2018 YALSA Election: An Interview with President-Elect Candidate Todd Krueger

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.

Below you’ll find our interview with President-Elect candidate, Todd Krueger. The President-Elect serves a three-year term — first as the President-Elect, then as the President during the second year, and finally as the Immediate Past President during the third year. The President-Elect is a member of the Executive Committee alongside the President, Immediate Past President, Division Councilor, Fiscal Officer, Secretary, and Executive Director. The Executive Committee works with its ALA counterpart to build ties between the two organizations and helps with the fiscal oversight of YALSA.  A full description of the President-Elect’s duties and responsibilities can be found here.

Todd Krueger, Collection Development, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, Maryland

What best qualifies you for being President-Elect?
YALSA is in a time of transition. I have been a member of the YALSA Board and Executive Committee for the past three years. During this time, YALSA adopted a three-year Organizational Plan that furthered the work that the “Futures Report” set in motion. In essence, this has been a way to reimagine teen services for library workers and putting teens first when considering these services. I have been a YALSA member since 2006 and have a combined understanding of the governance, committee work and award/selection list experience that mirrors the efforts of many active members of the organization. With the impending change in leadership of the YALSA Executive Director, having a President-Elect that is familiar with the workings of the organization and can help shepherd the new leader into the role will be critical.

Talk about the experiences and expertise you’re bringing to the position in terms of leadership, nonprofit or association governance, and strategic thinking.
Serving on the YALSA Board and Executive Committee as the YALSA Division Councilor has provided me with many opportunities to lead committees and learn best practices in organizational governance. My role on ALA Council as the YALSA Councilor has allowed me to learn a lot about the inner workings of ALA, including the financial and structural challenges facing the organization. Being a part of ALA Council allowed me to connect with many of the leaders of ALA and put teen issues and YALSA to the forefront of their minds. I have worked to strengthen ties between ALA and YALSA to remain a vital division within ALA and has promoted its visibility. Through my work with my companion leaders in the Youth Council Caucus, I have been able to strengthen the ties of YALSA with the other youth divisions, AASL and ALSC. As a Councilor who voted to adopt ALA’s fourth strategic direction of Inclusion and Diversity was a critical milestone, which mirrors important aspects of YALSA’s mission and vision.

The leading network for support of nonprofit governance, BoardSource, has been an invaluable tool to learn best practices in the field. Being a member of the YALSA Board has provided me access to many of their free webinars and papers, which have contained a wealth of information on topics such as board development, decision-making, inclusion & diversity issues, and strategic thinking. I have also served for many years on the board of Capitol Choices, a group of librarians, booksellers and publishers in the Maryland/Virginia/DC area.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA as President-Elect?
Teens face many challenges today, and it’s important that the current YALSA mission reflects just that. We must continue to be the national leader that strives to support library workers as they in turn support teens. The Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff further outlines the ten key components of best serving teens in libraries. I see the continuation of our vision through the many opportunities we in and outside of libraries have to strengthen our ties to teens, through opportunities such as mentoring, coaching, intergenerational connections, and co-created programs with adults that can share their skills with teens.

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?
Libraries are one of the best spaces to promote optimal opportunities to create, connect, explore and learn. Each decision the Board makes is a pathway to provide front-line library workers the connection to helping teens, through possibilities such as connected learning, computational thinking, literature and writing, career & college readiness, and global awareness. In my day job as a collection development librarian, I focus on getting the right materials into the hands of teens. Whether this is recognizing themselves in a novel, understanding the differences between fake news and facts, being inspired to become instruments of democracy, or learning about people who have different experiences from themselves, I do my best to indirectly create thriving learning environments for teens on an individual basis.

What about YALSA’s Organizational Plan excites you most and why?
This is a really tough choice, because all three main facets of the Plan have so much merit. I’m currently the chair of the Fund & Partner Development Standing Committee and it is thrilling to consider the myriad of potential partners that YALSA can work with. Helping the YALSA staff find appropriate partnerships and potential grants and other sources of additional funding has been very satisfying. Additionally, the work of advocating for teen services in libraries at a local, state, and federal level has been particularly valuable. Last year, I brought two teens to National Library Legislative Day in Washington DC and saw firsthand the value of connecting teens to the advocacy process. Finally, the transformation of teen services is exciting to me in many ways. Watching the modification in services for teens to directly focus on their needs has been extremely gratifying.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
It’s the core of what we need to do and who we are. Library workers who serve teens must have a passion for the process. The new Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff outline so much of how “teens first” is primary and should remain so in the coming years as YALSA Board members, YALSA staff, and library workers come and go. This tenet is paramount to providing teens with the futures they deserve.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the board of directors?
My current experience and contributions to the work of the Board will help inform me of the office that I wish to attain. I hope to receive your support in the election!

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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