We’re all members of YALSA, or should be, but you’re reading this blog for a variety of reasons. You love libraries. Or you love working with teens. Or you’re just trying to find out what’s happening in YALSA. But you’re here, reading this blog post. As members of YALSA we all participate in our association in a variety of ways, sometimes passively by donating to the scholarships or actively by volunteering to serve on committees, by volunteering to blog for a list, by contributing your programs to Programming HQ.
In a recent YALSA survey many respondents voiced the opinion that their voices weren’t heard or weren’t acknowledged or they felt that their perspective wasn’t represented in YALSA. And I’d be the first to admit, yes it happens, it’s the reason I got involved. There was a time when I felt that my voice wasn’t being heard or felt in the list being created by the volunteers doing committee work weren’t representing my experience or worldview. So I stepped up and started volunteering. We make our association work; if you don’t volunteer or if you decide to drop your membership because you disagree, YALSA is going to fall apart and you know who will ultimately loses? Teens! The teens we support in our libraries, whether it be academic, public, or school; we serve the teens in our hometowns, whether it’s a big city or a small country town.
February may have been only 28 days long, but it was a busy month. Here are some highlights.
- Attended ALA Midwinter in Denver where I:
- Worked with YALSA Board and ALA HR to begin process of hiring a new YALSA Executive Director. For an update click here.
- Wrote thank you letters to outgoing chairs of committees, taskforces, and juries.
- Prepared for the March Board chat where we discussed concerns brought forward by YALSA members re: appropriate volunteer behavior and the committee appointment process. Be on the lookout for Board actions in response to both of these topics.
- Wrote President’s column for the spring issue of YALS focused on small, rural, and tribal libraries
Interested in Serving on YALSA’s Board of Directors?
The YALSA Board Development Committee is looking for candidates for next year’s slate for the following positions: President-Elect, Secretary, and Directors-at-Large. Successful candidates will stand for election in the spring of 2019 and begin their term during at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.
For more information on the responsibilities of each role on the Board, please visit the Governance page which includes some handy links under the topic Get Involved in Governance & Leadership.
Are you ready to put your name forward? Please submit the online nomination form soon and a committee member will be in touch.
Not quite ready yet? Please feel free to contact me, the Board Development Committee Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to request additional information.
The Board Development Committee will also be hosting YALSA 301 at Annual 2018 in New Orleans on Saturday, June 23, from 9-10 am. Pencil it in and hope to see you there! If you can’t make it, we’ll have a virtual session this summer, too.
Thank you for considering if YALSA Board is right for you!
As you know, Beth Yoke tendered her resignation as YALSA Executive Director in January. The search for the new Executive Director is currently underway.
The search committee includes three members of the YALSA Executive Committee and four ALA staff members:
- Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President
- Crystle Martin, YALSA President Elect
- Todd Krueger, YALSA Division Councilor
- Mary Ghikas, ALA Executive Director
- Dan Hoppe, ALA AED of Human Resources
- Aimee Strittmatter, ALSC Executive Director
- Beatrice Calvin, ALA Manager of Professional Development.
The job was posted Friday, March 2, on the ALAJobList. It is also being posted to other sites, including sites that are frequented by individuals seeking association executive director positions.
The committee will review and rank applications as they are received – we have already received a number of applications. On April 17th, the committee will have a conference call to determine which 8-11 of the applicants will move on to the next step in the process.
Our goal is to have a new Executive Director in place by August 31, 2018. As the process moves forward, I will continue to keep you updated. If you have any questions about the process, please reach out to me, Crystle, or Todd.
YALSA President 2017-2018
In a December blog post, we alerted you that a petition was circulating among ALA members to put a measure on the ALA 2018 ballot to overturn the decision by ALA Council to change the language of the job announcement for the next ALA Executive Director from “MLIS preferred” (or CAEP/school librarian equivalent) back to MLIS required. The petition received the requisite number of signatures, which means ALA members will be asked to vote on this issue during the elections, which run from March 12 – April 4.
YALSA’s Board of Directors strongly encourages our members to vote no on this ballot measure. The YALSA Board unanimously supports the recommendations of the ALA Executive Board, the ALA Search Committee, ten of the eleven ALA divisions, and the ALA Council, that the MLIS is preferred but not required for Executive Director candidates.
The rationale for our decision includes the following:
- 38.3% of ALA members do not have an MLIS.
- ALA is not a library. It is an association that represents and advocates for libraries. Industry best practice indicates that the executive director position of a nonprofit organization, especially one as large and complex as ALA, requires expertise in nonprofit and association leadership.
- If ALA limits the pool of candidates by requiring all applicants to have an MLIS, it will exclude qualified people of diverse backgrounds who, for whatever reason, chose not to dedicate their education to librarianship. According to ALA’s Diversity Counts report, 88% of credentialed librarians are white and 83% are female. Since diversity is a key action area for ALA, the executive director search should be conducted in a manner that allows for the greatest potential of attracting qualified applicants from underrepresented communities.
- Talented, mission-driven nonprofit leaders want to be part of ALA because they value libraries and the good work ALA does. Requiring a MLIS limits the pool of qualified candidates by excluding this group of experts. As ALA President Jim Neal explained, “The search firm and the search committee were contacted by such individuals but they were not able to be considered. Individuals with other educational backgrounds were recommended to the search committee, but they could not be recruited as candidates.”
For additional perspectives on why the MLIS should be preferred and not required, please see the statements issued by ALSC and PLA.
As you know, the search for a new ALA Executive Director was declared a failed search, and the ALA Executive Board has appointed long-time ALA Senior Associate Executive Director Mary Ghikas to serve as ALA Executive Director until 2020.
