Programs & Special Events-2023

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YALSA's Young Adult Services Symposium will take place Nov. 10-12, 2023 in St. Louis, MO. 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.

YALSA does not issue continuing education credits. Confirmation of Attendance specifying hours of education programming and general session programming is available upon request to .

Listed below are the 2023 Symposium Sessions

Preconference Sessions 

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

9:00AM – 12:00PM: Pre-Conference Course

Supporting Teens to Fight For Their Right To Read

Attempts to ban books from school and public libraries continue to rise at an unprecedented level across the country. These challenges disproportionately include young adult books and reflect the experiences of marginalized communities. Now more than ever teens are inspired to engage in intellectual freedom advocacy and make their voices heard. Join members of Brooklyn Public Library’s Books Unbanned team to hear how your library – regardless of size, location, or budget – can help teens develop their civic engagement skills to become strong library and community advocates and leaders. Turn your teen advisory group into a teen advocacy group! 

1:00-4:00PM: Pre-Conference Course

Level Up Your Graphic Game

Your graphic novel or games collection is close to greatness - you’ve been ordering whatever you can find, and your teens are checking them out in record numbers. But how do you bring it to the next level? 

This joint YALSA, GNCRT, and GameRT session will provide insight, inspiration, and support for many common struggles surrounding graphic novels and games. Panelists will share advanced collection development resources and strategies, positive positioning for materials challenges, and actionable program concepts that can be applied to any size community. This isn’t a “how to start” your collection: this is a “how to connect” your collection to your teens and level up!

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. 10th

8:00 - 6:30 PM:


4:30-6:00 PM:

Opening Author Panel: Meet, Cute in St. Louis: Rom-Coms for Today's Teens

6:00-7:00 PM:

Opening Reception 

Saturday, Nov. 11th

7:15 - 5:30PM:


8:00 - 9:00AM:

Devorah Heitner, "Digital Coming of Age"

Self-Care for the Underappreciated, Burned Out and Censored 

AI Literacy for Libraries  

9:00 - 9:30AM:

Coffee and Networking Break 

9:30 - 10:30AM:

Beyond "American Born Chinese": Advancing Change through Asian Representation in Graphic Novels

Book it! Non Traditional Ways to Integrate Books into YA Services

How to Navigate Book Challenges in the Teen Services Space

10:45 - 11:45AM:

How the Graphic Novel Making Contest Reveals the Emotional and Mental State of Teens Through Art

Sheila Michaels, Margaret A. Edwards Award for Literature Program- "Book Bag"

Partnerships & Programs for Building Safer Community Spaces

12:00PM - 1:30PM: 

Margaret A. Edwards Award Luncheon (ticketed event) 
The 2023 Margaret A. Edwards Award luncheon will honor Jason Reynolds for his novels “When I was the Greatest”, “The Boy in the Black Suit,” “All American Boys”. The 2023 Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee noted that in his writing, Reynolds presents teens with authentic mirrors and windows to the world. Attendees will have lunch and then hear Jason Reynolds deliver his acceptance speech for the award. 

1:30 - 2:30PM:

Authors to Watch: Debut Writers with Morris Potential 

Mix-It-Up: Teen Culinary Programs in a Post-Covid World

Creating a Teen Artist-In-Residence Program at Your Library

2:30 - 3:00PM:

Coffee and Networking Break 

3:00 - 4:00PM:

Gateway to Employment: Teen Volunteers as Workforce Development.

All Teens Need Queer Books  

Using Graphic Memoir to Connect with Teens  

4:15 - 6:00 PM:

Author Book Blitz and Galley Grab
Attendees will receive tickets to receive signed books by participating authors.  

6:00 - 8:00PM
St. Louis Public Library Tour  (free ticketed event - limited number allowed)

Sunday, Nov. 12th

8:00 - 1:30PM:


8:30 - 9:30AM:

Fostering Civic Engagement

Teen Engagement: Building Successful Teen Programming and Advisory Boards

9:30 - 10:00AM

Coffee and Networking Break  

10:00- 11:00AM:

Publishers Book Buzz: YA publishers will share their upcoming releases. 

Roll for Accessibility

Creating Programs that Attract New Teen Library Users

11:15AM - 12:15PM:

Youth Homelessness: Understanding the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act 

Getting Teen Voices Heard: Increasing Teen Engagement

Books Clubs as Early Activism

12:30-1:30 PM:

Closing Author Panel: Gateway to Exploration: The Quest for Stories" 

1:30 PM

Symposium Conclusion  

ADA Statement

The Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association fully complies with the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the rules and regulations thereof. Participants with ADA needs for this meeting must specify their needs via email to by October 27, 2023 in order to allow YALSA to assess the situation and provide reasonable accommodation. If any participant in this educational activity would like to further discuss accommodations, please contact YALSA for assistance.