2020 YALSA Election Slate

YALSA’s Board Development Committee has assembled the following slate for the 2020 YALSA Election:

President-Elect
Franklin Escobedo
Kelly Czarnecki

Fiscal Officer
Kate Denier

Directors at Large
Susannah Goldstein
Dawn McMillan
Joel Shoemaker

To run on the slate as a petition candidate, members can submit a petition form between now and Nov. 4, 2019, via the eForm available in YALSA’s Handbook. Please note that you must first log into your ALA account in order to access the form. Find out more at Election FAQ. Learn more at www.ala.org/yalsa/workingwithyalsa/election. Please direct any questions to the Board Development Committee chair, Sandra Hughes-Hassell.

2019 YALSA Election Results

YALSA is excited to announce its 2019 election results. The following individuals have been elected:

President-Elect
Amanda Barnhart

Secretary
Josie Watanabe

Fiscal Officer
Jane Gov

Board of Directors
Trixie Dantis
Karen Lemmons
Ryan Eduardo Moniz
Charli Osborne
Valerie Tagoe

To learn more about YALSA elections or governance, please visit www.ala.org/yalsa/workingwithyalsa/governance.

2019 YALSA Election: An Interview with Fiscal Officer Candidate Jane Gov

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2019 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from Monday, March 11 through Wednesday, April 3. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out the recording of our YALSA Candidates’ Forum from March 7th!

The YALSA Fiscal Officer shall be an elected member of the YALSA Board, shall serve a one-year term of office and shall also serve on the YALSA Executive Committee. The primary responsibility of the Fiscal Officer is to work with the Board, Financial Advancement Committee and Executive Director to ensure the fiscal health of the association through proper financial oversight so that there are adequate resources for the organization to fulfill its mission. 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 Fiscal Officer’s duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Jane Gov – Youth Services Librarian – Pasadena Public Library

What best qualifies you for being Fiscal Officer?
I have been an active YALSA member since joining ALA as a student in 2009. I was formerly the Financial Advancement Committee (FAC) Chair. As FAC Chair, I worked closely with the Fiscal Officer to meet fundraising goals. The committee provides oversight and enhancement of the Friends of YALSA program–particularly in fundraising promotion and donor recognition to support member awards, grants, and scholarships.
I am currently serving as a YALSA Board Member-at-Large–a role I’ve held since finishing my term as FAC Chair two years ago, so I understand the commitment being a board member requires.

Why did you decide to run for a YALSA office? What excites you about serving on YALSA Board?
Being on the YALSA Board has built my confidence in advocacy and drives me to do things I never thought of doing before—such as presenting and sharing my teen services knowledge to other professionals, writing to congressional representatives, taking advocacy leadership roles in my local community, and applying for funding. Being on the YALSA Board makes me a better librarian, a more informed advocate, and a more skilled mentor to teens. I would also like to make an impact on YALSA’s next Organizational Plan and am excited about transitioning from the current Plan.

What do you see as the primary role of the YALSA Board?
Although the primary role of a board member is to set policy (not necessarily carry out policies), the creation of the strategies to carry out the policies will drive the mission of YALSA. Ideally, the board develops techniques that are not only feasible and in the best interests of our members, but is also fiscally appropriate, aligns with the mission, and puts teens first.

How do you envision working with the YALSA Board to further the mission of YALSA?
As a board member, I envision finding solutions to implement strategies, strengthening my critical lens in the process, and asking how can we do better and what do members need. As Fiscal Officer, I envision my role is to work with the Board, staff, other division fiscal officers, and Financial Advancement Committee to ensure fiscal health and to keep the Board abreast of fiscal developments within ALA and other divisions.

What areas of YALSA’s Strategic Plan do you think you can best contribute to? Why?
I’ve served on all three of the Standing Board Committees; each Board Committee oversees a major strategic goal: Funding & Partnerships, Advocacy, Transforming Teen Services. As Fiscal Officer and former FAC Chair, I would best contribute to Funding and Partnerships since the primary responsibility is to work with the Executive Board to ensure the fiscal health of the organization.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
Like many organizations, member engagement is the most pressing issue for YALSA. In order to sustain the Organizational Plan, keep YALSA relevant, and ensure fiscal health, member engagement should be strong. This means making strides to cultivate diverse relationships and retain the interest of those who serve teens in any capacity through or with a library.

