Innovation in Teen Services Award

Established in 2018, this annual $500 award is funded by Friends of YALSA (FOY). It aims to recognize a member who has brought a new idea to life through their library that has benefited the teens in their community. Whether that idea is big or small, the innovation has made a positive impact on the community and illustrates YALSA’s vision for teen services as outlined in the report: “The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action” and “Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff.

The award will recognize a member who has demonstrated a commitment to creating innovative library services for and with the teens in their community. Innovation includes leveraging creative thinking, problem solving, and/or identifying novel solutions to challenges.  Innovation often involves risk-taking, as well. Apply by December 1 of each year.

Eligibility

  • Self-nominations are welcome
  • Nominee must be a current personal member of ALA/YALSA. The nominator does not need to be a member of ALA or YALSA (so long it is not a self-nomination)
  • Must work for and with teens in a library setting
  • All personal members of YALSA are eligible for nomination, regardless of job title

Award Criteria

Submissions will be judged based on:

  • The degree to which the innovation addresses a need teens have or solves a community problem
  • The ways in which discovery, collaboration, iteration, prototyping, etc. contributed to the conception and development of the innovation
  • The degree to which the innovation is different from existing programs, services, or approaches, and whether it has distinct or game changing advantages over previous methods or approaches.
  • The potential for impact in the field of teen services.  To what degree does this innovation have potential to bring about significant or widespread change?  Is it easily adaptable or replicable in other libraries?
  • The level of community support and involvement
  • Close alignment with YALSA's vision for teen services as outlined in the reports: “The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action” and “Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff

Application Materials

The Award is designed to recognize innovative library services for and with teens, therefore, the application and supporting materials must include:

  • A detailed description of a completed or on-going program or service that works in a novel way to alleviate the challenges teens face, as measured by the criteria listed above.
  • A letter of support from a community partner. This requirement will demonstrate community engagement and commitment to the project or idea. Community partners may include but are not limited to other types of libraries, nonprofits, government agencies or businesses.  A public and school library partnership is permitted.  More than one partner is permitted; however, only one letter of support is required.
  • A willingness to submit a write-up or video of their experience (such as a blog post) to promote the innovative idea to the YALSA community and to inspire potential future award applicants.

Application and Deadline

Submit an application by December 1 of each year.

Contact

Questions should be directed to Letitia Smith at lsmith@ala.org or at: 800/545-2433 x 4390