2018 Programs and Special Events

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YALSA's Young Adult Services Symposium takes place Nov. 2-4, 2018, in Salt Lake City, Utah. YALSA will host special events requiring additional registration on Friday, with concurrent sessions taking place all day on Saturday and for a half-day on Sunday morning.

All attendees are eligible to receive a continuing education certificate showing the number of contact hours. There will be a signup sheet at registration and certificates will be e-mailed out two weeks following the Symposium. 

Ticketed Events  I  Free Evening Activities  I  Concurrent Sessions

Ticketed Events (these are an extra fee, optional, separate from registration)


AM Preconference, Friday, 9am-12pm, $79.  Media Literacy, News Literacy, and Civics Education: Empowering Librarians and Teens to Navigate a Complex Landscape (Convergence Design Lab)

This session aims to empower librarians to navigate an area that poses a number of challenges and opportunities for both teens and librarians: the complex arena of media and news literacy and civics education. In this interactive session librarians will be introduced to professional development resources and ideas inspired by Participate and the Consume, Create, Connect Framework from Convergence Design Lab. Attendees will discuss ideas, explore resources, and engage with professionals, inside and outside of libraries, who work to equip teens with vital news and media literacy skills that help them engage in a complicated civic landscape.

PM Preconference, Friday, 1pm-4pm, $79. Life Skills - Program-in-a-Box

It’s no secret that teens lack the life skills necessary to survive in the real world and teen librarians are working to address this gap. Let’s make it even easier by working together! We will teach you how to create life skills program-in-a-box kits for your library to use, share, and reshare, saving you time and energy while teaching life skills to teens. Plus, play around with existing program kits from two different library systems and learn how to share program kits whether you’re a big library system or a standalone operation.

Squatters Brew Pub Dinner, Friday 7:30pm, $49.
Join fellow attendees for a casual dinner at a local brew pub  Buffet dinner is included, cash bar available. Although much has changed since the first Squatters beer was poured in 1989, we remain firmly dedicated to our original goal of providing our customers world-class handcrafted beer and food in a warm, friendly environment. As we have grown, we have continued to embrace our Triple Bottom Line philosophy of People Planet Profit, where supporting a healthy community is a priority. Some of the organizations with whom we partner include: The Downtown Alliance, Utahns Against Hunger, Equality Utah, Alliance House, and Green Bike SLC. We procure healthy ingredients and use environmentally friendly products and services from within our local eco-region and develop long-lasting relationships with farmers, growers and suppliers so that we know exactly what is and is not in the products that we buy. We purchase Blue Sky Wind Power and are continuously working to reduce our carbon footprint by procuring products produced from post-consumer recycled materials and purchasing goods that are environmentally friendly, sending less waste to our landfills. These efforts have resulted in Squatters being recognized locally and state-wide for its efforts.


Genre Author Luncheon, Saturday, 11:30am - 1:00pm, $49.  Enjoy lunch, listen to Ally Condie, Julie Berry, Lamar Giles, and Jarrett J. Krosoczka, and receive signed copies of their books.

Optional Free Activities

Discovery Experience at the Family History LibraryFriday, 2:00pm.  Limited number of spots available, please sign up here. Participants will go through a guided family discovery workshop. The focus of the Family History Library is to help guests make personal family discoveries. The Discovery Center is a family-friendly area where families can begin their journey of self and family discovery through fun and engaging activities. We encourage each guest to enter some family information in the Family Tree on FamilySearch before their visit. In addition to listing the basic information about your family members, be sure to include a few photos and stories in the Memories section. Please note: Having a FamilySearch account is NOT required to enjoy the Discovery experience, however, guests will have a more meaningful experience if they have an account and get their family tree started.  A free FamilySearch account can be obtained at https://www.familysearch.org.  

Free Evening Activities (included with registration)

Family History Library TourFri., 7:00pm. Come take a guided tour of The Family History Library.  While there will not be any guided family history activities, the library will be open until 9:00pm if you wish to do some research after the tour. Sign up here.  

Opening Session: Fri. Nov. 2nd at 5:00PM 
The opening session features Leigh Bardugo, Roshani Chokshi, Brandon Sanderson, Sabaa Tahir, and Tochi Onyebuchi.

