What is it like to serve on the YALSA Board?

[Guest blogger Karen Lemmons is a current YALSA Board member and serves on the Board Development Committee]

What is it like to be a Board member, for those considering governance? Is it doable to balance the workload whether you’re a school/public librarian/professor/director/or even work outside of a library?
Let’s face it. Whenever I am asked to serve on a committee or add additional responsibilities to my job, I am reluctant.  Either I am not interested in serving on that committee or, if I am, I do not have the time. In addition to being one of only two school librarians in the entire district, I also teach five classes.  I serve on the School Leadership Team. In addition, I am the Laptop Coordinator, the school’s web content/social media manager, a robotics coach, and I run/operate a school store to raise funds for our robotics team.  I am also a mentor in a grant, working with future school librarians.
However, as busy as I am, I do have down/free time during the school year. Besides the summer and scheduled breaks, I do have times when I am less busy. I also plan and schedule self-care/mental wellness activities/time throughout the school year, in which I do what I need/like to do for balance, relaxation, and restoration.
This is my last year of my three year term as a YALSA Board director-at-large. Did I think I could do it? Initially no, because of all of my job responsibilities. As a newly elected Board member, I knew a few of my Board responsibilities, but I didn’t know the amount of committee/board work I would do. But now I say yes!!!! I have served on book award committees that are very time intensive yet rewarding. Serving on this Board is less time intensive and equally rewarding.  I have contributed to YALSA’s strategic plan, participated in equity, diversity, and inclusion training and voted on issues that help advance our organization, support and benefit our YALSA members. As a board member, I also attend the monthly Board chats (usually one hour), if my schedule permits, and the required twice-a-year meetings of the Board. I’ve volunteered or was appointed to serve on committees. Depending on the committee responsibilities and timeline, the work is shared by other members.  And I respond to time-sensitive emails and chats via ALA Connect.
Above all, I have had the honor and privilege of working with an amazing group of people! These members are beautiful, loving, caring, respectful and professional.  They honor and respect your opinions and comments in the meetings, chats, and emails. They are sincere and dedicated to advancing the equity, diversity and inclusion initiative. Their collective wisdom and knowledge developed a strategic plan that benefits all YALSA members who serve our young adults and they are committed to implementing this strategic plan in everything they do.
Knowing what I know now about serving on the YALSA Board, if I was asked to serve again, I would. I thoroughly enjoyed working with YALSA.

Karen Lemmons, YALSA Board Director-at-Large

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