2018 YALSA Election: An Interview with Board of Directors-at-Large Candidate Derek Ivie

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election!  To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2018 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from Monday, March 12 through Wednesday, April 4.  To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out the recording of the Candidates’ Virtual Town Hall and read the sample ballot.

YALSA Board members are responsible for jointly determining YALSA’s current and future programs, policies, and serving as liaisons to YALSA’s committees, juries, taskforces and advisory boards. Members work year round, and attend in-person meetings at ALA’s Midwinter and Annual Conferences. A full description of Board duties and responsibilities can be found here.

My name is Derek Ivie and I am the Youth Services Coordinator at the Suffolk Cooperative Library System in Bellport, NY. I am also serving on YALSA’s Board as Board Member-at-Large.

What best qualifies you for being a YALSA Board Member-at-Large?
In my position at the Suffolk Cooperative Library System I work with many libraries large and small. In my daily work life a large part of my job is seeking out opportunities that would be beneficial to these libraries of varying sizes with differing communities. I feel that I would be able to mirror this experience on the Board since we are looking to aid library staff in their work in many different libraries all over the country. On top of this I have spent the last eight months as a Board Member-at-Large and feel that the experience I have gained in the position would be a great benefit to continue serving in this capacity.

Talk about the experiences and expertise you’re bringing to the position in terms of leadership, nonprofit or association governance, and strategic thinking.
Currently I am the head of the system’s youth services department where I act as a consultant to the children’s and young adult library staff in our fifty-four member libraries. Part of this position is running trainings and workshops and creating different educational opportunities for the library workers. I also coordinate large scale county-wide programming such as our author festival Authors Unlimited and our Battle of the Books program. For both programs I lead committees made up of library staff from throughout the county. Another leadership role I was lucky enough to experience was my time as chair of the 2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adults committee. Working with creative, talented, and passionate groups of people to create amazing outcomes in something that I love and feel this would be beneficial to this Board position.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA as a YALSA Board Member-at-Large?
YALSA’s mission is something that I find inspiring. In today’s social climate we have an even more important duty to our teen patrons than ever before. We must make sure they are represented fairly and have access to anything that can help better their lives, whether it is information, an internet connection, or just a physical space in which to feel safe. As Board Member-at-Large, I hope to be able to work with the board to bring library staff nationwide the training opportunities and a wealth of knowledge to bring these goals to fruition.

What are some ways that being a member of the YALSA Board can help you serve as an even better connector to helping libraries become thriving learning environments for/with teens?
Being on YALSA Board would help me serve as an even better connector to helping libraries become thriving learning environments for/with teens because it would afford me the opportunity to work with library staff country wide. If we can come together as a nation of support for the young adults in our libraries then we can have a greater impact. I feel that we must advocate for our teens and the services we provide on both national and local levels to be able to have the greatest impact in alleviating the challenges they face.

What about YALSA’s Organizational Plan excites you most and why?
What excites me most about YALSA’s Organizational Plan is the Intended Impact Statement. It states that we want to “meaningfully address the challenges teens face today and to put more teens on the path to a successful and fulfilling life”. This excites me because no matter who these teens are, where they are from, or whether or not they are our library power users we want to afford them all equal opportunities to be their best selves, and give them opportunities to learn and grow. We as teen library workers value who they are and their opinions and what they are able to do as members of our societies. Now more than ever we have to be willing to listen and see the power teenagers can have as change agents. The more resources young adult library staff give their teens the more the teens will be able to be their best selves and ultimately give back.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
I believe at the base of everything YALSA does there is the thought of teens first. I want to support library workers who support teens. I want to help create the best resources for our young adult library workers so they can help their teens become both valuable and valued members of their communities. Through webinars, in-person trainings, and grants (among other opportunities) YALSA is able to educate library workers so they can in turn help their teens. I think it always important to take a step back from the work on the Board and remember the reason we are there is to ultimately help our teens and put them first.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the board of directors?
With my varied experience in YALSA and in my career in both urban (my career as a librarian began at NYPL) and suburban library systems I believe I am able to see the mission of YALSA through a number of different lenses. Every day in my position in Suffolk County I look to help my library workers serve their patrons as best they can – I want to continue to extend the same sentiment to the work I do on the Board to the members of YALSA. I would be most grateful to be able to continue my work on the Board as Board Member-at-Large.

About Meaghan Darling

Meaghan is the Youth Services Librarian at the Sparta Public Library. She served on YALSA's 2017 Excellence in Nonfiction Award Committee and is currently a member of the Teens' Top Ten virtual committee and the 2019 Great Graphic Novels Blogging Team.
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