YASD A Narrative History From 1976 to 1992

by Jana R. Fine


The Young Adult Services division (YASD) has undergone many elements of change beginning with an individual divisional membership fee begun in 1976. At that time YASD was able to establish its own office and staff, but with only a 4/5 staff member. By 1977 the position of Executive Secretary was full time, thus enabling Evelyn Shaevel to fully carry out the demands of YASD and its members. Also during that year the Board of Directors (BOD) considered changing the name of the division and assigning a specific age range to the division's function statement, but the membership voted this down.

YASD grew stronger by 1979 when ALA bylaws were changed to include the election of a division representative to ALA Council. The BOD continued long-range planning for a broader base of membership and revenues, and by 1983 a dues increase was voted in by the membership, thus enabling YASD to effectively establish 8 goals and objectives with strategies to implement them. Even though budgetary problems faced the division in 1984 with clerical staff support reduced to 60%, the division continued to represent the membership at all levels. For example, in response to the Department of Education (DOE) report, A NATION AT RISK, YASD passed a resolution that stressed the role that librarians working in schools and public libraries have in the personal and educational growth of young adults. A result of that resolution was a direct mailing to school librarians which gained the division 150 new members in 1986.

To further solidify the division's fiscal base, in 1987 the BOD agreed to participate in an innovative shared staffing arrangement with the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA). Another significant event that year occurred when TOP OF THE NEWS (TON) was renamed to JOURNAL OF YOUTH SERVICES IN LIBRARIES (JOYS) to adequately reflect the contents and interests of the membership. In 1988, a decision was made by the joint Boards of the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC) and YASD to make JOYS a refereed journal on a trial three-year basis to increase research-related articles and broaden author submissions from academia.

In 1989, Evelyn Shaevel left YASD to take a new position within ALA as Director of Marketing and the BOD worked quickly to find a solution to staffing. By entering into an agreement with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), the division was able to share the services of Ann Carlson Weeks as Executive Director and hired Susan K. Horiuchi as the YASD Deputy Executive Director.

In 1990 unexpected events occurred, when the YASD president resigned his presidency and the Vice-president stepped in not only to finish his term but also her own. Determined to keep the division in a financially secure position, the BOD adopted a five-year financial plan in 1990.

During 1991, Susan Horiuchi resigned her position and the YASD Executive Director found a replacement in Linda Waddle, former Board member of YASD. A positive response to a 1990 name change study for YASD resulted in the membership voting to change the name of the division from Young Adult Services division to the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) in 1991. The membership also voted that year to establish the chairs of the Organization and Bylaws Committee and the Budget Committee as ex-officio Board members. The BOD adopted a proposal that the age grouping of twelve to eighteen be used to define young adults for the purposes of research and also approved a student dues category.

Plans for 1992 included a membership vote on Bylaws revision as well as the adoption of a long-range plan to implement YASD/YALSA goals.


YASD's mission statement "to advocate, promote, and strengthen service to young adults as part of the continuum of total library service" is exemplified in YASD standing committees. During the seventies, committees created to reflect the needs of the membership included: the Intellectual Freedom Committee (1976), Legislation Committee (1977), Selected Films and Videos for Young Adults (1977), Education Committee (1978), and Organization and Bylaws (1979).

The eighties saw a flurry of activities from these newly established committees: Program Planning Clearinghouse and Evaluation (1980), Recommended Books for the Reluctant Young Adult Reader (1980), Public Relations (1981), Publications (1981), Library Service to Young Adults with Special Needs (1981), Executive (1982), Budget and Finance (1982), Baker & Taylor/YASD Conference Grant (1982), Computer Applications (1983), Long Range Planning (1984), Local Arrangements (1984), Youth Participation (1987), Division Promotion (1987), SLJ/YASD Author Achievement Award (Margaret A. Edwards Award) (1987), Membership Recruitment Committee (1987), a revision of the JOYS Editorial Interdivisional Committee (1987), and the Econo-Clad Award Committee was established in 1988.

The 1990's have seen the creation of the Outreach Committee (1991), and Oversight Committee (1991).

As the years progressed, membership expressed a desire to see genre booklists that would appeal to the youth they serve. Therefore in 1988, five Genre Committees were formed: Horror, Mystery, Romance, Sports, and Science Fiction. Also in 1988, a grant from the Carnegie Reading List Fund enabled YASD to work with the ALA Public Information Office on development of genre booklists. Baker and Taylor Books agreed to collaborate with ALA to assist in the marketing of these lists. The results of that cooperation were the sale and marketing of book dumps through Baker and Taylor that highlighted each genre. Genre bookmarks and tip sheets were produced and marketed through ALA. By 1989, two more genre committees were created: Fantasy and Humor. And in 1991, an Historical Fiction Genre was approved as a committee. In 1992, Baker and Taylor decided to drop the sale and marketing of genre book dumps, but agreed to publish genre lists at no cost to YALSA.


Some of the best advertisements reflecting YASD's support for those working with young adults are the outstanding publications produced by committees.

Publications produced from 1976 to the present include: 1977 "Directions for Library Service to YA's" 1981 "Young Adults Deserve the Best: Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth" 1981 "Cheap CE: Providing Continuing Education with Limited Resources: a Resource Guide" 1983 "Youth Participation in School and Public Libraries Manual" 1986 "You Are Not Alone" 1989 "Hit List" 1989 "Youth Participation in Libraries: A Training Manual" 1989 "Teen Pregnancy Crisis: Libraries CAN Help" 1990 Genre Booklists

Three of the most popular publications have been the annual selection lists: "Best Books for Young Adults", "Quick Picks" (Reluctant Reader Booklist), and "Selected Films." In addition, the five "Outstanding Books for the College Bound" are produced every four years.


