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. 

2020 YALSA Election: An Interview with President-Elect Candidate Kelly Czarnecki

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!

The President-Elect serves a three-year term — first as the President-Elect, then as the President during the second year, and finally as the Immediate Past President during the third year. The President-Elect is a member of the Executive Committee alongside the President, Immediate Past President, Division Councilor, Fiscal Officer, Secretary, and Executive Director. The Executive Committee works with its ALA counterpart to build ties between the two organizations and helps with the fiscal oversight of YALSA.  A full description of the President-Elect’s duties and responsibilities can be found here .You can learn more about ALA elections here.

What is your name and current position? Kelly Czarnecki, Teen Loft Manager at ImaginOn

What best qualifies you for being President-Elect?
As an accomplished librarian, I offer a track record of success in developing, implementing, and managing new programs to attract targeted audiences and serve the community. This includes rolling out multiple specialized programs to reach and serve teens for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in North Carolina.

From a leadership perspective, I excel in managing and developing employees, facilitating career advancement opportunities while training them in polices, processes, systems, tools, and customer service protocols.

I feel these skills translate well to the position of President-Elect in leading others and the organization to continuing to be relevant for teens. As a strong advocate on a local level, I will continue to make the needs of teens and library workers known through the organization and the public at large.

Some of the highlights of my involvement with ALA and 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
  • Serving a term as an ALA Councilor-At-Large

Being an active member of both ALA and YALSA has helped me to better understand the structure of the organization and give voice to issues that are important in working with teens which will be needed for the President-Elect position.

I am also an employee of a shelter serving families experiencing homelessness. I have worked at a shelter longer than I’ve been a librarian. My work with these non-profit agencies definitely gives me needed insight to challenges that teens face and better prepares me as a President-Elect of YALSA.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
Making sure that we’re including their perspective as much as we can in the decisions that are made and the content delivered. If we’re not getting a lot of participation in the ways that we’re trying to solicit their opinions, then what can we do differently? I’d like to continue to grow opportunities for them to be an active part of YALSA and help drive the agenda—not just give feedback and ideas. Being a part of trainings, online content, writing opportunities, research, and more to share their voices!

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
If I was asked this question before COVID-19, I might have answered differently. I think because so much is in a state of flux right now with quarantines, job loss, and other hardships, we’re going to see shifts in the organization and in the needs of teens in ways that can’t necessarily be predicted, but that we need to anticipate. The mission of supporting library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face is relevant now more than ever. Being a viable resource as the landscape continues to unfold is an area YALSA is very strong in and will continue to do so no matter what the challenge(s) may be.

What else would you like voters to know about you?
That I’m grateful for your support. I thank you for the trust you’ve given me if elected, and I care about how we can make YALSA a better place for you and the teens that we serve.

2020 YALSA Election: An Interview with President-Elect Candidate Franklin Escobedo

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!

The President-Elect serves a three-year term — first as the President-Elect, then as the President during the second year, and finally as the Immediate Past President during the third year. The President-Elect is a member of the Executive Committee alongside the President, Immediate Past President, Division Councilor, Fiscal Officer, Secretary, and Executive Director. The Executive Committee works with its ALA counterpart to build ties between the two organizations and helps with the fiscal oversight of YALSA.  A full description of the President-Elect’s duties and responsibilities can be found here .You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Franklin Escobedo, Library Director of the Larkspur Library

What best qualifies you for being President-Elect?
I have been an active member of YALSA for the past twelve years. Serving on committees, juries, selection lists, the Printz Award committee, and serving three years on the YALSA Board. Before running for the Board, I really wanted to learn about our association, and over this time I have seen the association grow and change. While our association has changed in many ways, it’s still focused on serving and supporting our members. 

What do you see as the primary role of the YALSA Board?
I still believe the primary role of the YALSA Board is to speak for the membership. Part of the role is to help guide the association to develop resources and services for our members and those working with teens on a daily basis. The Board’s role is also to oversee the financial health of the association to assist the Executive Director in making decisions that ensure the continued viability of YALSA.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
The concept of “teens first” has been around for few years now. As librarians, it’s a parallel to outcome-based programming. For every decision we make about programming, readers advisory, and professional development, “teens first” is the ultimate outcome. How will the decision impact the teens we serve and how do the decisions we make empower the teens we serve?

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
The most pressing issue is the same one facing ALA itself: member retention. The association cannot work without the support of its members. For many members, we’re paying our own dues without the support of the libraries we work for. YALSA needs to continue to innovate and create resources that our members can use to develop their careers.  

What would be the most exciting aspect of this position? The most challenging?  
The most exciting part for me is the opportunity to lead YALSA and to help guide the future of our association. When I first became involved in YALSA, I was the YALSA liaison for the GLBT-RT (now the Rainbow Roundtable). I did this for four years early in my career. As an observer of the Board, it was always hard to hold back when issues were being debated and decisions were being made. As a member of the Board while serving as Secretary, it was exciting being able to be part of the decision-making process. I loved this part of the work. The most challenging part is anticipating the future and the future needs of our teens. While many of us are currently at home due to the ongoing health crisis, I worry about the immediate future. How can we continue to provide robust services to teens through the online environment and how do we reach teens in the age of information overload? What resources and tools can we provide to our members to help them work with teens via online resources? 

