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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YALSA President’s Report – November 2017

Colleagues-

I’d like to begin this month’s President’s report by talking about an issue of importance to YALSA and to our members – the search for a new ALA Executive Director.  You may be aware that Keith Fiels, ALA’s Executive Director, retired in July and that an interim director is filling the role until the position can be permanently filled.  In November the ALA Council voted to make the MLIS a preferred degree for the ALA Executive Director position. Prior to the vote, the YALSA Board communicated our support for this decision to ALA Council and the ALA Executive Board in this Board document. Our rationale for this decision can be found in this Board document, approved at Midwinter 2017. Currently, a petition is circulating among the ALA membership, and if the minimum number of required signatures is met, the issue of whether or not an MLIS for the ALA Executive Director position would be preferred or required would be put on the spring 2018 ballot for a membership wide vote.

The YALSA Board strongly favors retaining the ALA Council decision that the MLIS be preferred, but not required.  As we know, the library profession is overwhelmingly white and female; however, ALA has made a commitment to diversity by adding an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion goal to its strategic plan – a decision we applaud.  Yet, by requiring an MLIS, we believe ALA would be narrowing the pool of potential candidates to mainly white, female candidates – a contradiction to ALA’s stated commitment to diversity.  Also, industry best practice indicates that the CEO position of a nonprofit professional organization requires expertise in nonprofit and association leadership, in addition to passion for the organization’s mission and a strong commitment to libraries and library values.

Proponents of requiring an MLIS for the ALA Executive Director position feel that the issue is a matter of professionalism: that not requiring an MLIS de-professionalizes librarianship; however, ALA is not a library.  It is an association.  YALSA’s Board is a strong proponent of maintaining professional standards for librarians and for other occupations.  Professional standards for the leader of a non-profit association like ALA are degrees such as a Master’s in nonprofit management, or certification, such as the American Society of Association Executive’s “Certified Association Executive” designation. It is critical that the person running an association like ALA has the relevant credentials and experience to do an excellent job. YALSA is only as strong as ALA, so it is in our best interest to ensure that individuals who are highly qualified and from diverse backgrounds are eligible to apply for the ALA Executive Director Position.

The previous ALA Executive Director announced his retirement in the fall of 2016.  Earlier in 2017 a search was conducted for a replacement that led to a failed search, caused in part by the fact that at the time the job description stated that an MLIS was required.  During this current political climate, when institutions like libraries are under attack, ALA needs a strong leader.  We cannot afford to be without a leader any longer, nor can we afford to put up unnecessary barriers to highly qualified and diverse individuals to applying for this job.  I hope you will stand with YALSA’s Board and ALA Council and agree that an MLIS degree for the ALA Executive Director should be preferred but not required.

In addition to working with the YALSA Board on this important issue, here are some highlights of my other activities in November.

Accomplishments

  • Attended the YALSA Symposium in Louisville
  • Delivered a presentation about the YALSA Futures Report at the YALSA/COSLA National Forum on Transforming Teen Services through Continuing Education
  • Presented the keynote address at the NY City School Librarian’s Conference
  • Prepared for the November Board chat where we discussed the 2017 YALSA member survey results
  • Wrote President’s column for the winter issue of YALS focused on youth activism through community engagement
  • Led YALSA Executive Committee meeting where we discussed YALSA finances and ALA relations

Stats and Data

  • Funds raised in Oct. = $1,346.52
  • Member stats for Oct. = 4,793 (down 3.4% over this time last year)

Don’t Forget!

  • Double your impact!  Between now and Jan. 15, 2018 any donation to YALSA up to $1,000 will be matched dollar for dollar by ALA! Find out more here.
  • The YALSA Board approved a new version of YALSA’s Competencies. Make sure to sign up for the free webinars
  • Check out the YALSA Blog and The Hub for great ideas and the latest on YA services and resources!
  • Check out the Current Projects page to stay updated on what’s going on!

Thank you!

  • To Diane Colson for her 2 ½ years of thoughtful and passionate service as a YALSA Board member! We wish you the best in your new job!
  • To everyone who has donated to the YALSA Leadership Endowment Challenge and who gave on Giving Tuesday!
  • To all our members for all that you do to support teens and teen library services in your communities.

Respectfully submitted,

Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President 2017-2018

Follow me on twitter @Bridge2Lit

 

YALSA Member Survey – Exploring Advocacy

Couldn’t pass up a picture of a cat in the White House!

To track progress on strategic goals, YALSA sends out an annual membership survey. This year, questions focused on how we practice advocacy at the local, state and national level.

