Do you have a passion for the future of teens services in libraries? Are you looking for ways to give back to the profession and to YALSA? Do you want to effect change, build new skills, and develop a killer resume in the process? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to seriously consider running for an elected position!
Over the course of the next seven months, the 2016 Governance Nominating Committee and I will be working towards developing a diverse slate of members to run for several Board positions including Director at-large, Secretary, and President. Successful candidates will run for election in the Spring of 2016 and begin their terms during YALSA’s Board III meeting at the Annual 2016 conference in Orlando.
For more information on the role of responsibilities of YALSA’s Board, please visit the Governance page which includes some handy FAQs to help get you started. There’s also a series of interviews and podcasts from past Board members in a series on this blog called “Life on the YALSA Board.”

As you ponder and check out these resources, please feel free to also connect with me anytime at shannon.peterson@gmail.com. I’ll also be at the Midwinter and Annual ALA Meetings if you’d like to schedule time for an in-person chat.

During the Annual 2014 Conference, the YALSA Board approved an agenda item that proposed a new framework to formally include the voices of professionals in related fields with similar goals and objectives. The Advocates Advisory Panel will be charged with tackling a specific area of focus related to the Strategic Plan, the Future of Library Services for and with Teens report, or other topics as identified by the Board each year. The hope is that through this process, YALSA will gain valuable outside perspective on topics that are important for teens, expand its reach through new and/or strengthened relationships, and model the kind of collaborative, collective work that is called out in the Future report.

Because the Board approved the proposal in concept, as the author, I’ve been tasked with working with the Board Standing Committee on Capacity Building to create an inaugural focus and to hammer out some of the logistics. Although there’s obviously any number of topics that might be interesting to pursue with this, we decided that one viable option would be for the panel to consider strategies that YALSA might pursue in order to connect key principles and guidelines (such as the those presented in the Future report) to LIS education. We determined that this might be a sensible place to start because:

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YOUNG ADULT LIBRARY SERVICES ASSOCIATION (YALSA)

In my career as a Youth Services Librarian and Manager, I've never worked in a branch with a staff of more than twenty people. Moving from a staff of four in Savannah to eighteen in the semi-rural beauty of Kitsap County in Washington, was a huge transition. To stay abreast of youth trends, find best practices, and well, just talk to someone who cared about the kinds of topics that I was interested in, YALSA was and is my lifeline.

It hasn't always felt like it, but it turns out that there's probably a lot of members out there just like me. According to an issue brief by the Institute of Museum and Library Services on Small and Rural Libraries, 77% of all public libraries are small, with a median staff of 2.5 FTE. 45% of all public libraries are rural, with a median staff of 1.5 FTE.

At the upcoming Annual meeting, the Board will be talking about strategies to support staff who work in these environments. The topic is made additionally complex in that many of these libraries probably don't have a dedicated Teen Services Librarian (remember that 2012 PLDS study?). There are a lot of ideas on the table, but honestly, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around which ones might be best. I know you're out there so take a look at the board document “Supporting Teens Services in Small and Rural Libraries” and share your thoughts in the comments field below or to me directly at shannon.peterson@gmail.com. Better, yet, if you'll be attending ALA Annual in Vegas, find me at the YALSA Happy Hour on Saturday night which will take place from 5-7 p.m. at the Peppermill (2985 Las Vegas Blvd) and we'll connect on this important issue.

According to YALSA's The Future of Libraries for and with Teens report, libraries “must look to other organizations and individuals who share similar values about empowering and supporting teens in gaining the skills they need to be engaged citizens.” The library board will be considering how they may be able to accept that challenge at the Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

Up for discussion is the creation of an Advocates' Advisory Panel. The Panel, made up of non-members in related fields (afterschool agencies, research, youth development, education), would serve as an ad-hoc group to advise the YALSA Board on various topics related the Future of Library Services for and with Teens Report, the 2015 strategic plan, and other topics as identified by the Board. They would also act as informed advocates in sharing news and updates related to YALSA and the teen library services community with their respective networks.

I look forward to further exploring how this might work in just a few weeks. Check out this and other Board docs to learn more. Questions? Ideas? Feel free to contact me: @shantasmagoria, shannon.peterson@gmail.com

At the Annual meeting, I'll be presenting a discussion item to the Board regarding the possibility of expanding the focus of the Young Adult Literature Symposium to include increased content on teen services and programming. Part a follow-up to a conversation from a Midwinter 2013 discussion regarding member feedback on the Symposium and part a response to an organizational desire to support members with the professional shifts called for in the Future of Library Services for and with Teens report, there are a number of potential benefits to such an expansion including a broader range of member engagement and professional development opportunities.

What do you think, should the YA Lit Symposium expand to become a Teen Library Services Symposium? This full proposal will be posted with other Annual agenda items on Friday June 13th.

Feel free to contact me at @shantasmagoria or shannon.peterson@gmail.com with your thoughts!

May 2014 President's Report

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is a national organization of librarians, library workers, and advocates whose mission is to expand and strengthen library services for teens, aged 12-18. Through its member-driven advocacy, research, and professional development initiatives YALSA builds the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve, and empower teens.

Activities

  • Attended National Library Legislative Day in Washington D.C. with Executive Director Beth Yoke. We met with staff members representing Senators from the HELP and Commerce Committees, as well as the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Alliance for Excellence in Education, Pew Research Center's Internet Project, and the Afterschool Alliance.
  • Worked with various individuals and YALSA member groups to provide feedback'  to Barb Stripling, ALSC and AASL leaders for a ALA Council resolution on Eliza Dresang, a well-loved library leader and GSLIS Instructor who passed on April 21st.
  • Wrote a “From the President” column for YALS.
  • Facilitated a town hall with the Board and members on organizational experiences.
  • Worked with Executive Director Beth Yoke on a draft agenda for YALSA Board meetings a the ALA Annual conference and solicited Board feedback.
  • Solicited feedback from ALSC and AASL executive committee members for our joint executive meeting at ALA Annual.
  • Provided feedback to ALA leaders and representatives on ALA/Division meetings at ALA Annual.
  • Held virtual discussion with the Board and voted on a policy aimed at Broadening Participation in YALSA's award and selection committees.
  • Provided feedback to various Chairs and Taskforces.
  • Provided feedback to board members on draft proposals for YALSA meetings at ALA Annual.
  • Spoke with a reporter from MTV on Young Adult Literature.
  • Wrote a report for the ALA Executive Board and Council on 2013-2014 activities.

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As you might expect, YALSA's Board is busily preparing for our many meetings at the Annual Conference which is of course, right around the corner! What you might not know however, is that the Board also holds quarterly meetings via conference call in addition to monthly chats and ongoing discussions via our electronic forums.

Over the coming weeks, we'll be talking about topics that have since been refined from last month's Spring Executive Committee meeting. This week's conversation is about a proposal which calls for a slight member eligibility change in the policies of all of YALSA's award and selection lists. The rationale for the change cites a desire to open the relatively few number of selection and award committee volunteer positions (in relation to the large number of applicants) to a broader spectrum of the membership, to ensure fairness and consistency across committees, and to preserve the integrity of the lists and awards (because a wider representation of experts provides the opportunity for more diverse perspectives, which improves the quality of the work).

The proposed changes are as follows:

Suggested Wording for Selection Committees
Add the following to the Policies and Procedures of all selection committees. “Members who have served two consecutive years as a member and/or administrative assistant may not be appointed to the same committee for three years from the conclusion of their last term. This guideline will not apply to the Chair. In extreme circumstances, and at the President's discretion, an exception may be made if a committee member resigns suddenly. The President, after discussion with the Committee Chair, may determine that the best course of action is to fill the vacancy with an experienced committee member, and appoint a member in good standing who successfully served on the committee in question during the previous three years.”

Suggested Wording for Award Committees
Members who have completed one term on an award committee may not be appointed to the same committee for three years from the conclusion of their last term. This guideline will not apply to the Chair. In extreme circumstances, and at the President's discretion, an exception may be made if a committee member resigns suddenly. The President, after discussion with the Award Committee Chair, may determine that the best course of action is to fill the vacancy with an experienced committee members, and appoints a member in good standing who successfully served on the committee in question during the previous three years.

