Update on the Search for the Next ALA Executive Director

Currently a petition is circulating among ALA members that attempts to put a measure on the ALA spring ballot in an effort to overturn the most recent decision by ALA Council to change the language of the job announcement for the next ALA Executive Director from “MLIS preferred” (or CAEP/school librarian equivalent) back to MLIS required. YALSA’s Board of Directors strongly favors retaining the current status that prefers that candidates hold the MLIS/CAEP degree rather than require it. We feel that in order to effectively lead a professional organization the size and scope of ALA, a person’s skill as an association executive is critical. If there is a degreed librarian with these skills, that would be most desirable.

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Basic Leadership Skills: A New YALSA E-Course

In 2018 – 2019 YALSA will offer a series of leadership e-courses, to help library staff advance their leadership skills, regardless of job type or level.

Leadership is made up of multiple layers. In fact, in 2017, the Nexus Leading Across Boundaries project released the Layers of Leadership framework. The framework lays out six layers to consider in order to develop leadership skills and take on an active role as a leader in an organization – local, state, regional, national. In YALSA’s e-learning series, each area of the framework will be explored.

In the first course (scheduled for 1/22/18-2/18/18), Basic Leadership Skills, Josie Watanabe will facilitate learning related to the first two layers of the Nexus Framework: Leading Self and Leading Others. Learn more about what Josie is planning for this course in this 9 minute video.

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YALSA Snack Break: Creativity in Leadership

YALSA’s November webinar, Creativity in Leadership, was facilitated by three librarians in Montana – Rebekah Kamp, Heather Dickerson, and Cody Allen – who inspired attendees with strategies and examples of bringing innovative practices and leadership to services for and with teens. The November YALSA Snack Break is a five minute excerpt from this webinar. It focuses on how to make decisions about teen services activities, the importance of risk in teen services, and accepting and reframing failure. Check it out below:

You can view all of YALSA’s Snack Breaks by accessing the Snack Break playlist.

YALSA members have free access to all webinars (login required). Non-members can purchase webinars for a low cost.

YALSA Board – Advocating for Teens in Other Associations

YALSA Board Members – Other Associations

Earlier in October, the YALSA Board of Directors held a virtual discussion about what it means to serve as ambassadors for YALSA. We discussed our role in advocating with state and national elected officials and in fundraising, as well as how we actively support and advance YALSA’s positive reputation with members, within the profession, and within our own communities.  Ask any YALSA board member and we’ve got our “elevator speech” ready to go–I know I’m not the only board member with our mission statement memorized! Throughout our Board chat, we realized that we are very active in many organizations, not just YALSA.  Click on the graphic to see where else we spend our energy.  With every meeting, conference call, workshop or listserv message, YALSA Board members are advocating for teens in these organizations, too.  YALSA also has many sponsors and partners who are helping us advocate for teens–companies, foundations, nonprofits, and ALA partners.

What do we want to see?

YALSA’s vision is that all teens have access to quality library programs and services ‒ no matter where they occur ‒ that link them to resources, connected learning opportunities, coaching, and mentoring that are tailored to the unique circumstances of the community and that create new opportunities for all teens’ personal growth, academic success, and career development.

Think about the connections you have beyond the library. Where else do you spend your time and energy? How are those avenues that you can use to advocate for teens and your library?

We appreciate that you have chosen to be an ALA and YALSA member.  Thank you for your support and for believing in our vision!

Graphic Key

A-Association, IG-Interest Group, RT-Round Table

Volunteer for the Board Development Committee or District Days Taskforce!

YALSA is now seeking volunteers for two virtual member groups:

  • Board Development Committee (formerly the Governance Nominating Committee): this group will work from January 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, and will be responsible for identifying candidates for the 2019 slate, training and on-boarding individuals who serve on YALSA’s Board of Directors, and identifying and cultivating future leaders.  This is a great opportunity for someone who has board or governance experience, whether at the local, state or national level.  Committee size: 5-7 virtual members.
  • District Days Taskforce: If you enjoy marketing and have some experience with local-level advocacy, this opportunity is for you!  This group will work from April 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2018 to provide resources and support to members to engage locally with elected officials.  Learn ore about District Days on the wiki.  Taskforce size: 5 – 7 virtual members

Fill out the Committee Volunteer Form by December 1st, 2017

Thanks for all the time and talent you volunteer to YALSA!  If you’re looking for other ways to get involved, visit the YALSA web site for more opportunities or check out this brand new video from Jack Martin and Kate McNair!  If you have questions feel free to get in touch with me (cmartin@hri.uci.edu).

Crystle Martin,  YALSA President-Elect

YALSA Leadership and Volunteering

At ALA Annual this year, YALSA held information sessions on how to get involved with the organization, both as a new volunteer and as someone seeking leadership opportunities.  Here’s a recap of the event.

If you’re just starting out, volunteering for one of YALSA’s committees is an excellent first step.  All YALSA members are encouraged to fill out the Committee Volunteer Form once a year. Here is a list of committees and the link to the form. Continue reading

YALS Summer 2017 Companion: Research RoundUp: Learning To Lead The Organization

Are you a manager? A supervisor? Maybe, like me, you feel you are a great follower. I have been working in my current position, as the sole full-time library staff, for eight years; and I have developed my position as well as our library collections and the services we offer, and slowly but surely, my department is growing. I have also, over the last four years, been increasing my participation in local, state and national library associations and events.

As I keep thinking about how my Library Services department can best respond to my community’s needs and interests, as well as how I can grow professionally, I have been thinking about what leadership is. Through this exploration I started thinking: maybe I can be a leader. Maybe, in some small ways, I had already taken steps on the path to leadership. That was an intense moment for me, as I had never thought of myself as a leader. Here is what I gained from my research, which I hope will also provoke new ideas for you!

A LEADER’S ATTITUDE

Current research on library leadership agrees: library leaders know that a library is at the heart of their community, and that the emphasis should not be on what the library owns but on what the library does. Thus, library leaders need to focus on discovering, understanding and responding to the community needs.

The philosophy can be condensed to: “Books out, people in”. That is what Louise Berry, former director of the famous Darien Public Library in Connecticut, used to say. It is the work of library leadership to bring together the library (staff, collection and services) and its community. An example of that philosophy is what the Tuzzy Consortium Library (Barrow, AK) has been able to put together, thanks to their leadership’s focus on the community. They have partnered with the school districts, local public and private organizations, the State Library, local clubs, and many more, to channel their power into one goal: serving the community.

Leadership can be demonstrated through several characteristics, which I have been fortunate to observe in the leadership team at my school. Leaders:

  • hire people who fit well with our school culture and have the same vision and values;
  • trust them to do their job on their own;
  • hold themselves and others to high standards;
  • provide (internal and external) professional development for everyone within reach and even go beyond those standards;
  • listen to our community (staff, faculty, students and parents);
  • make decisions based on our community’s needs and interests.

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Followup from YALSA Board @ #alaac17

If you attended ALA’s Annual Conference, I hope you’re safely home and recovering from all that is conference! If you have never been to this event, members can apply by December 1st for a travel grant from YALSA to go to the next one in New Orleans!

The YALSA Board was very productive in Chicago, and you can see the actions of the board on this page.  Some highlights include:

The board will continue to explore:

Look for the official minutes from our Annual meetings coming soon. At the conclusion of our board meetings, I officially handed the gavel over to the awesome YALSA President Sandra Hughes-Hassell, and the new board members were seated.  Check out our current roster for some new and familiar faces.

The Board’s next meeting will be at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting from February 9-13, 2018. We’re looking forward to seeing YALSA members in Denver!

And remember, YALSA’s YA Services Symposium will be in Louisville, Kentucky, November 3-5, 2017. Early bird registration is going on now!

Thanks for all that you do to make YALSA an amazing association and thank you for the tremendous opportunity to serve as the association’s President. It was an honor and a privilege to work with you all this past year!

YALSA Board @ #alaac17: Membership Meeting & President’s Program

If you’re attending Annual, I hope you can join us Monday, June 26, from 10:30-noon, in the Convention Center, room W184bc, for the Annual YALSA Membership Meeting and President’s Program!

During the membership meeting, you’ll meet the current YALSA Board of Directors, as well as next year’s Board.  We’ll recognize grant and award winners, as well as donors.  I’ll give a brief update of board actions over the past year, and the incoming president-elect, Sandra Hughes-Hassell, will discuss her initiative for next year.

Directly after the membership meeting, my presidential program task force chair, Valerie Davis, will lead a panel discussion on the theme of “Real Teens, Real Ready” about college/career readiness and adulting.  She had great help finding these speakers–her task force members were Lisa Borten, Lisa Dettling, Jeremy Dunn, Katie Guzan, and Ellen Popit.

Panelists include:

  • Tiffany Boeglen and Britni Cherrington-Stoddart, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library – Non-Traditional Career Paths
  • Laurel Johnson, Skokie Public Library – Neutral Zone/Peer Guided Conversations
  • Lisa Borten, Brooklyn Public Library – Youth Council/Urban Art Jamm
  • Jennifer Steele, Chicago Public Library – (PRO)jectUS, creative workforce development/partnerships
  • Emmanuel Pratt, Sweet Water Foundation, Chicago – Neighborhood Development for Youth

The presentations are going to be awesome, so be prepared to find ideas that you can implement in your community!  See you there!

Get Involved in YALSA!

2017 marks a milestone in my career. It’s been 10 years since I worked in a library! I started working in my local library in high school, shelving books and preparing materials for circulation, working my way through different positions before becoming a YA Librarian in 2003. Without knowing it, I landed my dream job! The library climate was very different then…there were far fewer YA librarian positions and even less that were dedicated YA positions (mine was half YA half Volunteer Coordinator). Finding a place to ask questions, gain support, and foster my excitement about serving this great population became a critical part of my career. I became a YALSA member because I needed what YALSA provided. In 2007, my career took a turn and I became a Consultant for Youth Services in a regional library system in MA. YALSA continued to provide me with opportunities and resources that helped me become a resource to my members. Now, I’m the Consulting and Training Services (CATS) Director for the MA Library System. I haven’t worked directly with youth in ten years, but YALSA is still as important as ever to me.

I’m sure your story is similar to mine. Working with teens is a unique and wonderful experience that fulfils many of us. Many librarians I’ve spoken with say they have “found their calling” when describing why they are YA librarians.

As a member of YALSA, I wanted to give back to the organization that had given me so much. I gained teamwork, leadership, and project management skills as I volunteered and participated in in-person and online committee work. Toward the end of 2009, I saw that YALSA was re-committing itself to not only providing opportunities for librarians serving teens, but to the teens themselves. I wanted to be a part of that conversation. After talking with a few trusted colleagues, I ran for the YALSA board and won a seat on the Board of Directors.

What’s YALSA committee and Board of Director work like?  It’s amazing. To be an active member of the organization gives you a new sense of understanding. You’ll gain critical leadership skills (public speaking, project and financial management, working with people of differing viewpoints, time management and more) and be an integral part of the organization. There’s a lot of work, though. Meetings (online and in person), self-directed assignments like reviewing board reports, connecting with other YALSA members, acting as a YALSA rep in your region/district/state, bringing ideas to the table, and balancing big picture thinking with practical library implementation. Library and family support of your role is critical, as travel to conferences is often (but not always) required. You’ll need to manage your work to ensure ample time for committee/board work. Board work is generally 5 hours a month, and more during the months of Midwinter and Annual. Committee work time varies by committee. Conferences will become work time, not session attending time. But you won’t miss out on the learning aspect. What you will learn in a role like this cannot be taught in any session or workshop.

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