Book Blitz and Galley Grab, Sat. Nov. 3rd, 5:45pm
Immediately following the concurrent sessions on Saturday, registrants can grab a free YALSA bag and attend the Book Blitz and Galley Grab where they can score free books, advanced reading copies, and rub elbows with authors. Hors d'oeuvres served. Cash bar.

Closing Session: Sunday, Nov. 4th, 11:45am-1pm 
Featuring authors Cynthia Leitich Smith, Jesse Andrews, Andrew Smith, and Brendan Kiely.

Concurrent Sessions (included with registration)

Current sessions take place Saturday 8:30am-5:30pm and Sunday, 9:00am-12:00pm,

There are three sessions to choose from in each of the time slots. Program descriptions for the concurrent sessions are below.  


Saturday, 8:30-9:30am 

Crushing it in the Classroom: Instruction Skills for Public Library Staff (Power Point)
We entertain and inform with storytimes and booktalks, but what do you do when you need to go into full teacher mode? April will share strategies honed through over a decade of speaking in middle and high school classrooms.  Set in the context of developmental stages, this session will include best practices on keeping students engaged and teachers satisfied while providing instruction on information literacy and research skills. An audience-based Q and A period will allow attendees to share their own experiences.
Presenter:  April Witteveen, Community Librarian, Deschutes Public Library, Bend, OR
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Teen Growth & Development, Learning Environments (formal & informal)

Part of the Story: A Model for Engaging Teen Voices in Community Conversations (Power Point)
In 2017, York County Libraries piloted a program designed to give teens the opportunity to contribute to the community conversation on a current social issue. Teens read the book, ‘Smack’ by Melvin Burgess and met with representatives of organizations involved in addressing the escalating heroin addiction crisis in York County. The program culminated in a public Town Hall event hosted by the teen participants. The session will describe the program, its epic fails and incandescent successes and will show how the program can be used as a model for engaging teens in conversations around issues that teens identify as important in their communities.
Presenter:  Jennifer I. Johnson, Teen Services Manager, York County Libraries, York, PA
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Teen Growth and Development; Learning Environments; Learning Experiences; Youth Engagement and Leadership; Outcomes and Assessment

Teen Led Community Leader Dialogues in Public Libraries (Power Point)
The STAR Library Education Network team has developed and piloted a successful Community Leader Dialogue strategy to empower libraries to reach out to new community partners in support of shared goals. These dialogues have helped libraries reach out to underserved audiences, identify barriers to access, and create new long-term partnerships for their venues. This session will focus on the results of previous STAR Net efforts but will also solicit feedback and discussion on how teens could be leaders in this process. This session will include a panel presentation, small group discussion, and Q&A.
Presenters: Anne Holland, Engagement and Exhibits Manager, Space Sciences Institute; Elena Rosenfeld, Associate Director of Community Engagement, High Plains Library District; Brooks Mitchell, Educational Coordinator, Space Science Institute, Boulder, CO
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Teen Growth and Development, Learning Environments, learning Experiences, Community and Family Engagement, and Cultural Competency and Responsiveness

*Saturday, 9:30-10am, Break*

Saturday, 10:00-11:30am

Disability in YA: Representing All Teens (Handout 1Handout 2Handout 3)
This session pairs bestselling YA authors Leigh Bardugo, Shane Burcaw, and Kody Keplinger with librarians to discuss the portrayal of disability – physical, mental, and invisible – in YA literature and how public and school librarians can use their collections and programs to increase awareness and accessibility. Each author will highlight a book discussing disability in teen lives. The librarians will then present programming ideas inspired by the book that can be easily implemented in school and public libraries.  The session will end with a moderated audience Q&A and group brainstorming.
Presenters:  Vera Elwood, YA Librarian, Hays Public Library; Leigh Bardugo, Author, MacMillan Children's Publishing; Rachel Icaza, Education Initiatives Librarian, Sonoma Public Library; Shane Burcaw, Author, MacMillan Children's Publishing; Ryan Moniz, Community Librarian, Markham Public  Library; Kody Keplinger, Author, Scholastic
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Equity of access, Cultural competency & responsiveness, Youth engagement & leadership, Interactions with teens, Continuous learning

