At this writing, I’ve just returned from attending ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim and have almost finished sorting and distributing the books, t-shirts, bookmarks, information, and deciphering the notes I had packed in my 86-pound suitcase. Have you ever tried to explain what on earth you do at a convention of librarians to nonlibrarian friends? It is often as incomprehensible to them as why you want to work with teens. Which is exactly why I love to go to the conferences—to be with like-minded people who share a mission to connect teens with libraries and books and understand why we willingly exhaust ourselves attending meetings and events for five long days or more, twice a year.
This issue of YALS features articles about outreach to special teen audiences. Discussion for this issue started at one of those conventions of librarians. For every special teen audience who has found the magic of libraries, there is a special librarian who has a story to share of the trials and errors and successes of their experiences, and their stories can inspire the rest of us. Read about Amy Cheney, whose program reaches teens in the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center, and Wendy Morano, teen services librarian at the Hilltop branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, who pays monthly visits to a class of physically challenged students at Westmoor Middle School. Check out how school library media specialist Kathy Seever inspired a future librarian and how YALSA and REFORMA are working together to reach Latino teens. Jami Jones tells us how to help traumatized and depressed teens and Samantha Hastings gives us some great ideas on how to connect with the audience we all have: those hard-to-reach, busy teens. Soon we realize that all of our teens are part of a special audience and all of you working to connect with them have a story to tell. Reading the speeches of award-winning authors talking about their works is frosting on the cake.
Conferences, workshops, books, YALS, YAttitudes, Twitter, wikis, blogs, discussion lists—all of these communication tools are available to you to learn and share how to reach our teens in the myriad special audiences they belong to. Just as you find another librarian’s story informative and inspirational, someone will find your story equally so. Check this out: Writers and reviewers from twelve states contributed to the past two issues of YALS: California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Utah. If your state is not listed, let that be a special invite to you to submit an article or volunteer to review for YALS (writers get fame but no fortune, and reviewers get free books!).
And here’s another reason to become part of the YALS team:You can say you write for an award-winning publication. See that purple logo onthe cover? In July, YALS received an Award of Excellence for Journals and Magazines over 32 pages from the APEX Awards for Publication Excellence, selected from a pool of more than eight hundred journals and magazines. Congratulations to Valerie Ott and the contributors to YALS in 2007 and 2008 who helped achieve this distinction!