About Kate Mcnair

YALSA Board Member 2015-2018

Protecting Teen Privacy

privacyAt ALA Midwinter, the YALSA Board was pleased to adopt the position paper “The Library’s Role in protecting Teens’ Privacy” written by Mary K. Chelton.

Libraries play an integral role in protecting the intellectual freedom and privacy rights of our communities and users. In early 2016, the FBI published Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools, a proposed set of guidelines for surveying internet use of students seen to be at-risk of recruitment by terrorist organizations. These guidelines cast American high schools at hotbeds for terrorist action, and recommend identifying teens for surveillance and intervention on factors so broad that almost every teen fits the description.

It is documents like this that remind us of the important role that libraries play in protecting the privacy of teens (both in and out of school). This highly connected population, is already subjected to privacy threats every day, and policies like the one proposed by the FBI are in direct opposition of the library’s mission.

In the newly adopted position paper, Chelton suggests several actions we can take to protect the privacy rights of teens:

  • Refresh your knowledge of key documents, like ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Manual and AASL ‘s Standards for the 21st Century Learner
  • Report challenges or violations of teens’ privacy to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom
  • Embed educating teens and their parents and caregivers about their rights into library services and programming
  • Keep up to date on privacy and surveillance issues through resources such as ALA’s District Dispatch and the YALSAblog
  • Seek out training on topics including but not limited to: privacy, students’ rights, libraries’ role in intellectual freedom, and how to leverage technology tools that protect privacy
  • Participate in events such as the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s Choose Privacy Week
  • Take advantage of technology that protects library patrons’ privacy
  • Make a commitment to reach out to and serve at-risk youth in the community and address their needs, whatever they may be
  • Identify and work with community partners who are also committed to protecting teens’ rights

The YALSA Board adopted the position paper at ALA Midwinter and has committed to reviewing YALSA guidelines and policies to assure teen information seeking and privacy needs are addressed.

See the full board agenda and documents online to get the details of what the board talked about. We will also be posting meeting minutes there in the next week or so. You can also read the upcoming blog posts from board members about some of the actions taken at Midwinter.

Kate McNair

YALSA Board Member 2015-2018

Measuring Your Impact

In April the YALSA Board adopted a new and ambitious organizational plan with three goal areas:

Leading the transformation of teen library services
Advocacy to policy makers at all levels to increase support for teen library services
Funder and partner development

In the past, YALSA has relied on members volunteering to work on committees for one or two years to accomplish our goals. Every quarter, committee chairs are are required to submit a chair report to inform YALSA about the work they have accomplished and what they are working toward on the horizon. The Board is excited that as we have moved the new plan forward, we have started to change the way members can work with YALSA, developing new volunteering opportunities that include more short-term projects. With a new organizational plan, and a new way of working, it has become clear that we also need a new way to measure the impact of YALSA volunteers.

At Midwinter, the Board will explore what outcomes of volunteer work are the most important to measure, and what methods are needed to best measure our performance.

  • What are our biggest needs and priorities around outcomes measurement that should be tackled first?
  • What measurements would best help the Board monitor and assess our progress toward fulfilling the goals of the Organizational Plan?
  • How can we best monitor the progress of and measure the impact of different groups, including:
    • The Board
    • Appointed groups (committees, juries, advisory boards and taskforces)
    • How can the Quarterly Reporting Form be leveraged to monitor progress? Should there be an annual report from a chair at the end of the committee term to identify outcomes and accomplishments of the committee over the past year? (as suggested by committee chairs at the November Strategic Committee Chair Chat)
    • Bloggers and the content experts on the Hub
    • New volunteer activities, especially those that are short-term and opt-in
    • The members’ front line activities that directly support YALSA’s work, such as participation in District Days, National Library Legislative Day, Teen Tech Week, etc.?
  • What sort of trend analysis related to volunteer work and impact, if any, is needed? What pieces of data? And how often?

If you have any ideas or thoughts about the questions above, please leave them in the comments! Or send them directly to me.

