Greetings from your YALSA Division Councilor. Here are the ALA Council highlights since the 2017 Midwinter meeting in Atlanta:
1. Most of the discussion on the ALA Council list has revolved around the Federal administration’s proposed FY18 Budget which includes the elimination of the Institute for Library and Museum Services (IMLS). The #SaveIMLS campaign was launched and ALA President Julie Todaro led the charge to support the continuation of the agency. Many efforts have been suggested to contact congressional representatives to inform and encourage them to retain funding for IMLS. A concurrent drive, #saveIAL, encouraged representatives to retain funding for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), a Department of Education program focusing on literacy, which is also set to be defunded.
The Youth Council Caucus (led by the Councilors of AASL, ALSC, and YALSA) continue to work jointly to focus on issues specifically affecting youth in libraries and library workers who support youth in their communities. It is key to remember that all library issues affect youth.
It promises to be an interesting Council session in Chicago with much to discuss. Discussions online in advance of the conference have so far been quiet, but many topics, particularly those that involve the current federal administration, could bring forth resolutions.
As I enter the final year of my board term, I have been reflecting back on how much I have learned and thinking ahead to how much I have to grow. I am proud of the diverse range of experiences that we have on the YALSA Board, we have board members in school libraries, public libraries, state libraries and academia. We have board members that are still pretty new to their career and those who have cultivated their experience to positions in administration. We have board members who have served on other non-profit boards and associations and those who are new to governance. And we support our board members with the best tools to help them succeed.
Last fall, the board began discussing how we wanted to grow and improve as a board as part of the Organizational Plan re-alignment. We wanted to understand our performance as a whole board, as well as our strengths and weaknesses as individual board members. At Midwinter 2017, the board voted to transition our Governance Nominating Committee (which, in the past, cultivated a list of qualified volunteers for governance positions) into a Board Development Committee (which would also care for the professional development of the sitting board members).
If you are wondering what the board is up to at Annual, you can see the schedule of board meetings and agenda. If you are attending ALA Midwinter and you see a board member (look for our YALSA Board Member ribbons) please come up and say hello! We would love to hear from you!
Kate McNair is a YALSA Board Member. Come see her at the YALSA booth #2731 on Sunday, June 25 12-1pm.
At ALA Midwinter 2017, YALSA’s Board of Directors discussed and accepted item # 29Selected List Transition board document. Besides defining the plan for transition of Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, and Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers to the Hub, it also required future lists to note when titles are available in Spanish and use e-versions when reviewing nominations.
In an effort to expand this procedure and make it consistent across all Selected Lists and Awards Committees, the Board will discuss piloting the use of digital titles for all selection groups as well as including availability of non-English translations and other formats (e.g. Braille, large print) in annotations for winner/nominees.
The use of digital versions allow inclusion of books from smaller or independent publishers that may not be able to print and ship physical copies of their titles, broadening the pool of nominations and promoting diverse selections. Since eBooks are easily available and accessible, committee members will receive titles promptly and directly.
Adding availability in other languages and formats to winner/honoree annotations will greatly assist those working with non-native English speaking or visually impaired communities.
For more information, see board document # 21to be discussed on Saturday and the agenda for 2017 Annual Conference. Have questions? Post them here or contact any of the Board members.
Networking is a vital part of our work. One way that YALSA has been able to network is by assigning liaisons to the various 18 ALA Groups that meet throughout the year and at conferences. This allows YALSA to share information and find out what everyone else in ALA is doing. It’s how I got involved with YALSA. However, the assigning of members and keeping track of their work has been a difficult task for the YALSA Board.
During the latest round of strategic planning, the Board was in general agreement that YALSA would benefit from cultivating stronger ties with ALA. One strategy for achieving that is refocusing the work of the Executive Committee to allow for this group to devote more of its time to relationship building within ALA. Another possible strategy for YALSA to pursue is better leveraging YALSA’s representative role on 18 specific ALA committees, assemblies, and other groups.
Thus the Board Standing Committee on Advocacy has brought forth the proposal of creating a Liaison position that would be tasked with being YALSA’s liaison to a small number of groups that didn’t correspond with the YALSA Executive Committee’s traditional counterparts in larger ALA activities.
In a nutshell, the position that will be created will be someone who attends both annual and midwinter conferences and will liaison with a few different groups. To help relieve the cost of conferences YALSA will help defray some of the cost of attending conferences which will create greater accountability for the Liaison. Current liaison positions don’t require conference attendance, yet most of the groups do the bulk of their work at the conference. For more information check out Board Doc #18.
Being a liaison is a great way to find out about another division or groups and how their work aligns with ours. Like I said, I started off as a Liaison from the GLBT-RT to YALSA, it was a great way to discover how the YALSA Board worked. And I was able to share with the GLBT-RT what YALSA was doing for GLBT youth and how we could work better together. I encourage you to read the Board Doc and if you’re interested in a becoming a Liaison or volunteering in general for YALSA let us know.
If you’re in Chicago stop by the YALSA Booth or come by a YALSA Board meeting to see what else is happening in our division!
Franklin Escobedo, YALSA Board of Directors, 2016-2017
If you’re attending Annual, I hope you can join us Monday, June 26, from 10:30-noon, in the Convention Center, room W184bc, for the Annual YALSA Membership Meeting and President’s Program!
During the membership meeting, you’ll meet the current YALSA Board of Directors, as well as next year’s Board. We’ll recognize grant and award winners, as well as donors. I’ll give a brief update of board actions over the past year, and the incoming president-elect, Sandra Hughes-Hassell, will discuss her initiative for next year.
Directly after the membership meeting, my presidential program task force chair, Valerie Davis, will lead a panel discussion on the theme of “Real Teens, Real Ready” about college/career readiness and adulting. She had great help finding these speakers–her task force members were Lisa Borten, Lisa Dettling, Jeremy Dunn, Katie Guzan, and Ellen Popit.
Tiffany Boeglen and Britni Cherrington-Stoddart, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – Non-Traditional Career Paths
Laurel Johnson, Skokie Public Library – Neutral Zone/Peer Guided Conversations
Lisa Borten, Brooklyn Public Library – Youth Council/Urban Art Jamm
Jennifer Steele, Chicago Public Library – (PRO)jectUS, creative workforce development/partnerships
Emmanuel Pratt, Sweet Water Foundation, Chicago – Neighborhood Development for Youth
The presentations are going to be awesome, so be prepared to find ideas that you can implement in your community! See you there!
Many exciting changes have taken place to YALSA’s structure since our new Organizational Plan went into effect in 2016. As things continue to change, Organization & Bylaws must investigate new ways to adequately measure the success and impact of the committees, juries task forces, and advisory boards.
To that end, O&B has put together a proposal to investigate industry standards and best practices related to measuring the outcomes and impact of members and volunteers. O&B will present their findings and make a list of recommendations at the Midwinter Meeting in February 2018.
At the same time that O&B is researching best practices, they will be working with the YALSA Board and YALSA staff to institute an exit survey for group members to complete as they finish their terms. Survey results will be made available to Standing Board Committees for review. The exit survey will be instituted on a trial basis, beginning in July 2017 and ending June 2018.
This effort supports the following areas of the Learning Agenda, which is included in the Organizational Plan:
An exit survey would provide additional information about the appointed group experience beyond the quarterly chair report. Feedback from individual group members can give insight into the efficacy of intra-group communication, clarity of a group’s assigned charge, evaluation of virtual environments, and more.
Leveraging research into industry best practices to develop recommendations for an outcomes measurement plan for YALSA will allow the Board to ensure the goals outlined in the Organizational Plan are being met.
If the Board accepts the proposal from the Organization & Bylaws Committee, work would begin immediately following Annual.
YALSA’s Board of Directors adopted a new, three year Organizational Plan in April 2016. The Organizational Plan is supplemented by an Implementation Plan, which outlines the specific tasks YALSA will undertake each year to achieve the goals outlined in the Organizational Plan. The Implementation Plan also designates the resources (financial, human, and organizational) needed for each activity and describes how the Board will measure and monitor progress.
The Board will be reviewing the FY18 Implementation Plan at our Saturday Board meeting during Annual. In our discussion we will be considering major projects in progress that support the plan, changes in the library landscape or larger environment within in which teens and libraries function which might impact the plan, as well as YALSA’s capacity to carry out the activities in the plan. We will also be looking at how the FY18 Implementation Plan builds on the 2016-2017 Implementation Plan.
For more information check out board document #20 located here. You might also want to review board document #28 located here which focuses specifically on building YALSA’s capacity to support the Implementation Plan. Have questions? Post your comments here.
If you are traveling to Annual, make sure to stop by the YALSA booth!
As always, thanks for all you do for YALSA and for teens!
National Week of Making is upon us, and with that, I thought it would be fun to highlight some program ideas that I have done at my library, and some that were shared on the YALSA’s Teen Programming HQ. STEM programs becoming more and more prevalent in libraries, and it is possible to do these programs in the smallest of libraries to the largest.
As we all know, STEM programs are a great way to get preteens and teens excited about coming to the library. It is a chance for them to expand their STEM skills, and to use devices, programs, and materials that may not be available to them in their schools. At my library, we work with a lot of schools that are disadvantaged, and we want to be a place for preteens and teens to learn something outside of school that could interest them enough to make a career out of it. With this in mind, we started a STEM Club a couple of years ago, along with a dedicated teen volunteer. Within our club, we have taught teens how to code, print on a 3D printer, make apps, build with Strawbees, and so much more.
A continuing trend for colleges and universities is to sponsor a Common Reading Program for incoming freshman. These programs aim to connect new students around a shared experience that promises to build community. Every freshman (in theory) reads the book, so when they arrive in August, they have something to talk about beyond the normal freshman small talk.
Now, this isn’t a new idea and in fact, lots of libraries have done similar programs with their more broader community. We might call it something different, like City Reads or One Book, One City, but the concept is the same. It’s a way to bring people together, create common ground, share diverse perspectives, and come to a better understanding of one another.
The library is a natural partner in these sorts of programs, not only for our ability to provide copies of the book, but also the wealth of resources around the book itself. We are in great positions to provide programming and additional information for those really interested in the book content. Additionally, because the library is often considered a third space, it’s a natural spot for some community discussions on the book.
Check out this 20 minute video in which I talk with Shannon Peterson, Youth Services Manager, Kitsap (WA) Regional Library, about the new book, Putting Teens First in Library Services: A Road Map, we edited for YALSA. During our conversation we talk about each of the topics (continuous learning, connected learning, youth voice, community engagement, and outcomes) covered in the volume. We also discuss some of the ways that the title will be useful to a wide-range of library staff from those just starting out to those who have been working with and for teens for many years.