YASD has presented outstanding preconferences throughout its history:

  • 1978 "DISPELLING THE HI-LOW BLUES" (co-sponsored by ALSC)
  • 1984 "CABLE UNTANGLED" (co-sponsored by Al-SC)
  • 1988 "STILL GREAT IN '88" (BBYA)
  • 1991 "GENRECON"


Grants were established in 1982 with the generous support of vendors and they continue to be awarded annually. The YASD/VOYA research grant (later changed to the Frances Henne YASD VOYA Research Grant) of $500 awarded for a project in the area of young adult services and/or materials was first given in 1985. The Baker & Taylor Conference grant of $500, first given in 1984, enabled two librarians who work directly with young adults in a public or school library to attend their first ALA conference. The amount of this award has increased to $1000 since 1991. The Econo-Clad award of $1000 was first awarded in 1990 to a librarian who had developed and implemented a unique and outstanding program for young adults involving reading and the use of literature.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded YASD a grant entitled "Courtly Love in the Shopping Mall" in 1985 to present four regional workshops to train librarians who work with young adults to design and implement humanities programs. Two regional workshops were offered in 1986 and two in 1987. In addition, a preconference based on the NEH Grant gave participants excellent ways to start humanities programs for teenagers in their own libraries. YASD received a supplemental grant from NEH to support the extension of the project in 1988 through two more regional workshops.


In 1986, the Allerton Institute at the University of Illinois focused on youth services. Partially funded by a World Book-ALA Goal award, "Missionaries and Managers: Library Services to Children and Young Adults in the Information Age" gave youth specialists the occasion to assess the current status of service to youth and design goals and strategies for meeting future information needs of youth. During the same year, DOE conducted a fast response survey to specifically determine the accessibility of resources and services for young adults in public libraries. YASD worked with the DOE on this survey and by 1988 was assisting in the development of a survey report entitled "Services and Resources for Young Adults in Public Libraries."

Development of regional workshops has offered youth librarians an opportunity to learn and develop new skills. YASD's plans of a joint regional institute focusing on middle management skills of youth services librarians culminated in 1988 when LAMA, ALSC, and YASD offered a series of regional workshops on "Managing Youth Services" presented by Vivian Wynn from YASD and Mary Somerville from ALSC, which continued through 1991.

Beginning in 1986, YASD developed criteria for a young adult author award which would honor an author for his/her body of work. School Library Journal (SLJ) graciously offered to fund the $1000 award on a bi-annual basis beginning in 1988. The SLJ/YASD Author Achievement Award was changed to the Margaret A. Edwards Award in 1991 and is now presented annually at a luncheon during Annual Conference.

  • 1988 S.E. HINTON
  • 1992 LOIS DUNCAN

Starting in 1989, the BOD and the YASD Legislation Committee showed a strong commitment to working on the White House Conference on Library and Information Services II (WHCLIS) by developing packets of information, and the YASD Legislation Committee assisted in writing the paper entitled "Kids Need Libraries: School and Public Libraries Preparing the Youth of Today for the World of Tomorrow." This paper provided the WHCLIS II delegates a framework for discussion of issues relating to the improvement of library services for young people in this country. Intense lobbying efforts by YASD members together with other youth divisions and other advocates resulted in the Omnibus Youth Literacy through Libraries Bill being the number one priority from WHCLIS II.


From its inception to the latest conference, YASD/YALSA, through its staff, board members, and membership, has strived since 1957 to bring to those working with young adults the chance to grow and expand their knowledge, to share that knowledge with others, and to reach those young adults with whom they work. With foresight and perseverance, this tradition of excellence will continue through to the next century and beyond.


  • 95-96 Patricia Muller
  • 94-95 Jennifer Jung Gallant
  • 93-94 Judith Druse
  • 92-93 Elisabeth M. O'Donnell
  • 91-92 Mary Elizabeth Wendt
  • 90-91 Christy Tyson
  • 89-90 Christy Tyson
  • 89-90 Gerald Hodges (resigned)
  • 88-89 Susan Madden
  • 87-88 Vivian Wynn
  • 86-87 Marion Hargrove
  • 85-86 Joan Atkinson
  • 84-85 Lydia LaFleur
  • 83-84 Penelope S. Jeffrey
  • 82-83 Barbara Newmark-Kruger
  • 81-82 Evie Wilson-Lingbloom
  • 80-81 Audrey Eaglen
  • 79-80 Eleanor Pourron
  • 78-79 Bruce Daniels
  • 77-78 Rosemary Young
  • 76-77 Mary K. Chelton
  • 75-76 Helen Kreigh
  • 74-75 Carol Starr
  • 73-74 Marilee Fogelsong
  • 72-73 Thomas Alford
  • 71-72 Jane Manthorne
  • 70-71 Mary Ann Hanna
  • 69-70 Elaine Simpson
  • 68-69 Julia M. Losinski
  • 67-68 Mary L. Woodworth
  • 66-67 Florence M. Sanborn
  • 65-66 Opal C. Eagle
  • 64-65 Mildred L. Krohn
  • 63-64 Audrey Biel
  • 62-63 Lucile Hatch
  • 61-62 Sara L. Siebert
  • 60-61 Hanna Hunt
  • 59-60 Pauline O'Melia
  • 58-59 Pauline Winnick
  • 57-58 Jane S. McClure