YALSA Executive Committee Update: Board Nuts and Bolts

The YALSA Exec committee met in Portland on November 8th and 9th. One of the topics we discussed was the YALSA Board and how we can continue to build a stronger Board, thus a stronger association.

One item on our agenda was Board Meeting Guidelines. The norms established in the guidelines dictate the way board meetings run; having not been updated since 1999, the Board voted at Annual 2015 to do so. Gretchen Kolderup, Jennifer Korn, and I revised the document to reflect practices already in place such as our open meeting policy and the idea that all board members participate in building meeting agenda items. We also included language that addresses the use of electronic devices and respectful behavior. This revision was presented to the Exec comm for feedback. We have since finalized the revision and the Board voted to adopt it. It will be included as part of the consent section of Boston’s Midwinter 2016 agenda.

We also discussed how to better help new Board members prepare for meetings. If you haven’t attended one before and are not sure what to expect, meetings can be overwhelming: 20+ people sitting around a table, guests dropping in to observe, stacks of motion forms that need to be filled out properly. Motion forms in particular can be intimidating when the author wants to make sure the wording is clear, concise, and addresses everything desired. After the positive feedback we have received regarding the guides made about reading an agenda and a board doc, I will be sharing a guide to filling out a motion form with the board to help familiarize new members. The Exec committee also talked about ways to build more day-to-day board engagement. Getting to know each other on a more personal level is another way to lower the intimidation factor of board meetings.

For more information about the Executive Meeting, look over the agenda and documents, read the draft minutes, and follow this blog for more posts about the topics discussed. If you are interested in learning more about the YALSA Board or possibly running in the future and will be at Midwinter, consider coming to Coffee with the Candidates session on Sunday, January 10.

Carrie Kausch is a high school librarian at Falls Church High School in Fairfax County, VA, and currently serves as YALSA Secretary.  

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