Election Questions

Thanks to Linda, Nick, and Sarah for their answers to the second set of election questions. this is such a great way to get to know more about our candidates. For our third set of questions we have two from me and two from a Past President.

Sarah Debraski
YALSA President-Elect

How will you make time for this larger volunteer role in your life? How will you balance your board chair responsibilities with your personal and professional responsibilities?

Everyone has different skills they bring to a board and an organization. What do you believe is your particular strength that you will bring to leading the YALSA Board?

What do you think the biggest challenge facing our organization is?

From Past President Judy Nelson:

What do you see as the long term change that will occur in your life as a result of serving on the YALSA Board?
How will this experience help you move your goals forward?

About Sarah Debraski

YALSA President, 2008-2009
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3 Comments

  1. Linda Braun [Member]

    How will you make time for this larger volunteer role in your life? How will you balance your board chair responsibilities with your personal and professional responsibilities?
    Before I agreed to run for this office I put some thought into this. Fortunately, as a library school instructor and independent consultant, my schedule has a great deal of flexibility. I can manipulate my calendar in order to fit whatever demands might be placed on it. I can integrate tasks as they come along and move items around as need be. If I feel that a YALSA project requires more time than I anticipated, or requires my attention when I didn’t expect it, I will be able to manage my own schedule in order to fit in what’s needed. For over a dozen years I’ve been managing multiple projects all at the same time. As a result I’ve become extremely adept at organizing what I need to do and when I need to do it. Similarly, as an independent consultant, my family is very used to my sometimes odd work hours and schedule. We have all learned to adapt to a lifestyle that might include something spur of the moment on the professional level and might also include hours that go beyond the traditional (or the norm).

    Everyone has different skills they bring to a board and an organization. What do you believe is your particular strength that you will bring to leading the YALSA Board?
    The fact that I’ve worked in, and with, a variety of libraries gives me an overview of the world of teen services that is somewhat unique. I know first-hand what’s going on in small and large institutions, urban and rural settings, and with all types of librarians and library customers. I have a national perspective on what is happening in libraries with, and for, teens.

    What do you think the biggest challenge facing our organization is?
    I’d definitely say there are two related challenges. They are: keeping the momentum of the past several years going and growing into an even more nimble and flexible organization. YALSA’s recent growth is both a challenge and an opportunity. Making sure that the momentum continues and good decisions are made about the projects, programs, and services the Division takes on is incredibly important. The strategic planning process, now underway, will help to accomplish this. However, ultimately, YALSA needs to be nimble and flexible in order to meet the demands of current and future teen librarians (and the teens that they serve). As a part of this, the Division needs to continue to be proactive. Over the past couple of years YALSA has been able to start new projects and respond to needs fairly quickly. The publication of the Social Networking Toolkit, the development of a YALSA MySpace, and the integration of Twitter as a way to get info. out to those interested in library services to teens are all examples of this proactivity, nimbleness, and flexibility.

    What do you see as the long term change that will occur in your life as a result of serving on the YALSA Board? How will this experience help you move your goals forward?
    I’m going to answer these questions as one. While I’ve spent a great deal of time working in, and with local and regional institutions of all types, and while I’ve been on the YALSA Board, I have not held a public position of this kind at a national level. I envision that as YALSA President I’ll be able to extend my skills related to working with others, planning and managing projects, and moving an organization forward. I’ll also be able to hone skills such as those that come into play when talking with the national press and responding to national concerns of librarians, parents, teachers, teens, etc.

  2. Sarah Flowers [Visitor]

    How will you make time for this larger volunteer role in your life? How will you balance your board chair responsibilities with your personal and professional responsibilities?
    I am well aware that this is a major commitment of time and energy. Fortunately, both my library and my family are very supportive of my association activities. I have been in my current position for five years, so I have passed the major “learning curve” hurdles. I know the ebb and flow of the year’s activities, and can plan ahead for the busy times. I also have quite a lot of vacation saved up, so I can always take time off if necessary to attend to YALSA activities. My family (mainly my husband, since we’re empty-nesters now) have always been supportive of my YALSA activities. When I was on the Printz Committee, for example, my husband not only put up with the fact that I was rarely available to watch movies with him, because I was reading, he actually took on the task of receiving all the books, and keeping them organized for me!