If elected, how will you help YALSA members (in their daily work, in their careers, other)?
I’m passionate about member engagement and have some ideas in how YALSA can improve in this area. Local engagement is valuable in connecting with members’ daily work and communities.
Since assuming the role of teen librarian at Pasadena Public Library in California about five years ago, I’ve significantly revamped our volunteer program and community partnerships, increased teen program attendance by 220%, and doubled teen program offerings. Additionally, the teen volunteers are staying longer and are more engaged in our library and community services. These successes were partly due to my involvement with YALSA and YALSA resources. I hope to engage members to enrich and improve teen services and help them with challenges they face in their careers.

What else would you like voters to know about you?
The cast of my background is wide, so I try to make all decisions with thoughts of how various levels of teen advocates will view it, and how these decisions can sustain the organization. I truly believe in YALSA’s mission and that the support, resources, and services provided are crucial for library staff.

YALSA Election Info: Proposed By-Law Change

Proposed YALSA By-Law Change

On the 2019 ballot, YALSA members will see a proposed by-law change:

To amend the YALSA Bylaw, Article V, Board of Directors Sec. 1 by changing the number of Directors‐at‐Large from seven to six and to add an Advocacy Member.

 

The section will now read:
The Board of Directors shall be composed of the President, President‐elect, the Immediate Past President, seven six Directors‐at‐Large, the Fiscal Officer, the Secretary, and the Division‐Elected YALSA Councilor. The Executive Director, the Board Fellow, the Advocacy Member and the chairs of the Strategic Planning, Financial Advancement and Organization & Bylaws Committees serve ex officio (without vote).

Why are we asking for this by-laws change?

  • This change was embraced by the Board as part of the 2015 – 2016 strategic planning process, and is included in the first-year Implementation Plan. It is also part of the current
    2018-19 Implementation Plan.
  • The inclusion of advocates to the Board who work 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.
  • The viability of this idea has been demonstrated by the recruitment of Kathy Ishizuka to the 2017 slate and her subsequent election to the Board and service.
  • A three year commitment may not be ideal for this type of position, so adding the Advocacy Member position as an “ex-officio” position allows for the greatest flexibility.
  • An outcome of this position would be a mutually beneficial partnership where there is a sharing of knowledge, experiences, and support for both partners to grow together.

To learn more about the backgroung that led to this change, see the following:
2017 Midwinter Conference Board Document #27, “Broadening the Board’s Composition”

2016 Annual Conference Board Document #4, “Organizational Plan Potential Bylaws Impact”

Dealing with Disruption and Competition to the Association Industry

Other 2019 ALA Election Resources

Looking for help learning more about ALA Council candidate info? Andromeda Yelton has provided a quick and easy site to extract information about each candidate’s unit membership: ALA Council Candidate Sorter 2019 . This is especially helpful, if you’re interested in seeing which candidates for Council are also YALSA members as you can filter them accordingly on this site.

Please also refer to recent YALSA Blog posts for all 2019 YALSA Canditiate Interviews:

2019 YALSA Election: An Interview with President-Elect Candidate Amanda Barnhart

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2019 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from Monday, March 11 through Wednesday, April 3. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out the YALSA Candidates’ Forum on March 7th!

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: Amanda Barnhart – North East Branch Manager – Kansas City Public Library

What best qualifies you for being President-elect?
I believe my two year experience as the YALSA liaison best qualifies me for the role of President-elect. My service in this capacity has provided me with an insight into the functions of eleven ALA groups and has impressed upon me the importance of collaboration to accomplish varying goals. In this role, I have contributed to such activities as developing the form for reporting on liaison conference activities and participating in ALA working groups to update six documents for the upcoming Intellectual Freedom manual (10th ed.). In addition to supporting the eleven ALA groups, I have solicited input from them on our initiatives and shared our work. All of these efforts require staying abreast of YALSA board work and sharing information in a timely manner to YALSA leadership, the YALSA membership, and the ALA groups by phone, email, e-lists, the YALSA e-newsletter, the YALSAblog, and ALA Connect. It also requires attendance for the related conference calls, virtual meetings and in-person conference meetings scheduled by these ALA groups. Also, I have served on YALSA committees for the Advancing Diversity Task Force (6 month term), Organization and Bylaws (1 year term), and Teen Read Week (2 year chair term and 2 year member term). Your vote for me would be supporting an individual who is knowledgeable on current YALSA board work and has experience in connecting YALSA’s accomplishments to ALA groups.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA as the President-elect?
I would continue to support the furthering of collaboration with partners. My effort invested towards building stronger ties to the ALA groups demonstrated the importance of working together to increase our impact.

