YALSA announces 5,000th member as it approaches its 50th year

Contact: Nichole Gilbert



For Immediate Release

March 14, 2006

YALSA announces 5,000th member as it approaches its 50th year

CHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), will celebrate its 50 th anniversary in 2007. To kick off the celebration, YALSA is recognizing its 5,000th member, Marybeth Gallant.

Gallant has worked with young adults for 18 years, beginning as a high school English teacher, and currently is a school library media specialist at the Ashland High School Library in Ashland, Mass. She became a member of ALA while working for her library degree at Simmons College.

“Attending the [ALA] conference in Chicago last summer, I was really impressed with the quality of the workshops, including those sponsored by YALSA,” said Gallant. “Becoming a divisional member of YALSA seemed like the next logical step, since they work to bring literacy to young people. It seemed like a good way to broaden my professional connections.”

Recently the public library in Ashland attempted to set up an after school program for teens and met some resistance from people who felt teens make too much noise in the library and disturb people.

“It seemed wrong to me to exclude a generation of kids who are the future adult patrons of libraries,” said Gallant. “So I thought joining YALSA was a way to support programming and advocacy for teens in regards to libraries. With so many distractions for kids in today’s society, they need to sometimes be reminded that libraries are places that do have meaning in their lives, especially if we provide them with good programs and materials. Then down the road when they have children, they will bring them in to enjoy the library.”

“Naturally, all of us in YALSA are excited to see our membership growing so rapidly,” said YALSA President Pam Spencer Holley. “Chief among them is the fact that our increasing numbers indicate an increasing commitment to library service for teens.”

YALSA has almost doubled its membership since 1999, and surpassed the 5,000 mark in January 2006. Membership in the association currently stands at 5,013 and is growing at a rate of 11 percent a year, the highest of any division in ALA.

YALSA believes strongly that teens deserve the best, yet many libraries have inadequate numbers of trained staff and resources to address the needs of teens. According to information from the U.S. Census Bureau, there will be more than 42 million teens by the year 2008 (
Projections of the Total Resident Population by 5-Year Age Groups and Sex with Special Age Categories: Middle Series: 2001–2005. Population Projection Program, Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). Furthermore, studies indicate that teens are reading less often and fewer of them are obtaining critical literacy skills. To address these issues, YALSA’s mission is to advocate, promote and strengthen library service to teens, ages 12 through 18, as part of the continuum of total library services, and to support those who provide library service to this population.

For more information about how to join YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening for teens go to
www.ala.org/yalsa, or contact the YALSA office, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: