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.

YALS Winter 2017: What Cultural Competence Means for Librarians

Patricia Overall describes cultural competence as: “a highly developed ability to understand and respect cultural differences and to address issues of disparity among diverse populations competently.” Elsa Ouvard-Prettol, in her current YALS article What Cultural Competence Means for Librarians: How to Cultivate This Important Skills to Positively Impact Our Patrons, notes that the only way anyone can relate to others, is by “being able to confront and accept one’s cultural background.” This is extremely true and a very important part about working in a diverse library.

According to ALA Diversity Count vs. U.S. Census, library staff do not “reflect the ethnic diversity of the American population.” This is somewhat upsetting as the library serves a wide-range of people in the community. Changes will need to made at the top, even starting with a more diverse population of LIS students, which will lead to libraries having  more diverse staff. As of now, Ouvard-Prettol notes that recruiting diverse LIS students has had challenges, and studies are being made as to why this is a current issue. I think that one way staff could work towards recruiting prospective students is by looking into their teen community and offering a career program, or volunteer program. We currently have various teen volunteers in my branch, who started volunteering because they are interested in librarianship. We also have a librarian who started as a teen volunteer and worked his way up to an adult librarian position.

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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.

YALSA Board @ Midwinter 2017: Governance Nominating Committee Re-envisioning

At the 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando, the YALSA Board of Directors directed the Leading the Transformation for Teen Services Board Standing Committee to re-envision the Governance Nominating Committee as a Board Development Committee. This is part of reorganization to align YALSA with the Organization Plan. This board document proposes an expansion of the Governance Nominating Committees duties to focus on the leadership development of the board. The new duties will include board training and assessment. It also creates a formalized process to cultivate leaders within the association. The Nominating Committee in its current instantiation is already part of what could be the pipeline of leadership for YALSA, nominating the slate for YALSA each year. This document also supports the effort to reframe the work of the Executive Committee to focus on ALA relations and fiscal oversight, as the Executive Committee is currently responsible for board training and assessment.

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YALSA Board @ Midwinter 2017: Interest Groups Update

At the 2016 Annual Conference last summer, the YALSA Board passed a motion to revitalize our Interest Groups. The timing could hardly be better. The reorganization project has members thinking about YALSA in a fresh light, realizing that an organization must continually translate its mission into the language of the times. And while YALSA’s structural innovations may come from the vision of the Board, individual members may also seize the opportunity to envision new directions for young adult library service. Interest Groups offer members the agency to create small communities that foster professional networking while granting the legitimacy of the YALSA organization.

Participating in Interest Groups is easy. It’s an opt-in virtual opportunity that can be short-term, medium-term, or long-term. The level of participation is completely up to members.

One year ago, YALSA had just one active Interest Group: Teen Mental Health. Now there are two Interest Groups that focus on geographical proximity (Washington DC Metro Area and Los Angeles County Area) and two more that are up for approval at this year’s Midwinter Conference (Picture Books for Teens and Teens Are Not Alone.) We expect the number to increase as the final steps of the revitalization plan are implemented. These steps include revamping the content on the YALSA Interest Group FAQ page, creating a list-serv for Interest Group conveners, and organizing opportunities for an All-Interest Group meeting at conferences.

The YALSA Board will be discussing the implementation of these ideas (http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/InterestGroups_MW17.pdf) at the Board I meeting, held on Saturday, January 21, at the Georgia World Congress Center, Room A406.

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’s Community Connections Taskforce, a Virtual Taskforce

Six members and one chair are busy pulling together a toolkit that libraries can use to help them create partnerships and secure funding from community sources. In addition to sample emails and letters that can be adapted by anyone, we’re including a Best Practices in Funding Requests section gleaned from interviews with libraries and library foundations across the country. The section will be organized according to responses made to a series of questions.

Three members, assisted by a fourth, took on the task of identifying large libraries around the country with foundations, and mid-sized and small libraries at the same time. Questions were drawn up, and the lead member of this research group interviewed her first foundation at her own library, Seattle Public. The three group members tried to find libraries willing to answer their questions. Many times, they struck out. They would go back to the drawing board and identify more libraries to take the place of the ones that did not respond. Finally, a fourth member, hearing their story during a Google Hangout, offered some assistance herself, and they got a couple more responding libraries.

One member did a lot of research, which will help us present topics that are important to know about partnerships and funding. She also drew up all of the sample emails that can be modified by any library. And she was the fourth member of the research group who helped out when the team needed more library responses.

Another member drew up strategies for assessing teen and community needs. He has been able to attend nearly all of the Google Hangouts we’ve had. Our sixth member is pulling the whole document together before our January 31st deadline.

We are using ALA Connect as our tool to share items with the group. The Toolkit should be available by the end of January 2017.

Dina Schuldner is the chair. Her last library position was as a Young Adult Librarian for the Gold Coast Public Library in New York. She currently resides in Virginia Beach, VA.

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!