Sarah is the Information Services Librarian at Lake Land College, a rural community college in Illinois. She is happily serving as YALSA Immediate Past President. You can follow her on Twitter at @glibrarian.

YALSA Board @ Midwinter 2017: Preview and Governance Update

A new year means a new conference is right around the corner!  ALA Midwinter is January 20-24, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia, and I’m hoping for balmy temperatures and sunshine! If you’re able to attend, check out the YALSA Wiki for dates and times of all YALSA events, as well as other important happenings like the Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women.

If you aren’t able to travel to Georgia, please follow Midwinter activities with the Midwinter hashtag #alamw17.

Throughout the conference, the YALSA Board will focus on continuing the reorganization and realignment of the organization after adopting the Organizational Plan in April 2016.  The Board will kick off Midwinter on Friday with a board member training session about cultural competency. On Saturday during Board I, many items will be approved in the consent agenda–these were items acted upon virtually by the board between Annual 2016 and Midwinter 2017.  Most of the agenda’s actionable items will be discussed during Board I also, including the creation of two interest groups (Teens are Not Alone and Picture Books for YAs), bylaws changes to awards committees, updating board assessments, changing the governance nominating committee into a board development committee, and the proposed plan of action for the Selected Lists Transition. Board II and III on Sunday and Monday will consist of many discussion items, like a leadership fundraising proposal, a proposal to extend Symposium events, and a proposal to create an ALA Liaison.

Please check the 2017 Midwinter Meeting Agenda and Documents page for updates with links to the board documents as they become available, and look for more blog posts coming soon from board members about agenda items.

If you have a comment, idea or question for the Board, the first 5 minutes of each of the board meetings is set aside for visitors to ask questions. Feel free to chat with me or any of the board members at YALSA events at ALA Midwinter, too! You can also email me with comments if you are not able to make it to a session to share your feedback.

On Twitter, please follow YALSA (@YALSA), Executive Director Beth Yoke (@yalsa_director), myself (@glibrarian), and/or other YALSA Board members for live tweets of adopted actions and discussion highlights.

We’ll also be sharing post-conference round-ups over the coming weeks so stay tuned!

Follow-up from the Nov. 16 Town Hall on Supporting Youth during Difficult Times

Yesterday over 40 YALSA members met online during the YALSA virtual town hall to discuss ways that we can support youth in our community during turbulent times.  The outcome of the recent election has caused many young people to feel anxious and uncertain about the future of their rights and of our country, and we know that many incidents of bullying, hazing, harassment, and hate crimes have been reported in the past week. Because of this, the focus of the town hall was changed to focus on what we can do create safe spaces for our youth, how to create empathy, and how to empower teens to promote positive change in our community.

Why do need to offer these types of services to our youth? Because it’s our job.  Last year, the YALSA Board approved a document called Core Professional Values for the Teen Services Profession that focuses on nine core values that define professionalism for those who work for and with teens through libraries. Three of those nine are compassion, inclusion, and social responsibility–values that have been extremely important in the past few weeks.

YALSA has created a list of resources on this topic–Supporting Youth in the Post-2016 Election Climate.  We hope that you will find the information useful and share it widely with colleagues and co-workers.  In addition, ALA has created a Libraries Respond web page with further resources.  If you weren’t able to participate in the town hall, you can listen to the audio recordingread through the comments that were posted in the chat, and check out the tweets with the hashtag #yalsachat.  Many members shared what they are doing inside and outside of their libraries, and it was also great to hear what people were thinking about doing in the future.  As a result of the town hall, a YALSA Interest Group hopefully will soon be forming around ideas to help teens understand and empathize with our changing world, as well as to empower them to advocate for change in a positive manner.  Look for more information on that coming soon.  Also, if you’re interested in this topic, watch your YALSA eNews for information about the January YALSA webinar led by Renee Hill on the topic of helping youth recognize their ability to engage in social justice and equity activities.

Yesterday’s conversation was energizing and hopeful–thank you all for caring for the teens in your community!

