Where YALSA Gets Revenue for Member Services and Support

Pam Spencer Holley, YALSA Fiscal Officer

Now that I have a year of experience with YALSA finances, it’s become obvious to me that there is sometimes confusion in the minds of members about our dues, requests for donations, and books and other products that we sell. Why does YALSA need to do all this?

When I first became active in YALSA in the fall of 1985, we were considered a small division because we had about 2000 members (today we have over 5,100) and we were only able to cover about 50% of our operating expenses. Because of YALSA’s inability to cover all of the costs of providing member services and support, ALA gave YALSA what is called the “small division subsidy,” which covered the rest of our expenses. While ALA generously provided the financial support to meet the basic needs of members, YALSA wasn’t able to offer new selection or award committee opportunities or take on large national projects as we just did with the IMLS grant and the report that was generated. Not only that, the division had only a deputy director and 2.3 other staff positions (today we have an executive director and 4.5 other positions).

All this changed in the early 2000s when YALSA worked out a plan with ALA to gradually increase revenues and move off of the small division subsidy.  Today, revenue from dues makes up about a third of YALSA’s total revenue.  However, additional funds are needed by our division to continue with our dozen award and selection committees, the webinars and tool kits that enable library workers to be well prepared to serve their teens, the various events at conference where we all have a chance to rub elbows with noted YA authors and experts in the field, and more. Our strategic committees form the heartbeat of our organization and funds are needed to ensure their work is made available to aid library workers and teens. Our member awards and scholarships require a minimum of $16,000every year, hence we have the Friends of YALSA society whose donations help ensure that we are able to recognize members for their achievements and support them in their professional growth.

The other two thirds of YALSA’s revenue comes from key sources, like the sale of books and e-learning, the YA Literature Symposium, ticketed events at ALA conferences, grants, individual donations, corporate sponsorships and interest from YALSA’s endowments.  All of the revenues that come into YALSA, from whatever source, are used to provide members with services and support.

Although finding room in your budget to pay for things like association dues can sometimes be a challenge, YALSA really does give you a lot of bang for your buck.  The highest dues category for membership in ALA/YALSA is $193 per year (the lowest is $59).  Some of the key benefits of membership add up to well over $193.  For example, all of these things come free with membership:

  • $35 subscription to YALSA E-News
  • $70 subscription to Young Adult Library Services
  • $760 worth of webinars on-demand
  • $588 in live monthly webinars

And those are just a few of the freebies and discounts members get from ALA and YALSA.  So, with an investment of $59 – $193, members get a minimum of $1,453 worth of resources – resources that help make your daily work easier and position you to advance your career.  Are you making the most of these perks that YALSA has to offer?  If not, you should be!  Check out this free 30 minute webinar about making the most of your membership: http://connectpro87048468.adobeconnect.com/p34esi7r6xh/.  And don’t forget one of the best values from your YALSA membership: the opportunity to be part of a group of like-minded librarians, educators and teen supporters who care about library services to teens. Now, that opportunity is priceless.

I hope this post helps explain a bit about how YALSA finds the funds to support member services and programs, as well as where dues fit into the picture.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me (pamsholley@aol.com) if I can answer any questions you may have.

Petition Process Update

Petition candidates will now find the process to have their name added to a YALSA election ballot a little easier, thanks to action taken recently by the YALSA Board.  What’s the change? Instead of obtaining signatures by means of a paper ballot, the petition will be electronic beginning with the 2015 election process. The second change is one that needs to be approved by the membership via a vote to change the bylaws.  In the bylaws the number of signatures required for a petition candidate is currently 25; however, the board is asking the membership to vote to change that to 1% of the personal membership.  A percentage, rather than a number that is unchanged from year to year, ensures that regardless of membership size, the number of required signatures remains proportionate to the membership.  It will also eliminate the need for future adjustments to the bylaws as YALSA’s membership size changes.  The number 25 was chosen many years when YALSA had only about 2,000 members. Since then, YALSA’s membership has grown to over 5,100.  So, what’s 1% of the personal members?  Right now that’s 48 people.  Be sure to look for this proposal on next year’s ballot, and, if you’re interested in running on the 2015 slate, visit http://www.ala.org/yalsa/workingwithyalsa/election to learn more.


Time is running out . . . Vote!

So, remember when you got that email from ALA that gave you the link so you could vote? Yeah, you’re right; that was a month ago. But you still have three days left to vote: voting closes on Friday, April 25. Now is the time to dig through your email, find that link, and go ahead and vote.vote

As of yesterday, 16.6% of ALA members had cast a ballot in this election. That’s a pretty low voter turnout. We don’t have numbers for YALSA members specifically, but in the past, voter turnout for YALSA has been around 20%. Still, that means fewer than 1000 people are making the decisions about things that might matter to you: who serves on YALSA’s Award committees (Printz, Edwards, and Nonfiction), and who serves on YALSA’s Board of Directors.

In March, this blog had a whole series of posts to give you information about the candidates. Every weekday, starting February 26 and running through March 19, there was at least one (and usually two) interviews each day with the candidates. You can find them easily by going to the drop-down menu labeled “Categories” on the side of this page and selecting “Election.”

For even more details, including complete biographical information on all of the candidates, check out the sample ballot.

YALSA is a member-driven organization. That means it’s up to YOU to vote for the people who will be representing you over the next few years.

Don’t let any more time go by. Vote.

Sarah Flowers, Chair, 2014 Governance Nominating Committee


YALSAblog Tweets of the Week – April 18, 2014

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between April 18 and April 24 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
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2014 Teen Read Week Site Launch

As part of Celebrate Teen Literature Day, the 2014 Teen Read Week website officially went live today!

Online community members now have full access to a variety of resources to help them plan their Teen Read Week. Individuals who are not online community members yet are encouraged to join for free to gain full access to resources, perks, and monthly updates.

Resources and incentives include:

  • Downloadable low-resolution theme logo
  • Forums: Discuss and share TRW related resources and experiences
  • Grants: Teen Read Week Activity Grant and Teens’ Top Ten Book Giveaway
  • Ready to use planning and publicity tools
  • Products: Posters, bookmarks, manuals, and more
  • Showcase: Share your planned events
  • Webinars : Free access to a live webinar to help you prepare for TRW, as well as archived webinars
  • And more resources and perks to come

The theme this year for Teen Read Week is Turn Dreams into Reality @ your library and will be celebrated October 12-18, 2014. The national spokesperson for this year’s celebration is Australian actor Brenton Thwaites, who stars in the highly anticipated movie adaptation of the book, The Giver, set for release on August 15, 2014.

As libraries shift into full gear to plan for Teen Read Week, authors and publishers are reminded that they can also be involved in Teen Read Week as well. Publishers and other corporate groups can become sponsors to help YALSA build the capacity of libraries to meet the literacy needs of teens. Current sponsors include Blink and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. For more information on how to become a sponsor, please contact YALSA’s Executive Director, Beth Yoke at byoke@ala.org.  Authors can visit the Teen Read Week site for a list of ideas on how they can participate.

For more information about Teen Read Week, visit the Teen Read Week website.

App of the Week: FridgePoems by Color Monkey

Title: FridgePoems by Color Monkey
Platform: iOS
Cost: Free (for basic vocabulary set)

It’s National Poetry Month, and there’s no easier way to promote the creation of verse poetry than setting up a public access tablet with this fun app.


When you launch the app, you get a “working” space with a handful of words, but you can zoom out to see more. Dragging the word boxes with your fingertips allows you to reorder things to create your verse.

Writers are not strictly limited to the words on screen. You can draw for new words or invest in themed WordPacks ($1 each for hipster tragic, redneck, hip hop, etc. or $3 for all of them). The provision of verb endings and plurals can add some variety as well.
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YALSA Staff Appreciation Week

YALSA is a member driven organization and accomplishes amazing things through the dedication and hard work of volunteers. We celebrate this through National Volunteer Week, Volunteer(s) of the Year Awards, a Writing Award, grants, weekly shout-outs, and more.

In the background, staff ensure that all of these things happen and support members in a 1,000 different ways. From securing corporate sponsorships to planning logistics for the YA Literature Symposium, organizing a webinar series to crafting the perfect press release, managing hundreds of member appointments to supporting annual initiatives, the list of the hard (and great) work that they do goes on and on and on. Even if you’ve never met one of these dynamos, there’s no question that each of them has positively impacted your YALSA experience, so let’s celebrate them. The YALSA Board and I have unofficially resolved that this week shall be declared YALSA Staff Appreciation Week! Join us this week to write, tweet, or email your thanks and appreciation for all that they do on behalf of the organization each and every day.  Beth Yoke, Nicole Munguia, Nichole O’Connor, Letitia Smith, Jaclyn Finneke, and Anna Lam, we salute you!

YALSAblog Tweets of the Week – April 11, 2014

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between April 11 and April 17 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
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Librarians in Literature

I love reading about librarians in books. Sometimes they are annoyingly stereotypical-the bun-wearning shushing types. But other times they are more true to the librarians I know-creative, energetic, and maybe with some secret powers!

I got excited when I saw an upcoming release, The Ninja Librarians by Jennifer Swan Downey. (Sourcebooks, April 2014) The book is  “Just a little story about your average sword-swinging, karate-chopping, crime-fighting ninja librarians.” (from Goodreads) It got me thinking about a few of my other favorite librarians in literature.

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

-Alcatraz must save the world from the most evil villain there is-librarians! They’re plotting to take over the world and Alcatraz must stop them.

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don’t) by Barbara Bottner, illusrated by Michael Emberly

-Miss Brooks is a great librarian who won’t give up on reader’s advisory-even when she’s faced with the toughest critic.

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

-Mr. Lemoncello isn’t a librarian, but he builds an amazing library and employs some great librarians-who happen to be inspired by real life librarians.

Who are your favorite fictional librarians?

Are you interested in reading more tween-related posts?  The YALSA Blog and the ALSC Blog both offer information of interest to librarians who work with tweens.