YALSA Candidates’ Forum

The candidates for YALSA’s elected positions spoke at an open forum here at Midwinter. They each introduced themselves and made a brief statement, and then answered questions from the audience. Here’s some of what they said. (Note that not all candidates were in attendance.)

Candidates for President-Elect

Jerene Battisti (could not attend, but prepared a statement that was read by the moderator, Michael Cart):
Due to the economic climate: direct value of library service to YAs is more important than ever.
Her personal motto: collaborate, communicate, and succeed

Kim Patton:
“Grew up in YALSA” and is thankful for opportunity to give back
Libraries, ALA, YALSA facing tough times; the best way to bring services to teens and libraries is to bring management into the picture
We must look at our administrators, boards, managers back home and encourage them to be involved with teen issues – we will have a better chance of success that way.

Candidates for Board of Directors

Kelly Czarnecki:
Is aware of the needs of school libraries even though she’s a public school librarian
Wants to help YALSA to continue bringing in new members and keeping YALSA relevant to its current members

Sara Ryan:
Has served on board before and found it to be a valuable experience
Libraries are essential spaces for teens
Teens can help to understand and help to transform role of libraries in the community—YALSA is critical to this

Stephanie Squicciarini:
Staying relevant, viable, and current
Ensure that we grow as an organization
Rely on professional organizations to help us as we deal with difficult economic circumstances
Counts on YALSA to offer encouragement, support, re-charge

Not in attendance: Dora Ho

Candidates for Councilor:

Nick Buron:
YALSA for 10 years
Committee member, chair, serving the underserved trainer
Board of Directors – 3 years
3 areas need to be addressed: YALSA not losing members, so we need to present our issues to ALA council (represent YALSA and YALSA issues; report back to the membership; support for issues that affect librarians who work with teens; maintain contact with the membership)

Elizabeth K. Shuping:
Past president of SCLA
Represents SC in DC
Critical year in ALA council: budgeting, electronic/virtual partnership (using committee members in virtual ways—supports increased virtual attendence dispite the potential economic impacy); for service for teens, second for funding and advocacy; look at access and intellectual freedom

Candidates for Margaret A. Edwards Committee

Robin Brenner:
No Flying No Tights
Finding the right book at the right moment is amazing for teens
Wants to help create that moment
Was on Graphic Novel task force
PPYA
Great Graphic Novels for Teens – was chair
Judged on Eisner award committee

Not in attendance: Amy Alessio, Christine Jenkins, Betsy Levine, Hollis Rudiger, Caryn Sipos

Candidates for Michael L. Printz Committee

Joni Bodart:
Experience, ability to evaluate, passion for materials for YAs, can define the quality of the books he/she is evaluating

Jan Chapman:
James Cook award
Write for VOYA
Passion for YA literature, proud of how YA lit has changed and reflects the best literature today

Erin Howerton:
American Born Chinese represents everything that YA lit should be
Search for next great “onion” – book with many layers

Jan Sarratt:
Wants to share knowledge and experience gained in 30 years working with teens
Wants to select book that Printz would be proud of
Eager to share love of literature with today’s teens

Eva Volin:
Judge for Eisner awards
Loves committee work and teen books – putting the 2 together is fun for her
Loves putting the right books into the hand of the right teen

Melissa Rabey:
Loves books—talking about them, thinking about what makes a book relevant/appealing, sharing them with teens and colleagues

Not in attendance: Brenna Shanks, Jamie Watson

Candidates for the Nonfiction award

Barb Conkin
Outstanding Books for the College Bound, Former chair of Intellectual Freedom committee

Charli Osborne
Nonfiction one of her passions; teens love reading nonfiction for pleasure

Not in attendance: Christine Allen, Carrie Bryniak, Monique Franklin, Jeanette Larson, Don Latham, Mary Long

Questions to the candidates:

Briefly, tell us what you think are YALSA and ALA’s most pressing issues over 3-5 years

KIM: funding, conference attendance
NICK: front-line staff working with teens–getting directly to decision-makers
ELIZABETH: funding, but should be hopeful
KELLY: funding, highlight resources: advocacy toolkit, podcast on YALSA blog on how to support YALSA
SARAH: decreased funding requires increased advocacy
STEPHANIE: Staying motivated, positive, and strong

What would be your role in getting our inactive members to get engaged?

KIM: Keep message out, work harder to keep giving members opportunities to get the information that they need
NICK: Making information accessible to those who can’t attend conferences (wikis, blogs, videos online), increased virtual participation
ELIZABETH: have to be involved locally and with our staff members
KELLY: using the technologies that we have to reach members, using member surveys to get feedback so that we can respond to what people want
SARAH: Mentoring, connecting newer librarians with those who have been in the field for a while
STEPHANIE: Keep talking about how important elections are, how we need to make our voices heard

What would you like to change about YALSA?

STEPHANIE: Celebrate ourselves more–wants a shuttle to run the night of the Printz reception just like it does the night of the Newberry
SARAH: More diverse membership
KELLY: Continue being a risk-taking organization
ELIZABETH: reach out toand promote ourselves to’  other areas of librarianship/associations
NICK: Library students should be larger percentage
KIM: engaging more of our library administrators

About Sarah Ludwig

I am the Academic Technology Coordinator at Hamden Hall Country Day School in Hamden, CT. Prior to that, I was the head of teen, technology, and reference services at the Darien Library in Darien, CT. I started my library career as a school librarian at a small boarding school in Western Massachusetts.
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