If you are wondering what the board is up to at Midwinter,  you can see the schedule of board meetings and agenda. If you are attending ALA Midwinter and you see a board member (look for our YALSA Board Member ribbons) please come up and say hello! We would love to hear from you!

Kate McNair is a YALSA Board Member. Come see her at the YALSA booth #709 on Saturday, January 21 9-10:30am.

Three Modes of Board Work

The YALSA board is always looking to grow and improve. We use monthly board chats as a way to deepen our skills in governance and discuss trends and best practices impacting non-profit boards around the country and how we can bring those ideas to make YALSA the best association it can be.

In January, we met to discuss the article “Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of the Nonprofit Board” with past board member Maureen Hartman. Maureen is the Manager of Strategic Services for the Hennepin County Library. She and her team lead the library in strategic planning, learning and development, diversity and inclusion, and change management. I can think of no person more qualified to lead a discussion about the three modes of board work.

Governance boards spend most of their time in one of three modes:

  • Fiduciary: When the board is being a good steward of association resources. In this mode you might see or hear the board discussion financial reports or going through expected costs for an upcoming event. For YALSA, this role is carried by the whole board, but the Executive Committee takes on special responsibilities to care for our assets.
  • Strategic: My home library board is often in Strategic mode! Here the board is setting priorities, reviewing the strategic plan and monitoring progress. You have probably seen this mode from YALSA in the past, but recently we have been spending a lot of time in the third mode…
  • Generative: With the formation of the new organizational plan, the YALSA Board has spent a lot of time in this third mode. The Generative mode is when the board is deciding “what to pay attention to, what it means, and what to do about it.”

I don’t think these modes are exclusive to boards, I know I recognize these modes in conversations and meetings we have at my library. I bet you see them in your workplace too. As a board, we work to balance these three modes, which can be a challenges. Sometimes in the board cycle, like the recently organizational planning process we went through, will call for more time in the generative mode. Now the board, has to switch back to more time in the strategic and fiduciary modes as we work to operationalize the plan and move forward toward our goals.

To end the discussion, we all identified a goal or action item that we can work on at or leading up to the Midwinter meeting. Two goals clearly rose to the top as priorities for the board: communicating with members both in person, and virtually about the new organizational plan of YALSA and all the work we are doing, and helping the Executive Director and Staff balance their work to help achieve the goals of the new plan.

If you are wondering what the board is up to at Midwinter,  you can see the schedule of board meetings and agenda. If you are attending ALA Midwinter and you see a board member (look for our YALSA Board Member ribbons) please come up and say hello! We would love to hear from you!

Kate McNair is a YALSA Board Member. Come see her at the YALSA booth #709 on Saturday, January 21 9-10:30am.

Support YALSA Members This #GivingTuesday

foy-infographicEvery #GivingTuesday (this year it is Tuesday, November 29) I give to organizations and causes that have an impact on my community. This year I am giving to Friends of YALSA to support my colleagues serving teens in public and school libraries to recognize their hard work and give them the helping hand they need to become leaders in their community and in YALSA. Not a day goes by that I don’t see a story about a YALSA member doing something innovative, reaching a new audience, and putting teens first. I am grateful that I get to be part of an organization of passionate librarians, and I want to make sure that my colleagues in YALSA have the tools they need to keep moving forward into the future.

All Friends of YALSA donations go directly to members in the form of $14,095 worth of annual grants, scholarships and awards for members.  These honor the hard work and significant contributions members give to YALSA (Volunteer of the Year Award, and Writing Award), to support their advocacy for teens (National Library Legislative Day travel grants), and to build their leadership skills (Board Fellow, Spectrum Scholar and Emerging Leader). As we near Thanksgiving, and you consider what you are grateful for, remember the helping hands that got you to where you are today, and consider donating to Friends of YALSA to help share these wonderful opportunities with your fellow YALSA members.

Donate here. Click on Divisions and then YALSA.

Kate McNair is a YALSA Board Member and has been a Friend of YALSA since 2012.

P.S. Many of the member grants and awards supported by Friends of YALSA have an application deadline of Dec. 1st!

What is the Board up to?

Every month the Board meets for an informal chat to check in with on-going projects, get to know each other a little better, and get updates from the executive committee. At the Annual meeting in Orlando, the Board began the process toward aligning YALSA’s work with the new organizational plan, so there were a lot of updates to share from the three standing board committees: Leading the Transformation, Advocacy, and Funder and Partner Development.

The committee on Leading the Transformation is currently working on several board proposals to meet the needs of members by providing leadership development and cultural competency training. They are currently in the information gathering mode both from YALSA staff, members, committees and looking at national standards in these areas. They were also pleased to announce that YALSA has been represented at 13 regional or state conferences thus far in 2016  (with more to come!).

The Advocacy standing committee has been thinking about the best ways to accomplish the goals laid out in the organizational plan. They are looking closely at National Library Legislative Day and how YALSA can support that ALA effort. They also explored Governor’s Boards to see how YALSA members can influence state legislative action.

The Board members serving on the Funder and Partner Development committee have been working on a roadmap to increase planned giving, that was discussed at the annual meeting in Orlando. They have also begun prioritizing and building a strategy around YALSA’s needs and is looking for potential donors and partners who can fill those gaps.

President Sarah Hill updated the Board on the work of the Executive Committee which will meet at the YALSA Symposium in Pittsburgh. In Orlando, the Executive Committee was assigned new duties and roles within the board, and has been working to become deeply versed in YALSA’s financial matters. 

The Board has been working hard on projects that kicked off in Orlando to align the association’s work with the new Organizational Plan, so expect more updates from the Board as we move forward! We hope to see you in Pittsburgh and Atlanta!

YALSA Board @ Annual 2016: Communicating Change

Extra! Extra!You have been hearing about the new organizational plan for months and that is not by accident or happenstance. When the YALSA Board began working on the new organizational plan, we made a commitment to emphasize communicating that work out to YALSA members and stakeholders. In every step along the way, the Board has been carefully and intentionally planning the ways we can best reach members to ask, inform and engage them around the new plan.

As we reach the last step of the organizational planning process (not to be mistaken with the last step of the plan itself, we still have a long way to go!), we wanted to look back on the past few months and evaluate the ways we have reached out to members. Here are few highlights of what Board members and YALSA staff have done to spread the word about the new organizational plan.

  • 11 blog posts from Board members and YALSA Blog contributors with over 800 cumulative views
  • Over 1,000 unique page views on the organizational plan website
  • Mentions in YALS President’s Column, Editor’s Column and special highlights article from President-Elect, Sarah Hill, in the Spring issue
  • Engaging in conversations with stakeholders and committee chairs (95% of chairs surveyed were familiar with the plan by mid-May)
  • Too many social media posts to count!

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Interview with Eric Meade

Last month, YALSA announced a new three-year organizational plan building from the Futures report and looking forward to 2018.  The YALSA Board has been working on this for over eight months, and consultant Eric Meade from Whole Mind Strategy Group has been an integral part of the process. I interviewed Meade to hear about the process so far, what has been rewarding about the process, and where YALSA is headed next.

Eric Meade will answer questions at ALA Annual in Orlando at a session titled “What’s New in YALSA & How You Can be a Part of It” from 8:30 – 10am EST at the Rosen Centre Hotel, Salon 03/04. Please attend to hear more about the new organizational plan, where YALSA is going from here and explore ways you can be a part of it.

YALSA Board @ Midwinter 2016: Organizational Planning Communication Plan

The YALSA Board Midwinter Meeting Agenda and related documents are available and you probably noticed a lot of time devoted to  strategic planning. The work YALSA began with the association’s Futures Report, was also the start of  gathering information, feedback and opinions that ultimately is helping to  inform a new organizational plan. A majority of Board meeting time (which is open to the public) will be spent on organizational planning, but the work doesn’t stop at Midwinter. One of the proposals before the board outlines a plan to communicate the outcomes and next steps of the organizational plan to all YALSA members and stakeholders.

