a good fit for you at this point in time.
  • Need more information? Click on the links above. Check out the Committee FAQ.  Watch the Selection Committee Webinar.
  • Please free to contact me with any questions or issues at gsarahthelibrarian at gmail .com.

Thanks for volunteering with YALSA!

As we get closer to Annual (just 38 days left!), maybe some of you have started to look through the schedule to choose the sessions you want to attend. Did YALSA’s Speed Networking for Librarians catch your eye?

Are you the only teen services librarian at your library? Tired of being lonely and want a simple way to connect with your peers? Attend this informal event to meet colleagues from around the country and exchange practical ideas and information to help you bolster your teen services program.

This program is inspired by the speed dating model of getting to know someone: participants will be divided into smallish groups and seated two groups at a table. Every few minutes, groups will swap tables, giving you a chance to get to know a lot of fellow YALSA members in a more personal way in a short period of time. The event will be on Saturday, June 25th from 1:30 to 3:30pm.

Here’s where you come in: we need volunteers to help facilitate conversations at each table. You’ll be provided with a list of questions and discussion topics ahead of time, so your basic responsibility will just be to keep the conversation going. This is a great chance to dip your toe into volunteering at Annual if you haven’t done that yet and to expand your professional network. It’s also an opportunity for more seasoned YALSA members to help out at an event where new members and students will be present, which will help them feel welcome within our organization.

If you’re interested in being a facilitator, please email me. And if being a facilitator doesn’t sound like you, at least consider participating in the speed networking event!

Looking for a way to participate in YALSA? Why not join the Partnership Advocating for Teens (PAT) Interest Group? The mission statement of the proposed group is:

To explore, recommend, highlight, and support partnerships between libraries, schools, and other organizations that serve young adults.

Currently PAT is a YALSA committee, but over the next year, we will be transitioning into an Interest Group. As a committee, PAT has regularly sponsored programs at conferences and has published articles. As an Interest Group we will be able to continue to do the same types of activities. Currently Pat is sponsoring the program “It Takes Two: School and Public Libraries, Partnerships that Work” at Annual on Sunday, July 12 from 3:30 – 5:30. We will also have an upcoming article in the Fall issue of YALS.

If you would like to get in on the ground floor of this Interest Group, now is the time to sign up. Just send the following information: name, ALA member number, institution, email, address, and phone number to All we need are 15 current YALSA members to sign our petition in order for us to take our proposal to the YALSA Board.

This is an exciting time for our committee and we hope you will join us on our journey. If you have any questions at all about the Partnerships Advocating to Teens (PAT) Interest Group, please feel free to contact

On June 22 the White House is set to launch an initiative tentatively called the Summer of Service. This initiative will be run through the Corporation for National & Community Service and the goal is to encourage Americans to take some time this summer to volunteer in their local communities. One area of focus will be summer reading. Americans will be encouraged to volunteer at their local libraries to help with summer reading and library card registration programs in an effort to prevent the ‘summer slide‘ that many students experience. Read More →

My library has seen a surge of interest in volunteering lately, and we’re looking for ways to balance the number of people who’d like to volunteer with the energy and staff time it takes to manage a good volunteer program. We see lots of teens who have been assigned volunteer service as part of a probation agreement with the courts, and with the tight job market, some teens who can’t find work are searching for alternatives to gain experience that could land them a job in the future.

Read More →

YA Lit Symposium Housing Now Open! Make your reservations at the Millennium Maxwell House in Nashville, Tenn. at a special rate for the inaugural Young Adult Literature Symposium today—register by phone, fax, or online using the information available on the YA Lit Symposium Web site. The symposium is Nov. 7-9 with a theme of “How We Read Now.” Registration for the symposium will open May 1.

Spectrum Applications Due! On March 1, Spectrum Scholar applications are due. Learn more about the Spectrum Scholars program at the Spectrum Web site.

Starting in fiscal year 2008, YALSA will support one Spectrum Scholar, as part of YALSA Unity: A Diversity Initiative, courtesy a grant from ALA for initiatives that support the ALA Ahead to 2010 Strategic Plan.

Committee Volunteer Forms—Get ‘Em In! YALSA President-elect Sarah Cornish Debraski is hard at work appointing YALSA’s process committees, juries and task forces. Submit your committee volunteer form by March 1 to be considered.

To learn more about YALSA committees, juries, and task forces, check out the committee descriptions or reread a few helpful blog posts about this very topic.

Teen Tech Week is nearly here! We’ve got little more than a week before Teen Tech Week, March 2-8. Beth Saxton lists some book display ideas, and make sure to check the Teen Tech Week Wiki and the Teen Tech Week Web site for more ideas.

Also, if you haven’t already, encourage your teens to enter the Teen Tech Week Promotional Song contest!

(And send your teens to the Teen Tech Week Web site March 2-8 to vote on next year’s theme and give us their thoughts on technology and libraries).

Early Bird Registration for Annual! Early bird registration for ALA Annual ends on March 7—that’s two weeks and one day from today. You’ll save significantly on advanced and onsite registration fees by registering now, and we want you to join YALSA in Anaheim, June 26-July 2!

We’re offering two preconferences, Got Tweens? Serving Younger Teens and Tweens and Turn Teens on to Reading through Booktalks, plus a few special events: Edwards Award Luncheon, the Printz Awards Reception, and the Young Adult Authors Coffee Klatch. And, of course, we’ve got great programming at conference: advocacy, gaming, YALSA 101, young adult literature and more.

Find more details about registration and housing at the ALA Annual Web site or the YALSA @ ALA Annual Conference Wiki.

ALA Elections Coming Up. Voting starts online on March 17. See the YALSA slate, read up on YALSA presidential candidates, and check out election news on the YALSA blog. To learn more about the election process and candidates for ALA Council and ALA President, visit the ALA Elections Web site.

YALSA at PLA! Coming to Minneapolis? So is YALSA! YALSA will be exhibiting in Booth 1621, you can buy YALSA t-shirts and publications in the PLA Store, and a number of your fellow YALSA members will be presenting programs and preconferences. We plan to have a happy hour for members as well—location and place TBD! Stay tuned to the blog for more details (and if you’re thinking of registering, PLA’s Advanced Registration and Housing close on Feb. 29).

Dear YALSA Members,

Spring is just around the corner and that means….appointments to process committees and juries! You can view the lists of committees and juries here. If you would like to be considered for an appointment to one of these committees you will need to fill out an online volunteer form. If you are currently on a committee and would like to be considered for reappointment to the committee, you will also need to fill out this form. When you fill out the form please try to provide some information that will indicate what committee would be a good match for you—do you have special skills or experiences? A desire to be on a particular committee? These are all good things to know when filling these committees.
Please submit your volunteer forms by March 1.
As always, thank you for your commitment to YALSA!
Sarah Debraski
YALSA President-Elect