Kelly Czarnecki wins 2021-2022 YALSA presidency

2020-2021 YALSA President-Elect Kelly CzarneckiKelly Czarnecki, Teen Loft Manager at ImaginOn in Charlotte, NC, has been elected as YALSA’s 2020-2021 division president-elect. Czarnecki will begin her three-year term as president-elect in June of 2020, becoming president starting in June of 2021, and remain active on the board for one year as past president in 2022. Voting took place March 9 – April 1.

“It is such an honor to be elected to this position by the members,” said Czarnecki. “I am grateful and look forward to continuing to get their input to move toward YALSA’s future. In these unchartered times during this pandemic, I am hopeful that in working with the board, along with past presidents, we will continue to seek solutions to inevitable shifts we’ll see in library services. In allowing ourselves to listen and engage with teens, we’ll continue to be a viable organization that will meet their needs.”

Highlights of Czarnecki’s involvement in YALSA include:

  • Serving as a content expert for the YALSA Programming HQ
  • Serving on the YALSA Programming Guidelines Development Task Force
  • Serving on the YALSA Advisory Board
  • Serving on several YALSA committees including Technology, Gaming, and Outreach to YAs with Special Needs

In addition to the president-elect position, YALSA members have also elected Kate Denier as Fiscal Officer and both Susannah Goldstein and Dawn McMillian as Directors-at-Large. All three positions will serve three-year terms.

Learn more about YALSA elections at www.ala.org/yalsa/workingwithyalsa/election.

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. 

2020 YALSA Election: An Interview with President-Elect Candidate Kelly Czarnecki

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!

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 .You can learn more about ALA elections here.

What is your name and current position? Kelly Czarnecki, Teen Loft Manager at ImaginOn

What best qualifies you for being President-Elect?
As an accomplished librarian, I offer a track record of success in developing, implementing, and managing new programs to attract targeted audiences and serve the community. This includes rolling out multiple specialized programs to reach and serve teens for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in North Carolina.

From a leadership perspective, I excel in managing and developing employees, facilitating career advancement opportunities while training them in polices, processes, systems, tools, and customer service protocols.

I feel these skills translate well to the position of President-Elect in leading others and the organization to continuing to be relevant for teens. As a strong advocate on a local level, I will continue to make the needs of teens and library workers known through the organization and the public at large.

Some of the highlights of my involvement with ALA and YALSA include:

  • Serving as a content expert for the YALSA Programming HQ
  • Serving on the YALSA Programming Guidelines Development Task Force
  • Serving on the YALSA Advisory Board
  • Serving on several YALSA committees including Technology, Gaming, and Outreach to YAs with Special Needs
  • Serving a term as an ALA Councilor-At-Large

Being an active member of both ALA and YALSA has helped me to better understand the structure of the organization and give voice to issues that are important in working with teens which will be needed for the President-Elect position.

I am also an employee of a shelter serving families experiencing homelessness. I have worked at a shelter longer than I’ve been a librarian. My work with these non-profit agencies definitely gives me needed insight to challenges that teens face and better prepares me as a President-Elect of YALSA.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
Making sure that we’re including their perspective as much as we can in the decisions that are made and the content delivered. If we’re not getting a lot of participation in the ways that we’re trying to solicit their opinions, then what can we do differently? I’d like to continue to grow opportunities for them to be an active part of YALSA and help drive the agenda—not just give feedback and ideas. Being a part of trainings, online content, writing opportunities, research, and more to share their voices!

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
If I was asked this question before COVID-19, I might have answered differently. I think because so much is in a state of flux right now with quarantines, job loss, and other hardships, we’re going to see shifts in the organization and in the needs of teens in ways that can’t necessarily be predicted, but that we need to anticipate. The mission of supporting library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face is relevant now more than ever. Being a viable resource as the landscape continues to unfold is an area YALSA is very strong in and will continue to do so no matter what the challenge(s) may be.