YALSA Town Hall Nov. 16: Supporting Youth during Challenging Times

Due to the outcome of the recent election, many young people are feeling anxiety and uncertainty, as described in this recent Chicago Tribune article, Soothing Kids Fears about a Donald Trump Presidency. Unfortunately, the fears of these young people are very real, as shown by recent threats and assaults that some young people have experienced, as reported in this other Tribune article Muslim and Latino Youth in California are Targeted following Trump’s Election.

Libraries can play a role in helping youth cope with the challenges, stress and even threats that have arisen for many of them recently. Therefore, I would like to change the topic of the Town Hall I had planned for November 16. Instead of exploring ideas about how YALSA can increase its presence at the state and local level to support members, I would like to explore the ways that libraries can step up right now during this challenging time to support youth.  So far we’ve compiled some resources on the wiki that we hope will be of help to libraries right now, and we expect this list to expand and evolve.

Please join me by phone or by video over the web any time from 5:00 – 6:00 pm Eastern on Wed. Nov. 16th to be a part of this discussion, so as a group we can come together and identify strategies and solutions. While space in the town hall is limited to 100, we will be recording the session and sharing that out. You can also follow along via Twitter with #yalsachat. Members will find the web link and phone number for joining the Town Hall in their Nov. 2, 9 & 16th YALSA eNews.

Also, please don’t forget about the resources we have on the wiki to help you better serve diverse youth, as well as to help you build empathy and understanding among youth. Thanks for all that you do to help the nation’s youth, especially those who are the most vulnerable, and I look forward to a fruitful discussion on Nov. 16th.

President’s Report – October 2016

Hopefully you were able to attend the recent YALSA Youth Services Symposium! If you weren’t, please check out the #yalsa16 twitter hashtag and this blog for posts about the symposium–it was inspiring! Please see below for my October President’s Report.

Accomplishments

  • Wrote a blog post about the current reorganization process of YALSA committees
  • Wrote the YALS President’s Column for the Winter issue
  • Completed documents for the YALSA Executive Committee meeting on Nov. 5 and prepared to lead the meeting
  • Co-led the October monthly chat with the YALSA Board about standing board committee work and prepping for the symposium
  • Completed my registration for ALA Midwinter in Atlanta–have you?
  • Participated in calls with the chair of the Selection List Transition Task Force
  • Filled vacancies on various strategic committees
  • Reminded the YALSA Board of a need to communicate with members–look for YALSA blog posts coming soon from each board member
  • Provided quotes for multiple YALSA press releases, including Teen Read Week
  • Sent the ALA Awards Chair a list of YALSA members to possibly be appointed to ALA juries
  • Reminded jury chairs and board members about the new process for filling juries this year
  • Participated in many phone calls and email conversations with YALSA staff, board members, and committee members

Works in Progress

  • Started discussion with the Board about a new YALSA logo
  • Preparing for ALA Midwinter in Atlanta
  • Preparing to review YALSA committee and task force quarterly reports that are due Nov. 15.
  • Answering questions and working with YALSA board members as they prepare board documents in the standing board committees

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Rethinking YALSA: Reorganization for the Future!

This year is a time of transition and YALSA staff and the YALSA board have been busy since Annual revamping the organizational structure. We’ve written about what’s going on before, but I wanted to post another update. Check out this PowerPoint slideshow to see how the Board is re-envisioning YALSA to support our new mission. The difference between the current organizational structure on Slide 2 and the future organizational structure on Slide 3 is big!   Would you like to be a part of it? Are you interested in advocacy, cultural competence, diversifying & expanding the membership, fund and partner development, leadership development, leading the transformation of teen services or state level outreach and engagement? If so, complete this short form. After the organizational realignment is complete next year, we’ll be looking for members to participate in short-term opportunities in those categories–if you have an idea, be sure to share it on the form. Look for more information coming soon on this blog!  While the reorganization involves more than just committees, most of the questions I’ve received are about those, so here is some information that may be helpful:

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YALSA Executive Committee Update

This weekend is the exciting YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium in Pittsburgh and I can’t wait to see 500+ library staff, teen advocates and authors!  Follow the action on Twitter via #yalsa16.

But the YALSA Executive Committee is also preparing for our Fall Meeting that will be held Saturday, Nov. 5, from 9 am – 4 pm in conjunction with the Symposium.  The meeting is held in the Cambria Room on the second floor of the Westin Hotel and is open to symposium attendees.  Executive committee meetings focus on discussions, not decision making (that is the Board’s role)–you can see that by reading the 2016 Fall Executive Committee Meeting Agenda & Documents. We’ll be discussing how the Executive Committee will be taking a larger role in developing a closer relationship between YALSA and ALA, as well as delving into ALA and YALSA finances.  Look for another blog post after the meeting with more information about what was discussed.  Do you have any questions about any of the documents? Feel free to contact me at gsarahthelibrarian@gmail.com or reach out if you happen to be at the Symposium.

Who is your YALSA Executive Committee? It changes every year, and this year I’m joined by these fabulous people: President-Elect Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Immediate Past President Candice Mack, YALSA Division Councilor Todd Krueger, Fiscal Officer Nick Buron, Secretary Crystle Martin, and Executive Director Beth Yoke.

Next YALSA Town Hall: Help YALSA Get Local!

Join me for the next Member Town Hall discussion on Wednesday, November 16, from  5 pm to 6 pm Eastern Time via the online Zoom platform.  We’ll discuss how YALSA can be more active in your state and build stronger ties with regional and state organizations.  One of YALSA’s strategies in the new organizational plan is to “leverage relationships with state and regional associations to promote the transformation of teen library services.” How can we help you within other organizations? What role should we take at your local conference? Are YALSA interest groups and meet-ups at local conferences meeting your needs? How else can YALSA help you in your location?

Look for Zoom access information coming soon in the November enews or email yalsa@ala.org for login information. Hope to “see” you on Nov. 16!

 

President’s Report – September 2016

Fall Greetings! The YALSA board is busy preparing for the Symposium and the Executive Committee meeting. Please see the report below about my activities over the past month.

Accomplishments

  • Advocated for libraries at an ESSA listening session for the Illinois State Board of Education
  • Lead the September monthly chat with the YALSA Board about membership survey results, strategic committee task lists, and quarterly reports
  • Completed my registration for ALA Midwinter in Atlanta–have you?
  • Filled the Selection List Transition Task Force and participated in calls with the chair
  • Followed up with the YALSA representative to the annual IFLA conference–look for a blog post coming soon!
  • Wrote welcome for printed symposium booklet
  • Interviewed by a student for the Columbia Chronicle for article about the stigma of young adult literature
  • Filled vacancies on various strategic committees
  • Reminded the YALSA Board of a need to communicate with members–look for YALSA blog posts coming soon from each board member
  • Led a YALSA board vote about recommending but not requiring a MLIS degree for the next ALA Executive Director

Works in Progress

  • Developing the transition plan for the new way juries will work. Are you a YALSA member with time to serve on a virtual jury over the next few months? Volunteer here!
  • Preparing for YALSA’s YA Services Symposium & Fall Executive Committee meeting
  • Preparing for ALA Midwinter in Atlanta
  • Answering questions and working with YALSA board members as they prepare board documents in the standing board committees

Stats and Data

  • August Membership: 4973, down 2.2% from last year at this time
  • August Donations: Raised $480 for Emerging Leader program

Join me for the next YALSA Town Hall meeting!  It will be on Weds., November 16, from 5-6 ET via the online Zoom platform.  Look for access information coming soon in the November weekly enews or email yalsa@ala.org for login information.

THANK YOU to the awesome YALSA Board members who have been hard at work in their standing board committees to make positive changes that will result in improved library services to teens!

THANK YOU to all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities!

Respectfully submitted,

Sarah Hill, YALSA President 2016-2017