Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with Board Liaison to Division and Membership Promotion Colleen Seisser

Ever wanted to get to know the YALSA Board of Directors more? Here’s your chance! All month long, we’ll be posting fun mini interviews with each board member so you can get to know them a little better. Here’s the first one to kick it off!

Colleen Seisser is the Board Liaison to Division and Membership Promotion and the chair of the Fund and Partner Development Standing Board Committee. Here’s a little background:

I started on a path towards libraries early on as I worked at my local library as a shelver on and off for about 6 years as I finished high school got my Associate’s in Arts and then my Bachelor’s in Art History. I needed a break from school, and I found a job working at Washburne Middle School’s Library with Julie Halpern. She introduced me to teen services and I fell in love. She was also the first to get me involved with YALSA by gifting me a YALSA membership. I earned my MLIS in 2009 while returning to work part-time in the Technical Services and was hired as the first Teen Services Librarian at the Deerfield Public Library one semester before I graduated! I got to create the Library’s entire Teen Services from scratch since there had been little for teens there before. I then moved to the Mount Prospect Public Library and was their Teen Services Librarian for 5 years. During this time, I started volunteering more with YALSA, most significantly working with Amazing Audiobooks for 3 years starting as Admin Assistant and ending as Chair, and more recently chairing the Division and Membership Promotion committee for 2015-2017. In 2017 I started a new path as a Selection Services Librarian at the Aurora Public Library, and most recently in September 2018, I was promoted to Collection Services Manager (and luckily, I still get to select materials for teens for the library!) I love to create art and like finding new methods of creation, and I also love to garden.

YALSA: What does YALSA mean to you?
CS: YALSA has had a huge impact on my career as a Teen Librarian. I knew I could always look to YALSA to find resources that would help me with any opportunities or problems that came my way professionally. However, I am so thankful to have also found that as I started volunteering and attending events and programs, YALSA also provided me an important network of people who I could connect to, not only for on the job questions but also for friendships that have withstood being states apart. For me, it has been an invaluable organization to turn to because its members are always willing to help each other out.

YALSA: What are your hopes for the future of teen services?
CS: I hope that we continue to meet teens where they are and that we, as an organization and as professionals, continue to change with our teens and their needs. It’s been so exciting to see the libraries who are engaging teens on the civic level and facilitating the development of that part of their life. I also hope to see libraries continue to rise up as community centers, especially in regards to our teen communities, so we can continue offering well-rounded services that support and grow teens in all aspects of their lives.

YALSA: What show do you like to binge watch?
CS: Great British Bake Off (and yes still, with new hosts and no Mary Berry).

YALSA: What is your favorite fairy tale?
CS: Snow White and Rose Red.

YALSA: Name one cool fact about yourself.
CS: I am a second-degree black belt in martial arts.

About Allison Renner

Allison recently graduated with her MLS and is a new teen services librarian in Memphis, Tennessee.
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