The search for the new executive director will be reopened this summer. During this current political climate, when institutions like libraries are under attack, ALA needs a strong leader and we cannot afford to put up unnecessary barriers to highly qualified and diverse individuals to applying for this job. We hope you will join us and vote no on this ballot measure. A “no” vote means that you want to keep the current language approved by ALA Council last year, which states and MLIS is preferred, but not required.
Sandra Hughes-Hassell, 2017 – 2018 YALSA President
Todd Krueger, YALSA Division Councilor
Save the date for March 6, 2018, for the virtual YALSA Candidates’ Forum, which will be moderated by Past President, Candice Mack! Drop in any time between 5:00 and 6:00pm, eastern, to meet the candidates for YALSA’s 2018 slate and learn a bit about their vision for moving YALSA forward. Can’t make it? The session will be recorded and distributed via YALSA’s weekly member eNews. And be on the look-out for Candidate Interviews right here on the YALSAblog, which are coming in March. To participate in the Forum via Zoom, a video conferencing platform, use this URL on March 6: https://zoom.us/j/543777816. To participate via phone, call 408.638.0968. The meeting ID is 543 777 816. Voting for YALSA and ALA elections opens on March 12 and runs through April 4. A link to your ballot will be emailed to you from ALA. Learn more on ALA’s web site.
The YALSA Board was busy at Midwinter in Denver. I want to thank my fellow Board members Franklin Escobedo, Crystle Martin, Sarah Hill, Clara Bohrer, Kafi Kumasi, Kate McNair, Mega Subramaniam, Todd Krueger, Jane Gov, Kathy Ishizuka, Derek Ivie, Jess Snow, Kate Denier and Melissa McBride, as well as YALSA ED Beth Yoke, for making our meetings productive.
Here are some highlights:
On Friday, YALSA Financial Officer Clara Bohrer led the Board Planning session, taking us on a deep dive into ALA and YALSA finances. Among the topics discussed were:
With direction from the board President Sandra Hughes Hassell, the board has recently set out to explore the possible tangible steps that YALSA can take to better engage current and future Spectrum Scholars. Since 2009 YALSA has sponsored 10 spectrum scholars.
The Spectrum Scholars programs affirms ALA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by seeking the broadest participation of new generations of racially and ethnically diverse librarians to position ALA to provide leadership in the transformation of libraries and library services.
Board document item #29 Building Stronger Ties with Spectrum Scholars focuses on how to get both current and past Spectrum scholars more involved in YALSA’s activities, and in taking leadership professions in the field. Some of the broad questions that will be explored in this board discussion include:
· Can we engage current YALSA-sponsored Spectrum Scholars to be mentors to other YALSA members who are aspiring to apply for Spectrum scholars? How do we do this?
· How might Spectrum Scholars be engaged in help us implement YALSA’s Organizational Plan, especially EDI related activities, such as our goal of diversifying the membership by 20% over three years?
· Across the association industry, what are other organizations doing to support and engage scholarship recipients?
The board is seeking feedback on item #29 from its members and others interested and in attendance on this important equity and inclusion effort. Thank you in advance for your consideration and input!
Kafi Kumasi & Mega Subramaniam
YALSA Board Members
YALSA has been working to expand member engagement and has been discussing a number of ways to do just that.
At the 2016 Annual Conference, the board approved the recommendations outlined in Board Document #25, Evolving Member Engagement Opportunities. The goal of the proposal was to provide members with a wider menu of options for getting involved in the work of YALSA, with a particular focus on creating more short-term, opt-in and virtual opportunities, as recent member surveys indicated that in-person and lengthy commitments (2-3 years) did not suit many members’ needs. Successfully implementing this change to better meet the needs of the membership is critical for YALSA, so a check-in to see how the change has progressed is warranted.
The Board will discuss what proposed next steps came about from the 2016 board document in regards to expanding member engagement #28 and what progress has been made toward them. Also, there will be related questions for the Board to explore, as this issue continues to be one of importance for the board.
See the full agenda of the Board of Directors at ALA Midwinter in Denver. All Board meetings are open to attendees, and you can learn more about the Board meetings on the wiki.
At Annual 2017, the Board directed the O&B Committee to investigate ways to measure outcomes and make the work of the organization more efficient and effective (board document #29). To that end, Organization & Bylaws is bringing Board Document #30 and Board Document #32 up for discussion at ALA Midwinter 2018.
Board document #30 focuses on YALSA’s existing chair manual and it’s need for updating. As chair of the Organization & Bylaws Committee, Melissa McBride is seeking feedback from the Board to guide the Committee’s work on updating the document. O & B would like to update the Chair manual to:
- Reflect the Organizational Plan
- Include more big-picture information
- Add outcomes focused content
- Update the virtual resources content
- Update the selection committee content
- Expand the responsibilities, communication, ethics and policies sections
- Change the language of the document so it can be used for Chairs, Conveners and Blogging Team Leads
- Add turn-key materials, like sample messages as well as examples of completed forms and documents that are thorough and well-written
Organization & Bylaws is also seeking feedback from the Board (document #32) on the role of the YALSA Board Liaisons, including seeing how the role can evolve to support YALSA’s more outcomes focused approach. A Board Liaison is a member of the Board who maintains a critical connection between the Board of Directors and a designated committee, jury, advisory board or task force. Board Liaisons are appointed by the President-Elect and assignments begin annually in July. The primary purpose is to facilitate communication between the Board and appointed member groups. The Board Liaison is the Chair’s primary contact for all governance related issues and supports the Chair with leadership of the appointed group as necessary.
Additional information can be found in the board documents. Please email Melissa McBride email@example.com with any questions. Looking forward to seeing you in Denver!