YALSA Wants to Know What You Think: Library Community Survey

As YALSA embarks on forming its next Strategic Plan, we would like to get feedback from the library community about their interests around services for and with teens and the direction of the organization. The feedback you provide will help us to design the next iteration of YALSA to best suit your needs.

You do not have to be a member. All survey responses are strictly confidential and will not be shared beyond YALSA. The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. Please complete the survey by Dec. 15.

Thank you for helping us to improve YALSA.

Board Document – Committee Impact Report

The YALSA Board discussed the Committee Impact Report produced by the Organization & Bylaws Committee in September 2018.  A key recommendation of the report is to revamp the Quarterly Chair Report to do two things: 1. Better measure the work of committees and taskforces.  2.  Yield more information on how our committees and taskforces implement the strategic plan and their progress on achieving the Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) goals of the association.

To complement the changes to the Quarterly Chair Report, the board also considered adding a dashboard- a visual tool to give information at a glance so that it can quickly track the work of a committee or taskforce, identify patterns and irregularities, and also potential problems so that they can be solved in a swift manner.

Another key recommendation is to create an End of Term Report for committees, juries and taskforces. This report will capture committee accomplishments. It will also identify YALSA Stars so that they can be encouraged to be YALSA leaders in the future.

These changes will assist the board making decisions for the association so that it better serves the membership and will help provide a clear picture to the membership of how we are working to achieve plans and goals now and into the future.

The Board passed this document on October 10th. The document can be viewed here.

Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with YALSA Immediate Past President Sandra Hughes-Hassell

Ever wanted to get to know the YALSA Board of Directors more? Here’s your chance! All month long, we’ll be posting fun mini interviews with each board member so you can get to know them a little better. Here’s the next Director:

What does YALSA mean to you?
I’ve always viewed YALSA as the division of ALA with its finger on the pulse of teens – their passions, their development, their needs, and their wants. By placing teens at the center of the work, I believe YALSA is able to provide library staff who work with teens a vision for their work, as well as tools (professional development, resources, booklists, etc.) they can use to develop inclusive programs for the teens in their communities. I see YALSA members as passionate, risk takers – pushing the field and the organization to recognize and tackle the big issues that teens in our country face

What are your hopes for the future of teen services?
I hope all library directors will understand the importance of providing services to teens and will thus, 1) hire dedicated and passionate staff to work with teens; 2) provide a dedicated space for teens – one that supports formal and informal learning; 3) provide funding that allows teen library staff to develop inclusive services/programs in collaboration with teens and community partners; and 4) apply an equity lens to all of the library’s work with teens.

What’s your ultimate comfort food?
Mashed potatoes! My grandmother made the best mashed potatoes – full of butter, cream, and lumps!

What show do you like to binge watch?
As a family we watch NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, and NCIS New Orleans whenever they are on!

What song can always make you dance, regardless of your mood?
September by Earth Wind and Fire

Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with BWI Award Jury and School & Public Library Cooperation Committee Director Melissa McBride

Ever wanted to get to know the YALSA Board of Directors more? Here’s your chance! All month long, we’ll be posting fun mini interviews with each board member so you can get to know them a little better. Here’s the next Director.

Melissa McBride is a K-6 elementary school librarian at Southold Elementary on the North Fork of Long Island. She has also worked in Teen Services and as a high school librarian. Her favorite things, in no particular order, are: her husband, her cat, the NY Islanders, Mets, and Jets, reading, Jack Johnson, and paddleboarding.

YALSA: What does YALSA mean to you?

MM: For me, YALSA is the reason why I am where I am professionally. It means a lot on so many levels! In grad school, one of my professors told us that we should all join our professional organizations while students. She explained that it would be a wonderful resource to us, as well as save money with the student rate! I took her advice and immediately felt at home with YALSA. My work on committees, and now with the board, has enabled me to become a leader in my school district. Working with YALSA has given me the confidence to present at conferences, lead committees in my district and given me so many resources to use with my students and staff. I was recently named the Suffolk County (NY) School Librarian of the Year and I really don’t think I would have developed the program I have without the skills I learned through YALSA. Now I have the opportunity to give back to the organization by serving on the board, and that really couldn’t mean more to me. I really don’t think I would be where I am today without YALSA.

YALSA: What are your hopes for the future of teen services?

