2017 Young Adult Summit: Hanging out with the Best of the Best!

By Lauren Regenhardt, Gina Macaluso, and Rob Wilson
  • “This was the best, most organized, most fun, and most informative conference ever!”
  • “It really was the best conference I’ve attended.”
  • “Having the narrow focus on the YA age range really made the sessions more meaningful. In a way the Summit was ~ inspiring ~ to me.”
  • “This week I have researched membership in AZLA, and ALA. I will still be attending the tech conferences, but I learned from the little trip to Prescott, that this part of the librarianship needs to be a priority for me as well. Again, thank you to the committee for organizing a great conference, and for inviting me to attend!”
  • “This is an example of the great work our members do for our profession beyond the great work they do for their communities.”

All it takes is one person to make a difference.

In January, the Arizona Library Association held the Young Adult Summit, a conference dedicated to library staff who work with teens and young adults.  Held in Prescott, the snow and the cold couldn’t stop the 80 attendees from learning, having fun, and networking!

The theme was Teens Transform, and the objective was to unite teen staff around Arizona to share ideas and best practices.  We are all a team, and we want to work together to grow and improve teen services across the state!

The idea started when Library Assistant Lead from Glendale, Ray Ceo Jr., approached Lauren Regenhardt at the AzLA Annual Conference in 2015.  He attended the Arizona Librarians for Young Adult Services Interest Group business meeting, for which Lauren is the co-chair, and after that he purposely sat beside her at the next conference session.

“We should have a conference like this just for teen staff!” he told her.

“I can make that happen,” she replied.

And make it happen they did. With the assistance of librarian Rob Wilson, an outstanding committee of about 14 including Ray, and the support of AzLA and the Arizona State Library, we planned the three-day long conference.  As librarians, we all love to hear from authors themselves since their perspectives on their works are awe-inspiring! We had keynote presentations by authors Maggie Stiefvater, Matt de la Pena, and Janette Rallison, as well as presentations by DaNel Hogan of STEMAZing, Logan Phillips from ArtSpeak, and others. Those inspirational presentations shared the love of serving young adults, and added new ideas and energy to our work. We had “Drinks with the Authors,” a scavenger hunt on Whiskey Row, and some excellent food, too!

AzLA President-Elect Gina Macaluso attended the YA Summit, and said that it was “…a great way to spend a few days hanging out with friends, old and new, who dedicate their work to serving teens. I was inspired by your devotion!”

Watch the YA Summit video!

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