    Everyone has different skills they bring to a board and an organization. What do you believe is your particular strength that you will bring to leading the YALSA Board?
    Both in my current job and in previous positions as committee chairs, in YALSA, in the California Library Association, and in volunteer jobs, I have had lots of opportunities to run meetings. I believe in meetings that start and end on time, keep to the agenda, and end with everyone knowing the decisions and action items. I know “running a meeting” doesn’t sound like a very sexy skill, but honestly, an ineffective chair can wreak havoc on an organization; I’ve seen it happen. Additionally, I have a lot of experience in public speaking before both large and small groups, and that is another important skill for the YALSA president.

    What do you think the biggest challenge facing our organization is?

    The fact that we have grown so fast over the past several years. It’s a good thing, but we have to capitalize on it. We have lots of new members, lots of student members, and lots of young members, and we need to find ways to harness their energy and enthusiasm and get them invested long-term in YALSA. We have already begun to expand the opportunities for involvement, and that’s a positive thing. We all need to be willing to learn from each other, and share our experiences.

    What do you see as the long term change that will occur in your life as a result of serving on the YALSA Board? How will this experience help you move your goals forward?
    I think that a relative high-profile position like YALSA President can only expand opportunities for learning, for meeting people, and for finding out about new ways of doing things. Those kinds of things can only help my in my long-term career goal of becoming a library consultant. Added to my on-the-job managerial experience, the experience of leading an Association at an exciting time like this can only give me new ways of looking at the world of libraries and teen services.

    Thank you for the opportunity to answer these questions.

    Sarah Flowers
    Candidate for YALSA Vice-President/President-Elect

  3. Nick Buron [Visitor]

    How will you make time for this larger volunteer role in your life? How will you balance your board chair responsibilities with your personal and professional responsibilities?
    For 13 years, I have taken on increasing responsibilities within ALA, with the past three years being no exception. With my responsibilities on ALA Council and YALSA Board, my conferences have been very busy. The year I was on Best Books for YA keep me busy every day with those responsibilities. I am not unfamiliar with the time that our professional organization can take in our life. I don’t think I have made time for these role as much as I have incorporated them into my professional life. As for balancing presidential duties with personal and professional responsibilities, I am very fortunate to work for an organization which will allow me to take on my duties as part of my usual workload. Not to say I will be able to do less for my day job, but the support from my library will allow me to seamlessly move between various responsibilities. As for my personal life, I certainly do not feel it will be easy, what with two boys, 9 years old and 4 months old, but with support from my family, we will work to balance this endeavor.

    Everyone has different skills this bring to a board and an organization. What do you believe is your particular strength that you will bring to leading the YALSA Board?
    Leading the YALSA board will require three skills (at least) that I have proven professionally: Vision; leadership, and; facilitation. Vision, to see the future and forge a path to get there. Leadership, to gather the resources needed achieve the vision. Facilitation, to know when to step back and let others (Board members, committees, etc.) take the lead and coordinate the great effort.
    What do you think the biggest challenge facing our organization is?
    YALSA is the fasting growing division in ALA. We love to say that, but that brings great challenges. How to we continue that growth? How to we involve all members, from new students to long time members? We need to forge relationships with other ALA divisions, find new means of getting the YALSA word out from coast to coast, and use the latest technology to create opportunities.
    What do you see as the long term change that will occur in your life as a result of serving on the YALSA Board? How will this experience help you move your goals forward?
    If elected president, I will have had the honor of working with great people for a common cause. That experience will have instilled me with the knowledge and experience to be a leader in librarianship and use those skills learned/earned as I continue my library career and assist those who will be our next generation of leaders.

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