Broadening the Board’s Composition

At ALA Midwinter, the YALSA Board accepted a proposal to broaden the makeup of the Board.

During the 2015-2016 strategic planning process, the Board considered this idea and affirmed the benefits to the Board and organization. By targeting advocates with backgrounds in key areas such as business, corporate partnerships, and fundraising, YALSA’s work can be better supported by leveraging expertise. Including advocates outside of the immediate library teen services community can provide a unique perspective, strengthening the organization and broadening its vision. With this approach to Board recruitment, YALSA can better understand and serve teen needs by adding different voices, skills, and knowledge.

The Board standing committee focusing on Leading the Transformation for Teen Services was tasked with exploring the possibility of changing or expanding the Board’s composition as outlined in the Year 1 Implementation Plan. Taking into consideration industry best practices and examining boards from similar organizations, a two-year pilot was proposed.

The 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 Board Development Committees will identify, vet, and recruit nonmember advocates passionate about serving youth and YALSA’s mission. One advocate will be included on the ballots for the 2019 and 2020 election cycles. In 2020, a team will be assembled to evaluate the impact of adding diverse viewpoints and expertise from beyond the immediate library teen services community. Based on the evaluation, the team will make recommendations on whether or how to continue this Board recruitment process.

View the full proposal board document #27 and learn more about what was discussed in Atlanta by reviewing the 2017 Midwinter Meeting Agenda.

Trixie Dantis

Board Fellow 2016-2017

President’s Report – January 2017


  • The board was very busy at Midwinter!  Check out my summary blog post, as well as individual blog posts about the Leadership Fundraising Campaign, Protecting Teen Privacy, Bylaw Changes, the Executive Committee, and the changes being made to YALSA’s selection lists.
  • Participated in many phone calls and email conversations with YALSA staff, board members, and committee members
  • The January monthly chat with the YALSA Board was about having strategic and successful conversations–former YALSA board member Maureen Sullivan facilitated the conversation.
  • Wrote quarterly YALS column about Advocacy for the Spring issue
  • Sent letters of thanks to supervisors of award and selection chairs
  • Filled vacancies on various strategic committees as they occurred
  • The Board invited Heather Sparks to serve as the YALSA Board Fellow for the 2017-2018 year. Congrats, Heather!
  • The Board adopted the updated version of their scope and responsibilities as presented in this board document, and directed the Executive Director to work with staff to ensure the statement is updated on the website.

Works in Progress

  • The next YALSA member town hall (Theme: Social Action) will be on Feb. 28 at 2 pm ET.  Look for login information in your YALSA enews.
  • Through Feb. 15, I’m accepting volunteer forms for three new YALSA strategic task forces: Leadership Fundraising, Member Achievements Recognition, and Member Grants and Awards Evaluation.  Please read this blog post to find out more and to volunteer.
  • The YALSA Board is discussing Board Document #43 Re-Envisioning the Mentoring Program virtually since we ran out of time at Midwinter.
  • Planning the YALSA Executive Committee virtual meeting in April and already planning ahead for #alaac17!

Stats and Data

  • December member stats: 4,887 members (down 5.3% from this time last year)
  • December fundraising: $2,575

Don’t Forget!


  • to the YALSA Staff and Midwinter Marketing Committee for making sure that the #alamw17 ran smoothly!
  • to all the YALSA board members and committee members who were prepared for in-person meetings at #alamw17!
  • 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

Leadership Fundraising Campaign

At ALA Midwinter in Atlanta, the YALSA Board voted to assemble a taskforce to create and implement a year-long fundraising effort to raise $20,000 for the YALSA Leadership Endowment. The Endowment is designed to generate income to support opportunities for the development and training of future YALSA and library leaders by capitalizing on the considerable contributions and talents of YALSA Past Leaders. The Endowment honors both those who created the fund and those who receive support from the fund.

At its inception in 2007, Past Presidents made the initial donations to get a fund started to create an endowment focused on leadership. By 2009, enough funds had been collected to petition ALA to formally create the Leadership Endowment. The name and background information of the Endowment encourages participation from many types of sources while acknowledging the contribution of those Past Presidents who initiated the creation of the fund.

YALSA currently receives $2,392 per year in interest from this endowment. In 2016, the Board voted to use $1,000 of the interest to support the Dorothy Broderick Student Conference Scholarship and to invest the remaining $1,392 back into the endowment to build capital to support a proposed PhD Fellowship.

Our $20,000 targeted goal for 2017 will provide enough funding to support one additional leadership initiative, such as the proposed PhD Fellowship.

If you would like to help raise additional funds to support YALSA’s leadership initiatives, we are accepting volunteer forms for the Leadership Fundraising taskforce through Feb. 15! YALSA President Sarah Hill is looking for several virtual members, including a chair to serve on the taskforce from March 1, 2017 through January 31, 2018. You can read more about the taskforce here. Please email Sarah with any questions.

If you would like more information about the Leadership Fundraising Campaign, see Board Document #38.

And as always, if you have questions, contact any of the YALSA Board members.

Sandra Hughes-Hassell
YALSA President Elect

Protecting Teen Privacy

privacyAt ALA Midwinter, the YALSA Board was pleased to adopt the position paper “The Library’s Role in protecting Teens’ Privacy” written by Mary K. Chelton.

Libraries play an integral role in protecting the intellectual freedom and privacy rights of our communities and users. In early 2016, the FBI published Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools, a proposed set of guidelines for surveying internet use of students seen to be at-risk of recruitment by terrorist organizations. These guidelines cast American high schools at hotbeds for terrorist action, and recommend identifying teens for surveillance and intervention on factors so broad that almost every teen fits the description.

It is documents like this that remind us of the important role that libraries play in protecting the privacy of teens (both in and out of school). This highly connected population, is already subjected to privacy threats every day, and policies like the one proposed by the FBI are in direct opposition of the library’s mission.

In the newly adopted position paper, Chelton suggests several actions we can take to protect the privacy rights of teens:

  • Refresh your knowledge of key documents, like ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Manual and AASL ‘s Standards for the 21st Century Learner
  • Report challenges or violations of teens’ privacy to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom
  • Embed educating teens and their parents and caregivers about their rights into library services and programming
  • Keep up to date on privacy and surveillance issues through resources such as ALA’s District Dispatch and the YALSAblog
  • Seek out training on topics including but not limited to: privacy, students’ rights, libraries’ role in intellectual freedom, and how to leverage technology tools that protect privacy
  • Participate in events such as the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s Choose Privacy Week
  • Take advantage of technology that protects library patrons’ privacy
  • Make a commitment to reach out to and serve at-risk youth in the community and address their needs, whatever they may be
  • Identify and work with community partners who are also committed to protecting teens’ rights

The YALSA Board adopted the position paper at ALA Midwinter and has committed to reviewing YALSA guidelines and policies to assure teen information seeking and privacy needs are addressed.

See the full board agenda and documents online to get the details of what the board talked about. We will also be posting meeting minutes there in the next week or so. You can also read the upcoming blog posts from board members about some of the actions taken at Midwinter.

Kate McNair

YALSA Board Member 2015-2018

Volunteer Opportunities: Three New YALSA Taskforces

Have you ever benefited from YALSA grants or awards? How would you like to be recognized if you did win a YALSA scholarship or award? Want to help YALSA raise funds to support leadership initiatives for members? Then we need your help! I’m accepting volunteer forms for three new taskforces that were established by the Board last week–Leadership Fundraising, Member Achievements Recognition, and Member Grants and Awards Evaluation taskforces.  Volunteer now through Feb. 15! Please email me with any questions and read on to learn more about the volunteer opportunities.

Continue reading

Some of YALSA’s Selected Lists are Changing: Here’s the Scoop

As part of the August 2016 board document “Recommendations for Transforming Remaining Work Groups,” a Selected List Transition taskforce was created to offer recommendations for transitioning selected lists to The Hub in two phases: the first to take place in 2017 with Amazing Audiobooks (AA), Popular Paperbacks (PP) and Quick Picks (QP). Throughout the fall of 2016, the task force worked virtually to create a draft plan, shared the draft plan with members and gathered feedback during an online member chat in Nov., and then reworked the plan based on that feedback. The plan was then submitted back to the Leading the Transformation of Teen Services Board Standing Committee to ensure alignment with YALSA mission and Organizational Plan, and that the plan addressed the stated goals of the project:

  • Provide more timely information
  • Share information in an easier to use format
  • Create new resources to meet the needs of today’s diverse teens
  • Ensure the flexibility to embrace new formats as they emerge
  • Include new and diverse voices in the process
  • Create new resources for library staff beyond traditional collection development and readers’ advisory tools

At the recent YALSA board meetings in Atlanta, a board document was approved with modifications.  Check out this document that outlines the transition of Phase 1. However, keep in mind that the Board added a modification–Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults (PPYA) will also have a “Best of” list.

So what’s new is that instead of standing committees, the lists will be developed by YALSA members through the Hub.  This allows for virtual participation as well as for sharing information in a more timely way.  Between now and Feb. 12, YALSA is collecting volunteer forms for individuals who would like to work throughout 2017 to develop the next Amazing Audio and Quick Picks lists.  10- 15 members will be selected to work on each list, and as part of their work, they’ll be writing blog posts about the books they nominate. Now don’t panic!  We all write, but we may not all be Dessen or Tolkien.  If you have served on a selection committee in the past, you know that part of the process is writing about why you are nominating a title. And I know you can write to express yourself in email.  As you’ll see in the Board Document #29,  the Hub manager, Molly Wetta,  is creating a process that will help reviewers become better bloggers and, in the long run, better writers.  These are tools that bloggers can use in their everyday jobs, whether you’re writing a press release for a program or writing a proposal for more funding for your collection.

Another addition is getting teens involved in the process.  When I worked on PPYA, I would often ask my teens which books they liked, especially if it were a genre that I wasn’t familiar with.  This was always a great way to engage my teens and I would take back their comments and reactions back to the committee.  Now those same teens will be able to work with us to become guest bloggers for the list.  There are other exciting changes, as well, which are outlined in the document, so I encourage everyone to read it carefully.

The Board realizes that there are challenges that might come up, but this is still a very evolving process.  As we move forward, the Board will evaluate how everything is working.  With feedback from the chairs, list coordinators, and the YALSA members working on the lists, improvements will be made to the process while increasing opportunities for librarians in regions of the country who haven’t been able to participate.  The virtual experience is making it easier for YALSA members to get involved.  And like everything new, there might be challenges, but with board members, YALSA staff, and members working together, the plan will succeed!

Franklin Escobedo

YALSA Board of Directors

YALSA Board @ Midwinter – an Overview

View of Atlanta from the Omni Hotel

Happy post-Midwinter!

The YALSA board started off Midwinter on Friday with a training session about cultural competency in order to start the process of implementing cultural objectives of YALSA’s new organizational plan.  With the help of two facilitators, board members used the world cafe discussion method to discuss culture, what it means to our members, and what components are needed from YALSA to help our members and teens be successful with cultural competency.

Also on Friday, the awesome Future Ready with the Library group finished their second day in Atlanta–learning more about their grant program and expanding their professional learning networks.

The Board was very busy over the weekend! Since the adoption of the organizational plan in April, the Board and YALSA staff have been aligning the current structure of the organization (see the Current Projects page) to better fit its needs. At Midwinter, the following documents were discussed and approved:

Fiscally, a new fundraising plan for leadership celebrating YALSA’s 60th anniversary will be enacted, as well as a new plan for the Friends of YALSA.

The Board doesn’t always approve board documents as is.  In Atlanta, the Board sent two documents back to the standing board committees for more work–the Interest Group Support & Build-Out and the Proposal to Create ALA Liaison. The revised documents should be brought before the board virtually before ALA Annual.  Other documents were approved with modifications, like the Selected List Implementation Plan and the Position Paper on Teen Privacy.

The YALSA board is excited about a new document that will have great impact in the library world–a new research agenda. It notes five forward-thinking priority areas:

  1. The Impact of Libraries as Teen Formal and Informal Learning Environments
  2. Library Staff Training, Skills and Knowledge
  3. Equity of Access
  4. Cultural Competence, Social Justice and Equity
  5. Community Engagement

Unfortunately, the Board ran out of time and didn’t get to two of the agenda items–Measuring the Impact of Volunteers and Re-Envisioning the Mentoring Program. These will be discussed virtually by the board in the next few months.

Check out the full board agenda and documents online to get the details of what the board talked about. We will also be posting meeting minutes there in the next week or so. You can also read the upcoming blog posts from board members about some of the actions taken at Midwinter.

If you have question about a particular agenda item or issue or would like more details about it, feel free to e-mail me or any of YALSA’s Board members. Also, feel free to follow Executive Director Beth Yoke (@yalsa_director), myself (@glibrarian), and/or other YALSA Board members for tweets about the work of the board!

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.