Programs & Special Events

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YALSA's Young Adult Services Symposium will take place Nov. 4-6, 2022 in Baltimore, MD. 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. Certificates will be emailed.

Listed below are the 2022 Symposium Sessions


Preconference Sessions 

These are an extra fee, optional, not included in general registration.

Full Day Preconference - Friday, 9:00am-4:00pm:

SOLD OUT - 'Transforming Teen Services': The Magic Charm 
This all day pre-conference gives library staff the chance to engage with learning and activities designed as a part of the IMLS Funded Transforming Teen Services: A Train the Trainer Approach (T3) initiative.  Through a highly participatory set of activities and conversation, participants will build knowledge and skill in centering equity into teen services and creating a foundation for teen services that is built on connected learning and youth development principles. Sub-topics of the training include why the concepts covered are important to teen services, community asset mapping, and how to design programs and services that are equity- and community-based.   Following this pre-conference, participants will be able to put all the pieces together to further their services for and with teens in the community and through the library.  
Presenter(s): Carrie Sanders, Youth Services Coordinator for the Maryland State Library Agency; Kelsey Hughes, Librarian III, Prince George's Country Memorial Library System, MD; Rachel West, Youth Services Librarian, Appooquinimink Library, DE and Leah Larson, Library YOur Services Consultant, MN 
If you are interested in being put on a waitlist, please email

9:00am – 12:0pm: Pre-Conference Course  

SOLD OUT - Manga in Libraries  
The demand for Manga is at an all-time high! Yet, many librarians fear collecting Manga because of the misconceptions that surround this format. This workshop will demystify Manga, inform librarians about the value of Manga, help librarians build their Manga collection, and support librarians with the development of Manga programs. 

Session Includes:

  • Manga 101  
  • Manga Collection Development  
  • Why Manga? 
  • Manga Programming  

*This three-hour workshop will be interactive and conclude with a resource/book list and a Q&A. 

Presenter: Jillian Rudes, New York City Public School Librarian and Japanese Culture and Manga Librarian for the New York City Dept. Of Education 

1:00-4:00PM: Pre-Conference Course  

SOLD OUT - Anime Boot Camp 
Anime Boot Camp will provide an introduction about anime to participants, breaking down what it is, why it is popular, and what different genres it has. The presentation will then cover how to use anime specifically in library programming and interactions, and various tools to use for reader's advisory. 

Presenter(s): Jacob Ciarapica and Kevin Jayce, Co-Chairs of the Maryland Library Association’s Teen Interest Group  

If not attending Pre-conferences, the schedule of events will be during the following times:

  • Friday, Opening session begins at 4:30 pm 
  • Saturday, begins at 8:00am 
  • Sunday, begins at 8:30am 

Symposium SESSIONS 


Friday, Nov. 4th

4:30-5:30 PM: Opening Author Panel

In the Shadow of Poe: Dark Fantasy & Mystery 
In honor of author Edgar Allen Poe who lived and died in Baltimore, the symposium’s opening panel will feature Lamar Giles (The Getaway), Aiden Thomas (The Sunbearer Trials), Leigh Bardugo and illustrator Dani Pendergast (Demon in the Wood), and Alex Aster (Lightlark) and an thoughtful exploration of the genres of fantasy and mystery. Join these fabulous authors and other members of YALSA for a fast-paced, entertaining, and perhaps even a little frightening panel discussion of YA literature in the shadow of Poe.

Confirmed authors: Alex Aster, Leigh Bardugo & Dani Pendergast (Illustrator), Lamar Giles and Aiden Thomas 

Moderator: Scot Smith, Symposium Task Force Committee and Librarian Media Specialist, Robertsville Middle School

5:30-6:30 PM: Opening Reception 

Saturday, Nov. 5th

8:00 - 9:00AM:

Teen Think Tank: Inspire, Collaborate, and Connect 
Teen Think Tank is a grassroots effort by teen librarians for teen librarians to encourage inspiration, collaboration, and connections through professional development opportunities and constant communication. Meeting for workshops twice each year, virtually and in-person, at different libraries in Ohio, the goal is for each attendee to leave with new contacts and new ideas for programs, decorations, crafts, books, and more. Each presentation throughout the day is carefully planned to keep everyone actively involved. In this session we will be sharing methods so others can duplicate this work in other states and/or participate in what is established. 

Presenter: Steve Moser, MLIS, MEd Teen Services LibrarianTrotwood BranchSarah Amazing, Teen Services Supervisor, Warren-Trumbull County Public Library  and Rachel Rausch, Youth Services Librarian, Delaware County District Library

The STAFF Social Justice Book Club – Why We Need to Get YA Books into Adult Readers’ Hands
Somewhere along the way, young adult literature got a bad reputation, and it’s not getting any better. With incoming book challenges where the book wasn’t even read, and legislation designed to oppress educators, librarians need to speak up and preserve our students’ right to read. What better way to do that than by introducing adults to the very books our kids want to read? We will discuss our own struggles and victories and share strategies and resources for getting YA books into our staff’s hands. 

Presenter: Victoria Finney, Public High School Librarian  

Not Your Typical Summer Camp: Engaging Teens in Responsible and Responsive Activism 
The Prince George's County Memorial Library System's Social Justice Camp teaches teens how to engage their activism, make connections in their community, and develop their passions into a product to ignite change. Teens hear from experts in human rights, technology, and other fields throughout this week-long camp while working alongside other budding activists to create a pitch for a project to help their community. We will walk through the process of creating a similar camp tailored to your community and talk about the importance of providing a platform for your teen’s passions. 

Presenter: Isaiah West, Teen Services Specialist, Kelsey Hughes - Librarian III; Kathryn Herberger - Commons Program Associate all for the Prince George's County Memorial Library System (MD),  

9:00 – 9:30 AM: Coffee and Networking Break 

9:30 - 10:30AM:

Teen Led, Adult Guided: When the Library and Community Work Together to Support Teen Leadership
When teens act as leaders, the entire community benefits. However, creating meaningful leadership and civic engagement opportunities that support teen agency can be difficult. Using examples from the Cecil County Public Library’s Youth Board and Teens Give Back programs, this session will provide a framework for those looking to involve youth voices in meaningful ways and inspire attendees to create youth leadership and civic engagement programs in their libraries. 

Presenter(s): Katelyn McLimans, Youth Services & Outreach Manager for Cecil County Public Library, Alysia Van Looy, Young Adult Librarian at the Elkton Branch Library and Anita Delp is a Young Adult Librarian at the North East Branch Library 

Reimagine the Canon: Bringing the Classics to 21st Century Teens 
Reimagine the canon with four award-winning and critically acclaimed authors. Anna=Marie McLemore, Axie Oh, Lillie Lainoff, and Francesca Flores take works considered classic and canonical - The Great Gatsby, The Take of Shim Cheong, The Three Musketeers and Rapunzel and reimagine them through their own unique lens to make them reluctant and accessible to teens. This dialog will provoke conversations about how we promote inclusivity in library collections and how we define the classics of young adult literature. 

Confirmed Authors: Francesca Flores, Lillie Lainoff, Anna Marie McLemore, and Axie Oh. Moderator: Genive Purchase, Deputy Chief State Library Resource Center/Central at the Enoch Pratt Free Library

Opening the Door to YALSA
The 2022 YA Services Symposium is all about celebrating the community of librarians and lifting one another up.  YALSA mission is to empower all those in the profession to provide equitable, diverse and inclusive teen services.  YALSA’s leadership will share how you can become involved to help meet that mission.  There are so many opportunities to get involved and give back and share with the YALSA Community. You’ll have the chance to ask questions and give feedback on how YALSA can best serve you.  

Presenters: Franklin Escobedo, YALSA Board President, Colleen Seisser, YALSA Incoming Board President and special guests. 

10:45 - 11:45AM:

Baby Chicks and Musical Instruments: The Roles of Teen Volunteers in Rural STEM Radio Programs 
While “teens only” programs can benefit adolescents, it is also important for young people to interact with people of all ages. Small and rural libraries are a natural place for intergenerational activities. How can we design library activities where each participant has an affirming experience, regardless of age? In this session, we will share how two very different rural-serving libraries tapped into community resources to co-design a series of STEM podcast episodes to be broadcast on local radio. Library staff were able to build upon teen interests to create valuable roles within a work team that included children and adults. 

Presenter: Sarah Evans, Assistant Professor in the College of Information at University of North Texas; Lance Simpson, Assessment Librarian for The University of Alabama Libraries; Kaitlyn Lynch Tuscaloosa Public Library; Tori Dodd Pottsboro Library 

How to Talk to Youth About Human Trafficking 
Our session will give participants information on what human trafficking is, how to recognize it among youth, tips for talking about exploitation, reporting options for suspected trafficking, and available resources for adults and youth. 

Presenter: Diego Luque, Campaign Specialist at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Blue Campaign 

“We build ourselves out of that story”: Collaborative Storytelling in the Library 
This session will be a Power Point presentation that describes how collaborative storytelling can be a tool for library staff and teens to connect with and creatively engage with each other. Collaborative storytelling offers opportunities for literacy, social/emotional, and mental development. It also builds bridges - allowing teens to see that the library can be a safe place for them to express themselves freely and imaginatively. This session will discuss different ways to include collaborative storytelling in your programs, such as, for example, through RPG programs, writing clubs, audio/video recordings, passive programming, and use of the teen space. 

Presenter: Esther Sorg, Teen Librarian at Wilmington Public Library in Clinton County, Ohio 

12:00PM - 1:30PM: Margaret A. Edwards Award Luncheon (ticketed event) 
The 2022 Margaret A. Edwards Award luncheon will honor A.S. King for her novels “Ask the Passengers,” “Glory O'Brien's History of the Future,” “Please Ignore Vera Dietz”. The 2022 Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee noted that" King has continually crafted stories about the daily struggles and obstacles faced by teens on a regular basis through discuss of tough topics." Attendees will have lunch and then hear A.S. King deliver her acceptance speech for the award.  

1:30 - 2:30PM:

School & Public Library Partnerships – Engaging with Educators to Support Student Success 
In this session, Education Initiatives Librarian Rachel Icaza will help you kindle a spark in your relationships with educators. Get ready for real talk about the barriers that libraries hold in place between the school community and public library services. Learn how to engage meaningfully with teens through their teachers. Hear about best practices to better prepare your library to serve students on and off campus. This session will give you strategies to remove barriers to learning and library access. By focusing effort on educators, your library can fundamentally shift the way your entire community values library services. 

Presenter: Rachel Icaza, Education Initiatives Librarian for Sonoma County Library 

Morris Panel 
The Morris Panel gives debut YA authors the opportunity to share and discuss their first publications and has been traditionally moderated by an author whose debut work received recognition from the Morris Jury. This panel celebrates new voices in YA literature and allows YALSA members to hear the stories behind the authors' first books. 

Confirmed authors: Jas Hammonds, Francesca Padilla, Camille Gomera-Tavarez and Vincent Tirado. Kyrie McCauley will moderate the panel, she was the 2021 Morris Award Winner. 

Passive Interactive Programming: Designing Programming So They Can Come to You   
This session will describe several successful programs at the Indian Prairie Public Library as case studies to teach attendees how to re-think traditional passive programming to encourage more teen patron/staff interaction, less prize-giving, and more meaningful library engagement.  
Case Study Programs will include: Sticker Collage Challenges; Teen Post; May ‘Breaking the Silence on Mental Health’ display; Re-thought Scavenger Hunt 

Presenter: Sarah Zagotta, Teen Programming Outreach Librarian at the Indian Prairie Public Library in Darien, IL 

2:30 - 3:00PM: Coffee and Networking Break 

3:00pm - 4:00PM:

Two Places at Once: A Hybrid Approach to Teen Services 
In-person programming is once again becoming an option in many locales. We will share how we successfully rolled out a hybrid approach to programming that utilizes both virtual and in-person opportunities to engage with teen patrons. We began our hybrid programming efforts in 2021 with outdoor-focused activities, mainly through scavenger hunts directing patrons to visit community locales. Restrictions were further relaxed in 2022, and we began offering in-branch programs. Through all this, we maintained robust virtual programming options utilizing Google Classroom and Forms. You’ll learn more about programs we offered, lessons we learned, and what did/didn’t work well. 

Presenter(s): Katharine Russell, Teen Services Librarian and Sarah Martin, Youth Services Specialist. Both are at the Gwinnett County Public Library.

Reconnecting with your Teen Advisors  
After such a lengthy period of social distancing, virtual learning, and a general feeling of disconnection, a return to library teen advisory programs not only fulfills volunteer hour needs, but also provides a place where teens can reconnect in hybrid environments and engage with their community. Participants in this session will learn how to design need-based programming and teen led community projects, paving the way for increased teen engagement. To close, participants will have the opportunity to discuss their own teen advisory issues and collaborate solutions with fellow library workers. 

Presenter(s): Julie Crisafulli, Youth Services Librarian at the Mansfield Public Library; Kendra Fitzpatrick, Teen Librarian at the Valencia Library and Beatris Bautista, Teen Librarian at the Old Town Newhall Library 

TikTok O’Clock! 
Learn how to market your library using Tik Tok, become familiar with trends, and how to find other libraries to watch and support. Learn about our social media time management and organization without it being time consuming. See our ever-evolving goals, how we received director approval, and see some examples of ours that went "viral." Come and join the fun! 

Presenter: Sara Day, Woodland Public Library Teen Services Librarian and Sara Vickers, Woodland Public Library Children’s Librarian

4:15-5:15 pm
Author Book Blitz 

Attendees will receive tickets to receive signed books by participating authors.  

6:00-9:00 pm
SOLD OUT - Enoch Pratt Free Library Tour and Reception (free ticketed event - limited number allowed)

Join us for a tour and reception at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. Transportation will be provided but pre-registration is required through your Symposium Registration) 

Sunday, Nov. 6th

8:30 - 9:30am:

Protecting Pride: Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth in the Age of Book Banning 
Did you know that the three most challenged books of 2021 were challenged for LGBTQIA+ content? In fact, five of 2021's Top 10 Most Challenged Books were challenged due to LGBTQIA+ characters and content. Find out why LGBTQIA+ representation in youth literature is important, and how you can identify great LGBTQIA+ books for your school or public library collection. Learn how you can support LGBTQIA+ youth in your community through collaborative partnerships, including supporting the rights of young library users to access print, non-print, and digital materials. 

Presenter: Erin Snell, Library Associate in Carroll County Public Library, TJ Finecey, Carroll County Public Library, Anna Johns, Carroll County Public Library and Joy Fisher, PFLAG Westminster-Carroll County

We’ll See You Online: Supporting Postsecondary Readiness for Teens on Virtual Platforms 
The pandemic caused a great upheaval to the college application process - disrupting many students who suddenly saw requirements and due dates thrown to the wayside. This session will discuss how the New York Public Library’s College and Career Pathways program supported hundreds of NYC teens in their postsecondary readiness stages through the height of the pandemic and how we continue to reassess our process to meet them where they are. 

Presenter(s): Katrina Ortega, Susen Shi, and Elizabeth Paldino, Librarians at the New York Public Library  

9:30 - 10:00AM – Coffee and Networking Break  

10:00 - 11:00AM:

Happy Together: How to Bring Everyone Together for Teen Success 
In the year that shall not be named, everyone felt the isolation that settled due to maintaining safe practices at the height of the pandemic. While school and public library partnerships were plentiful in the years before Covid,  in the years to come, relationships must be rebuilt and reimagined to support the needs of our teens. From storytelling research units with virtual reality to writing contests and virtual speakers, learn from two librarians from school and public settings on how they brought their respective counterparts together in two different communities in Oklahoma all in the name of supporting teens

Presenter: Molly Dettmann, High School Teacher Librarian in Norman, OK, Leah WeyandTeen Services Coordinator Tulsa City-County Library

Under Scrutiny: Helping Staff Feel Safe in the Midst of Book Challenges 
Key to helping teens enjoy the benefits of teen spaces in libraries is making sure teen staff feel safe in their jobs. However, in the midst of book challenges and sometimes threatening political climates, this may not be the case.  Darcy Acord shares strategies for helping teen staff cope with hostile patrons who question not only the books in collections, but the professionalism of library staff. 
Presenter: Darcy Acord, Youth Services Librarian at Campbell County Public Library in Gillette, WY 

Publishers Book Buzz 
YA publishers will share their upcoming releases. Confirmed publishers include Sourcebooks, Levine Querido, Norton Young Readers, ABRAMS Books and Scholastic. 

11:15AM - 12:15PM:

Let’s Rediscover Volunteering: Connecting Our Youth with the Community  
Even before COVID, teens found it nearly impossible to find time to volunteer in their busy schedules, and now many community organizations are still limiting volunteering within their walls. Discover how collaboration and innovation can allow the library to support teens in their efforts to obtain community service hours from the comfort of their home using creativity and digital resources. Teen Community of Service is a self-paced volunteer program connecting teens to local organizations and empowering them to help their community on their own time. 

Presenter: Lacey Latour-Goodine, Teen Specialist for the Martin County Library System in Florida 

Building Diverse Social Justice Collections and Programming That Builds Bridges Between Teens and Their Communities  
In this session, Shauntee Burns-Simpson and Elisa Garcia will discuss how building strong social justice collections and programming for teens in libraries encourages teens to become leaders within their communities and gather an understanding of solutions for the social justice issues within their communities and faced by their peers. 

Presenter(s): Elisa Garcia, Supervising Librarian of Educator collections at The New York Public Library and Shauntee Burns-Simpson 

The Work Smarter Boot Camp: Wellness and Executive Function in the School Library 
Learn how to fill a post-pandemic niche for your patrons. This new curriculum, the Work Smarter Boot Camp, was launched during the pandemic and has grown into a popular school library curriculum that has reinvigorated and redefined the role of the library to support students as Whole Learners through programming on nuts-and-bolts organizational and executive skills. This session will share how to achieve student and staff buy-in through empathy-based, whole-learner library services focused on teaching healthy work habits, brain hacks, and stress management. Learn how to help patrons gain confidence as learners through proven methods of personal organization delivered in a safe and trauma-informed learning environment. You will leave with ideas of how to personalize these principles for your community.

Presenter: Grace Hammond, Winner of the 2022 YALSA Innovation in Teen Services Award  


12:30-1:30 PM:

Closing Author Panel: Courageous Storytellers: Sharing Stories of Mental Health & Wellness / Mental Health 
In keeping with the symposium’s theme of supporting teens and each other, the closing panel will showcase authors whose most recent books highlight mental health and wellness. Authors Ray Stoeve (Arden Grey), Sabaa Tahir (All My Rage), and Rex Ogle (Abuela, Don’t Forget Me), Erin Stewart (Scars like Wings), Nora Shalaway Carpenter and Rocky Callen ( Ab(solutely)Normal Short Stories That Smash Medntal Health Stereotypes) will discuss their most recent books and the issues related to well-being during these difficult times. This diverse panel of award-winning storytellers will motivate librarians to discover the best books to support their teen patrons and to better empathize with the challenges presented by mental health. 

Confirmed authors:  Rex Ogle,  Ray Stoeve, Sabaa Tahir, Erin Stewart, Nora Shalaway Carpenter and Rocky Callen 

Moderator: Amy Ojserkis, Symposium Task Force Chair and Media Specialist, Atlantic County Institute of Technology

1:30 PM – Symposium Conclusion