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.

Rethinking YALSA–Juries

During the organizational planning session at the 2016 Midwinter Meeting, the consultants encouraged the Board to embrace newer member engagement models that would allow YALSA to be faster and more flexible, while at the same time better meet member needs.

The YALSA Volunteer Form for strategic committees, juries, and task forces closed on March 1, and so I’ve been busy appointing chairs and members to fill the empty spots. The most important thing I’ve learned? We have awesomely qualified volunteers and too many committees! And so I was more than willing to bring a proposal to the board last week to improve the volunteer process for YALSA juries.

YALSA has 7 juries:

  • Collection Development Grant Jury
  • Conference Travel Scholarships Jury
  • Frances Henne Research Grant Jury
  • Great Books Giveaway Jury
  • MAE Award for Best YA Literature Program for Teens Jury
  • Volunteer of the Year Award Jury
  • Writing Award Jury

The Board approved the proposal as stated: “For 2016, the Board will experiment for one year with a new model for juries wherein they are only assembled for 3 months (Nov. – Jan.) and that jury members opt-in to participating instead of being appointed. Chairs will be the only appointed members, and will continue to be appointed by the President-Elect. This proposal is specifically for those juries that vet the member grant and award applications that have a Dec. 1 due date.”

Look for a call for jury volunteers in the YALSA eNews in September! If you already volunteered for a jury through the volunteer form, you’ll be given the first opportunity to opt-in to serve. Jury members will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis and begin work on Nov. 1. Volunteers will still need to comply with existing eligibility requirements, such as current personal membership in YALSA and concurrent service on three or fewer appointed groups.

The Membership Engagement standing board committee will review the process in early 2017 and submit a recommendation to the Board for moving forward with juries. Of course, we anticipate that the process will go smoothly and that YALSA members will appreciate the short three-month term!

Over the next year, we’re hoping to find more ways to streamline YALSA procedures, while improving member experiences with the organization. Please let me know if you have any ideas! If you have any concerns or questions, feel free to comment below or email me at gsarahthelibrarian at gmail.com.

Volunteer Now for Virtual Committees, Juries & Task Forces!

March 1st is almost here! That’s when the Volunteer Form will close for YALSA strategic committees and task forces. During the Spring, we’ll be appointing YALSA members to serve on virtual strategic committees.  We are currently looking for members to serve on the following:

  • Legislative Committee
  • The HUB Advisory Board

To find out more about the committees, juries, and advisory task forces, explore their charge.  To learn more about the responsibilities of committee members, check out the Committee FAQ,  and don’t forget to visit my earlier blogpost about how to complete your volunteer form. If you decide that you have the necessary time to devote to an appointed group and want to use your skills to give back to the organization, please complete a volunteer form. You can volunteer for up to three committees–choose wisely! Or just choose one committee, if it’s what you’re really interested in.

If you have any questions, please contact me at gsarahthelibrarian at gmail.com.

YALSA Board @ Midwinter: Nominating Committees

Have you considered running for YALSA governance? Do you know someone who would be great on the board? or would you like to nominate someone to be on the Printz, Nonfiction, or Edwards committee?

If so, take a look at the names listed below.  They are on the 2017 Nominating Committees for Governance or Awards. Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 1 2016, the Governance & Award Nominating Committees will be seeking and vetting candidates for the following positions: President-Elect, Fiscal Officer, Board Member-at-large, Edwards Award Committee member, Nonfiction Award Committee member, and Printz Award committee member.  It is their responsibility to recruit, vet, and select candidates for the slate. When building the slate, they seek out the most qualified individuals as well as provide for broad representation, including but not limited to representation of the membership by diverse background, type of library, special interest, and geographic location.

Please contact the chairs of the committees if you have any questions about serving or would like to nominate someone.

Governance Nominating: Chair Paula Brehm-Heeger (paula.brehm-heeger @ cincinnatilibrary.org), Abigail Phillips, Shannon Peterson, Christopher Shoemaker, Sarah Sogigian

Awards Nominating: Chair Franklin Escobedo (adrithian @ yahoo.com), Amber Creger, Valerie Davis, Barbara Moon, Elizabeth Schneider

It’s Time to Tweak your YALSA Volunteer Form!

It’s time to volunteer for YALSA committees again! During the Spring, we’ll be appointing YALSA members to serve on virtual strategic committees.  To find out more about the committees, juries, and advisory task forces, click on this link. To learn more about the responsibilities of committee members, check out the Committee FAQ  and visit YALSA’s Handbook. If you decide that you have the necessary time to devote to an appointed group and want to use your skills to give back to the organization, consider filling out a Volunteer Form.

The volunteer form consists of the following parts:

  1. Number of Years You Have Been a YALSA Member
  2. Professional Experience (List previous positions and locations, most recent first)
  3. Special Skills (e.g. accounting, PR/marketing, fiscal planning, research, refereeing, editing, etc.)
  4. Selection Committee Qualifications (e.g., relevant coursework, materials evaluation experience, book reviews, articles and research published, previous selection committee experience, etc.)
  5. Current Professional Commitments in ALA/YALSA (please indicate volunteer activities, elected positions, committee work, etc.)
  6. Current Professional Commitments at State/Regional Level or Other Associations (please indicate volunteer activities, elected positions, committee work, etc.)
  7. Have you communicated with the current committee chair or committee members of the group you are interested in joining to find out what their responsibilities are? Yes or No?
  8. Have you ever attended a YALSA selection committee meeting? Yes or no?
  9. If appointed, can you attend each Midwinter and Annual Conference held during your 18-month-appointment, as is required of all selection committee members? Yes or no?
  10. At this time, do you have your supervisor’s support to serve on a YALSA selection committee? Yes or No or Not Applicable?

Notice that 4 bold questions on the volunteer form are for selection and award committees only, so no need to complete those right now!

In Fall 2015, I read hundreds of volunteer forms (you should see my spreadsheets!), and I felt like I should share some advice. Here’s how to make your volunteer form stand out and get noticed!

  • Spell out abbreviations.  I don’t know what all those initials mean for your state and regional library groups.
  • No need to explain why you weren’t a member in 2003–just give us your best guess for how many years you’ve been in YALSA or contact Letitia to find the exact number.
  • Be concise.  Adjectives aren’t important. Lists are awesome!
  • List everything you’ve done for YALSA, ALA, and other ALA division groups–that information isn’t automatically uploaded into the forms.
  • Be specific and only volunteer for what you really want to be on. It shows that you’ve thought about it.  If you apply for everything, it makes me think you’re not sure where your strengths lie.
  • Take a look at your volunteer form. There are character limits to the boxes–if you have words cut off, shorten it.
  • Be active in other organizations and tell us about it.
  • Let us know if you have experience working with younger or older teens, if applicable.
  • Make sure it’s clear that we can tell if you work in an academic, school, public, or some other type of institution.
  • We want diverse members on all committees–age, gender, ethnicity, urban/rural, library type, etc.
  • Let us know that you’re familiar with online tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, conference calls, etc.

You can also look over the Committee FAQ to get more advice.

You can gain valuable YALSA and professional development experience by volunteering to be on a YALSA strategic committee, task force, or jury. The online volunteer form opened Dec. 7, 2015. The work of most of these strategic groups is done virtually–no conference attendance required! The deadline for strategic committee applications is March 1, 2016, and I will be making those appointments in the spring.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact me at gsarahthelibrarian @ gmail.com.

YALSA Board @ Midwinter: PPYA Update

Often, the YALSA board meeting agenda needs weaning because there isn’t enough time to cover all agenda topics or there are certain actions that need to taken before Midwinter or Annual.  Last week was one of those times. The YALSA Board voted to update some of the policies and procedures for the Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults committee to make the book lists more helpful for librarians serving today’s teens. See the board document in the Midwinter consent agenda.

In some ways selection and award committees operate independently of YALSA’s overall strategic direction. With the creation of the Selection and Award Committees Oversight Committee (chaired by Angela Carstensen), YALSA has the opportunity to ensure that committees like PPYA develop resources that support a teens first approach and that further YALSA’s strategic directions. Building the PPYA list around the needs of teens and YALSA strategic priorities will ultimately better serve library staff who work for and with teens.

The new Selection and Award Oversight Committee begins its work Feb. 1, 2016, and one of the first items on the agenda will be to approve the book lists topics that the PPYA committee will work on during the year.  Previously, this was a task that the outgoing PPYA committee worked on, but now it will be accomplished after Feb. 1 by the new committee. Every year, some PPYA committee members carryover, so there will be discussions about what topics were considered the previous year.  The new policy states that “another focus for themes that each committee should explore are titles aimed at a particular underserved or emerging teen audiences. Each committee should also seek out opportunities to tie their committee’s work to relevant YALSA initiatives, especially ones with annual themes that could be supported by PPYA, such as the YA Services Symposium and Teen Read Week™.”

The board is excited to see what lists the PPYA committee creates! Look for the list titles this Spring and don’t forget that you can help to create the lists by nominating titles via the webform that will be located on this page of the previous PPYA lists.   You can check out the updated policy on the PPYA webpage. As always, please contact me if you have questions–hope to see you in Boston!

Strategic Planning Update: Wicked Exciting Happenings in Boston!

Last Thursday, the YALSA Board held its monthly informal call, and we were joined by Eric Meade from the Whole Mind Strategy Group. Whole Mind is helping us create a three-year organizational plan that includes intended impact statements, theories of change, outcomes, and an implementation strategy.  YALSA’s Board of Directors, staff, and some YALSA members worked with Eric in Portland on Nov. 8-9, after the YA Services Symposium.  This month’s discussion was the first time that the entire YALSA board talked to Eric and it was an exciting experience!  The goal of our call was to set the organizational planning agenda for our meeting next month.  We are all looking forward to engaging and thought-provoking conversations in Boston.

The new organizational plan will be future-focused, and one that the Board hopes will bring about a paradigm shift initially described in the call to action in The Future of Library Services for and with Teens Report that was published in early 2014.  You can read the report online and you can even request free copies to be shared at professional development in your library or region.

