Professional Resource—Young Adult Literature Symposium


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In November 2008, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) launched the Young Adult Literature Symposium—a biennial conference for librarians, educators, and others interested in exploring the growing YA genre. The inaugural symposium, called How We Read Now, took place in Nashville, Tennessee and featured an impressive array of programs and sessions investigating how, why, and what teens are reading.

Sessions topics included non-fiction for teens, books for LGBT teens, audio books for teens, and how alternative media (i.e. blogging, texting, and social media) support and enhance teen reading practices literacies. Attendees had the opportunity to hob nob with acclaimed YA authors, such as Printz award-winners Terry Trueman (Stuck in Neutral, Inside Out) and Gene Luen Yang (American-Born Chinese), and were introduced to books from YALSA’s “Quick Picks” list for the year.

ppslideshotFor me, one of the most interesting-sounding sessions was “Fandom, Fan Life, and Participatory Culture,” presented by Liz Burns and Carlie Webber.  The session explored “how teens recreate a book’s universe in their own lives.” I think I would have really enjoyed this session—I was able to locate and download the presentation slides and found some terrificand in some cases, hilariousYA library programming ideas. My favourite of the bunch was the DIY recreations of the cover for Twlight. Visit the YA Symposium wiki if you’d like to download the slides for yourself.

Speaking of presentation slides, it’s becoming common practice for presenters at conferences such as these to make their slides and/or supplementary material available online following their sessions. These are great resources for professionals—especially for those who were unable to attend in person. I recommend checking out the session materials which are now available on the OLA Super Conference 2009 website. Some of you may be interested in the handout which accompanied the session on how to hook reluctant teen readers, for instance.

I hope I get a chance to attend the Young Adult Literature Symposium in the future, but if not, I’ll try to keep tabs on things by downloading session material and reading librarian blogs. The next conference is slated for Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 5-7, 2010. 

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Posted on February 11, 2009, in by Erin and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I think you are right on the mark in pointing out conferences as important professional development resources for working librarians. In our everyday work, we mostly interact with the same people day in and day out. In this environment, we get used to doing things a certain way because its the way we’ve always done things. New ideas are often stifled. That’s why I think conferences are such a valuable professional resource. They are an excellent forum for discussing new ideas and broadening our professional horizons.

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