Advocating From Home During National Library Legislative Day

This post is adapted from an email from ALA’s Washington Office.

Next week, nearly 500 library advocates are heading to Washington, DC to meet with their Senators and Representatives. The American Library Association’s Washington Office has three asks for National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) this year:

  • House & Senate: Reauthorize the Museum and Library Services Act (S. 2271)
  • House & Senate: Fully Fund LSTA and IAL for FY 2019
  • House & Senate: Visit a library, see broadband access in action

There are plenty of ways to participate in NLLD from home! Check out the ALA toolkit, which has suggestions for writing your elected officials an email and inviting them to tour your library.

Everyone who registers will receive a reminder next week that prompts them to take action. You will also receive all the talking points you need, along with a link to the livestream taking place on Monday, May 7. Watch the issue briefing live at 9AM EDT, follow along on social via the hashtag #NLLD18, and then take action yourself!

Help us expand the impact of National Library Legislative Day and register to participate today. Already registered? Spread the word and ask your friends, colleagues, and patrons to join.

Youth Media Awards 2018!

The American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards were announced this morning! Here are the YA winners:

Michael L. Printz Award for the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit, each year

  • Winner: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  • Honor: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
  • Honor: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • Honor: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (the OYAN Mock Printz winner!)
  • Honor: Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults for the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a November 1 – October 31 publishing year.
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OYAN Mock Printz + YMAs

The cover of the book The Lie Tree by Frances HardingeOn Saturday our Mock Printz workshop was held, and the results are in! Our winner was The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge, and our honor books were We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson, The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry, and Railhead by Philip Reeve.

Want to know how our predictions stacked up? Check out this list of all of ALA’s Youth Media Award winners or watch the video of the announcements!

2014 ALA Annual Las Vegas Highlights and Celebrating the Alex Award

By Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library-Hollywood

ALALasVegasThere is nothing like 13,000 library folk descending on Sin City during 110-degree weather. How is one to don their favorite cardigan in that? Outside of the conference, 110-degree weather makes for some interesting fashion choices, or should I say complete lack of fashion choice, it is amazing what you do with a little duct tape, (and I wish I could say a little goes a long way, but not always).

OYAN was kind enough to give me scholarship to help fund the cost of attending the conference. This year I am currently serving as administrative assistant to the Alex Award Committee, so most of my time spent at the conference was in committee meetings. Still, there was enough networking and tapping into the buzz to know what the big takeaways of the conference were.

If you haven’t had a chance to read through YALSA’s The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action already, you can start with the executive summary, but it is worth your while to delve deeper into the full report. Many workshops focused on supporting libraries in the ways outlined in the report in “How will we get there? What do libraries need to do?” The steps it sees are:

Embracing our role as facilitator rather than expert.

  1. Refocusing beyond our traditional roles and traditional measurements of success.
  2. Partnering strategically to reach beyond the library’s walls.
  3. Creating a whole-library and whole-school approach to serving teens in physical spaces and online.
  4. Supporting library staff in gaining new skills.

Colleagues that were able to attend workshops commented that many focused on supported Connected Learning. Traci Glass of the Eugene Public Library commented during the Summer OYAN meeting in reference to the conference and Connected Learning is that “many of us are already doing this.” We all care about creating interesting, thoughtful programs for our teens that meet their interests and information needs. For myself, getting a better understanding of the philosophy behind Connected Learning has really helped to put my work with teens into focus, and has given me better tools to advocate for the work that we do.

Alex-AWARDSWinner_lowres Serving this year as the administrative assistant to the Alex Award Committee has been an enlightening experience. I am not an actual voting member, my main duties so far have been to serve as liaison between the committee and publishers, keep the group organized, support the chair, and research eligibility. As a fairly new youth librarian, I have spent a lot of time focused on learning all that I can about the books published as YA that I have forgotten how as a teen it was mainly adult books that I read outside of school that showed me that there was more out there to look forward in life, and showed me the power of writing. Books like Minor Characters by Joyce Johnson, Beloved by Toni Morrison, Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Tan’s The Joy Luck Club are all books that I remember being pivotal to me as a teen reader. I see the Alex Award as fostering that. Turning teens into lifelong readers by highlighting some of the best books out there that they can find beyond the teen bookshelves in the library and bookstore.

