As a part of the Organizational Plan, YALSA renewed the Interest Group model to provide an easy way for members to get involved. If you are looking for a simple way to find members in your area, or who are aligned with your passion, consider joining or starting an Interest Group. Unlike committees, these are not appointed. Members can opt into them any time, and there is no minimum commitment of work or requirement to attend conferences.
Interest Groups are grassroots and member-driven so if you are passionate about something that doesn’t yet have an Interest Group, making one is easy! Work with the Executive Director to develop a petition, get 15 signatures from members who want to be a part of the group, and submit your proposal to YALSA’s Board of Directors. Next, plan a meet-up or make virtual space to engage community members.
We currently have six Interest Groups ranging from local area groups to topics on mental health and picture books for teens. At Midwinter, the YALSA Board of Directors will be revisiting a plan on how we can best encourage and support the Interest Groups. Originally presented in 2017 the plan lays out a year and half of work to support and grow Interest Groups from the simple, like quarterly messages to members advertising the opportunity, to the much more complex, like a manual for Interest Group conveners.
The Board will hear an update on the plan thus far, and moving forward we will discuss how we define success for Interest Groups, what steps YALSA can take to set Interest Groups up for success, and we can best promote Interest Groups to members.
If you are a member of an Interest Group, or thinking about starting one, we would love to hear from you what you think. Leave a comment or send me an email and let me know. See the full agenda of the Board of Directors at ALA Midwinter in Denver. All Board meetings are open to attendees, and you can learn more about the Board meetings on the wiki.