MM: At the most basic level, I want everyone to understand the need for year round teen services provided by dedicated teen services staff, and to understand why that need is so important. Beyond that, I want teens to know that they have allies in the library world and to take advantage of the wonderful resources that they have access to. I want teens to learn how to advocate for themselves and to understand that the library should be a place where they can go to learn how to do just that. I want dedicated teen services staff in every high school, middle school, public library, and any other space that serves the needs of our diverse teens!

YALSA: What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?


  • Paddleboard in the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Southern Ocean, no way am I going in the Arctic Ocean. One down, three to go!
  • See Jack Johnson in his home state of HI
  • Travel the world with my husband

YALSA: What’s your Hogwarts House?

MM: Ravenclaw!

YALSA: Which city is your favorite to travel to and why?

MM: Probably New Orleans – I’ve been there six times. There is no better place to see live music and eat some of the best meals of your life.

Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with Organization & Bylaws Chair Valerie Tagoe

Ever wanted to get to know the YALSA Board of Directors more? Here’s your chance! All month long, we’ll be posting fun mini interviews with each board member so you can get to know them a little better. Here’s the next Director.

Valerie Tagoe is a high school librarian in Texas. She is the immediate past president of the Dallas Association of School Librarians and currently serves on the YALSA Board as the Organization & Bylaws chair. In addition to serving on the board, she is also active in the Texas Library Association as a member of its legislative committee. She holds a B. A. in French with a minor in History from the University of Oklahoma, a Master of Bilingual Education from Southern Methodist University and an MLS from Texas Woman’s University.

YALSA: What does YALSA mean to you?

VT: To me, YALSA means innovation and information for those who serve teens. YALSA provides a means to learn about innovative ways to serve teens along with issues and trends in librarianship. As a high school librarian, I can put into practice what I learn from YALSA webinars and at conferences to help my students meet their educational and personal goals as they move into adulthood and pursue college, career. YALSA also provides insight into current trends and issues in librarianship across the country.

YALSA: What are your hopes for the future of teen services?

VT: My hope is that even with all the budget changes we are seeing in public, academic and school libraries that teens, no matter where they live, have access to teen services at schools and in public libraries, and access to a librarian who can provide instruction, assistance, and programming.

YALSA: What movie have you seen multiple times in theaters?

VT: Black Panther.

YALSA: Name one cool fact about yourself.

VT: I have been to four countries outside the US.

YALSA: Which city is your favorite to travel to and why?

VT: Paris, France is my favorite city. I traveled there for a summer study abroad program at the Sorbonne and just loved all aspects of the city. I wanted to finish my last year of college there then return for graduation.

Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with Presidential Advisory Taskforce Director Ryan Moniz

Ever wanted to get to know the YALSA Board of Directors more? Here’s your chance! All month long, we’ll be posting fun mini interviews with each board member so you can get to know them a little better. Here’s the next Director.

First, a little background on Presidential Advisory Taskforce Director Ryan Moniz:

Early on in my career I realized that what motivates me is providing all members of my community, regardless of personal limitations or disabilities, with opportunities to learn, succeed, and improve their quality of life. I have more than 10 years of experience in strategic planning, project management, program development, instructional design, community outreach, along with public speaking and have had a fulfilling career because I have chosen to work for organizations that give back to their community.

YALSA: What does YALSA mean to you?

RM: I’ve always thought of YALSA as a compass for not just library professionals working with teens, but anyone who is committed to serving teens and youth in their community. It can guide both individuals and organizations down the sometimes challenging road of teen customer service. It’s a group of bright minds and passionate people who are committed to doing their part to make the library world a more equitable place for teens and it stands tall as a positive model for our library peers.

YALSA: What are your hopes for the future of teen services?

RM: I’d like to see more of an emphasis placed on teen spaces when designing new library branches. I’ve grown tired of visiting library systems across North America only to see teen spaces no bigger than a broom closet. We put so much thought into the design of children’s spaces but for some reason completely forget about teens. It would be refreshing to see library systems actually consult with teens in the community to get an understanding of what it is that they want, not just what a bunch of senior managers in a room think they want.

YALSA: What was your favorite band as a teen?

RM: I was obsessed with Blink-182. I listened to them to and from school, while I was showering, making food, and doing homework. I was especially obsessed with their album “The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show” since it was a live album and I could close my eyes and pretend I was actually at the concert. Their music marked so many milestones in my life, but I’ll always remember their song “Not Now” as a bookmark for a defining moment in my life when I left home and all of my closest friends for university. It’s a great track that hits right in the feels.

YALSA: What’s your ultimate comfort food?

