We’ve begun planning for the next Young Adult Symposium which will be held in Baltimore! We’re nlooking for volunteers who live in the Baltimore area for the YA Symposium Local Arrangements Committee as well as volunteers for the YA Symposium Planning and Marketing Taskforce. Taskforce members can live anywhere in the country.

Here are the details about the committee and taskforce.

YA Symposium Local Arrangements Taskforce:
To work with YALSA’s Program Officer prior to the conference to identify venues for and plan YALSA activities in Baltimore, such as city tours and dine-arounds.  Support the Symposium on-site by introducing speakers, moderating panels, assisting with setting up for special events, welcoming attendees, and more. Committee size: 5 to 7 members including the chair.  Term: January 1 through
November 30.  Size:  5 to 7 members; members conduct planning virtually but are expected to attend the Symposium.

YA Symposium Planning and Marketing Taskforce:
To assist YALSA’s Program Officer with the planning and marketing of the conference, including vetting papers and proposals, vetting scholarship applications, assisting the Program Officer with identifying authors and keynote speakers, and leveraging social media tools to promote the event and scholarship
opportunities, and more. Members will regularly share content via social media and through their state and local networks to build excitement for and share information about the event. Members will work with YALSA’s Communications Specialist to assist with the implementation of a marketing plan. Size: 5 to
7 virtual members, including the chair. Term: January 1 through November 30

To sign up, fill out the volunteer form here: https://www.ala.org/yalsa/getinvolved/getinvolved (click on the Committee Volunteer form under sign up). Don’t forget you’ll need to log into the ALA website to complete the form.

If you have questions feel free to email me.

Franklin Escobedo
YALSA President-Elect 2021-2022

YALSA 2021 in Reno was my first opportunity to attend a professional conference in my career field. I graduated with my MLIS in May of 2021, so needless to say, graduate school didn’t end up being the experience I’d wanted it to be. I had so many plans to attend conferences as a student, and build connections with my cohort at the University of Illinois. I had one semester in person, and then my graduate school experience was drastically modified due to the pandemic.
The opportunity to attend YALSA provided me with the experience I had yearned for in graduate school. I had the chance to meet others in my field who are as passionate about advocating for teens as I am. I loved all of the discussions we had, and each presentation I attended was enlightening and informative. This past year and a half was exhausting and I’ve felt myself getting burned out, but the experience I had at YALSA lit my fire again. All this is to say it’s really hard to narrow down what I learned, because it feels like I learned so much, but I’ll give it a shot.

The presentations that focused on serving teens in poverty were extremely helpful to me. In my new position as a Teen Librarian, I’ve moved to a new community with significant poverty rates. An important aspect of my job includes getting to know this new community and the best ways to serve them. Some of the key takeaways I gained from those presentations included training all staff on issues of poverty, and providing equity boxes with a variety of items including socks, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. I love the idea of an equity box and have been considering ways to propose this idea to my administration. I also plan on contacting the public transit in my area to see if they will provide me with bus passes that I can hand out to anyone that may need one. Some other pieces of advice I found helpful were “you don’t know what you don’t know” and “ask the teens”. These may seem somewhat obvious, but I found it helpful to reconsider these points and remind myself that I should always be consulting my teens and patrons in regards to their needs and wants at the library. I won’t know what barriers my teens face unless I ask them directly.

Something I’ve been personally struggling with at my library is feeling like other staff and patrons discriminate against the teens. From the conference discussions, I received helpful advice on how to manage this issue, including advocating for all staff training. When I asked for advice about this issue at a panel, one of the presenters even suggested bluntly asking staff why they are hesitant about working with teens.

Overall, I learned so much at YALSA this year. Each presentation I attended gave me some bit of advice or understanding that I found helpful for my career as a Teen Librarian. I even gained so many new ideas for programming, books that should be in my collection, and more. I’m really grateful I was able to have the experience to go to YALSA and meet new colleagues. I can’t wait to attend again next year!

Kaileigh Oldham is a recent MLIS graduate from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Originally from Michigan, Kaileigh received her Bachelor’s in Creative Writing and Fine Arts from Western Michigan University. She now resides in Danville, IL with her boyfriend, 2 dogs, and 2 cats. She is currently the Teen Librarian at Danville Public Library. When she is not at work Kaileigh enjoys playing video games, watching anime, and hula hooping.

As the members of the Planning and Marketing Taskforce, we are excited about the variety of programs and formats for the 2021 YALSA Symposium in Reno. This year’s theme of Biggest Little Safe Spaces: Serving Teens during Times of Adversityreflects where many librarians find themselves in current times. The presenters will discuss strategies for serving teens during difficult moments and will help us develop programs that ensure our biggest little safe spaces thrive for years to come.Meanwhile, the three author panels will enlighten and entertain attendees with lively and relevant discussions. We hope you can join us in Reno either virtually or in person on November 5-7. Remember that there is still plenty of time to register for the event.

Given the present state of pandemic, YALSA’s Symposium will offer both a virtual-only event as well as a live and in-person conference. For the first time, some of the sessions will be presented in a hybrid format, meaning that the session will be prerecorded for virtual attendees but will also be presented live in Reno. Virtual participants will have the opportunity to interact with the presenters of the hybrid programs during live online Q & A sessions. A few of the hybrid sessions include The Power of Empathy, Journey to Justice, and The Development of Bridges & Books.

Some of the sessions will be prerecorded for all participants. These programs will be available during and after the symposium and include sessions like the always popular Book Buzz, All are Welcome (a program about homeschoolers), Advocate for Youth Experiencing Homelessness, and Do You See Me?, a session facilitated by Julia Torres and featuring authors Paula Chase, Tiffany D. Jackson and Kim Johnson.

For participants who are present in Reno, make sure you attend the exciting author panels. First up is Friday’s opening session where Steve Sheinkin, Bethany C. Morrow, Gretchen McNeil, Kimberly Jones, and Gilly Segal will explore the theme of Spaces Past and Present: Adversity Now and Then. On Saturday, don’t miss the chance to listen great new YA authors at the Morris Program. Angeline Boulley, Chloe Gong, Cory Anderson, and Rachel Griffin will discuss their works and everything that comes with being a debut author. This panel will be moderated by Jeff Zentner, who won the Morris Award in 2017 for The Serpent King. Finally, there is the closing author panel with the theme of Finding One’s Space: Fantasy Meets Realism on Sunday. Who wouldn’t want to attend a panel where authors Ellen Hopkins, Romina Garber, and Jennifer Mathieudiscuss fantasy and realistic fiction?

Also for those attendees in Reno, YALSA will be offering numerous live programs on Saturday and Sunday. The titles of just of few of the informative sessions include Safe Spaces for Aros and Aces, Safe Haven (a program about mental health and teens), Poverty and Privilege, and Through the Plexi Glass, a timely program about how to serve teens during the pandemic.

And there is still time to register for three of the symposium’s live events. On Friday morning, Adriana White and Ashleigh Torres will offer a preconference session on neurodiversity and mental health. In the afternoon, Beth Crist and Dr. Jessica Dennison will present the second preconference session on how best to serve teens in poverty with empathy. One of Saturday’s big events is Margaret A. Edwards Award Luncheon. That program will feature the 2021 winner of that prestigious award, author Kekla Magoon. Please remember that these programs require extra fees and are not included in the general registration.

Whether we attend the symposium in person in Reno or virtually from home, we hope you enjoy this event and come away with the understanding and inspiration to serve teens during adverse times in your safest little places.

Blog post by Scot Smith, Angela Steele, Sharon Deeds, Asuncion Cora, and Katie Patterson, the 2021 Planning and Marketing Taskforce