Beyond Blueprints: 36 Ideas to Take Your Space from Layout to Hangout (Power Point)
Virtually visit the recently remodeled Teen Hub at our Headquarters Library! Hear how we designed a flexible, age-restricted space for teens--while keeping costs down--and about the many programs and services we offer. Highlights include our teen internship program, our bimonthly newsletter, our open Volunteen hours, our Free Library collection, and our teen Art Show. You'll leave this idea-packed session with new ways to serve your teen population, whether or not you have a dedicated teen space!
Presenters:  Susan Myers, Director of Teen Services; Jessie Brushaber, Assistant Director of Teen Services, Spartanburg County Public Libraries, Spartanburg, SC
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Interactions with Teens, Learning Environments (formal & Informal), Learning Experiences (formal & Informal), Youth Engagement and Leadership, Cultural Competency and Responsiveness, Equity of Access

It’s True: Computational Thinking & Libraries are a Perfect Match
When you think, computational thinking, which can be defined as processes for recognizing and solving problems, do you think “No way, not me, not in my library?” In this participatory session, we’ll change that mindset.  How? By connecting learning gained through the Libraries Ready to Code project and IMLS projects centered on CT and coding.  Participants will learn strategies for successfully bringing CT learning to libraries by embracing the role of facilitator and co-learner.   Through an exchange of concrete CT learning examples, participants will be exposed to a variety of approaches that connect teens with community experts and mentors and support acquisition of a variety of social emotional skills.
Presenters:  Marijke Visser, Associate Director and ALA RtC Lead, ALA Office for Information Technology Policy; Nicky Rigg, Program Manager and RtC Lead, Google; Tim Carrigan, Program Officer, IMLS, Mega Subramaniam, Associate Professor College of Information Studies, University of Maryland
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Informal and formal learning experiences, Interactions with teens, Youth engagement and leadership

*Saturday, 11:30am-1:00pm: Lunch on own*

Saturday, 1:00-2:30pm

William C. Morris Author Forum
Debut YA authors Caitlin Seal, Tahaz Bhathena, Lucia DiStefano, Gloria Chao, and Candace Montgomery will discuss what led them to write for teens, their creative process, and the experience of publishing a novel.  Leslye Walton, 2015 Morris finalist for The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender will moderate.

Later Literacy: Engaging Teens in Books and Stories (PowerPoint)
Early literacy, early literacy, early literacy! Do you work with teens? Are you sick of hearing about talking, writing, reading, playing, and singing for the under 5 set? Award-winning YA author Jason Reynolds has shared that he was 17 before he read a book cover to cover. It’s time to focus on later literacy and practices that will engage youth in books and stories. 
Presenter:  Karen Keys, Coordinator, Young Adult Services, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Interactions with Teens, Learning Environments (formal & informal), Continuous Learning

Leveraging Fandom to Build STEAM and Youth and Community Engagement (Handout 1Handout 2Handout 3Handout 4Handout 5)
The Salt Lake County (UT) Library has built a following of thousands designing programs based around popular fandoms, including a Harry Potter Yule Ball, anime convention ToshoCON, and a summer Hogwarts STEAM camp. In this session, we’ll discuss the process of design planning and youth involvement and introduce our model of “zucchini bread” programs (you, too, can sneak the education in with a little sugar). At the end of this session, participants will be prepared to integrate social, emotional, and educational learning into a fandom based program package, regardless of the size of program, budget, or library.
Presenter:  Stephanie Anderson, Library Program Manager, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake City, Utah; Nyssa Fleig, Library Program Manager, Salt Lake County Library, Cottonwood Heights, Utah
YALSA Competencies Content Area:  Learning Experiences (formal & informal), Outcomes & Assessment

*Saturday, 2:30-3:00pm: Break*

Saturday, 3:00-4:30pm

Teen Nonfiction That Matters
Nonfiction allows readers to engage with true and moving stories that helps them better understand themselves and their world. Lawrence Goldstone, Deborah Hopkinson, Dashka Slater and David Bowles will speak to their upcoming books that tackle timely, complex, and challenging subjects—including how history shapes our world, identity, the struggle for racial justice, and so much more—in a way that is engaging and relevant to young readers. By pairing these books with supporting materials, this session will help you learn how to engage teens, build community, and start important conversations in your library. Attendees will receive copies of the FOCUS on Nonfiction Toolkit with guides and other materials. Moderated by Paige Battle, Teacher Librarian, Grant High School, Portland, OR.