RM: Oh without a doubt my go-to comfort food is a serving of butter chicken (extra spicy) with a bowl of chicken biryani (also extra spicy) and a crispy naan. My fiancée and I have a ritual after we return from any trip; we always pick up this exact meal on the way home from the airport and chow down the minute we get home. Nothing like a warm and flavorful meal after a long flight!

YALSA: Which city is your favorite to travel to and why?

RM: My fiancée and I just returned from a road trip in Iceland and I can easily say that Reykjavik has leapfrogged to our favourite city we’ve traveled to thus far. The downtown core of Reykjavik has something for everyone; the food was amazing, the people were friendly, and there’s history around every corner. On our final night there we went out for Indian food and once our bellies were full, we just started walking and taking in the sights. By the end we both chatted about how we could see ourselves living there…so who knows what the future holds!

YALSA’s President Report August-September 2018

Hello Colleagues,

In August, YALSA welcomed our new Executive Director, Anita Mechler. We are very excited to have her with us as we embark on a new round of Strategic Planning.

As you may know, the YALSA Board works year round. Since July we have been creating, discussing & voting on Board documents virtually. The Board decided to pilot holding the Edwards Celebration at the YALSA Symposium starting in 2019.

The Board finished up revisions to the Mission and Vision and developing an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan, as recommended by the Advancing Diversity Taskforce. This document will be posted soon and the EDI Plan will also be published as a standalone document.

We have created a Strategic Planning timeline. The board will be keeping members updated as we make progress through blog posts.

The Board also created a taskforce to Reenvision Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week into a larger advocacy initiative. This taskforce is already working and will have its recommendations to the Board in April.

The final document we have worked on since July is the Committee Impact Report, which initiates the revamping of our quarterly committee report. This will help celebrate the work of committees and make their work more transparent.

Thank You!


YALSA staff and members have had booths at the following conferences:

Relevant Stats & Data

  • September Membership: 4,622 (down 3.6% over September 2017)
  • Funds raised in August: $12,450

 Don’t Forget!

  • The 2018 YALSA YA Services Symposium will take place in Salt Lake City, UT, November 2-4, 2018, at the Sheraton Salt Lake City Hotel with a theme of: Zeroing In: Focusing on Teen Needs.Registration is open now and the preliminary program is online.
  • Take a moment to read the full Advancing Diversity Taskforce Report, which is now available!
  • The YALSA Board approved a new version of YALSA’s Competencies. Make sure to check out the YALSAblog to learn more about these competencies. Find out about the upcoming free webinar competencies series here.
  • The Public Library & School Library Collaboration Toolkit, the result of a three-year collaborative effort with members of AASL, ALSC and YALSA, provides information, research, and examples to will help facilitate and incorporate collaborative initiatives. Make sure to check it out!
  • Check out the The Hub for the the latest on YA resources!
  • Check out the Current Projects page to stay updated on what’s going on!

Crystle Martin
YALSA President 2018-2019

Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with JRLYA Advisory Board and MAE Award Jury Director Kafi D. Kumasi

Ever wanted to get to know the YALSA Board of Directors more? Here’s your chance! All month long, we’ll be posting fun mini interviews with each board member so you can get to know them a little better. Here’s the next Director.

Kafi D. Kumasi is an associate professor of library and information science (LIS) at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, where she teaches in the areas of school library media, urban librarianship, multicultural services and resources and research methods. A Laura Bush 21st century scholar, she holds a PhD from Indiana University, Bloomington and a master’s degree in LIS from Wayne State. Her research interests revolve around issues of literacy, equity and diversity, particularly in urban educational environments spanning K12 and graduate school contexts. Her publications include book chapters, and journal articles in (among others) Journal of Education for Library and Information ScienceThe Journal of Research on Libraries and Young AdultsSchool Libraries WorldwideSchool Library Media Research, and Urban Library Journal.

YALSA: What does YALSA mean to you?

KDK: YALSA means that I have a dedicated space to bridge my research around issues of youth, literacy and librarianship with policies and best practices for teen services professionals who ultimately reach young adults through their work in libraries.

YALSA: What are your hopes for the future of teen services?

KDK: I hope that teen services expands in ways that attract young people to get involved with libraries by the sheer relevance and fun that they see possible from existing programs and services that reflect the way they live and learn today.

YALSA: What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?


  • Travel the site of a future Olympics to see my daughter compete
  • Create a passive stream of income based on a passion/hobby
  • Visit every city where my son plays a game rookie season as a professional athlete

YALSA: What show do you like to binge watch?

KDK: I recently binge watched all 3 seasons of Insecure in a single weekend. I am absolutely smitten with the fresh take on life for a 30 something Black woman from Inglewood, CA. It has all the things I enjoy in a series and leaves me wanting more.

YALSA: Name one cool fact about yourself.

KDK: I teach Zumba and have a twin brother.

Get to Know YALSA Board Members: 5 Questions with Board Liaison to Division and Membership Promotion Colleen Seisser

Ever wanted to get to know the YALSA Board of Directors more? Here’s your chance! All month long, we’ll be posting fun mini interviews with each board member so you can get to know them a little better. Here’s the first one to kick it off!

Colleen Seisser is the Board Liaison to Division and Membership Promotion and the chair of the Fund and Partner Development Standing Board Committee. Here’s a little background:

I started on a path towards libraries early on as I worked at my local library as a shelver on and off for about 6 years as I finished high school got my Associate’s in Arts and then my Bachelor’s in Art History. I needed a break from school, and I found a job working at Washburne Middle School’s Library with Julie Halpern. She introduced me to teen services and I fell in love. She was also the first to get me involved with YALSA by gifting me a YALSA membership. I earned my MLIS in 2009 while returning to work part-time in the Technical Services and was hired as the first Teen Services Librarian at the Deerfield Public Library one semester before I graduated! I got to create the Library’s entire Teen Services from scratch since there had been little for teens there before. I then moved to the Mount Prospect Public Library and was their Teen Services Librarian for 5 years. During this time, I started volunteering more with YALSA, most significantly working with Amazing Audiobooks for 3 years starting as Admin Assistant and ending as Chair, and more recently chairing the Division and Membership Promotion committee for 2015-2017. In 2017 I started a new path as a Selection Services Librarian at the Aurora Public Library, and most recently in September 2018, I was promoted to Collection Services Manager (and luckily, I still get to select materials for teens for the library!) I love to create art and like finding new methods of creation, and I also love to garden.

YALSA: What does YALSA mean to you?
CS: YALSA has had a huge impact on my career as a Teen Librarian. I knew I could always look to YALSA to find resources that would help me with any opportunities or problems that came my way professionally. However, I am so thankful to have also found that as I started volunteering and attending events and programs, YALSA also provided me an important network of people who I could connect to, not only for on the job questions but also for friendships that have withstood being states apart. For me, it has been an invaluable organization to turn to because its members are always willing to help each other out.

YALSA: What are your hopes for the future of teen services?
CS: I hope that we continue to meet teens where they are and that we, as an organization and as professionals, continue to change with our teens and their needs. It’s been so exciting to see the libraries who are engaging teens on the civic level and facilitating the development of that part of their life. I also hope to see libraries continue to rise up as community centers, especially in regards to our teen communities, so we can continue offering well-rounded services that support and grow teens in all aspects of their lives.

YALSA: What show do you like to binge watch?
CS: Great British Bake Off (and yes still, with new hosts and no Mary Berry).

YALSA: What is your favorite fairy tale?
CS: Snow White and Rose Red.

YALSA: Name one cool fact about yourself.
CS: I am a second-degree black belt in martial arts.

An Interview with YALSA’s New Executive Director, Anita Mechler

Anita Mechler, YALSA Executive Director

Today YALSA welcomes a new Executive Director, Anita Mechler. YALSAblog interviewed her about her past experiences and what she’s looking forward to accomplishing with YALSA.

Tell us about your background and what led you to this position.

I have been active in a variety of causes throughout my life from human rights to legislative work from my high school days to now. I found a perfect fit for advocacy, helping people, and being able to “nerd” out on information sharing by pursuing my MLIS degree. The American Library Association’s ​Code of Ethics​ resonated strongly with me when I was going through graduate school and has continued to inform my professional work. I joined the library profession to provide the best services I could to help people pursue and live successful, fulfilling lives. The mission of YALSA perfectly aligns with my goals. Like educators and other library professionals, I have a passion for finding the best answer to a question, the most efficient solution to a problem, and logic and order to confusing situations.

With this position, I want to enact more positive change for a wide range of users who would benefit most from the services that YALSA, ALA, and other important organizations provide. There are plenty of negative forces at work in the world and I want my work and the organizations that represent young adults to do good work, bring about the most positive change, and to provide that one interaction for a young adult user that could change the course of their lives for the better. As an Executive Director, I will be able to enact policies, develop strategies, and advocate for legislation from the highest level of this division that will have the power to positively affect lives all over the United States.
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