YALSA Councilor Midwinter Report

Dear YALSA members,

Here is a report of ALA Council happenings from the Midwinter conference in Atlanta. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at todd.yalsa@gmail.com.

(Thanks to Martin Garnar, IFRT Councilor, for much of the reporting contained below.)

Youth Council Caucus:

  • The YALSA, ALSC and AASL Councilors met with a small group of interested members to discuss any pertinent youth issues that could be brought before the ALA Council as a whole. The most important item to come out of the meeting was a decision to try a different meeting time for the Youth Council Caucus. We will pilot this at ALA Annual in Chicago this summer, using the Council Suite for a drop-in opportunity for interested members in the late afternoon – more details forthcoming.

Council I:

  • We received a report on the implementation of Council actions since the 2016 Annual Conference (http://connect.ala.org/node/262222) and a report of Executive Board actions during the same timeframe (http://connect.ala.org/node/262543).
  • We heard from the chair of the search committee for the new ALA Executive Director and reviewed the candidates for the two elected spots from Council on the committee.  The rest of the committee’s membership was announced (http://connect.ala.org/node/262655). After Council I, voting opened to elect the two remaining committee members.
  • We approved Honorary Membership for Ann Symons, former ALA president and current GLBTRT Councilor.
  • The Council time was abridged so that there could be a Town Hall meeting on the recent concerns about ALA’s press releases shortly after the November election.  The Town Hall was live streamed on Facebook and archived for future viewing (https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/58387/).

Council II:

  • We approved a proposal to add a 4thstrategic direction for the Association.  Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) now joins Advocacy, Information Policy, and Professional and Leadership Development.  This will boost the profile of EDI activities within the Association and serve as a rationale for increasing funding and resources for related projects (http://connect.ala.org/node/262626http://connect.ala.org/node/262628).
  • We approved the request for Latino Literacy Now to become an ALA Affiliate (http://connect.ala.org/node/262155).
  • The results of the election for the Executive Director search committee were announced.  Mario Gonzalez (at large) was elected from the 10 nominees representing divisions, round tables, and at-large Councilors and Amy Lappin (New Hampshire) was elected from the 4 nominees representing chapters.
  • The Freedom to Read Foundation president gave his report (http://connect.ala.org/node/262699).
  • After a strenuous debate, the Council narrowly voted (78-75) to retain the requirement for the ALA Executive Director to have an MLS.  One Councilor later resigned in protest over this issue.  The YALSA board had voted to support changing the requirement, and I shared that information as part of the debate.
  • Resolution Establishing Family/Caregiver Status as a Protected Class in ALA Volunteer Work was adopted after some discussion.
  • The Annual Conference Remodel was briefly discussed, but the conversation was cut short due to time constraints.  This was a major topic of discussion during the conference, particularly at Council Forum. The Conference Committee is still accepting feedback, so please read the proposal, FAQ, and other comments on their Connect page, then add your voice to the conversation (http://connect.ala.org/node/261211).
  • Executive Board candidates gave presentations after Council II, then voting opened for this election.

Council III:

  • The results of the Executive Board election were announced.  Patty Wong, Trevor Dawes, and Lessa Pelayo-Lozada were elected.
  • The Committee on Legislation/Intellectual Freedom Committee joint working group presented a revised Resolution on Gun Violence Affecting Libraries, Library Workers, and Library Patrons(http://connect.ala.org/node/262738). It was adopted after some discussion.
  • The Committee on Legislation and the Intellectual Freedom Committee presented their reports (COL – no action items http://connect.ala.org/node/262739; IFC – one action itemhttp://connect.ala.org/node/262740). The IFC report included a number of updated documents and a Resolution on Access to Accurate Information.  After some wordsmithing on the Council floor, the resolution was adopted.

Respectfully submitted,

Todd Krueger

YALSA Division Councilor

Board Document #24: Award Committee Term Length

At the recent Midwinter meeting, the Board moved to standardize appointment term length for YALSA awards committees as described in Document #24.  This change will prevent overly-extended committee service breaks for members and will streamline the appointment and candidate-seeking process for YALSA staff and leaders.