What else would you like voters to know about you?
While I may be a Library Director now, I began my career as a Young Adult Services Librarian. As I always remind colleagues that have moved up in their organizations, we still work with teens. We have the opportunity to help shape the library and library services that impact teens by developing a library-wide “teens first” attitude.

What are you reading? What are you watching?
I’m currently reading a few books: Docile by K.Z Szpara, The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, and The King of Crows by Libba Bray. I’ve just started watching Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. I’m loving it!

Committee Volunteer Form Open! Apply by Feb. 1

Get leadership opportunities and be a part of moving YALSA forward while networking with colleagues. Serve on one of YALSA’s strategic committees, advisory boards or taskforces!

President-Elect Amanda Barnhart will appoint members for the following 2020-2021 groups:

  • AASL/ALSC/YALSA School/Public Lib Coop. – 7/1 to 6/30
  • Organization and Bylaws – 7/1 to 6/30
  • District Days – 2/1 to 6/30
  • Division and Membership Promotion – 7/1 to 6/30
  • YALS Editorial Advisory Board – 7/1 to 6/30
  • Financial Advancement – 7/1 to 6/30
  • Annual Conference and Local Arrangements – 1/1/21 to 6/30/21
  • Research Committee – 7/1 to 6/30
  • Research Journal Advisory Board – 7/1 to 6/30
  • Teens’ Top Ten Committee – 7/1 to 6/30
  • The Hub Advisory Board – 7/1 to 6/30
  • YALS/YALSAblog Editorial Advisory Board – 7/1 to 6/30

Learn more about each committee here. All terms are for one year unless indicated otherwise. Term start and end dates are indicated above. Before submitting the form, view the committee FAQ and the committee responsibilities section in the YALSA handbook. Fill out the form (must log into your ALA account) by Feb. 1. Questions? Please email Amanda Barnhart.

NEW Board of Directors ex-officio position – Advocacy seat

Hello everyone,

YALSA members voted in the spring 2019 elections to change the number of directors-at-large from seven to six and to create an Ex-Officio Advocacy position. This position will be held by someone who is not yet a YALSA member, but advocates for teens in their role working for an institution, a non-profit, a for-profit venture, or as a volunteer, among other capacities. Current or former employment in a library is neither required nor is it a disqualification; however, the intent is to encourage a person with a perspective outside the library realm to join the Board. At the 2019 Annual meeting in Washington DC, the Board decided to fill this seat by an application process followed by Board appointment, similar to that of the ALA Liaison and Board Fellow processes.

Some of the rationale in creating this position included:

● The inclusion of an advocate who works beyond the library teen services space can bring a unique perspective and help broaden the organization’s outlook on serving youth
● A more diverse Board can strengthen its capacity by bringing in relevant skills or knowledge from beyond the library community
● By including advocates on the Board, YALSA is modeling the behavior it wants members to adopt at the local level in terms of reaching out into the community to forge partnerships that increase their ability to meet teen needs

This ex-officio Board member will serve a 1-year term, with the potential to renew for a second 1-year term. This person would begin service after the ALA Annual 2020 Conference in Chicago. A focus we are considering for this position is to be a point person for National Library Legislative Day (from 2021 on). No prior library experience or familiarity with libraries or YALSA is required for this position.

If you are interested in applying, or know of an excellent candidate for this position, please contact Letitia Smith in the YALSA office. If you have any questions about what this position may entail, eligibility or other procedural questions, feel free to contact me. While not exactly aligned, a template for service in this role can be found on the YALSA Board Fellow program page.

Thanks!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl

YALSA Member Task Force Volunteer Opportunities – Apply By 11/12

Greetings, YALSA Members,

Do you consider yourself to have strong organizational qualities, nurture a creative mindset to problem solving, and are savvy with social media? Does it sound appealing to participate on a national committee, but perhaps shine the spotlight on someone else? Consider your strengths to serve on the YALSA’s Task Forces for the YA Services Symposium Marketing & Planning, ALA Conference Marketing & Local Arrangements, and Midwinter Marketing & Local Arrangements Committee. Complete and submit your Committee Volunteer Form by Tuesday, 11/12. 

Do remember that to serve on any of these committees, applicants will need to have a current YALSA membership. Also, much of the work is accomplished virtually, but some do require attendance to the event for ensuring the smooth running of YALSA activities. Committee members will soon begin work and run for roughly 6 months of work. 

Committee member duties can be found here and here. A few examples of committee life might include:

  • Vetting applications and selecting winners for the Symposium stipends.