Involving Teens to Create Effective Community Change (Power Point)
Are you struggling to incorporate youth voice into your teen programs?  Queens Library demonstrates how its Teen Leadership Council gave a needed forum to other youth; impacted the behavior and attitudes of local community members and redefined the role of teen engagement within the library.
In this session, participants learn how to create a Youth Leadership Council and impact community by changing behaviors and attitudes towards common problems.  Participants will identify three environmental strategies for community change; implement five best practices to facilitate youth involvement and deliver a persuasive argument for increasing youth involvement in creating adolescent programs.
Presenters:  Melissa Malanuk, Coordinator of Teen Services and Scott McLeod, Director of Volunteer Services, Queens Library, Jamaica, NY
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Youth Engagement and Leadership

Roll for Initiative: Facilitating Learning with Tabletop Games (Power Point and Handouts)
The Kansas City Public Library has embraced many aspects of tabletop gaming, including breakout boxes and gaming learning circles, and has created an initiative using tabletop games as a tool to engage teens’ development of leadership and job readiness skills. With the help of local experts in the community, library staff has used experimental professional development to tailor learning experiences to their teens’ diverse needs. This session will offer strategies for playing and modifying tabletop games in order to target 21st century skill development as well as cultivate a culture of learning among library staff.  
Presenters:  Amanda Barnhart, Branch Manager, and Kelsey Bates, Teen Librarian, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO
YALSA Competencies Content Areas: Learning Experiences (formal & informal), Youth Engagement and Leadership, Continuous Learning

Saturday, 4:30-5:30pm

Restorative Practices: Practical Ways to Support Youth and Create a Culture Shift in Your Library

"Restorative Practices" are approaches used to address problem behaviors, that don’t incorporate a punishment model. This approach, while relatively new to libraries, has actually been used successfully in school and criminal justice settings for many years. Libraries have long struggled with youth behaviors and many libraries utilize suspension models, which remove the youth from the resources in an attempt to alter behavior. We have learned that in the public library setting traditional, punitive and top-down behavior corrections are harmful and disruptive to young people and often sever their relationships to the library. Through our two year pilot program which includes implementing restorative justice boards in our library system, we have learned many lessons about shifting library staff perception and responses to youth behavior. Join us for a conversation about restorative practices and how library staff can focus on this holistic approach to help young patrons use skill building and communication techniques to create more desirable, long term outcomes.

Presenters: Em Lane, Mary Sanchez and Kelly Wilson Pima County Public Librarians
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Interactions with Teens, Equity of Access 

Hello is an Open Door: Using Readers’ Advisory to Create Welcoming Libraries for Teens (Handouts)
How do you create an exceptional library experience for teens and increase your impact in the community?  Through readers’ advisory!  Jefferson County Public Library made it a priority to train all frontline staff on Teen Readers’ Advisory in 2017.  In this session, we will discuss how we determined competencies, designed an online interactive training and created follow up exercises and coaching to ensure concept retention and integration into frontline service to ensure a welcoming environment for all teens in our community.
Presenter:  Arra Katona, Teen Services Coordinator, Jefferson County Public Library; Melissa Taylor, Teen Services Outreach Librarian, Jefferson County Public Library, Lakewood, CO
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Interactions with Teens

Building Self and Social Awareness and Acceptance in Your Library (Power Point)
Diverse books - not only characters different from you, but formats and subject matter that are outside one's typical preferences - are a great way to walk a mile in someone else's shoes, build compassion and empathy, and experience something new. A variety of time-tested options for displays, activities, programs, policies & practices and other strategies to increase reading, provide a safe space for diverse individuals and encourage teens to recognize their own bias and explore perspective will be presented.
Presenters:  Alicia Blowers, Middle School Librarian, St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School, Alexandria, VA
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Interactions with Teens, Cultural Competency and Responsiveness

Saturday, 5:45-7:00pm, Book Blitz and Galley Grab
Immediately following the concurrent sessions on Saturday, registrants can grab a free YALSA bag and attend the Book Blitz and Galley Grab where they can score free books, advanced reading copies, and rub elbows with authors. Hors d'oeuvres served. Cash bar.


