Rethinking YALSA–Juries

During the organizational planning session at the 2016 Midwinter Meeting, the consultants encouraged the Board to embrace newer member engagement models that would allow YALSA to be faster and more flexible, while at the same time better meet member needs.

The YALSA Volunteer Form for strategic committees, juries, and task forces closed on March 1, and so I’ve been busy appointing chairs and members to fill the empty spots. The most important thing I’ve learned? We have awesomely qualified volunteers and too many committees! And so I was more than willing to bring a proposal to the board last week to improve the volunteer process for YALSA juries.

YALSA has 7 juries:

  • Collection Development Grant Jury
  • Conference Travel Scholarships Jury
  • Frances Henne Research Grant Jury
  • Great Books Giveaway Jury
  • MAE Award for Best YA Literature Program for Teens Jury
  • Volunteer of the Year Award Jury
  • Writing Award Jury

The Board approved the proposal as stated: “For 2016, the Board will experiment for one year with a new model for juries wherein they are only assembled for 3 months (Nov. – Jan.) and that jury members opt-in to participating instead of being appointed. Chairs will be the only appointed members, and will continue to be appointed by the President-Elect. This proposal is specifically for those juries that vet the member grant and award applications that have a Dec. 1 due date.”

Look for a call for jury volunteers in the YALSA eNews in September! If you already volunteered for a jury through the volunteer form, you’ll be given the first opportunity to opt-in to serve. Jury members will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis and begin work on Nov. 1. Volunteers will still need to comply with existing eligibility requirements, such as current personal membership in YALSA and concurrent service on three or fewer appointed groups.

The Membership Engagement standing board committee will review the process in early 2017 and submit a recommendation to the Board for moving forward with juries. Of course, we anticipate that the process will go smoothly and that YALSA members will appreciate the short three-month term!

Over the next year, we’re hoping to find more ways to streamline YALSA procedures, while improving member experiences with the organization. Please let me know if you have any ideas! If you have any concerns or questions, feel free to comment below or email me at gsarahthelibrarian at

About Sarah Hill

Sarah is the Information Services Librarian at Lake Land College, a rural community college in Illinois. She is happily serving as YALSA Immediate Past President. You can follow her on Twitter at @glibrarian.
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