In 2015, the YALSA Board approved the Selection and Award Committee Participation Policy. This policy requires a two-year break period between selection and award committee service.  The break period allows for greater member volunteer participation on selection and awards committees and encourages members to volunteer for process committee and task forces.  The policy is working successfully, with the exception of issues arising from inconsistent term lengths on YALSA’s six awards committees.

Current term periods on these six committees range from twelve months, ending on January 31 for Edwards, Morris, and Nonfiction to eighteen months, ending on June 30 for Alex, Odyssey, and Printz. The eighteen month term originally intended to accommodate ceremonies and other events associated with the awards, with the bulk of committee work completed during the first twelve months of work.  These staggered term lengths result in a complicated and time-consuming appointment process for YALSA leaders and staff.  They also create significant frustration for eager member volunteers rolling off an eighteen month committee. These members are forced to wait at least 2.5 years, instead of the standard two years, before serving on another awards or selection committee because of appointment and election timing.

Changing appointment terms to a uniform period will eliminate these inefficiencies and concerns.  Beginning with the 2018-19 awards committees, all awards committee terms will end on January 31.

YALSA leaders do realize that attending the ALA Annual awards ceremonies for the Alex, Odyssey, and Printz awards are important to the committee members who spent their time and energy selecting the winners. So, while the official term to these committee members will end on January 30, members of these committees will be strongly encouraged to still attend the ALA Annual awards ceremonies. YALSA will provide letters or statements regarding this to encourage institutional support of this travel.

If you are a former awards committee member on your two-year break or are new to committee work, be sure to check out these other opportunities to stay involved!  And, if you’re interested in getting involved with selection committee, check out this opportunity on The Hub.

Jennifer Korn

YALSA Board Member, 2014-2017

Broadening the Board’s Composition

At ALA Midwinter, the YALSA Board accepted a proposal to broaden the makeup of the Board.

During the 2015-2016 strategic planning process, the Board considered this idea and affirmed the benefits to the Board and organization. By targeting advocates with backgrounds in key areas such as business, corporate partnerships, and fundraising, YALSA’s work can be better supported by leveraging expertise. Including advocates outside of the immediate library teen services community can provide a unique perspective, strengthening the organization and broadening its vision. With this approach to Board recruitment, YALSA can better understand and serve teen needs by adding different voices, skills, and knowledge.

The Board standing committee focusing on Leading the Transformation for Teen Services was tasked with exploring the possibility of changing or expanding the Board’s composition as outlined in the Year 1 Implementation Plan. Taking into consideration industry best practices and examining boards from similar organizations, a two-year pilot was proposed.

The 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 Board Development Committees will identify, vet, and recruit nonmember advocates passionate about serving youth and YALSA’s mission. One advocate will be included on the ballots for the 2019 and 2020 election cycles. In 2020, a team will be assembled to evaluate the impact of adding diverse viewpoints and expertise from beyond the immediate library teen services community. Based on the evaluation, the team will make recommendations on whether or how to continue this Board recruitment process.

View the full proposal board document #27 and learn more about what was discussed in Atlanta by reviewing the 2017 Midwinter Meeting Agenda.

Trixie Dantis

Board Fellow 2016-2017

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.

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.

National Guidelines: Take a Look

When I took on the role of the National Guidelines Oversight Committee chair I didn’t know this was going to be the last year for the committee, but it makes sense to me. You’ve no doubt heard about the big changes ahead for YALSA that are being guided by the “The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action” report. It’s always a good idea to take a hard look at what you are doing to make sure you are putting your efforts where they will be most effective and support your mission. YALSA did just that and decided to re-envision itself. As part of the restructuring the National Guidelines Oversight Committee will be sunsetted and its work moved to staff starting in July 2017. If you want a good overview of what’s happening and the new organizational plan check out Sarah Hill’s recent blog and the link she included to a great PowerPoint slideshow that summarizes the changes.

