This past week I have spent my time at Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). YALSA is a non-profit association that helps support libraries in helping teens by providing them with the resources necessary to promote teen reading and learning. YALSA is a division of the American Library Association (ALA) and is located in the same building as the rest of ALA. Their office is located in Chicago so this externship provided me with an opportunity to visit Chicago for the first time. It was a really memorable experience, and while I was at first nervous about being in a city that is huge and unfamiliar, I quickly adapted. The subway system isn’t too confusing and google maps became my best friend. YALSA’s office building is located really close to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, which is a huge stretch of stores and malls like I had never seen before.
My first day at YALSA, I checked in with the security guard who called my host, Ms. Yoke. She came down to meet me and gave me a tour of the building. I was surprised to learn that I would get my own office for the week. YALSA occupies a small section of the building and employs five people. I began my day by shelving and unpacking books that publishers send to YALSA. I enjoyed doing this and it was interesting to see all the books that YALSA gets sent, including ones that haven’t yet been published. The rest of my time at YALSA was mostly spent completing projects. I updated YALSA’s wiki page with more recent contact information for each state’s library and library association. I also compiled a spreadsheet of contact information for each state’s after-school program. YALSA tries to bring together people from the areas of education, out-of-school time, youth development and libraries in order help support teen learning. This contact list helps them accomplish this goal. I also spent some time on YALSA’s Facebook and Twitter page. I liked and followed every state library and state library association. This helps each state library and library association stay informed of all that YALSA does and the resources they have since YALSA is very active on social media. For more general information about YALSA and to see what I have been working on this week, see the links below.
This externship was a very good learning experience for me. I didn’t really know too much about non-profits and what that type of work entailed and now I have gotten a glimpse into that world. It was a very immersive experience. I got my own office and had my own work and it was like I actually worked there. It gave me first hand experience as to what it is like to work in an office. I also was able to learn a lot about YALSA and non-profit work. I learned a lot from Ms. Yoke, who was very accommodating. She talked to me about my career interests and tried to suit the externship to my interests. I have considered working in a non-profit and now I know what it would be like. I’m also thinking about working in a museum or a library and Ms. Yoke knew people in both fields and was able to set up meetings for me. Ms. Yoke provided me with many other resources that will be really useful in pursuing a career in non-profit work, libraries, and museums. This really helped me make the most of my time in Chicago and the whole experience has been really rewarding and educational.
- YALSA’s homepage: ala.org/yalsa
- YALSA’s Strategic Plan: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/aboutyalsa/strategicplan
- The wiki page that I worked on http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/State_Level_YA_Services_Contacts
- YALSA’s Facebook and Twitter pages that I worked on: