YALSA Board @ Midwinter: Bylaws Change Proposal

The YALSA Board has been hard at work looking at the new Organizational Plan and determining ways that we can move the organization forward and best serve our members. One of the items that has been discussed is standardizing the way members come to serve on the various Awards Committees. Currently, the Alex, Morris and Odyssey committee members are appointed to the committees; while Edwards, Printz and Nonfiction members are a mix – some members are appointed and others are elected by YALSA members.

At Annual 2016, the Board directed the Organization & Bylaws Committee to develop a proposal that would change the bylaws so that all award committee positions would be appointed, instead of some appointed and some elected. The rationale for these changes is:

  • The current structure of having some appointed and some elected positions on half of the award committees is confusing, especially because the timelines for appointment are different from the election
  • This change levels the playing field for members, as it creates just one path to the award committees. Each member will now go through the same appointments process at the same time
  • Making the change so that all award committee positions are appointed, not elected, creates efficiencies for the President-Elect, members, and staff, because it eliminates the need to go through the entire process of developing a slate, vetting potential candidates, supporting candidates, etc. This change would eliminate the need for an Awards Nominating Committee as well as the second round of appointments that now happens after the election is over
  • This change will cut down on eligibility issues, because oftentimes members put their name forward both through the nominating committee process and via the Committee Volunteer form. In the past, the nominating committee has not always known what other award committees the candidate may have signed up for

If the Board accepts the proposal from the Organization & Bylaws Committee, the issue would then go to the membership for a vote on the upcoming 2017 ballot.

Organization and Bylaws has submitted the following board doc, (http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/BylawsAwardCommittees_MW17.pdf, which will be discussed at the Board I meeting, held on Saturday, January 21, at the Georgia World Congress Center, Room A406. If you have any questions about this board document or any others, please contact YALSA President Sarah Hill at gsarahthelibrarian@gmail.com or Executive Director Beth Yoke at ​byoke@ala.org

Melissa McBride is Chair of Organization & Bylaws and a Board Member.

Questions for Coffee with the Candidates

This year’s candidates for YALSA leadership will talk with members and share ideas for YALSA’s future during the Coffee with the Candidates event on Sunday, Jan. 22 from 10:30 – 11:30 in GWCC B202.

We hope to spend a good deal of this year’s candidate discussion hearing from members about your ideas/challenges for YALSA.  If you can’t make the Midwinter event in Atlanta, take a minute to review the 3-year organizational plan and post your questions for the candidates here on the blog.  We will be sure that the candidates take the time to address the questions received by those attending in-person and also any posted to the blog in advance of Sunday morning’s event.

Re-envisioning the ALA Relationship Building Activities of the Executive Committee

As part of YALSA’s new organizational plan we are re-envisioning the role of the YALSA Executive Committee. One of the changes that is most exciting to me involves developing a more robust set of ALA relationship building responsibilities for the Executive Committee.

Current activities include:

  • Providing a contact point for ALA via individual committee member roles.  For example, the Fiscal Officer liaises with YALSA’s BARC representative.
  • Representing YALSA at ALA meetings such as the BARC/Division Leaders’ Meeting, and the Fall Executive Committee Meeting.
  • Co-planning and taking turns leading the bi-annual AASL/ALSC/YALSA Joint Executive Committee Meeting.
  • Holding general discussions about YALSA’s relationship with ALA.

At Midwinter the Executive Committee will be adopting a new set of goals for ALA relationships. Potential goals include:

  • Building personal relationships with ALA leadership, as well as division member leadership, in order to foster communication, promote trust and facilitate collaboration.
  • Increasing our knowledge of ALA current projects and processes to inform YALSA’s work.
  • Increasing ALA knowledge of YALSA’s current projects, especially those that align with ALA’s strategic plan, in order to leverage ALA resources and provide an opportunity for YALSA members/leadership to take a leadership role in ALA.
  • Better positioning YALSA to take advantage of opportunities to work together with ALA and with other divisions.

Reaching these goals will require the Executive Committee to expand the work we are currently doing and formalize the process. Stronger relationships with ALA and with other divisions will allow YALSA to better serve our members.

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

If you are wondering what else the Executive Board is up to at Midwinter, be sure to check out the schedule of Board meetings and the agenda. Throughout Midwinter, YALSA Board members will be blogging about our activities too.

And as always, if you are attending ALA Midwinter please stop by the YALSA booth #709 to say hello.

Safe travels to Atlanta!

Sandra Hughes-Hassell
YALSA President-Elect

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.

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!

Marketing for Increased Impact During the Holiday Season

During the holiday season, young adults are inundated with advertising and seasonal campaigns. It may be harder at this time of the year than any other time to capture the attention of teens in the library. At last month’s YALSA Symposium, Sarah Amazing, Carrie DiRisio and Samantha Helmick provided inspirational tips and tricks for marketing teen library services. Their preconference “Marketing Library Programs for Increased Impact” prepared teen library marketers for the seasonal competition for teen eyes and ears and offered predictions on social media marketing trends for 2017.
Sarah Amazing discussed concentrating on the importance of fandoms, marketing trends and designs to create an inviting space for teens. “Social media that tries too hard turns off teens,” said Amazing. “Think about trending colors and fonts. Great examples are movie posters for the season and YA book covers for the year.”

Examples of what to do as well as what not to do were provided during her presentation and included concepts like brand recognition with the use of special fonts for Harry Potter and Doctor Who events. Sarah imparted the notion that any librarian can keep their designs neat and clean with just a little research. “Even basic MS tools like Publisher can prove useful to those aware of style, trademark and popular culture,” Amazing concluded.

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YALSA Symposium 2016: Empowering Teens, Empowering Library Staff

A little over a week ago, I packed my bags for the 2016 YALSA Symposium. It wasn’t easy to rip myself away from the Cubs euphoria raging in my hometown of Chicago, but I was excited to share a weekend with people who were passionate about something even more important: serving young adults in the library. The Symposium theme was Empowering Teens, and there was lots of discussion about ways to fostering teen ideas, talent, and leadership in our libraries. Letting teens take charge may feel like extra work, but the benefit to them is worth every bit of effort.

 

Teen Library Team, assemble!

Teen Library Team, assemble!

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YALSA Symposium 2016: The Spark of Symposium

We’ve all been there – something you hear or read at a library conference gives you that delicious fuzzy feeling of Hey… I could do that!  You start jotting down notes about the idea and where it could go, what it could do for your community, and before you know it, the margins of the handout are scribbled with your new plans for world domination.
I love those moments. I always say, if I get just one great idea from a workshop or webinar or conference, then it was worth it. I left the 2016 YALSA Symposium with an entire folder of great ideas, as I was one of the lucky librarians who got to judge the Teen Programming Contest.
That experience on Sunday morning was the absolute highlight of the Symposium for me, and I don’t say that to diminish the rest of the weekend. It was just so inspiring to hear so many amazing ideas – the other judges will agree with me that the decisions we had to make were incredibly difficult. I was impressed by the variety of pitches – some people had powerpoints and handouts for us, while others simply mesmerized us with a story of what they hoped to accomplish. It was clear that everyone had respect and hope for their communities, and wanted to empower their teen patrons in any way they could.
It is my absolute hope that everyone who pitched their idea to us will somehow, one way or another, make their idea a reality (and then write about it for one of YALSA’s publications!) If I learned only one thing while in Pittsburgh (and trust me, I learned a ton), I learned that we have amazingly talented people working in teen services.
At the 2017 YALSA Symposium, I hope that many more people take up the challenge. Make it an even tougher decision next year!
 
Sarah Amazing is the Teen Services Supervisor at the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library. She blogs at zen-teen.com

YALSA 2016 Symposium: The Double Bottom Line

At #yalsa16, I presented on a panel focusing on summer learning programs with Emily Samose, Director, Education and Learning Initiatives, Urban Libraries Council; Maggie Jacobs, Director of Educational Programs at the New York Public Library; and Kelly Rottmund, Teen Services Coordinator at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. In particular, we highlighted programs with a “double bottom line” approach, addressing summer slide for youth and peers by engaging teens as program leaders.

Emily began the session with information about Accelerate Summer, an ULC and NSLA summer learning initiative funded by IMLS. She covered their findings after surveying, observing, and conducting interviews at public libraries nationwide.

Next, Maggie covered NYPL’s Literacy Leaders program, a yearlong program targeting high school teens in danger of not graduating. The program begins during the fall semester when teens complete a credit-bearing ELA course and continues with teens working directly with younger students during the spring semester and into the summer.

Then, I presented AHML’s Summer Volunteer Squad program, a teen component of the library’s summer reading program. Summer Volunteer Squad is 8-12 focused groups comprised of teens that complete projects for the library over the summer. I focused on the groups achieving the “double bottom line” through paired reading, mentoring through STEM activities and more.

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