What are some ways that being a member of the YALSA Board can help you serve as an even better connector to helping libraries become thriving learning environments for/with teens?
I have fifteen years of experience in library services and programs for and with teens, nine of which I was a library support staff member. In addition, my role shifted into branch management this past year where I support staff in our work and in the concept that “We All Serve Youth.” We can best serve our teen populations when everyone has a hand in contributing towards that goal and those combined efforts enrich the opportunities we provide for continuous learning in libraries.

What about YALSA’s Organizational Plan excites you most and why?
Knowing that the current YALSA 3-year organizational plan will be reinvisioned and aligned with the strategic plan that the board is working on, I am most excited to see a new organizational plan that continues to emphasize the importance of diversity, but further incorporates equity and inclusion into its focus. YALSA’s new Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) plan supports the development of continued conversation and education in these areas as well as provides opportunities for greater action, evaluation and accountability for activities around these concepts. The work we put into increasing our knowledge around EDI will strengthen our efforts in library services for and with teens. I am also eager to continue to see our work impacting continuing education opportunities for all library staff. At every level of my career I have found YALSA resources to benefit my work and community’s needs and in my latest managerial role I continue to take a cue from YALSA’s Recommended Actions for Stakeholders, which can be found in the resource Transforming Library Services For and With Teens Through Continuing Education.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
The “teens first” mindset provides a wholistic approach in supporting the youth in our communities and this foundation is crucial in reaching some of our most vulnerable teen populations. These two words are the core of who we are and what we do and I would continue to articulate this emphasis throughout the membership.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the board of directors?
I committed myself to supporting teens in libraries for many years, even before I realized I wanted to continue to do so as a career choice. It is with pride that I run for office and pledge my service to YALSA in this role for an organization that has created numerous resources that guide my work. I thank you for your time in reading my comments and in participating in this next electoral process.

2019 YALSA Election: An Interview with Board Member-at-Large Candidate Charli Osborne

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2019 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from Monday, March 11 through Wednesday, April 3. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out the YALSA Candidates’ Forum on March 7th!

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board Members-at-Large 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 duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: My name is Charli Osborne and I’m the Youth Services Coordinator at Southfield Public Library, which is in an inner ring suburb of Detroit, Michigan.

What best qualifies you for being Board Member-at-Large?
As an inveterate volunteer, I’ve been an active member of YALSA for more than twenty years. In that time I have served on numerous process and award committees – everything from Organization and Bylaws to the Volunteer Award Jury to the Printz Award Committee, so I am familiar with the organization, its mission and its goals. This past year I was honored to serve as the chair of the Morris Award Committee. I temper my organizational experience with twenty-two years of public library service focused on youth and teens.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA as Board Member-at-Large?
Not every library is supportive of staff that work with teens and youth, or of teens in general. My real world experience working within my library, my library cooperative, my state library association and YALSA help me to be an effective advocate for teens and the library staff that serve, encourage and mentor them. I believe that experience is an asset to further the mission of YALSA.

What are some ways that being a member of the YALSA Board can help you serve as an even better connector to helping libraries become thriving learning environments for/with teens?
I want to help teens become the best they can be – the best students, the best members of their community, the best people. Part of that is allowing them the freedom to suggest and to fail, to dream and to attempt. Not everyone is going to win the first time, or every time, or even any time, but providing the space and opportunities for our teens to become the humans they are meant to be is one of the things that is most fulfilling to me, personally as well as professionally. Having the library be the space that helps those things happen? That is the heart of it all. Being a YALSA Board member would help me to serve teens in a larger than my own community way.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
I have a standard teens first concept, in both my library and my work with YALSA. At my library, we are constantly looking for ways to tie the library into the greater world at large, by working within our library community and by bringing our teens’ experiences and knowledge in to help expand library services. My advocacy for teens led me to gather statistics and lead focus groups to justify and create one of three fully staffed Teen Areas (at the time) in the state of Michigan. I helped create the strategic plan for my first library and made sure that teens’ voices were heard in that planning.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the board of directors?
I believe librarianship is a service profession. Those services don’t stop in that in-between age when children age out of youth programs before they become adults. I’ve always been an advocate for teens and their rights, including teen specific spaces and services in the library. Bottom line is that I want teens to succeed and become well-rounded individuals with a taste for reading and a love for the public library. That’s why I am a public librarian and belong to YALSA. Working on the Board would give me a first-hand chance to help further the goal of teen service by helping other librarians to also foster those values.

2019 YALSA Election: An Interview with Board Member-at-Large Candidate Karen Lemmons

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2019 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from Monday, March 11 through Wednesday, April 3. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out the YALSA Candidates’ Forum on March 7th!