  • Make arrangements for local teens to participate in the live Best Fiction for Young Adults feedback session that takes place at Midwinter where teens share their critical comments on literature with Best Fiction for Young Adults committee members.

  • Write posts for the YALSAblog to inform conference attendees of local places to eatvisit, or support their interests.

  • Research, collate, and recommend resources for YALSA’s activities and presence at conference to be posted to a wiki page.

If you are still reading this post, what are you waiting for?! Go ahead. Fill out your Committee Volunteer Form. However, should the timing of this volunteer opportunity not fit your schedule, do consider volunteering for the next round of opportunities, including one of the many YALSA strategic committees. Volunteer forms for strategic committees will open between January through February 1, 2020. 

If you have any questions, head over to the Committee FAQ or feel free to reach out to me AmandaBarnhart@kclibrary.org

Thank you for considering YALSA service,
Amanda Barnhart, YALSA President-Elect (2019-2020)

YALSA Member EDI Task Force Member Volunteer Opportunities – apply by Friday, 9/20

Hello YALSA members!

As we continue to prioritize our dedication to striving for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in YALSA and throughout the profession, the YALSA Board has directed the formation of four (4) task forces that will further address the strides our division would like to pursue. These all are year-long (expected service: Oct 2019 – Oct 2020), virtual task forces that will each require some effort, but please do not let that dissuade you from applying! The output you create will be critically important to our profession and the work we do with and for teens. Please note that this is a members’ only opportunity.

Task Force 1: Promoting Professional Success for Underrepresented Groups within YALSA.  Charge: Considering the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff and the EDI Statement and EDI Plan, this task force will assess existing pathways to professional success and involvement within YALSA for underrepresented groups.

Task Force 2: Encouraging LIS and iSchools to Include EDI Plan Elements in Curricula. Charge:  Considering the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff and the EDI Statement and EDI Plan, this task force will work with LIS and iSchools to ensure that cultural competencies, equity, diversity and inclusion is included in all youth-oriented curricula.

Task Force 3: Modeling Services and Programs to Include EDI Plan Elements. Charge: Considering the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff and the EDI Statement and EDI Plan, this task force will provide models of inclusive and equitable services and programs to share on the YALSA Programming HQ and other avenues.

Task Force 4: Addressing Institutional Bias and Racism in Libraries. Charge: Considering the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff and the EDI Statement and EDI Plan, this task force will create and distribute materials to help members better serve diverse youth and to address issues of institutional bias and racism in their libraries.

If you are interested in participating in one of these Task Forces, please contact Letitia Smith at lsmith@ala.org by Friday, September 20, indicating your first and second choice of task force by number.

Thanks for your dedication to the important work that we do to move the profession forward, and for the work you do for and with teens!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl

Taking Teens to ALA

It’s 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning, two weeks after the end of school, when four teenage girls on their summer vacation meet me at school to get on a minibus and head to DC. Let me repeat—four teenagers came to school during the summer at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Why?? ALA Annual of course!

Before I get into how awesome the day was with my teens, I would like to thank YALSA for providing my teens with the opportunity to come to ALA. My teens were a part of the session that YALSA hosted to receive input on the nominees for the 2020 Best Fiction for Young Adults. Along with the opportunity to give their opinions on a major awards list, all the teens who were a part of the session also received a badge to visit the exhibit hall and sat down for a pizza lunch with an amazing group of eight young adult authors.

Back to 8 a.m.—I climbed into the driver’s seat and my four girls settled on the brown bus benches that we all remember from field trips.  Before I could even start the engine, the conversation about books started. It didn’t stop for the entire 45 minute drive to DC, and I couldn’t stop smiling.  It was a librarian’s dream—four teens energetically and passionately talking about the books they love (or don’t). Four teens talking about the importance of representation in books—race, sexuality, gender, ability, etc… Four teens talking about which characters developed and which didn’t; about endings they loved or hated; about the pacing of plot.

My heart grew two sizes.
Continue reading

Member Opportunity! YALSA Social Media Marketing TF – volunteer by August 5

Hello everyone!

We have heard calls from membership that the YALSA selection lists (Amazing Audiobooks, Best Fiction for Young Adults, Great Graphic Novels, Quick Picks, and others) and the Teens’ Top Ten list have not been receiving the kind of broad dissemination and recognition that they rightfully deserve. In response, the YALSA Board adopted Item #24, the Selection List Marketing Plan, at the recent ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC. This document called for the creation of a Social Media Marketing Task Force.

This group will be responsible for using social media to widely market YALSA selection lists (both current, and those of previous years) and the Teens’ Top Ten list.  This is a virtual opportunity that will run until June 30, 2020, and work will start as soon as possible. If you love teen books and media and our selection lists, and want to promote them to the membership and beyond, this could be a great fit for you!

If you would like to volunteer to be a member of the Social Media Marketing Task Force, please email Letitia Smith in the YALSA office, indicating your interest in this task force, by Monday, August 5.

Thanks!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020  Twitter: @toddbcpl