What else would you like voters to know about you?
That I’m grateful for your support. I thank you for the trust you’ve given me if elected, and I care about how we can make YALSA a better place for you and the teens that we serve.

2020 YALSA Election: An Interview with President-Elect Candidate Franklin Escobedo

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!

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 .You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Franklin Escobedo, Library Director of the Larkspur Library

What best qualifies you for being President-Elect?
I have been an active member of YALSA for the past twelve years. Serving on committees, juries, selection lists, the Printz Award committee, and serving three years on the YALSA Board. Before running for the Board, I really wanted to learn about our association, and over this time I have seen the association grow and change. While our association has changed in many ways, it’s still focused on serving and supporting our members. 

What do you see as the primary role of the YALSA Board?
I still believe the primary role of the YALSA Board is to speak for the membership. Part of the role is to help guide the association to develop resources and services for our members and those working with teens on a daily basis. The Board’s role is also to oversee the financial health of the association to assist the Executive Director in making decisions that ensure the continued viability of YALSA.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
The concept of “teens first” has been around for few years now. As librarians, it’s a parallel to outcome-based programming. For every decision we make about programming, readers advisory, and professional development, “teens first” is the ultimate outcome. How will the decision impact the teens we serve and how do the decisions we make empower the teens we serve?

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
The most pressing issue is the same one facing ALA itself: member retention. The association cannot work without the support of its members. For many members, we’re paying our own dues without the support of the libraries we work for. YALSA needs to continue to innovate and create resources that our members can use to develop their careers.  

What would be the most exciting aspect of this position? The most challenging?  
The most exciting part for me is the opportunity to lead YALSA and to help guide the future of our association. When I first became involved in YALSA, I was the YALSA liaison for the GLBT-RT (now the Rainbow Roundtable). I did this for four years early in my career. As an observer of the Board, it was always hard to hold back when issues were being debated and decisions were being made. As a member of the Board while serving as Secretary, it was exciting being able to be part of the decision-making process. I loved this part of the work. The most challenging part is anticipating the future and the future needs of our teens. While many of us are currently at home due to the ongoing health crisis, I worry about the immediate future. How can we continue to provide robust services to teens through the online environment and how do we reach teens in the age of information overload? What resources and tools can we provide to our members to help them work with teens via online resources? 

What else would you like voters to know about you?
While I may be a Library Director now, I began my career as a Young Adult Services Librarian. As I always remind colleagues that have moved up in their organizations, we still work with teens. We have the opportunity to help shape the library and library services that impact teens by developing a library-wide “teens first” attitude.

What are you reading? What are you watching?
I’m currently reading a few books: Docile by K.Z Szpara, The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, and The King of Crows by Libba Bray. I’ve just started watching Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. I’m loving it!

YALSA and COVID-19 – A Message from the President

Hi everyone,

As we continue to adjust our lives to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to send a short message of assurance that YALSA continues to support its members during this unprecedented crisis. Our mission states that we support library staff in alleviating challenges that teens face, and this may be the greatest challenge of our time. COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the United States, and as testing ramps up, it is a foregone conclusion that many, many more cases will be diagnosed in the coming days and weeks. Healthy teens and young people, thankfully, seem to be able to weather the virus themselves, but as we know, they also have a tendency to feel invincible. Young people sometimes do not realize the consequences of their actions; in this case, unknowingly spreading the virus throughout the community and to those who are immunocompromised, along with the elderly. These are two populations that have not had the same rate of success dealing with the lethal strain. If you are in communication with teens, please encourage them to stay at home with their families or guardians as they are able. Community spread must be tempered to prevent the virus from wreaking havoc with our lives.

Your YALSA virtual volunteer work is always appreciated; however, during this difficult time, we understand that committee, task force, and/or jury work has taken a backseat to your daily life. While there may be an opportunity to get things done, as many of us now have unexpected “downtime”, the YALSA Board and YALSA staff understand that not every volunteer has the same amount of time or mental energy to devote to these projects. We will continue to assess previously stated deadlines and goals as the days go on.

If you haven’t yet, please read the message from ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall about the ALA response to COVID-19, and check out the #LibrariesRespond information on the ALA site, which also addresses the xenophobia that sadly has already become associated with this outbreak.

The CDC has provided resources to deal with manage anxiety and stress as we work through this uncharted territory. Keeping yourself healthy and uncompromised is of paramount importance.

Something to consider, depending on your current work and life schedule: if you haven’t cast your ALA/YALSA ballot yet, this may be a good chance to do so. Virtual ballots arrived to your email on file with ALA last Monday through Wednesday, March 9-11. The election ends April 1, 2020, at 11:59pm. If you have not received an ALA ballot for the spring election, contact the ALA office for more information.

Edited to add, 12:15pm March 17, 2020: The ALA Executive Board has just released a statement, encouraging all libraries to be closed to the public.

Thank you as always for the work you do for and with teens, and please, stay safe and healthy.

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl

Candidates’ Forum 2020 Election

YALSA leadership hosted a candidates forum on Friday, March 6 to hear from ALA President-Elect candidates Patty Wong and Steven Yates, along with candidates for YALSA offices, including President-Elect, Fiscal Officer, and Directors at Large.

ALA President-Elect Candidates

Steven Yates www.voteyatesala.com 

Steven is Assistant Director of the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama. He previously was a school and public librarian. Steven shared his vision for the library community to harness the power of positive passion and ACTT (Advocacy, Cultural competency, Training, and Transparency).

Patty Wong www.votepattywong.com

Patty is city librarian at Santa Monica Public Library. She began her career as a youth librarian and has served 30+ years at public libraries in California. Patty highlighted the need for transparency during this time of change at ALA, changing demographics and equitable access and services, as well as the library community coming together to leverage our influence.

Following the candidates’ brief statements, Steven and Patty answered questions posed by forum attendees. Discussion touched upon resilience of the organization and ability to attract younger membership, SCOE and the proposal to combine youth divisions, as well as advocating for longterm federal funding for libraries.

Next, candidates for YALSA offices introduced themselves and fielded attendee questions.

YALSA President-Elect  Candidates
  • Franklin Escobedo
  • Kelly Czarnecki
Fiscal Officer

Kate Denier

Directors at Large
  • Susannah Goldstein
  • Dawn McMillan
  • Joel Shoemaker (not in attendance)

Click here for a video recording of the forum. View the sample ballot.

The polls for the 2020 ALA election will open at 9:00 a.m. CT on Monday, March 9. Polls will remain open through Wednesday, April 1 at 11:59 p.m. CT.  Check your email for voting URL and information.

2020 YALSA Election Slate

YALSA’s Board Development Committee has assembled the following slate for the 2020 YALSA Election:

President-Elect
Franklin Escobedo
Kelly Czarnecki

Fiscal Officer
Kate Denier

Directors at Large
Susannah Goldstein
Dawn McMillan
Joel Shoemaker

To run on the slate as a petition candidate, members can submit a petition form between now and Nov. 4, 2019, via the eForm available in YALSA’s Handbook. Please note that you must first log into your ALA account in order to access the form. Find out more at Election FAQ. Learn more at www.ala.org/yalsa/workingwithyalsa/election. Please direct any questions to the Board Development Committee chair, Sandra Hughes-Hassell.

2019 YALSA Election Results

YALSA is excited to announce its 2019 election results. The following individuals have been elected:

President-Elect
Amanda Barnhart

Secretary
Josie Watanabe

Fiscal Officer
Jane Gov

Board of Directors
Trixie Dantis
Karen Lemmons
Ryan Eduardo Moniz
Charli Osborne
Valerie Tagoe

To learn more about YALSA elections or governance, please visit www.ala.org/yalsa/workingwithyalsa/governance.

2019 YALSA Election: An Interview with Fiscal Officer Candidate Jane Gov

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 recording of our YALSA Candidates’ Forum from March 7th!

The YALSA Fiscal Officer shall be an elected member of the YALSA Board, shall serve a one-year term of office and shall also serve on the YALSA Executive Committee. The primary responsibility of the Fiscal Officer is to work with the Board, Financial Advancement Committee and Executive Director to ensure the fiscal health of the association through proper financial oversight so that there are adequate resources for the organization to fulfill its mission. 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 Fiscal Officer’s duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Jane Gov – Youth Services Librarian – Pasadena Public Library

What best qualifies you for being Fiscal Officer?
I have been an active YALSA member since joining ALA as a student in 2009. I was formerly the Financial Advancement Committee (FAC) Chair. As FAC Chair, I worked closely with the Fiscal Officer to meet fundraising goals. The committee provides oversight and enhancement of the Friends of YALSA program–particularly in fundraising promotion and donor recognition to support member awards, grants, and scholarships.
I am currently serving as a YALSA Board Member-at-Large–a role I’ve held since finishing my term as FAC Chair two years ago, so I understand the commitment being a board member requires.

Why did you decide to run for a YALSA office? What excites you about serving on YALSA Board?
Being on the YALSA Board has built my confidence in advocacy and drives me to do things I never thought of doing before—such as presenting and sharing my teen services knowledge to other professionals, writing to congressional representatives, taking advocacy leadership roles in my local community, and applying for funding. Being on the YALSA Board makes me a better librarian, a more informed advocate, and a more skilled mentor to teens. I would also like to make an impact on YALSA’s next Organizational Plan and am excited about transitioning from the current Plan.

What do you see as the primary role of the YALSA Board?
Although the primary role of a board member is to set policy (not necessarily carry out policies), the creation of the strategies to carry out the policies will drive the mission of YALSA. Ideally, the board develops techniques that are not only feasible and in the best interests of our members, but is also fiscally appropriate, aligns with the mission, and puts teens first.

How do you envision working with the YALSA Board to further the mission of YALSA?
As a board member, I envision finding solutions to implement strategies, strengthening my critical lens in the process, and asking how can we do better and what do members need. As Fiscal Officer, I envision my role is to work with the Board, staff, other division fiscal officers, and Financial Advancement Committee to ensure fiscal health and to keep the Board abreast of fiscal developments within ALA and other divisions.

What areas of YALSA’s Strategic Plan do you think you can best contribute to? Why?
I’ve served on all three of the Standing Board Committees; each Board Committee oversees a major strategic goal: Funding & Partnerships, Advocacy, Transforming Teen Services. As Fiscal Officer and former FAC Chair, I would best contribute to Funding and Partnerships since the primary responsibility is to work with the Executive Board to ensure the fiscal health of the organization.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
Like many organizations, member engagement is the most pressing issue for YALSA. In order to sustain the Organizational Plan, keep YALSA relevant, and ensure fiscal health, member engagement should be strong. This means making strides to cultivate diverse relationships and retain the interest of those who serve teens in any capacity through or with a library.

If elected, how will you help YALSA members (in their daily work, in their careers, other)?
I’m passionate about member engagement and have some ideas in how YALSA can improve in this area. Local engagement is valuable in connecting with members’ daily work and communities.
Since assuming the role of teen librarian at Pasadena Public Library in California about five years ago, I’ve significantly revamped our volunteer program and community partnerships, increased teen program attendance by 220%, and doubled teen program offerings. Additionally, the teen volunteers are staying longer and are more engaged in our library and community services. These successes were partly due to my involvement with YALSA and YALSA resources. I hope to engage members to enrich and improve teen services and help them with challenges they face in their careers.

What else would you like voters to know about you?
The cast of my background is wide, so I try to make all decisions with thoughts of how various levels of teen advocates will view it, and how these decisions can sustain the organization. I truly believe in YALSA’s mission and that the support, resources, and services provided are crucial for library staff.