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board Members-at-Large 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 duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Karen Lemmons, Library Media Specialist, Detroit School of Arts

What best qualifies you for being Board Member-at-Large?
My relationship with teens that I teach and serve at my school; my committee work with the other youth divisions; previous offices I held in AASL, CSK Book Awards Committee and BCALA.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA as Board Member-at-Large?
I envision furthering the mission of YALSA by continuing to help teens with the resources they need to become productive and successful.

What are some ways that being a member of the YALSA Board can help you serve as an even better connector to helping libraries become thriving learning environments for/with teens?
Contribute to and implement  YALSA action plans; work with local community partners and organizations; advocate the need for libraries with supporting data and reports.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
I would embed the concept of “teens first’ in the work of the board by speaking for teens who are underrepresented and disenfranchised.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the board of directors?
YALSA members should choose me to be a member of the board of directors because I care about teens and their well-being.  i’m a hard worker, committed and dedicated to service.

2019 YALSA Election: An Interview with Board Member-at-Large Candidate Valerie Tagoe

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2019 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from Monday, March 11 through Wednesday, April 3. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out the YALSA Candidates’ Forum on March 7th!

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board Members-at-Large 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 duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Valerie Tagoe, Media Specialist Wilmer-Hutchins High School

What best qualifies you for being Board Member-at-Large?
Experience. I am currently on the Board serving a one year term as Organization & Bylaws chair. Prior to my appointment as O & B Chair, I was a member of the YALSA Advancing Diversity Taskforce & the National Library Legislative Day Taskforce

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA as Board Member-at-Large?
As a Board Member-at-Large, I hope to lend my ideas and insight as a high school librarian to the work of the board so that we can continue to further the mission of YALSA in supporting library staff in serving teens. Our teens face a myriad of challenges and opportunities.  Libraries and librarians can play a vital part in their learning and equip them with the information needed to be successful in school and in life.

What are some ways that being a member of the YALSA Board can help you serve as an even better connector to helping libraries become thriving learning environments for/with teens?
I am the immediate past president of the Dallas Association of School librarians, and I am also active in the Texas Library Association-presenting at conferences and as a member of the legislative committee. As a YALSA Board Member, I will bring the an understanding of what is going on in libraries at the state, local, and national levels and share the information with librarians in various organizations.  This will help me to be a connector to help libraries become thriving learning environments.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
In my daily work in the library I seek the input of teens and their needs and interests and I believe the board can do the same take into account the needs and interests of teens in the work that we do.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the board of directors?
My experience and work at the state and local levels are reasons why YALSA members should choose me to be a member of the Board of Directors. I believe my perspective as a school librarian serving teens in a diverse urban school district will also be beneficial to the board as well.

2019 YALSA Election: An Interview with Board Member Candidate Trixie Dantis

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2019 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from Monday, March 11 through Wednesday, April 3. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out the YALSA Candidates’ Forum on March 7th!

Serving one-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 duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Trixie Dantis – Youth Services Manager – Arlington Heights Memorial Library

What best qualifies you for the YALSA Board?
My experience as 2016-2017 YALSA Board Fellow and serving as an interim board member for the past nine months best qualifies me for this role. As Board Fellow, I participated in all Board activities as a non-voting member. This included taking part in all meetings virtual and in-person, contributing to the implementation of the organizational plan through work on a standing board committee, and representing YALSA at events. Similarly, in the interim role, I’ve been serving as a Director at Large and participated in the strategic planning activities over the past few months.

Talk about the experiences and expertise you’re bringing to the position in terms of leadership, nonprofit or association governance, and strategic thinking.
Prior to becoming a librarian, I worked in the private sector delivering training for an international sale force and the organization’s largest customers. This helped me develop skills to develop strong, personal relationships helping build brand advocacy. Since becoming a librarian, I’ve used these skills to foster relationships with schools and other community organizations to expand outreach services for youth. I hope to leverage these skills to add to YALSA’s and its membership’s success.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA?
I think the first step in furthering YALSA’s mission is connecting with members and understanding their needs and the barriers they encounter. With this information, YALSA can provide resources or training for members to overcome the hurdles they face delivering quality and developmentally appropriate library services to young adults.

What are some ways that being a member of the YALSA Board can help you serve as an even better connector to helping libraries become thriving learning environments for/with teens?
If elected, I would be committed to seeking out and understanding membership needs, communicating them to the Board and staff, and finding ways to support and meet needs.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the board?
My experience as a Board Fellow, my commitment to connecting with membership, and my passion for providing equitable and inclusive library services for all teens make me a great choice for the board of directors.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
I would embed this concept by constantly considering how board action impacts teen library users. I would also think about ways to include teen voices in the work we do.

