Volunteers Needed for Advocacy Resources Community Listening Taskforce

Greetings, YALSA members!

All of us are advocates. When we are promoting books and resources to our teens, staff, and community, we are advocating. When we are supporting a cause or group by speaking and/or writing about it, or donating to it, we are advocating.  When we are urging, championing, advancing, and pleading for our teens, communities, library, programs, services, and funding, we are advocating..  Advocacy utilizes many ways, styles, forms, and people.  Now, more than ever, we need to increase our advocacy, and at the same time, be more diligent and strategic in our advocacy efforts.

We need you! We need writers, talkers, listeners, researchers, doers, planners, organizers, analyzers and critics, Whatever your strength and skillset, we need you!  Individually we need your skills, knowledge, and resources, collectively we need many of you to serve on a task force to learn more about the advocacy needs of library staff and teens in preparation of accessible and relevant YALSA resources. 

For more information about the task force, click here:  YALSA Advocacy Resources: Community Listening Task Force

Volunteers will be working on a timeline.  The timeline is listed below:

  • Taskforce is formed and work begins: September 1, 2020
  • Taskforce reports results to YALSA board March 15, 2021 
  • YALSA Board Advocacy strategic committee develops next steps for implementation April 15, 2021

If you have additional questions, please contact: YALSA President, Amanda Barnhart at AmandaBarnhart@kclibrary.org.

If you are interested in serving on this task force, please  contact Letitia Smith at lsmith@ala.org by Friday, August 21.

Thank you for volunteering and your service to YALSA!
Sincerely,
Your YALSA Board

Spring Appointments Update

Greetings, all—

I am pleased to report to you that the Spring appointments for the 2020-2021 strategic committees have been completed. Spring appointments include member volunteers who submitted an application(s) over the period of December 2019 through February 2020. After the application form closed in February, I rolled up my sleeves to begin. Yet I was hardly aware of what lay ahead for us all nor did I suspect how quickly I would find myself navigating new aspects of what was clearly no longer a simple task. It will likely not surprise you to hear that I was thrown off course in several attempts to appoint members due to the unanticipated effects of COVID-19. 

Each year the YALSA President-Elect strives to complete all Spring appointments by the end of May. As we are now into the month of July, I want to offer my sincere regret for any YALSA member that has not received an update about their submitted application until now. I am grateful and inspired by all of you who have chosen to commit their time and efforts to support YALSA activities, especially given the challenges we face as a nation and a community, because your help is much needed. I thank each of you for the passion you bring to the field in finding solutions, maintaining relationships, and spearheading new methods for connecting teens to libraries, information, and resources. 

Stay tuned for more volunteer opportunities (a few brand new ones) advertised on the YALSAblog. Also, the Fall application cycle opens soon for all YALSA Award Selection Committees, Selected Lists Blogging Teams, and Juries. Please consider throwing in your name to be considered by the YALSA President-Elect Kelly Czarnecki. Much information on volunteering can be found on the YALSA site, but more Outreach efforts will be forthcoming in the following months. Should you have any questions about this upcoming application cycle, please feel free to reach out to Kelly via kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com

Thank You… and Welcome, Amanda!

Hi everyone,

I want to thank YALSA members, the Board, and Staff for all of the assistance provided over the course of my presidential year. Every challenge has presented a new opportunity for us, and change has always been a great motivator for me. I hope that these past few months have energized you in ways never before considered. The pandemic continues to affect all of us, and presented the need to pivot from what we thought was normal. The fight for racial justice has rallied people together like never before to correct the ills of the past and present and work together for a better future for everyone. In so many instances, seeing and reading that teens are leading the charge for change tells me that the work that we do is important. Black Lives Matter.

I want to take this opportunity to welcome YALSA’s new President, Amanda Barnhart! Amanda and I have worked together over the course of this past year and did our best to serve you, our members. I look forward to helping her to ensure that her presidential year is a successful one. At our recent Board meetings, we approved a Short-term Strategic Plan focused specifically on the needs of members for this coming year. I also want to welcome Kelly Czarnecki as YALSA’s President-Elect. I have one more year on the Board, as Immediate Past-President, and will work to serve as a sort of institutional memory and mentor, among other key roles. The three of us do our best, along with the rest of the YALSA Board, to lead the association as we look to the future!

Thank you again for your support, and for all you do for and with teens.

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020

YALSA Seeks Board Candidates for 2021

Are you passionate about teens and teen services? Do you want to be an ambassador and advocate for YALSA? Then you should consider taking a leadership role in our organization. The Board Development Committee is looking for dedicated, committed volunteers with the skills and desire to run for several board positions: Director-at-Large, Division Councilor and Vice President/President-Elect.

YALSA’s volunteer members are the driving force behind our organization and make it the innovative, responsive organization it is. Dedicated volunteer leaders run the organization and influence its future.  You can find out more about the responsibilities of Vice-President/President-Elect and Division Councilor positions here and Director-at-Large position here. These positions are elected by the membership for a three-year term.

Each year, specific positions are available, and each opening has requirements based on its description and the current makeup of the Board. The Board Development Committee is looking for the most qualified individuals and broad representation. This includes a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. As the YALSA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Plan states: “The vision for YALSA is to be a diverse, inclusive and equitable organization which flourishes on the exchange of ideas from different perspectives. We believe the diversity of viewpoints that comes from different life experiences, identities, cultural backgrounds, and more enables YALSA to better achieve its mission to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.” Having this kind of representation on the Board allows YALSA to attract new members and retain long term ones, all the while making sure we are innovative, educational, professional and fun.