So what was the purpose of the Committee and why sunset it? Here is its official charge:

“Oversee YALSA’s portfolio of national guidelines, including performing such tasks as: working with staff to disseminate and promote the guidelines ; regularly evaluating the existing guidelines and making recommendations to YALSA’s Board for updating or revising guidelines and/or the need to create supplementary materials or tools; assisting staff with establishing and maintaining liaisons with appropriate decision makers and stakeholders , both inside and outside the library profession, that monitor and evaluate the performance of teen services programs and librarians. While the Oversight Committee is charged with making recommendations, the authority to adopt, direct the revision of and/ or sunset guidelines rests with YALSA’s Board of Directors.”

Judging from my experience on the YALSA Board a few years ago, I think YALSA staff is doing most of this already. Moving responsibility for oversight of the guidelines to staff means they can stay focused long-term, unlike a committee whose members have a one year commitment and then move on. That does not mean the work of the committee isn’t important or hasn’t been valuable over the years, and sunsetting the committee doesn’t mean members will no longer be able to have input. Going forward staff can be focused on regularly evaluating the various guidelines to make sure they reflect the changes happening in the library profession and in the organization. Once they identify areas that need attention, they can create more volunteer opportunities by seeking input from members and inviting them to participate in updating and/or creating new tools and resources.  However, right now the responsibility remains with the six virtual members of the National Guidelines Oversight Committee and we are focused on the National Guidelines and promoting them.

I have to say that before taking on my role with the committee, it had been a while since I really looked at the National Guidelines and I was glad I did. There is a lot of valuable information to help us in our work, but the guidelines need to evolve along with the profession. Looking at them now I am happy to see that YALSA (and previous National Guidelines Oversight Committees) have stayed on top of this. The Teen Programming Guidelines and Core Professional Values were updated just last year.  The Competencies for Librarian’s Serving Youth and a new Research Agenda are in the process of being updated and will hopefully be approved by the Board soon. Even YALSA’s micro-credentialing program, Badges for Learning, which focuses on the Competencies are being updated and you can look for the new version in early 2017.

The Competencies are a good example of the need to continually evaluate and update to stay relevant. They were last updated in 2010, and the Futures report was adopted by the YALSA Board of Directors in December 2013. The report challenges us to think differently about what we are doing and that means we have to carry this through to the guidelines. When I look at the Competencies I can’t argue with anything the document says, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the updated version will address the issues brought up in the Futures report.

This is an exciting time for YALSA! When was the last time you reviewed YALSA’s guidelines? If you’re anything like me you get busy and might need a little prompting to take the time to look, but be sure to check back and see what’s changed. You’’ll be glad you did!

Gail Tobin is Branch Coordinator of Schaumburg Township District Library, IL & National Guidelines Oversight Committee Chair.

Great Graphic Novels for Teens: It’s (Almost) a Wrap!

img_20161124_2305191As we near the winter holidays, and with Midwinter right around the corner shortly thereafter, the eleven members of the 2017 Great Graphic Novels for Teens committee –led by the effervescent Traci Glass – are in the homestretch and hard at work in our efforts to complete our reading of all nominated titles.

The official nominating period for the 2017 list has come and gone, lasting from February to November of this year, and has yielded a diverse collection of manga and graphic novels intended for teens aged 12 to 18. In all, 22 nonfiction and 122 fiction titles, having been nominated either by our fellow committee members or by members of the public, are now up for consideration for the list, which is due to be released early next year. Counted among those that are up for consideration are reimagined classics, time travel dramas, college slice of life stories, identity stories, and traditional and nontraditional superheroes alike. Some will teach, some will elicit laughs, and others yet will move you deeply; the very best will do a little bit of each.

img_20161126_0106221For some committee members, the list of titles still needing to be read is short and all that essentially remains is the final solicitation of opinions from the teens in our libraries on the 144 titles that made the initial cut. For others, you’ll find us methodically working our way through the piles of novels surrounding us at home or at work, and those occasionally still arriving from the publishers, with hopes to be done by early-to-mid December. Although Midwinter doesn’t occur until the end of January, the committee plans to virtually meet to informally discuss some of the most recent nominations before we sit down together one last time face to face.

