One of the tasks of YALSA's Organization and Bylaws (O&B) Committee is to review the association's bylaws with an eye toward accuracy, consistency, and success in supporting the work of the organization. This fall the current O&B Committee took a close look at the YALSA Bylaws and proposed several updates and changes to the document. The YALSA Board discussed and approved the proposal at their Midwinter Meetings and now the membership needs to cast their vote on whether to adopt the proposed changes. None of the changes will take place unless the majority of the membership votes in favor for them. That means the proposed revisions will be included on the YALSA ballot this spring:

  • There are many language oriented changes to the bylaws that are needed. These include everything from cleaning up the grammar to being consistent with terminology. For example, Vice-President/President-Elect will now be President-Elect.
  • Adding the Financial Advancement Committee (FAC) Chair to the YALSA Board as an Ex Officio (non-voting) member. The reason the YALSA Board would like to move forward with this is that the FAC chair and his or her committee is very involved in YALSA fundraising events. The Board frequently discusses the finances of YALSA and is responsible for working to guarantee the financial health of the association. It's imperative therefore that the FAC Chair be on the Board to know about the conversations and to have a full understanding of YALSA's finances and how the work of FAC provides support.
  • A revision in the minimum number of candidates required for both the Awards and Governance slates. Currently the bylaws state that twice the number of candidates must be put forward for each open position. The proposal that the board approved is to revise that language to say that a “minimum of one” candidate must be put forward for each open position. This change brings YALSA in line with the principles of good governance, as outlined by the Sturgis Guide to Parliamentary Procedure, which is a text that both ALA and YALSA structure their governance around. This change also enables YALSA Nominating Committee members flexibility in the creation of the slates, depending on changing needs in different years. It allows the committees to seek out the best candidates for award and governance positions and to better develop opportunities to grow leaders so they are ready to run for a YALSA office or award committee. Additionally, it gives the nominating committee flexibility to ensure that engaged, qualified members aren't put in a position where they volunteer for a leadership position but then lose that opportunity entirely when they don't garner enough votes. There is no proposed change to the option that any individual can appear on the slate as a petition candidate, as outlined by ALA policy.

As the YALSA O&B Committee reviewed and proposed changes to the YALSA bylaws, they thought carefully about how to make sure that the association is able to do the work required, support members, and move forward so that the future of the organization is secure.

The bylaws proposal prepared for the YALSA Board is available on the YALSA website. The ballot will contain three bylaws items for members to vote on. One focusing on language changes, one on the addition of the FAC Chair to the YALSA Board, and one on the change in the number of nominees for YALSA elected positions.

If readers have questions about the proposed changes prior to filing out a 2013 ballot, feel free to get in touch with me or leave a comment on this post.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President and the Youth and Family Learning Manager at the Seattle Public Library.

2 Thoughts on “YALSA Board @ Midwinter: Organization & Bylaws Update

  1. Sophie Brookover on February 4, 2013 at 9:11 am said:

    I do have some concerns about the third item, but will save that for a later comment. For now, I want to make sure I'm reading correctly -- must all THREE proposed bylaw changes be approved by YALSA members in order for any of them to take effect? That is, will they be submitted as a group of changes? Or will members be voting on each proposed change individually?

    A second question has occurred to me, which is: how do other divisions handle these issues (specifically 2 and 3)?

    Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the questions Sophie.

    First, the three different O&B motions from Midwinter Board meetings will appear on the ballot as separate items. Members will have the chance to vote on the language changes, on the FAC Chair as an Ex Officio member of the Board, and on the nominating changes separately. The Board voted on three separate motions to allow members to have this opportunity.

    On the topic of other divisions and items 2 and 3, it varies. For example, not all divisions have a financial advancement (or like) committee. And, not all divisions have a separate elected position for a fiscal officer. And, not all have the fiscal officer sit on the Board. It's definitely a mix.

    On the topic of the number of candidates on a ballot, I haven't looked at all division's bylaws, several of the divisions do have bylaws similar to what YALSA has in place now. ACRL is much more open-ended in their nomination procedures as outlined in their bylaws. ACRL notes ALA's bylaws and looking at ALA's nominations section the larger association presents a mix of specificity and open-endedness.

    Hope this helps.

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