For immediate release | March 2, 2012

Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition names YALSA one of 31 winners

SAN FRANCISCO – The Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, and its design partner, Badgeville, were named one of 30 winners from a pool of 91 finalists in the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition on Thursday, March 1, at the Digital Media and Learning Conference. The competition links designers, entrepreneurs, technologists and educators with leading business and industry organizations to build digital badge systems and explore the ways badges can be used to help people learn, demonstrate skills and knowledge and unlock job, educational and civic opportunities. The Competition is held in collaboration with Mozilla and is part of the 4th Digital Media and Learning Competition, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and administered by HASTAC.

The winners—awarded grants ranging from $25,000 to $175,000—demonstrate the wide range of approaches to, and uses for, digital badges and badge systems. They illustrate the potential of new technologies to improve academic achievement, economic opportunity and civic engagement.

YALSA’s badges will be based on its Competencies for Serving Youth, national guidelines that outline what today’s librarians need to know to effectively serve teens. The competencies are divided into seven broad content areas. YALSA and Badgeville propose creating four badges for each area, the first three of which will demonstrate proficiency of a specific skill or topic. The fourth badge will demonstrate mastery of a skill or topic. Librarians and library workers who opt in to the program can participate at their own pace by engaging in a range of activities.

“As learners gain skills and earn badges, they will be recognized by their peers as experts in their field and can move into the role of mentor by answering questions from peers and earning points for doing so,” Jack Martin, YALSA president-elect said in the winning presentation this week. “This program is exciting because it breaks down longstanding geographic and physical barriers, allowing librarians and library staff to connect with one another based on interests or achievements, and build communities of practice that will help them thrive in their work.”

"The number, quality and vision of competition applicants demonstrate the potential of badges to help us reimagine learning," said Julia Stasch, vice president of U.S. Programs at the MacArthur Foundation. "Organizations from across an array of industries see great value in developing a system that recognizes skills and competencies achieved over a lifetime. Badges are simple, easy and, if done well, can change the way people share information about themselves, businesses make hiring decisions and organizations support the acquisition of skills important to their mission or to the larger society."

This announcement concludes the final stage in the three-stage Competition. The badge systems awarded were judged on their overall technical and pedagogical quality, the effectiveness of the badges' assessment process, the system's aesthetic and design quality and the likelihood of acceptance and adoption by learners, institutions, employers and the general public. Winners will have one year to complete their work. Throughout the year, awardees and other applicants will receive ongoing support and training and will work together to form a robust community that will focus on developing and testing a thriving badge ecosystem.

About the MacArthur Foundation

The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places and understand how technology is affecting children and society. The Digital Media and Learning Competition is part of MacArthur's $85 million digital media and learning initiative, which aims to determine how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life. More information is at

About Mozilla

Mozilla is a global, nonprofit organization dedicated to making the Web better. We emphasize principle over profit, and believe that the Web is a shared public resource to be cared for, not a commodity to be sold. We work with a worldwide community to create open source products like Mozilla Firefox, and to innovate for the benefit of the individual and the betterment of the Web. The result is great products built by passionate people and better choices for everyone.


HASTAC (the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) is an international network of educators and digital visionaries committed to the creative development and critical understanding of new technologies in life, learning, and society. HASTAC is committed to innovative design, participatory learning, and critical thinking.


For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos and audiobooks for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail,