Oregon Librarian Danielle Jones Wins YALSA Writing Award!

The logo for YALSA's YA collections blog, The HubCongratulations to Danielle Jones at the Multnomah County Library’s Hollywood Library for winning YALSA’s 2017 Writing Award for her blog post on The Hub, “Racial and Social Justice Podcasts for Teens.” In the post, which was published in August, she curates a list of “current podcasts, podcasts that have teen appeal, that we can all be listening to that explore racial and social justice in the United States, and especially during a time where politics are front and center.”

Danielle’s excellent work earned her prize money as well as a plaque and recognition at YALSA’s Membership Meeting at ALA Annual this coming June. Be sure to congratulate her next time you see her!

2015 YA Lit Symposium Call for Proposals

by Greogry Lum, Jesuit High School

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is seeking program proposals and paper presentations for its 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium, Bringing it All Together: Connecting Libraries, Teens & Communities, to be held Nov. 6-8, 2015, in Portland, Ore.

The Symposium will gather together librarians, educators, researchers, young adult authors and other teen advocates to discuss the role of libraries in connecting teens to their community and beyond. Today’s 21st century teens have unique needs and face significant challenges that they cannot deal with successfully on their own. Library staff are uniquely positioned to help teens by not only connecting them to resources in the library and their hometown, but also to resources from affinity communities that thrive online. How can library staff connect with partners, provide programming, enhance collections, and help teens build both print and digital literacy skills so that they can be successful in the future? How can library staff connect with colleagues to form personal learning networks, increase impact and tell their stories? Join YALSA as we explore how to connect teens to their community and beyond.

Now held annually, the Symposium has also expanded its focus. Programs will cover the entire spectrum of topics related to providing services for and with young adults, including readers’ advisory and maintaining young adult literature collections. YALSA is seeking proposals in the following categories:

  • Programming
  • Collections
  • Digital and Print Literacy
  • Youth Participation
  • Spaces (physical and virtual)
  • Partnering/Collaborations

YALSA invites interested parties to propose 90-minute programs centering on the theme, as well as paper presentations offering new, unpublished research relating to the theme. Applications for all proposals can be foundhttp://www.ala.org/yalsa/yasymposium . Proposals for programs and paper presentations must be completed online by Dec. 1, 2014. Applicants will be notified of their proposals’ status by Feb. 1, 2015.

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 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!


YALSA’s free Teen Book Finder app is now available

Posted on behalf of Sara Ryan, YALSA Board Member and OYAN member.
YALSA’s Teen Book Finder is a free app to help teens, parents, librarians and library staff, educators, and anyone who loves YA literature access to the past three years’ of YALSA’s awards and lists on their smartphone.  Find out more at:  http://www.ala.org/yalsa/products/teenbookfinder

Have an iPod Touch, an iPhone or an iPad? Download the app now!

App features include:

  • a homepage featuring three titles from the database, refreshed each day
  • the ability to search for books by author, title, award/list year, genre, by award, and by booklist
  • a Find It! button, powered by the OCLC WorldCat Search API, that will show users where to find the book in a nearby library
  • a Favorites button, to create an individualized booklist
  • the ability to share books from the Teen Book Finder on Twitter and Facebook
  • and more!

An Android version of the app is planned for later in 2012.

The app is funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The app was developed by Ora Interactive.

Three professional development opportunities from YALSA – Deadline is near!

This fall, YALSA is offering three professional development opportunities that can help school librarians and administrators stretch their budget dollars, incorporate teen volunteers into library services, and develop school-friendly passive programming. Through September 27, we’re offering $10 off all online course registrations. ($10 off offer does not apply to webinar registration.)

Growing, Managing, and Defending the YA Budget Online Course

In this class, students will learn how to:

  • effectively sell and defend YA expenditures to administrators
  • find and successfully apply for grants
  • stretch budgets by partnering with Friends groups or other departments of your organization

This asynchronous, four-week class starts Oct. 4. Registration costs $135 for YALSA members, $175 for ALA members, and $195 for nonmembers, but hurry — registration ends Sept. 27 at www.ala.org/yalsa/onlinecourses.

Instructor Monique Delatte, a 2010 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and acquisitions librarian at Fullerton College and librarian at Rio Hondo Community College, successfully applied for more than $50,000 in grants and awards in two years while working for the County of Los Angeles public libraries.

Tapping Youth Participation to Strengthen Library Services Online Course

In this class, students will learn how to:

  • get teens involved in collection development, program planning, and designing virtual and physical teen library space and identify practical ways to increase youth participation at the library
  • learn how to promote the benefits of incorporating teen input into services to administrators
  • develop evaluative tools for programs and services that utilize teens in the planning process

This asynchronous, four-week class starts Oct. 4. Registration costs $135 for YALSA members, $175 for ALA members, and $195 for nonmembers, but hurry — registration ends Sept. 27 at www.ala.org/yalsa/onlinecourses.

Instructor Amy Alessio, teen coordinator for the Schaumburg (Ill.) Township District Library, is an award-winning presenter and author who co-wrote A Year of Programs for Teens and edited Excellence in Library Services to Young Adults, 5th Edition, for YALSA.

Do More with Less: Passive Programs Webinar

Keeping up programming in the face of budget cuts and staff reductions are challenges school and public librarians across the country are facing. In this hour-long, interactive webinar, two YALSA experts will discuss how school and public librarians can plan, design and implement passive programs for their library.

This hour-long, interactive webinar will take place on Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. Eastern. Registration costs $39 for individual YALSA members and $49 for all other individuals. Group registration is available for $195. Register by Oct. 19 at www.ala.org/yalsa/webinars.

Gregory Lum is the library director at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon. Sarah Ludwig is past head of teen and technology services at Darien Public Library in Darien, Connecticut, and current academic technology coordinator at Hamden Hall Country Day School.