The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is a national association of librarians, library workers and advocates whose mission is to expand and strengthen library services for teens, aged 12-18. Through its member-driven advocacy, research, and professional development initiatives, YALSA builds the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve and empower teens. Watch this brief video and hear from teens themselves about what libraries mean to them.
Read about us and our mission in Associations Now and check out our 2014 report on the Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action
What We Do
YALSA brings together key stakeholders from the areas of libraries, education, research, out of school time, youth development and more to develop and deliver resources to libraries that expand their capacity to support teen learning and enrichment and to foster healthy communities. Read about us and our mission in Associations Now and check out this infographic (.pdf).
Advocate By participating in events like National Library Legislative Day and implementing District Days initiatives for libraries to participate in, YALSA works at a national level to inform and engage policy makers and elected officials about the important role libraries and librarians play in preparing teens to become engaged, productive citizens.
Research Through efforts such as its Research Agenda and Journal for Research on Libraries and Young Adults, YALSA promotes and disseminates relevant research.
Train In order to ensure that librarians and library workers have the skills needed to engage, educate and support teens, YALSA offers a wealth of continuing education activities, including e-learning and an annual teen services symposium. Through grant funding YALSA developed digital badges that provide a new way for library staff to gain skills and demonstrate their expertise to employers via micro-credentialing.
Build Capacity YALSA provides over $150,000 per year to libraries through grants to help libraries do things like offer summer reading programs, hire teen interns and increase their digital media offerings. YALSA scholarships and stipends support librarians and library workers seeking to further their education or gain leadership skills. Read our 2014 report (pdf) on Helping Libraries Meet the Needs of Diverse Teens, or watch this 5 minute video.
Promote best practices and identify trends
- Publish books, a weekly e-news, and a quarterly journal, Young Adult Library Services.
- Develop and disseminate national guidelines for serving teens in libraries, such as “Core Professional Values for the Teen Services Profession.”
- Curate industry content via blogs at http://yalsa.ala.org/blog and http://yalsa.ala.org/thehub
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Why Focus on Teens?
Teens are not simply “older children” – they have reached a developmental stage that requires a different strategic approach in order to effectively understand, connect with and serve them. In addition, the needs and developmental abilities of younger teens ages 13 to 15 vary from those of older teens ages 16 to 18. YALSA helps libraries increase their outreach to teens and serve them better. Unfortunately, research, including this Alliance for Excellence in Education report, shows that as an age group, teens receive the least amount of funding from the government, foundations and corporate giving.
- Current membership is more than 5,100 members
- Founded in 1957 and headquartered in Chicago, YALSA is a division of the American Library Association, a financially stable 501(c)3 charitable association.
Find out more about YALSA's mission.
Read our vision for teens and libraries.
The governing rules for YALSA
Updated every five years, the strategic plan outlines the current goals of YALSA
Find volunteer forms, committee information, governing documents, and more information about YALSA in the handbook.
Find details on YALSA's governance, including its structure, board and executive committee members, minutes, board documents and more.
Meet YALSA's staff, headquartered in Chicago.
Read annual reports from YALSA's presidents and executive director.
See a list of organizations that YALSA works with to further its mission.
Find out more about YALSA's history.