One of the goals of the organizational plan was “100% of YALSA members conduct advocacy at some level and recognize that they are doing so. Activities include but not limited to participating in local youth development boards and groups.”  So in this year’s member survey we asked you what types of local and legislative library activities you have engaged in and if not, why not?

We were pleased and surprised by the results. The great news is that out of members who filled out the survey, 80% practiced local advocacy and 62% practiced legislative advocacy in the last year. With an incoming administration in the White House, ALA and YALSA called on members to share information about the impact of libraries and library funding in the lives of teens. And thanks to those 62% of members who engaged in legislative advocacy in the last year, we kept IMLS funds in the the federal budget.

The largest barriers to practicing legislative advocacy were having the time and the know how (about 17% of members responded they did not know how to engage in legislative advocacy and 16% indicated they just don’t have the time). If you are looking to build your skills in this area or quick resources that can help you have a big impact, check out:

We appreciate everyone who took the time to answer the member survey as we work to measure our progress toward the goals outlined in the organizational plan.

YALSA Local Arrangements BFYA Feedback Session

The YALSA Local Arrangements committee for ALA Midwinter in Denver, CO is recruiting youth participants for a Best Fiction for Young Adults feedback session. As you know, YALSA takes input from the youth very seriously. Not only does it allow us to shape and support our organizational goals, but also it creates a unique and valuable experience for all participants – those speaking and those listening.

For Denver we are interested in hearing 50 local teens tell us what they did or did not like about the books on the BFYA nomination list. The session will be held on Saturday, February 10th, from 1pm – 3pm. As a thank you, these lucky teens and sponsors will also get to tour the exhibition halls that morning and have lunch before the session begins.

All interested parties should submit an application for their groups here: https://goo.gl/forms/yowz4daGhFOBt7nH2

Hurry! The deadline to apply is DECEMBER 22nd.

Please direct any questions to Michelyne Gray at mgray@cherrycreekschools.org

Catch Up With a Past Grant Winner — Part 2

Thinking of applying for a Dollar General summer grant? Hear firsthand from 2015 summer learning grant winner Emily Otis, in Q&A style, about her 2015 summer program for Anaheim Public Library in California and how receiving the grant helped her and her teen patrons. This is the second of a short series in which we catch up with previous grant winners.

1. Please tell us a little bit about your library and your 2015 summer reading program.

2015 was the first time in many years that the Teen SRP was run by a dedicated Teen Librarian. After budget cuts and layoffs about 5 years before, one librarian shared responsibility for adult and teen collections and services. I was hired as Teen Librarian in the fall of 2014, and saw right away that YA collection development and teen programs had languished (as would be expected). Our SRP numbers from the year before had been relatively low, and there had been no programming. The theme for 2015 was Read To the Rhythm, so I planned musically inspired programs, had teen volunteers create a musical mural to hang in the teen space, and went out to the high school to promote the program and drum up participation. See More

The summer learning grant applications are open now until January 1st, 2018. There are two types of grants available, valued at $1000 each, and 40 total grants will be awarded. Eligibility requirements apply. More information and applications can be found here.

An Interview with Sean Gilmartin, Dorothy Broderick Scholarship Recipient

Claire Moore, from YALSA’s Leadership Initiatives Fundraising Taskforce recently interviewed Sean Gilmartin.  He was the 2017 recipient of the Dorothy Broderick Student Scholarship, which is funded through YALSA’s Leadership Endowment.  The taskforce’s goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of January 2018 to grow the endowment so that there’s enough interest to fund other leadership initiatives, like scholarships for a leadership e-course series that’s coming in 2018.  So far, the taskforce has raised approximately $12,500.  Any donation made now through Jan. 15th will be matched dollar for dollar by ALA.  Please consider making a gift–any size helps, and ALA will double your impact!

Dorothy Broderick Student Scholarship Recipient

Sean Gilmartin, Teen Services Librarian at Elmwood Park Public Library

How long have you been a YALSA member?

2 years

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Catch Up With a Past Summer Grant Winner

Want to hear firsthand the benefits of applying for a Dollar General summer grant? 2015 summer learning grant winner Bill Stea, in a Q&A style spoke about his summer program for Walford West Library in Maryland and how receiving the grant helped him and his teen patrons. This is the first of a short series in which we catch up with previous grant winners.

  1. Please tell us a little bit about your library and your 2015 summer reading program

Waldorf West Library is the largest and newest of the four branches in the Charles County Public Library system in Southern Maryland. Our library serves the citizens and community of Charles County, a suburban county below the Washington, DC beltway. According to the 2013 US Census American Community Survey, 8,818 county residents are currently enrolled in Grades 9 through 12 in public school and 8,475 of teens in that age range have library cards. See more.

The summer learning grant applications are open now until January 1st, 2018. There are two types of grants available, valued at $1000 each, and 40 total grants will be awarded. Eligibility requirements apply. More information and applications can be found here.

Support YALSA for #GivingTuesday

Today is #GivingTuesday – a movement that celebrates giving and encourages more, better and smarter giving during the holiday season.

Please consider making a donation to Friends of YALSA to support grants, scholarships and awards for members, and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do the same. So far in 2017, Friends of YALSA has raised $9,802 towards its goal of $14,095 needed to provide our annual member grants, awards and scholarships. Our Giving Tuesday goal is to raise the remaining $4,293. This year, Giving Tuesday is extra special because you can double your impact! With every dollar that is donated, ALA will match it, dollar for dollar (up to a $1,000 individual gift)!

I am giving to Friends of YALSA to give back to an organization that has done so much for me. I have taken advantage of the awards, grants, and more leadership and learning opportunities than I could count. Now it is my turn to pay it forward.

Donate Today and help Friends of YALSA support our profession. Then, take an #UNselfie with a message explaining why you are giving, tag it #GivingTuesday and post it on our Facebook or tweet us!

Thank you – and Happy Giving Tuesday!

 

Kate Denier is the Chair of YALSA’s Financial Advancement Committee.

How YALSA Funds Member Services & Support for Library Staff

A common question that I get, especially from new board members, is about where funds come from to support YALSA and its members.  The answer is pretty straightforward, although not one many people expect.  Member dues make up only about a third of YALSA’s total funding.  The other two thirds comes from product sales (award seals, books & e-learning); events (YA Services Symposium & ticketed events at ALA conferences); grants; corporate sponsorships; interest from YALSA’s endowments; and individual donations.  Many people are surprised to learn that funds from ALA or the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) are not a part of YALSA’s annual budget.  Actually, YALSA receives important services from ALA, such as HR and legal counsel, but not regular financial support.  IMLS offers competitive grants that YALSA is eligible for, and we have been awarded two.  If you’re interested, you can learn more about YALSA finances in my latest annual report.

All the funds that come into YALSA, from whatever source, are used to

  1. Provide members with services and support, like free monthly webinars and the summer learning grants we now have available
  2. Create and share resources with the library community, at no cost to library staff, such as our short, informational videos and newest toolkit about teen literacies

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YALSA Member Survey-The Future’s Report

Did you know that there are over 4,800 members in YALSA? It’s true! YALSA has one of the largest memberships in one of the eleven divisions in ALA. Each year, YALSA asks it’s member to participate in a survey in order to hear from YOU. What we want to know is ; what do you want more from YALSA, do you have concerns and how YALSA can help you more.
One of the high points from the survey was 49% of those that participated reported they were “somewhat familiar” with the YALSA’s Future’s Report: A Call to Action. This is a much higher percentage from the last survey. Not only were members “somewhat familiar” but they were incorporating a significant percentage of recommendation from the Future’s Report into the work they were doing with and for teens. Thinking more about ways to incorporate connected learning approaches into library activities, facilitating learning with teens, expanding collection development beyond traditional print resources, reaching out to teens out in the community who are not regular library users, discovering community needs and seeking out community partners to engage with to support those needs, providing college & career readiness services for and with teens and working towards closing the digital divide & knowledge gap were among the responses that were reported as being the highest.
Why is being “familiar” or “somewhat familiar” a success? The YALSA Future’s Report report shows that many libraries are continuing to grapple with diminishing resources while at the same time struggling to meet the needs of a changing teen population. Additionally, significant developments in technology have led to the need to rethink how services for and with teens are best created and delivered. The Future’s Report provides recommendations on how libraries must address challenges and re-envision their teen services in order to meet the needs of their individual communities and to collectively ensure that the nation’s 40+ million teens develop the skills they need to be productive citizens. This report is a crucial and deciding document that illustrates the challenges and provides solutions. The solutions are not quick fixes they are things that may take time and they may not work in your community but there are other ideas that may. The mere indication that 49% of YALSA members are “somewhat familiar” with the Future’s Report shows that the document has been read, taken seriously and things have been implemented in libraries. This is huge! YALSA would love to see a higher response of members indicating they are “very familiar” with the Future’s Report for the next survey but at this time this is a success being “somewhat familiar”. Please share your successes with incorporating recommendations from the Future’s Report in your library in the comment box with this post.