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YALSA Offers Baker & Taylor Collection Development Grant

Do you wish there was extra money to buy more items for your library’s teen section? Are your teens wishing they had a larger selection of materials at their public library? Then this might be your lucky day! The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is now accepting applications for the Baker & Taylor/YALSA Collection Development Grant. The $1,000 grant, made possible by Baker & Taylor, will be awarded to up to two YALSA members to be used to support the purchase of new materials to support collection development in public libraries. The grant is also designed to recognize the excellent work of those YALSA members working directly with young adults ages 12-18 in a public library.
The committee is looking for proposals that present innovative ideas on how to expand young adult collections. Applicants will be judged on the basis of the degree of need for additional materials for young adults in their library, the degree of their current collection’s use, and the benefits this grant will bring to young adults. Other criteria, grant information and the application form can be found on the YALSA Awards and Grants website, http://www.ala.org/yalsa/awardsandgrants/bwi. Applications must be submitted online no later than December 1, 2016.
Sara Ray, Teen Services Librarian, and B&T Collection Development Grant Chair is excited to offer this opportunity to YALSA members.

YALSA Executive Committee Report

Two weekends ago the YALSA Executive Committee met in Pittsburgh simultaneously with the YALSA Symposium. During a marathon Saturday meeting, the members of the Executive Committee (President Sarah Hill, who led the meeting; President-Elect Sandra Hughes-Hassell; Immediate Past President Candice Mack; Fiscal Officer Nick Buron; Secretary Crystle Martin; yours truly YALSA Division Councilor Todd Krueger; and Executive Director Beth Yoke) discussed many matters affecting the division.

One of the things that we discussed at length was making sure that the youth divisions (AASL, ALSC and YALSA) are well-represented in ALA governance, i.e. ALA Council and the ALA Executive Board. Because there are a number of YALSA members running for ALA Council this coming spring, we have high hopes that there will be more representation from members of youth divisions on ALA Council in the coming years. When the ballot arrives, be sure to access http://www.ala.org/yalsa/workingwithyalsa/election and check out the YALSA members running for Council. As the Division Councilor, I will be working with my companion Councilors in ALSC and AASL to make this objective a reality. It is a benefit to YALSA to have former president Jack Martin serving on the ALA Nominating Committee for 2017, which puts forward nominees for ALA President and Council for the following year. If you are interested in either of these positions, please contact me or Jack for more information.

A discussion about the future of ALA conferences and the ALA committee that is determining the scope and size of the conferences followed. Due to the way that YALSA has scheduled its meetings to avoid conflicts, any changes to future ALA conferences will likely not affect YALSA or its members in a negative way.

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Get involved – apply to become a Board Fellow!

I first learned about the Board Fellowship program while serving on YALSA’s Board Diversity Task Force. Our chair, Nicola McDonald, previously served as a Fellow. I found my work on the Task Force to be incredibly fulfilling. I was excited to be part of a forward-thinking organization that values diversity and was willing to explore inclusion from the top down. Just before the deadline, I decided to apply for the Fellowship – I wanted to be part of the team guiding an association I value and respect.

My Board Fellowship began in June 2016 at ALA Annual in Orlando. As conference approached, I wondered if I’d gotten in over my head: was I ready for this commitment, did I even understand what my responsibilities would be? My anxiety was dispelled when my welcome packet was delivered. I pored over the materials in preparation for conference. I still had some nerves, but was excited to learn and looked forward to my Board training and beginning my term in Orlando. Four months later, I’m still learning and looking forward to the challenges the future will bring.

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