Past Alex Award are great to be familiar with for those harder reader’s advisory moments where you have the teen that has read everything. It is exciting to see a couple of past winners (Ready Player One and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore) on this year’s Oregon Battle of the Books. The 2014 titles is another fantastic list with my personal favorites of Abigail Tarttelin’s Golden Boy, John Searles’ Help for the Haunted, and Lucy Knisley’s Relish just to name a few. To read more on the Alex Awards Presentation from ALA Annual, Paige Battle, 2015 Alex Award Chair and Grant High School Librarian in Portland wrote a great piece for YALSA’s Hub The Alex Award winners are so important to teens to bridge the transition from teen reader to lifelong reader and have a place in all collections serving teens.

Alex Awards Collage




What I learned at ALA: Part 4 – The Digital Lives of Tweens and Teens

This year’s President’s program was a joint effort between YALSA and ALSC focused on youth, ages 10-14 years.  The program had two presenters: Drs. Michelle Poris and Stephen Abram, VP of Gale Cengage Learning.  Dr. Poris is the owner/director of Smarty Pants, a marketing research firm specializing in youth and families.  Dr. Abrams is a futurist – one of those guys that reads like crazy and thinks about what the future will look like.

Ms. Poris started with the program with a look at the developmental processes of this age group.  And for this presentation she conducted a representational study of 415 10-14 year olds.  Some stats presented later in this post.

The key things I learned were:

  • Hey! Guess what!  Puberty drives many of the interests and behaviors of tweens!
  • All the messages about obesity being bad may be creating more body image issues.
  • The growth towards abstract thinking not only lets them think big thoughts, but they develop a more sophisticated sense of humor…as in irony, sarcasm, and puns.
  • These kids are MORE connected to parents than previous generations – cell phones make it easier to stay in contact and more kids consider their parents to be their friends.  However, all the extra curricular activities get in the way of spending time together.
  • At the same time, parents are often OVER-involved in their child’s life.  They may need “permission” to develop social connections outside of the family.  Luckily, new technology makes that easier than ever.
  • School performance has become a big issue with increasingly higher rates of anxiety, depression and etc.

Now, about technology…

  • TV is still on top, followed by music, online, video games, movies, outdoor activities, and reading for the 1o year olds.  By age 13-14 TV is still the most used technology, but texting is #4 and books have moved to the bottom of the list.
  • Tweens are multi-tasking to the max.
  • Top 50 brands for tweens include 15 digital brands with Wii and IPod touch in the lead.
  • Reality TV is the favorite type of show.
  • Games, Facebook, and being outdoors are favorite activities.
  • With all the gadgets, this age group has never had to wait to look things up.  It’s right at their fingertips.
  • Only 63% of the surveyed tweens counted books as an important way to keep up to date.  76% would rather watch a movie  BUT 75% say “I learn things from books that are just as important as the things I learn in school.”

And finally, if you want to keep up with trends, two free newsletters are YPulse and kidscreen.

On to the future…Dr. Abram says we’re in a Renaissance!

  • Children’s brains have changed – IQ’s are up 10-15 points.
  • TV and video games have changed the mapping of the brain.
  • Text-based learning is now in the minority.  Digital media contribute more; Google for text, YouTube for video, and itunes for auditory learning.
  • Video games lay the scaffold for learning and teachers should follow this method of building on success.  Fun fact: surgeons who play videogames have 30% higher success rates.

The world in 2020…

  • By 2014 many devices will be gone (CDs, DVDs, etc.) and the world will rely on wireless data streams;
  • Gesture computing will be on the rise (think Kennect);
  • More teens rely on Jon Stewart and Steven Cobert for their news than newspapers or other news programs.
  • The urban/rural divide continues but the digital divide is disappearing due to smartphones.
  • People will engage with and play primarily in the virtual world.
  • We’ll have multiple careers, many of which haven’t been identified yet.


It behooves us to get comfortable with Google+, Skype, video games, etc., and think about connecting with our patrons in the virtual world as well as in the bricks and mortar.  And that is especially true for connecting with tweens.

That’s it from ALA.


What I learned at ALA: Part 3 – Passive Programming That’s Anything But: Reaching Young Adults Subversively

Taught by Jackie Parker and Kelly Jensen, this workshop offered ideas for low cost programs that require little staff time or supervision.  Here’s the link to their Program Prezi.  The basic idea is that you leave things out or post online and let teens do it on their own time.  This involves things like contests, promotions, surveys, art projects, and etc.  Great for introverted, self-sufficient kids that don’t feel comfortable joining in the group stuff.


Plan – They suggest you put in some upfront time to generate ideas and a schedule for the mini-programs.  Maybe use your teen council to help with this?

Incentives – If you want, they can be low cost things like tickets & coupons, or free books, free printing, fine reductions, extra computer time, etc.

Publicize it – promote it with flyers in the library, facebook, twitter, outreach visits, etc.  Emphasize that teens can participate at any time.  Ask your teen council for advice.

Tip: “Allow yourself to fail.”  Good thing, ’cause I had NO teen involvement for the Shelftalking idea.  Shelftalks are brief reviews attached to the book shelf.  You see ’em all the time at Powell’s.  I set out bookmarks that teens could write on and put in books.  Didn’t work for me, but then I don’t have a lot of teens that just hang out at the library.  Might work well in a larger, busier library.

Program ideas

In the library

  • Spine poetry
  • Games & puzzles
  • Photography
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Cover re-designs
  • magnetic poetry
  • origami
  • secret cards
  • “Guerilla Positivity” – leave out supplies for making pocket poems or heart cards that teens can leave around town for people to find.
  • Creative displays
  • Shelftalkers/tags

Using Technology

  • QR code treasure hunts
  • Book trailers
  • Book playlists
  • App reviews
  • Facebook contests
  • “Guess the book” contests – post the first line of a book or show a cover minus the title.
  • 5 word book recommendations

Create kits or programs in a box they can check out

  • shrinky dink bracelets
  • window painting
  • DIY scratch off cards (example on Pinterest)

Things to watch out for

  • Make sure staff know what’s going on!
  • Don’t put out anything you’ll miss if it gets taken.
  • Offer both low and high tech activities.

That’s it!  Have fun!

What I learned at ALA: Part 2 – Authors! Authors! Authors!

ALA is one of the best places to indulge in author worship.  They are everywhere –workshops, exhibit booths, stages, and even just wandering around like normal people.  Here’s who I had the opportunity of meeting, hearing or bumping into out on the floor.

At the YALSA YA Authors Coffeeklatch –in other words speed dating with authors– here’s who I met:

  • Daniel Kraus, author of Rotters – who knew grave robbing could reunite a father and son?
  • John Corey Whaley, Printz and Morris award winning author of Where Things Come Back.  Very sincere, enthusiastic, young guy, basking in the acclaim of his accomplishments.  I also heard his Printz Award speech later in the week.
  • Melissa Marr, author of the Wicked Lovely series and the upcoming Carnival of Souls.  She will send out bookmarks and things for free if you email and ask her!
  • Ellen Hopkins, author of many “issue” books for teens, has several titles out this year: Tilt for the YA audience; Smoke – a companion to Burned, out as a Kindle title only; Collateral & Triangles, adult titles.
  • As she was leaving, Ellen turned to me and said, “You look familiar.”  To which I replied, “You look familiar to me also.”  And then we realized we met at the OASL conference in 2010.  See what conferences can do for you?
  • Kazu Kibuishi, author of the Amulet series as well as others, pulled out his ipad to show the VERY cool app he’s working for the new graphic series The Mystery Boxes.  The graphics were beautiful and will take the stories into multimedia format.  Keep an eye out for it.
  • Neal Shusterman, (again!) author of recently released UnWholly, which is the long awaited sequel to Unwind.  And if you’re a fan, read UnStrung (if you have a Kindle) a novella that talks about what happens to the main character in between the two books.  And keep an eye out for UnSeamly, the final book of the trilogy coming someday!
  • Christine Hinwood, author of Printz Honor winner The Returning, flew all the way from Aussie-land.  She talked about what a quiet life she leads as an author and was in shock over all the acclaim.  And since winter had started, she was discombobulated by the return to summer weather.  I also heard her speak at the Printz Reception.
  • And finally, just before time ran out, Ruta Sepetys (se-pet-iss), author of Between Shades of Gray, appeared.  First she taught us how to say her last name (see above) and then shared how much she was enjoying the increase in sales to all those confused folks looking to buy Fifty Shades of Gray!  She’s just finished another historical about 1950’s New Orleans, titled Out of the Easy, with a publication date of Feb. 2013.

But wait there’s more…authors, that is!

The 2012 Margaret A. Edwards Award  for lifetime achievement was given to Susan Cooper, best known for the classic Dark is Rising Sequence.  In her elegant British voice and command of the language, she shared her love of writing and the process by which she creates.  We all sighed in pleasure at the end.  And the luncheon food was good too!

Later that same day, Chris Colfer, of Glee fame, gave one of the Auditorium Speakers presentations.  Everyone in attendance received an ARC of his book, The Land of Stories.  And guess what, he’s just like his character Kurt and real cutie!  (Okay, I admit, I’m a gleek.)

And the day ended with a real treat, the final performance of the incredible Rock Bottom Remainders!  It’s members have included Dave Barry, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Maya Angelou, Cynthia Heimel, Sam Barry, Ridley Pearson, Scott Turow, Joel Selvin, James McBride, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount Jr., Barbara Kingsolver, Robert Fulghum, Matt Groening, Tad Bartimus, Greg Iles, and a couple of professional musicians (thank God!).

The whole performance was a hoot!  The music was mediocre at best, but a good time was had by all.  Just type Rock Bottom Remainders into Youtube and see for yourself.

Last post I talked about seeing Ally Condie and Jacqueline Woodson at the YALSA Preconference, but I also literally ran into Jacqueline on the exhibit floor.  We were both trying to get through a crush of people when we bumped into each other.  Such a rush!

I got to hear Libba Bray reading the first chapter of her new book, The Diviners.  And later, managed to get the last free ARC from her publisher’s booth.  It was a “divine” experience!  ;>)

And then there was the Newbery/Caldecott Award banquet & the Printz Award reception.  Both were remarkable for different reasons.  The program for the Newbery banquet was the most inventive I’ve ever seen.  Designed by Caldecott winner Chris Raschka, it looked like a package.  When opened, out popped Daisy’s ball!  Take a look.




Raschka gave a very heartfelt, serious acceptance speech that put my husband, Tim to sleep.  When Tim asked if he could leave, I told him to wait, it was gonna get a LOT better ’cause Jack Gantos was next.  We all know he’s a humor writer, but he’s even funnier in person.  He proceeded to tell us in great detail that he’d no idea what he’d won for at least a couple of hours because the Newbery committee was making too much noise!  His agent finally told him he’d won the Medal.

At the Printz Award reception Daniel Handler and Moira Kalman’s acceptance “speech” stole the show!  It was a VERY hard act for anyone to follow.  The good news is that the medal & other honor winners graciously thanked YALSA for the recognition.  The bad news is that the rest of us had to wait patiently for the bar to open.  ;>)

My next posts will share what I learned at a couple of workshops I attended.  I mean, it was supposed to be a professional development opportunity, not just fan indulgence, and I really did get some great ideas!