Meaghan is the Youth Services Librarian at the Sparta Public Library in Sparta, New Jersey.

2020 YALSA Election: An Interview with Board of Directors Candidate Joel Shoemaker

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2020 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 9 through April 1. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out a sample ballot!

Serving three-year terms, 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 member duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Joel Shoemaker, Director, Illinois Prairie District Public Library

What best qualifies you for being on the Board of Directors?
I suppose what best qualifies me is both my experience serving teens in rural communities as well as my administrative experience. I also have experience with governance which should support my role on the board of directors well. Finally, my enthusiasm for serving our teens and my desire to continue to best meet their needs in the library setting shouldn’t set me apart from other fine candidates, but absolutely can be considered a qualifying attribute for the position.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA if elected to this position?
In addition to the mission of YALSA being to support library staff, the mission extends to putting teens on a path to success. I love that. As a former school librarian, I find this mission very appropriate. I want to do what I can, given my experience in rural settings to ensure that those in smaller libraries do not feel left out of this crucial mission. YALSA should work to extend its reach and market better to those of us with small staff and multiple responsibilities, even down to the one-person operation. All of us are serving teens. None of us need to feel alone in this important work.

What would be the most exciting aspect of this position? The most challenging?
An exciting aspect of this position, for me, would be to further YALSA’s reach, as indicated above. This acts as a sort of dual answer because it would indeed be a challenge as well. I’m up for the challenge of figuring it out, however. I will work hard for all of our members, current, former and prospective, with a goal towards increasing membership.

Share a recent example(s) where you made a shift to better focus on the current needs of teens.
Recently, we noticed a desire for more teen gaming after school. Much of this gaming included working with peers and there began to be some patron complaints regarding noise. I informed staff that we wouldn’t want to punish teenagers for coming into the library. That said, we do not have teen rooms in any of our branches at this time. As a result, we were able to move some computers around to make them friendlier for gaming and encouraged teens to use computers that were closer together. It has helped and they seem to enjoy the small updates to our layout. We are continuing to look into how better serve them in our current facilities.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
I think one of the most pressing issues facing YALSA is similar to what is facing ALA in general. I believe the organizations are seeing less and less membership, and less involvement from members across the board. I would like to see YALSA market towards library workers in organizations with smaller budgets and find ways to make itself more attractive and relevant to the types of libraries indicated above.

2020 YASLA Election: An Interview with Board of Directors Candidate Dawn McMillan

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2020 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 9 through April 1. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out a sample ballot!

Serving three-year terms, 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 member duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Dawn McMillan, Teen Librarian, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Oakley Branch

What best qualifies you for being on the Board of Directors?
I believe that my experience working with YALSA for over ten years, working as a member of multiple task forces and committees will make me an asset to the YALSA Board.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA if elected to this position?
My priority in furthering the mission of YALSA if elected as a board member would be to make sure that library staff, both professional and paraprofessional, have the resources they need to offer practical, personalized services for the teens they serveTeens with the greatest needs are often overlooked and administrative staff can press Teen Librarians to focus on programming that is not suited to the needs of their teens. By prioritizing the most at risk, greatest need teens as an organization, we can help shift the attitudes of administration and begin to offer targeted services for teens that need them most. 

What would be the most exciting aspect of this position? The most challenging?    
I am most excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Librarians who serve teens and are passionate about creating the best resources for our YALSA community. I love collaborating and working together to find the absolute best service that we can provide.  

Share a recent example(s) where you made a shift to better focus on the current needs of teens.
The youth that I serve primarily come to my public library directly after their school day. After I observed that traditional programming like crafts, games and book clubs were not of interest to these kiddos I took a step back and asked them what they would like from the library. They overwhelmingly stated that they would like to have space where they could talk and hang out with feeling like they needed to be quiet. I adjusted my programming to allow the kids to have music and snacks and unstructured hang out time. I think it has made a real difference in their perception of what a library can be.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
In my opinion, one othe most pressing issues facing YALSA is member engagement. While I know that members take advantage of the webinars, I just feel like there has to be more that we can do to energize the members of our division and be more of an active presence for resources in their professional lives. 

What else would you like voters to know about you?
I’ve been working with teens in public libraries since 2005. My passion for making sure that teens are welcomed and supported within our institutions is at the center of every choice I make within my professional career. I strive to be abreast of new information in terms of adolescent brain development as well as mental health first aid for all youth. I love working in public libraries and am proud of the strides we make to always treat every person who walks through our doors with respect and dignity. 

2019 YALSA Election: An Interview with Board Member-at-Large Candidate Charli Osborne

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2019 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from Monday, March 11 through Wednesday, April 3. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out the YALSA Candidates’ Forum on March 7th!

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board Members-at-Large 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. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: My name is Charli Osborne and I’m the Youth Services Coordinator at Southfield Public Library, which is in an inner ring suburb of Detroit, Michigan.

What best qualifies you for being Board Member-at-Large?
As an inveterate volunteer, I’ve been an active member of YALSA for more than twenty years. In that time I have served on numerous process and award committees – everything from Organization and Bylaws to the Volunteer Award Jury to the Printz Award Committee, so I am familiar with the organization, its mission and its goals. This past year I was honored to serve as the chair of the Morris Award Committee. I temper my organizational experience with twenty-two years of public library service focused on youth and teens.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA as Board Member-at-Large?
Not every library is supportive of staff that work with teens and youth, or of teens in general. My real world experience working within my library, my library cooperative, my state library association and YALSA help me to be an effective advocate for teens and the library staff that serve, encourage and mentor them. I believe that experience is an asset to further the mission of YALSA.

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?
I want to help teens become the best they can be – the best students, the best members of their community, the best people. Part of that is allowing them the freedom to suggest and to fail, to dream and to attempt. Not everyone is going to win the first time, or every time, or even any time, but providing the space and opportunities for our teens to become the humans they are meant to be is one of the things that is most fulfilling to me, personally as well as professionally. Having the library be the space that helps those things happen? That is the heart of it all. Being a YALSA Board member would help me to serve teens in a larger than my own community way.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
I have a standard teens first concept, in both my library and my work with YALSA. At my library, we are constantly looking for ways to tie the library into the greater world at large, by working within our library community and by bringing our teens’ experiences and knowledge in to help expand library services. My advocacy for teens led me to gather statistics and lead focus groups to justify and create one of three fully staffed Teen Areas (at the time) in the state of Michigan. I helped create the strategic plan for my first library and made sure that teens’ voices were heard in that planning.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the board of directors?
I believe librarianship is a service profession. Those services don’t stop in that in-between age when children age out of youth programs before they become adults. I’ve always been an advocate for teens and their rights, including teen specific spaces and services in the library. Bottom line is that I want teens to succeed and become well-rounded individuals with a taste for reading and a love for the public library. That’s why I am a public librarian and belong to YALSA. Working on the Board would give me a first-hand chance to help further the goal of teen service by helping other librarians to also foster those values.

2019 YALSA Election: An Interview with Board Member-at-Large Candidate Karen Lemmons

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2019 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from Monday, March 11 through Wednesday, April 3. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out the YALSA Candidates’ Forum on March 7th!

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board Members-at-Large 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. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Karen Lemmons, Library Media Specialist, Detroit School of Arts

What best qualifies you for being Board Member-at-Large?
My relationship with teens that I teach and serve at my school; my committee work with the other youth divisions; previous offices I held in AASL, CSK Book Awards Committee and BCALA.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA as Board Member-at-Large?
I envision furthering the mission of YALSA by continuing to help teens with the resources they need to become productive and successful.

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?
Contribute to and implement  YALSA action plans; work with local community partners and organizations; advocate the need for libraries with supporting data and reports.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
I would embed the concept of “teens first’ in the work of the board by speaking for teens who are underrepresented and disenfranchised.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the board of directors?
YALSA members should choose me to be a member of the board of directors because I care about teens and their well-being.  i’m a hard worker, committed and dedicated to service.

2019 YALSA Election: An Interview with Board Member-at-Large Candidate Valerie Tagoe

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2019 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from Monday, March 11 through Wednesday, April 3. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out the YALSA Candidates’ Forum on March 7th!

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board Members-at-Large 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. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Valerie Tagoe, Media Specialist Wilmer-Hutchins High School

What best qualifies you for being Board Member-at-Large?
Experience. I am currently on the Board serving a one year term as Organization & Bylaws chair. Prior to my appointment as O & B Chair, I was a member of the YALSA Advancing Diversity Taskforce & the National Library Legislative Day Taskforce

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA as Board Member-at-Large?
As a Board Member-at-Large, I hope to lend my ideas and insight as a high school librarian to the work of the board so that we can continue to further the mission of YALSA in supporting library staff in serving teens. Our teens face a myriad of challenges and opportunities.  Libraries and librarians can play a vital part in their learning and equip them with the information needed to be successful in school and in life.

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?
I am the immediate past president of the Dallas Association of School librarians, and I am also active in the Texas Library Association-presenting at conferences and as a member of the legislative committee. As a YALSA Board Member, I will bring the an understanding of what is going on in libraries at the state, local, and national levels and share the information with librarians in various organizations.  This will help me to be a connector to help libraries become thriving learning environments.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
In my daily work in the library I seek the input of teens and their needs and interests and I believe the board can do the same take into account the needs and interests of teens in the work that we do.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the board of directors?
My experience and work at the state and local levels are reasons why YALSA members should choose me to be a member of the Board of Directors. I believe my perspective as a school librarian serving teens in a diverse urban school district will also be beneficial to the board as well.

2018 YALSA Election: An Interview with Board of Directors-at-Large Candidate Trixie Dantis

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.  Below you’ll find our interview with Board of Directors-at-Large candidate, Trixie Dantis.  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.

Serving three-year terms, 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. Continue reading

2018 YALSA Elections: An Interview with Board of Directors-at-Large Candidate Melissa McBride

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.

Serving three-year terms, 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.

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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.

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2018 YALSA Elections: An Interview with Board of Directors-at-Large Candidate Colleen Seisser

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.

Serving three-year terms, 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.

Continue reading

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. Continue reading