YALSA President’s Report

September 2007

Paula Brehm-Heeger

“YALSA: Leading the Way”


In mid-September I submitted my second of four Presidential columns to YALS editor Valerie Ott. This column will be featured in the Winter edition of YALS.

And speaking of YALS, with the deadline for applications for the job of the next YALS editor having passed, Executive Committee members, along with Editorial Advisory Board Chair Mary Anne Nichols, have received applications for those interested in the job. Applications will be reviewed during the upcoming Fall Executive meeting in Chicago.

This month I made an effort to contact all of YALSA’s many dedicated representatives to other committees and divisions in order to be sure they had all of the support and information from YALSA necessary for them to fulfill their vital liaison roles.

In September we also put out a survey for members about YALS and YAttitudes, created by our Editorial Advisory Board, in order to understand how our members can best be served by our division’s two regular publications. I posted information to our blog and various listservs about the survey and we have received a good number of responses. Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete the survey!

YALSA continues to receive generous donations in support of the creation of a Leadership Endowment Fund — particularly from our division’s dedicated past presidents. This Leadership Endowment fund, separate from the existing Friends of YALSA fund, is a new opportunity to financially support YALSA in fostering leadership development for librarians working in young adult services.

I worked with Organization and Bylaws Chair Sara Ryan on her excellent suggestion of creating a general email for distribution to committee chairs informing them about O & B’s process of reviewing and evaluating committees on a regular basis in order to ensure our committee structure remains effective for our division.

The deadline for official Teen Read Week registration passed in September and once again there was tremendous response! We had more than 4,600 registrants, which is 1,000 more than last year. Thanks for registering and supporting this important national initiative.

ALA has been slowly converting its entire web site to a new content management system and in September it was YALSA's turn. Our "go live" date was Sept. 26. There were a few minor problems but YALSA staff have been working closely with ALA's IT Department to make sure everything is working as it should.

In Progress

This month our Professional Development committee once again accepted the challenging task of choosing an Emerging Leader applicant for YALSA sponsorship. Chaired by Dr. Jami Jones, this committee deserves thanks for their excellent work in selecting one candidate from an outstanding field of applicants. Watch for an upcoming announcement about the person selected to be this year’s YALSA-Sponsored Emerging Leader.

I continue to work on completing appointments to the Second Life Task Force. Kelly Czarnecki has agreed to chair this exciting Task Force, the roster for which is now nearly complete.

I’m all set to visit Seattle for our big Teen Read Week kick-off celebration at Washington Middle School on Tuesday, Oct. 16th! Following this, I’ll be traveling to Chicago for ALA’s annual Fall Executive meeting. Members of our Executive Committee have been preparing the agenda for this meeting and this agenda has been sent to the full YALSA Board of Directors for review before the Executive Committee meets October 18th – 21st. Several committees are submitting reports to help the Executive Committee (and in turn the full Board) stay up to date on projects and activities. Thanks to these committees and task force members for all of their hard work.


YALSA Communications Specialists Stephanie (Stevie) Kuenn continued to assist me with media requests. With Teen Read Week right around the corner, I received a significant number of requests for interviews and comments, with several coming from the blogosphere thanks to YALSA’s collaboration with the
Readergirlz. Media contacts this month included:

  • Responded to a series of questions from blogger with Little Willow about Teen Read Week and this year’s “31 Flavorites” TRW collaboration with the Readergirlz.
  • Spoke with John Sellers from Publisher’s Weekly about Teen Read Week and the origins of the Readergirlz/YALSA collaboration
  • Responded to email interview questions about Teen Read Week and young adult reading from about.com’s Liz Kennedy
  • Taped a radio segment focused on Teen Read Week and teen reading trends with “The Book Guys.”
  • Spoke with Associated Press reporter Hillel Italie about the 40th Anniversary of The Outsiders and the impact of this title on teen literature and teen reading.
  • Answered a series of questions for Amy Jussell from ShapingYouth.com, a consortium of media and marketing professionals, about Teen Read Week, the Readergirlz and teen reading in general (this series of questions will carry over into October).
  • Spoke with Andrea Bronson from womensenews.org about Banned Books Week and literature for teen girls and young women.

I also provided quotes and comments to Stevie for a press release highlighting YALSA’s upcoming Midwinter events, including our exciting Midwinter Institute "Taking Teen Services to the Next Level." I made sure to mention that YALSA offers more than $33,000 in grants and awards and encouraged members to take a look at all of these options. American Libraries Direct included a feature about our Midwinter Institute along with a quote from YALSA’s press release.