If you feel you have what it takes for one of these leadership roles, fill out the Governance Candidacy Form. The Board Development Committee reviews all the forms and looks for the best match of skills and background for the available positions. Submit the form by July 31.

Don’t wait to let us know you are interested! The Board Development Committee’s deadline is coming up fast. We only have until the end of the summer to present a slate of candidates to the YALSA board for approval. Successful candidates will run for election in the Spring of 2021 and begin their terms in June 2021 at the Annual Conference in Chicago.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Gail Tobin (gtobin@stdl.org) or Ritchie Momon (RMomon@mymcpl.org), the Board Development Committee Co-Chairs.

 

Incoming YALSA President Seeks Taskforce Members

The incoming YALSA President 2020-2021, Amanda Barnhart, seeks member volunteers to serve on the Presidential Taskforce. This role is for a one-year virtual appointment whereby the taskforce will focus on developing activities that support the President’s theme, Representation in Recruitment and Retention: Further Supporting YALSA’s EDI Plan. Three outcomes will guide the taskforce work,

  1. From such examples of how to start an affinity group to understanding intersectional identities, the Presidential Taskforce will work with YALSA staff to develop and provide the membership with quarterly continuing education strategies and ideas that support and celebrate the diversity of library staff and the teens they serve.
  2. The taskforce will identify and engage in efforts that aim to study the value of YALSA resources amongst library staff who work with teens that are seen as “non-members.” There are many non-member library staff whose actions adhere to the YALSA mission or support the YALSA vision and who utilize YALSA resources regardless of having purchased a YALSA membership.
  3. Finally, the taskforce will develop a report that includes findings from the aforementioned study, as well as provide recommendations on strategies for engaging non-members.

Consider applying for this taskforce as an opportunity to further develop your network with fellow advocates invested in EDI work. At the same time, please consider your capacity and knowledge to valuably contribute to conversations on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Interested members should contact Amanda via email AmandaBarnhart@kclibrary.org with a reply to the prompt: Explain which outcome you feel is most important and why. Applicants may also include relevant education or experience. Deadline for volunteering is Monday, June 22nd.

The direction of this taskforce was also influenced by recent work from the YALSA Division and Membership Promotion Committee 2019-2020. YALSA appreciates their efforts in engaging with LIS students and their ideas on reaching out to affiliates.

YALSA Seeks Member Volunteers

Have you ever presented at a local or national conference? Or are you a long-time participant at YALSA webinars or conference and Symposium sessions? YALSA is currently seeking member volunteers, including a committee chair, for the newly created Education Advisory Committee (EAC). The date to apply has been extended to June 10, 2020. 

The role of the Education Advisory Committee is to assist with providing appropriate and timely topics for continuing education offerings and identifying qualified individuals to facilitate continuing education sessions. Our communities are quickly changing and evolving in response to current issues which requires library staff to remain up to date on information and skills if libraries are to remain relevant in the 21st century. 

Providing your voice and direction to the EAC will help guide YALSA in its educational endeavors. Becoming a member volunteer of the EAC is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with your peers and make a difference in continuing education by assuring YALSA is offering relevant and timely content. YALSA needs your leadership in promoting CE opportunities and recognizing the contribution of facilitators and presenters, which is crucial for the growth of our profession and the teens that we impact.

The chair for the EAC serves in an Ex-Officio position on the Board of Directors and attends two board meetings a year. The EAC is a virtual committee with a one year (12 months) term beginning July 1 and is renewable. Complete this form by June 10th to apply.

YALSA Board created the Education Advisory Committee (EAC) to assist with identifying and providing feedback on Continuing Education topics to YALSA’s Executive Director and the newly created position of Program Officer for Continuing Education and Development. You may find more information about the board document here.

YALSA Plans for Fiscal Challenges 

Last month, your YALSA Executive Committee moved forward with budgeting plans for the next fiscal year and in setting a priority to fund strategic planning activities. We’ve also been keyed into finding solutions for the programs and activities that were scheduled for the 2020 ALA Annual conference. In doing so, your YALSA Board is moving these pieces along with special attention to our fiduciary obligations given the current ALA financial environment.

During fiscal year 2020, YALSA’s budget plans were substantially impacted as current funds were utilized to cover ALA expenses. Furthermore, not just YALSA funds, but all other ALA division budgets were also impacted. The utilization of division funds is fully within ALA authority and is a strategy all divisions agreed upon, as is stated in the ALA operating agreement. With these current financial challenges in mind, your YALSA board is planning the next fiscal year’s activities from the seat of a zero-based budget to address our overall YALSA financial health. Perhaps you may wonder “but what does that really mean?” In a nutshell, this means:

  • The YALSA Board continues to fully support that we are ALL ALA and maintains shared ALA values.
  • The YALSA Board values the flexibility of the ALA operating agreement that provides us the opportunity to achieve our mission: to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens – especially those with the greatest need – on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.
  • The YALSA Board is interested in addressing solutions for improving the operating agreement’s policy strategies. One such strategy may be supporting a more efficient and targeted communication within the internal ALA structure on such matters. In other words, the YALSA Board is more interested in moving forward together, rather than dwelling on any errors of yesterday.

This also means that, as we move through these opportunities and challenges, we welcome your questions, comments, or concerns you may have regarding our financial situation. While we may have our own perspectives, your voice is vitally important in guiding the YALSA Board and focusing our efforts in better collaboration with our ALA Executive Board on YALSA members’ priorities.

We appreciate your time in sharing your thoughts regarding the future of YALSA’s financial health and, in doing so, the financial health of ALA.

Todd Krueger, YALSA President, and Amanda Barnhart, YALSA President-Elect

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.