As the Board commits to a “Teens First” focus for the organizational plan and works to prepare the association of the future, this will mean changes to the work of the organization. The Board wants to make sure all members are informed about any major changes to the work of YALSA committees and staff and services to members. These are outlined as priorities in the suggested communication plan proposal.

Once the Board approves a communications plan, over the next six months it is likely you will see news and updates about the new organizational plan on the YALSA website, YALSAblog, e-news, on our list-servs, in personal messages from Board members, and on social media. We want to make sure all members and stakeholders have access to the plan and have chance to ask questions and gain a better understanding of how the new plan will shape the work of YALSA.

Do you have questions or ideas about YALSA’s organization planning process? Please take the time to share your thoughts via this short survey.

All YALSA Board meetings are open to Midwinter Meeting attendees. Feel free to drop by for a short or long period of time. The meetings are an excellent way to learn what YALSA is working on and get a sense of how the association’s governance works.  If you’re not in Boston, follow @yalsa for live Tweets from the meetings.

Engaging the Futures Report: discussions with library staff Part 1

The first time I read The Future of Library Services for and with Teens, I was inspired. The second time I read the report, I was overwhelmed. The third time I read the report, I was determined. As I looked at the findings in the report, and the steps YALSA calls out to ready our libraries to serve teens into the future, I felt like I was drowning. How could I implement all of these changes? And then I remembered that I was not alone, I was surrounded by amazing library staff who could, actually they should, come on this journey with me. So I started a discussion centered on the findings in the report and it has been one of the most professionally satisfying experiences of my career. If you feel a little overwhelmed, or want to build support for the actions outlined in the support with your colleagues, I highly suggest starting a discussion group.

First, the report looks deceptively long, don’t let that scare you or your colleagues from diving in. The real meat of the report, that provides the best fodder for discussion is only 33 pages long, that is achievably short, even for the time poor. We broke our discussion up, planning to cover the whole report in three discussions of 30 minutes each (about 10 pages per meeting).

We started small, with a look at the executive summary and the introduction to the report. This generated more discussion than we could cover in 30 minutes (I might recommend at least an hour) but I would rather get the conversation started and have it continue in the staff room, at the desk, and over coffee breaks. I knew we should allow for thoughts of dissent, one of the things I love about my colleagues is our ability to challenge assumptions. We want to really break things down so we can understand them better. You will notice a lot of questions that allow for the voice of dissent.

Introduction

  • How do recent cuts in school librarian jobs change our role as public librarians serving teens?
  • Does the Library play a role in closing the achievement gap? Are we succeeded at that? What could we be doing better? Is that what our community needs? Is our community defined merely by our serving district, or does it expand beyond city/county/state borders?
  • What are the negative influences on our teens that we can help alleviate or solve?
  • Do you feel prepared to deliver culturally competent library service?
  • What is our role in preparing teens for the workforce and making sure they have 21st century skills and technological literacy?

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YALSA Shark Bowl: Meet the Finalist Shanna Miles

Shanna Miles, Media Specialist at South Atlanta High School in Georgia, is preparing to pitch an ambitious idea at the YALSA President’s Program Monday, June 29 from 10:30 a.m. to Noon. She will advocate for “America’s Next Top Maker” in front of a panel of librarians and business leaders for the chance to win cash and technology prizes provided by YALSA, Tutor.com, Makey Makey, and 3D Systems.

We wanted to catch up with Shanna before she heads to San Francisco for ALA’s Annual Conference.

KM: Hi Shanna! Can you give our readers a short description about the project you submitted to the Shark Bowl?
SM: I submitted a project called “America’s Next Top Maker”. In a nutshell, it’s a maker competition with an American Idol component. Students are given a backpack with the tools they’ll need to make a project, whether that be a song, a short story, or an app. They present their creations to the student body (I work in a public high school) and the students vote. The winner gets to keep the backpack o’ tools and goes on to create forever.
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