YALSA President's Report

Paula Brehm-Heeger
Leading the Way
January 2007 

Much of my time in January was dedicated to preparing for, participating in and following up on Midwinter Meeting activities in Philadelphia. 

Philadelphia was a great host city and we were very fortunate to have a great week of weather. 

YALSA continues to be an incredibly dynamic and active division and we accomplished quite a bit during the Midwinter meeting!  We also continued our tradition of setting ambitious goals for our division’s future with several strategic planning sessions. 

Another noteworthy event from the Midwinter meeting occurred during our All- Committee meeting when three Past-Presidents, Jennifer Gallant, Caryn Sippos and Pam Spencer-Holley led the charge for those in attendance to help YALSA reach our $10,000 goal for creating an Endowment Fund.  The response was truly amazing and thanks to this member support we have now surpassed that initial $10,000 goal and have received a total of $11,250 to date!  These funds will go toward establishing leadership programs such as mentorships, scholarships and institutes.


  • The ALA Awards Committee approved the formation of YALSA’s Nonfiction Award.  Later in the spring I will appoint the first Nonfiction Award Committee, with the first winner to be announced at the 2010 Midwinter meeting.
  • The Midwinter meeting features two very successful YALSA events, the “Midwinter Social Event” which, for the third year in a row, once again provided attendees the opportunity to experience hands-on gaming, and our Midwinter Institute, “Taking Teen Services to the Next Level” focusing on advocacy.
  • Completion of all 2008 selection lists, award committee choices and juries which select member awards.  The full results are available on YALSA website.
  • YALSA’s three-year @Your Library Advocacy Campaign was launched at Midwinter.  Special thanks to Ma’Lis Wendt and the Advocacy Task Force for all their work on readying our division for this important campaign and also to Legislation Committee Chair Christy Mulligan and Legislation Committee Member Maureen Ambrosino for speaking at the launch event (and for School Library Journal for granting permission for reproducing Maureen’s recently published graphic novel-style story of library advocacy.)
  • Presided over two executive committee sessions, two board meetings, the leadership development meeting for committee chairs and the all-committee meeting.
  • Lead efforts to update YALSA’s Strategic Plan, dedicating one full board meeting to strategic planning and also one afternoon session open to all committee chairs. 
  • I had the great honor of participating in the Youth Media Awards Press Conference on behalf of YALSA.
  • Wrote thank-you letters to YALSA Chairs with terms that expired at the end of Midwinter 2008.
  • Wrote thank-you letters to YALSA’s promotional partners who provided support for members during the Midwinter meeting
  • Completed appointments for YALSA’s YA Diversity Campaign Task Force
  • Worked with YALSA’s Board of Directors to provide feedback to our liaison to ALA’s Executive Committee regarding a “Draft protocol” for responding to requests for official ALA positions on issues.  We stated our strong belief that the current ALA Bylaws adequately address this situation.

In Progress

  • Appointment of at least 3 members (one of whom will serve as chair) to the interdivisional YALSA/LAMA Teen Space Guidelines Task Force
  • Appointment of 5-7 members for the Midwinter Institute Task Force for 2009
  • Appointment of 3-5 members to the Midwinter Social Event 2009 Task Force
  • Appointment of 5-7 members for the Magazine Selected List Task Force
  • Appointment of 3-4 Board members to a Board subcommittee which will work on guidelines for YALSA’s new Endowment Fund.
  • Preparing for the upcoming Board of Director’s meeting via conference call on February 29th.


  • Provided quotes for YALSA Communications Specialists Stephanie (Stevie) Kuenn for a press release announcing YALSA’s new Nonfiction Award.
  • Provided School Library Journal with a response about the selection of Orson Scott Card as this year’s Margaret Edwards Award winner.
  • Wrote a brief letter to the editor in response to a School Library Journal editorial about the Margaret Edwards Award in order to make the terms of selection and award criteria very clear; a statement with this information was also issued and I posted the link for this statement to YALSA’s blog.
  • President-Elect Sarah Cornish Debraski, filling for me when I lost my voice immediately following the Midwinter meeting, spoke to a St. Louis Today newspaper reporter about graphic novels.
  • Spoke to Marcia Clemmitt from the CQ Researcher about the recently released NEA study on Americans’ reading habits, focusing on the study’s findings about teens and reading.

Additional Important News

Registration and housing for the 2008 Annual conference in Anaheim, CA is now open. More information about the Annual conference is available at the Annual Web site.

It’s not too late to participate in the “I Love My Librarian” campaign.  ALA’s Youth Divisions – YALSA, AASL and ALSC – are sending out a call to action to library workers to have library supporters send “I Love My Teen Services Librarian” or “I Love My School Librarian” Valentine cards to their U.S. Senators and Representatives and to ask elected officials to support the SKILLS Act and/or LSTA funding for libraries.  Visit YALSA’s wiki for more information.

Resolutions for Past YALSA President Elizabeth O’Donnell were received by the Board and made part of the YALSA record. A copy will be sent to Ms. O’Donnell’s family.

For more details about any YALSA Midwinter activities, take a look at the YALSA website and the board documents and outcomes.  If you would like more information please do not hesitate to contact me or the YALSA office at paulabrehmheeger@fuse.net or yalsa@ala.org.