In Boston, the Board will participate in discussions and activities that will lead to the development of draft documents, and ultimately an finalized organizational plan.  Board members will dive into a draft planning matrix (tentatively divided into the following areas: membership development, member engagement, organizational strengthening, advocacy, and transforming teen library services) and discuss tactics, intermediate impacts, and intended impacts.    Board meetings are always open to observers–please join us in BCEC 158 on Saturday (9 am to 5 pm), Sunday (4:30 pm – 5:30 pm), or Monday (1 pm – 2:30 pm). The Board meeting documents will be posted Dec. 23.  The Saturday meeting will focus on strategic planning.  The Sun. and Mon. meetings will be the Board’s regular business meeting.  If you’re not in Boston, follow @yalsa for live-Tweets from the Board meetings.

We would love to hear your thoughts! Please use this feedback form or contact Candice Mack or me to discuss the future of the organization. Also, look for regular strategic planning updates on the YALSAblog!

Volunteer Now for Strategic Committees, Taskforces and Juries!

It’s time to volunteer for YALSA committees again! During the Spring, we’ll be appointing YALSA members to serve on virtual strategic committees.  We are currently looking for members to serve on the following:

To find out more about the committees, juries, and advisory task forces, click on this link. To learn more about the responsibilities of committee members, check out the Committee FAQ  and visit YALSA’s Handbook. If you decide that you have the necessary time to devote to an appointed group and want to use your skills to give back to the organization, consider filling out a volunteer form.

The online volunteer form opens today! The work of most of these strategic groups is done virtually–no conference attendance required! The deadline for strategic committee applications is March 1, 2016, and I will be making those appointments in the spring.

If you have any questions, please contact me at gsarahthelibrarian @ gmail.com.

Selection and Award Committee Update

I am pleased to announce that all appointments have been made for the 2016-2017 award and selection committee cycle.

Many, many thanks to the hundreds of talented and dedicated YALSA members who submitted volunteer applications!  We received 529 volunteer forms for just 50 open positions.

If you were selected to serve on a committee or task force, you received an invitation email from me. Emails are going out this week to those who weren’t selected to serve.  Please don’t be discouraged! There were just not enough slots for the number of applications we received.

There is another chance to volunteer! You can gain valuable YALSA and professional development experience by volunteering to be on a YALSA strategic committee, task force, or jury.  These groups are 100% virtual and will work from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2018.  The online volunteer form will open Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. The work of all of these strategic groups is done virtually–no conference attendance required! The deadline for strategic committee applications is March 1, 2016, and I will be making those appointments in March and April.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact me at gsarahthelibrarian @ gmail.com.

YALSA Executive Committee Update – Worker Bee to YALSA Board Member?

The YALSA Executive Committee met in Portland, Oregon, on Nov. 8 and 9, and one of the items on the agenda was to discuss Board Member Exit Interviews. As a result of the discussion, some changes are going to made in the Board Leadership Training. Evaluation of the training is nothing new–changes are usually made fairly regularly in order to continue to improve and fine-tune this effort.

During the Board Leadership Training that will be held at 2016 Annual in Orlando, we will make more of an effort to discuss board member expectations and procedures.  Often, board members have varying degrees of board procedure knowledge in their background, so we’ll need to get all members on the same page.  If you’re new to board process, it might be a shock when process takes a bit longer than it does at your library. The word “quickly” for a national organization and “quickly” for a library can be two different things! Things can move a bit slower at the national organizational level, but being deliberate means that multiple people are fact-checking, complying with policies, and thinking things through in order to ensure the board is making informed decisions.  My experience on my state school library organization introduced me to working with boards, and the various task forces and committees that go with it. Committee chairpersons are vital because they drive the group to get things done. In YALSA, board members serve as liaisons to task forces and committees and help move things along, too. Then the board members serve on standing board committees that meet on a regular basis to ensure that the smaller groups are effective.

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YALSA Members on ALA and Council Committees? Yes!

A huge thank you to everyone who volunteered by the Oct. 1 deadline to serve on YALSA selection, award, and strategic committees and task forces! I’m still busy reading through hundreds of committee volunteer forms and hope to have the process finalized by the end of the month.

In the meantime, don’t forget that as YALSA members, you’re also a member of ALA! And that means that you can apply to be on an ALA or Council committee. Serving on an ALA or Council committee provides members with leadership training, networking opportunities and experience in working on specific association topics.  Additionally, your service on ALA committees strengthens YALSA by ensuring that the Division is well-represented throughout the organization.

Express your interest in​ ALA ​committee service by filling out a volunteer form. When you click “submit” at the end, your completed form will be sent to ALA President-Elect Julie Todaro for consideration by either the Committee on Appointments (for ALA and Joint Committees) or the Committee on Committees (for Council Committees). The committees will carefully review your completed form and consider your requests and preferences. This form closes on Friday, November 6, 2015, and appointments are made throughout the spring of 2016, with terms starting July 1, 2016. To volunteer, please complete and submit the form electronically (be sure to select ALA in the drop-down menu on the main form to volunteer for both ALA and Council committees). Continue reading