Is there anything you’d like to add that wasn’t addressed by the previous questions?
Advocacy within and outside of the library walls is very important to me. I strive to communicate the value of library services targeting teens with staff across the organization and throughout the community.

2019 YALSA Election: An Interview with Board Member Candidate Ryan Moniz

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2019 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from Monday, March 11 through Wednesday, April 3. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out the YALSA Candidates’ Forum on March 7th!

Serving one-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 duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Ryan Moniz – Learning & Growth Librarian – Markham Public Library

What best qualifies you for being a Board Member?
The short answer would be my commitment to the work I do. It would be easy to list all the personal qualities and characteristics you look for in a candidate like time-management, a team player, good under pressure and all the other buzz words. My entire career is built on a simple guiding principle: do good. I believe it isn’t always possible to do good by doing what’s easy and I pride myself on challenging myself to never do things the “easy” way just because I can. I’m someone who is committed to providing a voice for underserved populations and a hand-up to those in need of help so that they may have an equal opportunity to succeed. I believe that is exactly what is needed from a Board Member.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA as a Board Member?
I always joke around with colleagues that I’ve never considered myself a traditional “librarian.” I don’t have extensive knowledge of authors and books so my bibliotherapy skills may be lacking when compared to others. My background is working with disabled populations and at-risk youth and I’ve always felt that their needs aren’t part of the important conversations we have, specifically when it comes to library services. Regardless of any position or title I’ve held I have always spoken out about the need for more inclusive services, and that is exactly what I plan on doing as a Board Member. I’ve never been comfortable doing anything simply because it’s the easiest option, whether it’s a family storytime or job skills program for teens. Library services can never be one-size-fits-all, especially when your audience includes teens and young adults. YALSA is an innovative organization, but we must never become complacent. I always challenge my colleagues to ask tough questions and find ways to make improvements that work not just for one segment of the population, but for all members of our community. As a Board Member I plan on pushing the Board to take the necessary steps to advocate on behalf of all those we strive to serve.

What are some ways that being a member of the YALSA Board can help you serve as an even better connector to helping libraries become thriving learning environments for/with teens?
As a Canadian librarian I get to share a unique perspective with my American colleagues. I know, Canada doesn’t seem like it would be that different, but there are many significant fundamental differences regarding our library infrastructure. I believe understanding those differences are key to innovating the services we offer in our respective countries. Fundraising isn’t as much of a concern for Canadian libraries, so we don’t always speak about the importance of advocating for libraries in our communities. In America, not all systems have the luxury of being able to provide staff with necessary training so that they may provide effective customer service and gain the ability to adapt those services based on the needs of their customers. This is just a brief example, but it demonstrates the need to have different views, opinions, and experiences on a Board. I know my professional experience in the social service industry as well as my perspective as a librarian North of the border would help to push for responsive initiatives and innovative services for our shared community; teens and young adults everywhere.

What about YALSA’s Organizational Plan excites you most and why?
I’ve spent the majority of my career in program and service delivery, so it goes without saying that leading the transformation of teen library services is what I’m most excited about. Our services have an ability to enhance the quality of life for teens and young adults in communities across North America. It’s more than just a good program, I’m talking about effective training for front-line staff so that they have the tools necessary to properly serve their users. I’ve always felt both go hand-in-hand. When you have staff that are tuned in and interested in making a change, they’ll be more engaged and open to learning. When you learn you change how you think and how you work. Those changes can lead to some of the most innovative programs and services imaginable.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
Ensure that teens have a voice. No one enjoys being spoken for. As a kid I would get so irritated when people just assumed that they knew what I wanted or what was “best” for me, especially when they never asked for my opinion. It’s easy to get caught up in that pattern of behaviour as an adult. We think we know because we’re a bit older and a tad bit wiser, so we start believing we know what’s best. In my community I always ensure that our teens have a seat at the table when the conversation is about something that would directly impact them. Some of the best ideas for programs and services I’ve had were a result of community conversations with young people in my city.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the board of directors?
It may sound cheesy to say, but there’s no going wrong with anyone on the ballot. Every person who has submitted their name has done so because they care about teen services and they want to do what they can to improve our industry. It’s not an easy task so I applaud all of them for taking the first step. Like my peers, I care deeply about serving teens and young adults not just in my small Canadian suburb, but across the world. Being a teen is 2019 is difficult and I believe that libraries are in a unique position to be more than a place for books, but a safe welcoming space that can support the healthy development of young people everywhere. Wherever I go I know I will work tirelessly to help make that possible, and if you allow me, I’d like to work towards that goal as a Board Member.