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This Is Where YALSA Gets Really Interesting!

Did you know that YALSA has Interest Groups?

Well, technically, YALSA has just two interest groups : Teen Mental Health, convened by Meaghan Hunt-Wilson, and the Washington DC Metro Area, convened by Carrie Kausch. But next week at the ALA Annual Conference, the YALSA Board will be discussing the revitalization of interest groups. The possibilities for interest groups topics are as vast and varied as the teens we work with. As evidenced by the interest groups listed above, the focus can be a specific issue, or it can be the virtual meeting space for a geographical area, or something completely different that falls under the banner of young adult library services.

Woman with a book pop art retro style. Literature and reading. Education school University. Clever girl

Personally, I think forming interest groups is ideal for members with an affection for specific collection development topics. These could be the hot topics of the day, such as an interest group that promotes diversity in library materials, or an ageless topic, such as interest groups that suggest good books for class discussions. Although YALSA creates wonderful lists and chooses literary awards each year, there’s still so much left to explore.

Take graphic novels, for example. YALSA compiles an annual list of noteworthy graphic novels published over the previous 15 months, called Great Graphic Novels for Teens. Perhaps an interest group focusing on graphic novels may be more interested in creating topical lists, or grade level recommendations. Interest groups are member-driven and flexible, very different from YALSA committees that must be aligned with the objectives of the strategic plan.

Some ideas for collection-related interest groups:

  • Picture books for teens
  • LBGT memoirs
  • Paranormal romances with diverse characters
  • Civil War materials
  • Adult horror with crossover appeal
  • Poetry
  • Career readiness resources
  • YA book blogs
  • Classic audiobooks
  • Westerns
  • digital resources
  • special circulating collections, like maker kits

For information about starting an interest group, read these FAQ.

Want to learn more about the revitalization of YALSA Interest Groups? The YALSA Board will be discussing this topic, among others, at the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando on Sunday, June 26, from 4:30 – 5:30pm, Convention Center Room W234. All YALSA Board meetings are open to all conference attendees.

— Diane Colson, currently reading an advance reader’s copy of Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven.

One Comment

  1. Becky Becky

    I think this is a great idea! “Picture books for teens” and “career readiness” caught my eye right away as topics I’d love to have others’ input on!

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