What do you think about these changes? Feel free to share your thoughts with me at shannon.peterson@gmail.com and/or any current Board member.

Thanks for reading.

April 2014 President's Report
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is a national organization of librarians, library workers, and advocates whose mission is to expand and strengthen library services for teens, aged 12-18. Through its member-driven advocacy, research, and professional development initiatives YALSA builds the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve, and empower teens.

Activities

  • Helped to plan a monthly chat with the Board of Directors on YALSA's fiscal status and FY15 priorities. Thank you to Fiscal Officer Pam Spencer Holly and Beth Yoke for helpful overviews and updates.
  • Facilitated the bi-annual conference call with the YALSA Executive Committee. Agenda and minutes can be accessed here.
  • Led planning calls with the Past and President-Elect, as well as the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee.
  • Worked with the Executive Committee, the Executive Director, and the Communications Managers to select an incoming YALSA Blog Manager. Congratulations to Crystle Martin and many thanks to all of the amazing applicants.
  • Held virtual discussion and voted on an updated petition candidates process. Interested in submitting your name to the 2015 awards or governance slate? You can also submit a nominating form.
  • Participated in an interview on the current state of GLBTQ Literature for Teens with a graduate student in journalism from Northwestern.

Updates

  • The deadline for Dollar General Literacy Foundation grants to support Teen Read Week activities is June 1st. YALSA will offer ten $1,000 grants which recognize outstanding TRW activities.
  • YALSA is offering two stipends for members to attend the Young Adult Literature Symposium in Austin. Applications are due June 15th.
  • Still gearing up for summer? Join YALSA's Summer Reading and Learning Ning to check out free webinars, resources, recommending lists and more.
  • Looking for a little professional development on your lunch break? YALSA has over 40 on-demand webinars that are free to members.
  • Share your awesomeness with your colleagues! Fill out the member spotlight to be featured in an upcoming YALSA e-news bulletin.

Gratitude

  • Congratulations to the newly elected awards and governance leaders and many thanks to all of the candidates for their willingness to run.
  • Three cheers to everyone who took action on behalf of teens and libraries during National Library Legislative Day, our voices are stronger together!
  • High fives to the hard working Teens Top Ten reading groups and their coordinators for working hard to select this year's stellar nomination list.

In March membership was at 5,134, which off -.5% over this time last year. Donations for March totaled $70.

During the next few days, YALSA's Executive Director and I will be in Washington DC for National Library Legislative Day. We'll be talking to Congressional Staff and policy makers at key foundations and organizations about the vital role libraries and library staff play in helping teens succeed in school and prepare for careers.

In order for our conversations to have any lasting impact though, they need to be supported by a grassroots effort from members and supporters. Without your' participation in NLLD via Tweets #NLLD14), emails and phone calls, we'll be just two people talking. We need you to amplify, to show that we are all working together to improve teens' lives.

As of today, just over 300 individuals have signed on to support YALSA's NLLD Thunderclap. While that's a start, YALSA has 5,138 members. All of those members have friends, families, colleagues, and patrons who stand behind the important work that we do everyday.' So please, take a few moments out of your day to help your teen patrons, your library and your livelihood. Sign our Thunderclap,' reach out to your members of Congress and encourage others to do the same. Let's leverage social media to amplify our voices and make real change for libraries and our patrons! The future of teens and libraries depends on us. #Act4Teens now.

Hey YALSA members, I want to hear from you!

In recent years, the President and Board of Directors have held virtual town halls to hear great ideas, get feedback on activities, and talk through goal areas in YALSA's mission. On May 7th at 2 pm EST, we'd like take the broad view and talk through your overall YALSA experience. Specifically, we'll be covering the following four questions:

  • What is it about the organization that has earned your loyalty?
  • What does YALSA do that frustrates you?
  • What are three things that YALSA could do that would add the most professional value to the career of teen librarians?
  • What are your three biggest concerns or needs?

Your thoughts can help YALSA become an even more responsive and relevant organization, so please, speak up! We'll be meeting via this Adobe Connect space. Chat and audio will be available, but virtual bonus points will be given to those with a microphone too! Feel free to log-in at anytime in the next week to test your device's capability and setup.

Thanks and I look forward to talking with you.

Shannon