*Sunday, 9:00am Breakfast*

Sunday, 9:30-10:30am

Safe at School

Planned Parenthood of Utah's Safe at School program is an anti-harassment/bully-prevention seminar for educators, future educators, and others who work with youth, OR for those interested in learning more about issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students and their peers. In this practical training, educators explore how Utah law enables us and limits us when it comes to creating safe classrooms and schools for our students. We will discuss everything from student and parent experiences to cultural attitudes towards bullying; from educational disparities affecting LGBTQ students to useful bullying intervention strategies.

Presenter:  Bo(nnie) Owens, M.Ed., Safe at School Coordinator, Planned Parenthood of Utah

Teen Civic Engagement: Action to Inspire Change (Power Point)
Now more than ever teens are inspired to engage in community issues and make their voice heard. But how can that power be harnessed when they are too young to vote and don't feel like their elected officials take them seriously? Building Civic Engagement to address community issues is a priority in Snohomish and Island Counties. Through partnerships with the Auditors office, Young Voters of Snohomish County and local organizations, the library has helped young activists and volunteers look beyond the library and transform through a restructured Teen Advisory Board Program, Civic University classes, social media, and library programs about mental illness, homelessness, and teen suicide.
Presenters:  Abby Bormann Reveles, Teen Services Librarian Sno-Isle Libraries, Danielle Dreger-Babbitt, Adult/Teen Librarian at the Mill Creek Library, Marysville, WA
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Youth Engagement and Leadership, Community and Family Engagement

Friends with Benefits: Programming to help develop social and emotional skills in teens (Power Point and Additional Resources)
No, not those kind of benefits! Joanna and Becca from Pikes Peak Library District will walk you through programming designed to help your teens grow. We’ll talk about a wide variety of programming for all budgets and sizes of libraries, everything from Dungeons & Dragons to MakerSpaces to a Yo-Yo club! We’ll also show you how your summer reading program can address this issue, plus discuss how to take on reluctant admins who are hesitant to greenlight ‘just for fun’ programs.
Presenters:  Rebecca Philipsen, Teen Services Librarian, Pikes Peak Library District; Joanna Nelson Rendon, Young Adult Services Division Head, Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs, CO
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Teen Growth and Development, Youth Engagement and Leadership, Outcomes and Assessment, Interactions with Teens, and Continuous Learning

Sunday, 10:30-11:30am

Teen Voices: Using Youth Voice and Participatory Design to Create Youth-Led Library Programs (Handout 1Handout 2Handout 3Handout 4Handout 5)
Teen Voices was a 2016-17 initiative of the King County Library System designed to promote youth voice and give youth an opportunity to learn valuable skills for future success. KCLS librarians leveraged the involvement of existing Teen Advisory Boards by providing them with Foundation funding to plan and promote regional summits for youth in their communities. Youth learned skills such as project and time management, budgeting, public speaking, decision making, and leadership.  They also gained the social and emotional benefits of working together on a meaningful project. KCLS librarians will share their process and framework of peer-supported, interest-powered, connected learning.
Presenters:  Rachel McDonald Teen Services Librarian, King County Library System, Tukwila Library, Tukwila, WA; Carrie Bowman
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Youth Engagement and Leadership

Alt RA: Video Games, Apps, Music, Movies, and TV Shows as Reader's Advisory (PowerPointHandout)
Not sure what book to recommend to the teen that LOVES Taylor Swift, but hasn’t read a book in years? Or the teen that can quote every episode of Stranger Things. What about the teen with every Call of Duty stage memorized? Learn to use appeal factors—the style mood and elements--- and other RA standbys to connect teens to their perfect book that matches the appeal of their current non-book related media obsession. We'll give you the tools, tips and tricks needed to transform your already amazing RA skills into using non-traditional media as a means of inspiring lifelong readers through better book suggestions.
Presenters:  Heather Love Beverly, Assistant Manager of Youth Services, Cook Memorial Public Library District, Libertyville, IL; Cyndi Hamann, Teen Librarian, Crystal Lake Public Library, Crystal Lake, IL
YALSA Competencies Content Areas:  Equity of Access

Book Buzz: Listen to publishers talk about upcoming titles

Closing session: 11:45am-1:30pm
Featuring authors Cynthia Leitich Smith, Jesse Andrews, Andrew Smith, and Brendan Kiely.