Paula Brehm-Heeger

“YALSA: Leading the Way”

May 2008

May has been a very busy month as I have worked with Executive Director Beth Yoke and YALSA’s Board members to prepare for the upcoming annual conference in June in Anaheim, California. I’m confident it’s going to be a great conference for YALSA! I also had the opportunity to attend ALA’s Legislative Days and, with help from the excellent staff of ALA’s Washington Office, was able to advocate on behalf of YALSA’s members on many important issues such as proposed social networking legislation and the SKILLS act. Additionally, I spent a week in Portugal, thanks to a wonderful invitation and financial support from the Oeiras Public Library, spreading the word about YALSA at a truly remarkable conference at the Oeiras Public Library featuring several impressive international speakers.


  • Continued using YALSA’s Twitter (, providing brief updates to members about my activities
  • Sent several welcome notes to new YALSA members as part of a Board of Directors initiative intended to welcome new members to our Association. All Board members are participating in welcoming new members.
  • Filled unexpected vacancies on committees as necessary.
  • Completed annual YALSA President’s report to submit to ALA. This report is an overview of all that YALSA has accomplished in the last year.
  • Attended ALA’s Legislative Days in Washington DC on May 13th and 14th. YALSA Executive Director Beth Yoke and I met with several important legislator’s staffers and representatives including representatives from the offices of Judy Biggert and Edward Kennedy. Many of these meetings with legislators’ staff members also included the Presidents and Executive Directors of ALA’s other youth divisions, AASL and ALSC. For YALSA a major focus of these meetings was providing information and education about social networking issues and proposed legislation. Beth and I also took the opportunity to meet with other organizations headquartered in DC including the national PTA, NEA and America’s Promise Alliance to discuss future partnerships and options for working together.
  • Presented an overview of YALSA’s initiatives at a library conference in Oeiras, Portugal. This trip to Portugal, supported financially by the Portuguese Library which invited me to speak, helped spread the word beyond the United States about YALSA and all our members are doing to support teens in libraries. Held at an impressive Public Library in Oeiras (a suburb of Lisbon), the theme of the conference was “The Promotion of Reading for Young People.” Excellent presentations from a variety of countries including Germany, Brazil, Spain, the United Kingdom and Portugal focused on teens, reading and libraries were given. In addition to my presentation on YALSA, YALSA Board member Michele Gorman also spoke about the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County’s impressive ImaginOn facility.
  • Sent several messages to Committee Chairs with information to help them prepare for the upcoming ALA annual conference.
  • Welcomed all newly elected YALSA Board members, along with those members elected to the Michael L. Printz and Margaret A. Edwards award committees. Also sent thank you notes to those members who generously agreed to run for YALSA positions but who were not elected this time.

In Progress

  • Preparing for the upcoming annual conference in June
  • Working with the YALSA YA Diversity Campaign Task Force to finalize plans for a presentation at the upcoming REFORMA conference in September
  • Finalizing appointments to YALSA’s new Award for Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction selection committee.
  • Beginning to use a new wiki, set up for the YALSA Board as a work space, to review proposed changes to the ALA Intellectual Freedom Manual.


  • Spoke with Associated Press reporter Leanne Italie about a variety of teen-related topics including the increase in materials published for teenagers and also how librarians were working to support new immigrants using public and school libraries during their teen years.
  • Spoke with reporter Tanika Cooper, a reporter from the Omaha World Herald, for a story focused on teen library trends and summer reading programs and activities for teens.
  • Answered a series of questions for Rebecca Hill, a reporter working a story for VOYA focused on trends in teen literature and teens reading adult literature.

Additional Important News

Housing and Registration are now open for YALSA's first-ever Young Adult Literature Symposium. You can find more information about the Literature Symposium at:

The 2008 Teen Read Week web site has been launched and registration is now open at

The Nominating Committee is looking for candidates for the 2009 YALSA election slate. Find more details at: