Thank You… and Welcome, Amanda!

Hi everyone,

I want to thank YALSA members, the Board, and Staff for all of the assistance provided over the course of my presidential year. Every challenge has presented a new opportunity for us, and change has always been a great motivator for me. I hope that these past few months have energized you in ways never before considered. The pandemic continues to affect all of us, and presented the need to pivot from what we thought was normal. The fight for racial justice has rallied people together like never before to correct the ills of the past and present and work together for a better future for everyone. In so many instances, seeing and reading that teens are leading the charge for change tells me that the work that we do is important. Black Lives Matter.

I want to take this opportunity to welcome YALSA’s new President, Amanda Barnhart! Amanda and I have worked together over the course of this past year and did our best to serve you, our members. I look forward to helping her to ensure that her presidential year is a successful one. At our recent Board meetings, we approved a Short-term Strategic Plan focused specifically on the needs of members for this coming year. I also want to welcome Kelly Czarnecki as YALSA’s President-Elect. I have one more year on the Board, as Immediate Past-President, and will work to serve as a sort of institutional memory and mentor, among other key roles. The three of us do our best, along with the rest of the YALSA Board, to lead the association as we look to the future!

Thank you again for your support, and for all you do for and with teens.

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020

YALSA Seeks Board Candidates for 2021

Are you passionate about teens and teen services? Do you want to be an ambassador and advocate for YALSA? Then you should consider taking a leadership role in our organization. The Board Development Committee is looking for dedicated, committed volunteers with the skills and desire to run for several board positions: Director-at-Large, Division Councilor and Vice President/President-Elect.

YALSA’s volunteer members are the driving force behind our organization and make it the innovative, responsive organization it is. Dedicated volunteer leaders run the organization and influence its future.  You can find out more about the responsibilities of Vice-President/President-Elect and Division Councilor positions here and Director-at-Large position here. These positions are elected by the membership for a three-year term.

Each year, specific positions are available, and each opening has requirements based on its description and the current makeup of the Board. The Board Development Committee is looking for the most qualified individuals and broad representation. This includes a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. As the YALSA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Plan states: “The vision for YALSA is to be a diverse, inclusive and equitable organization which flourishes on the exchange of ideas from different perspectives. We believe the diversity of viewpoints that comes from different life experiences, identities, cultural backgrounds, and more enables YALSA to better achieve its mission to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.” Having this kind of representation on the Board allows YALSA to attract new members and retain long term ones, all the while making sure we are innovative, educational, professional and fun.

If you feel you have what it takes for one of these leadership roles, fill out the Governance Candidacy Form. The Board Development Committee reviews all the forms and looks for the best match of skills and background for the available positions. Submit the form by July 31.

Don’t wait to let us know you are interested! The Board Development Committee’s deadline is coming up fast. We only have until the end of the summer to present a slate of candidates to the YALSA board for approval. Successful candidates will run for election in the Spring of 2021 and begin their terms in June 2021 at the Annual Conference in Chicago.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Gail Tobin (gtobin@stdl.org) or Ritchie Momon (RMomon@mymcpl.org), the Board Development Committee Co-Chairs.

 

Incoming YALSA President Seeks Taskforce Members

The incoming YALSA President 2020-2021, Amanda Barnhart, seeks member volunteers to serve on the Presidential Taskforce. This role is for a one-year virtual appointment whereby the taskforce will focus on developing activities that support the President’s theme, Representation in Recruitment and Retention: Further Supporting YALSA’s EDI Plan. Three outcomes will guide the taskforce work,

  1. From such examples of how to start an affinity group to understanding intersectional identities, the Presidential Taskforce will work with YALSA staff to develop and provide the membership with quarterly continuing education strategies and ideas that support and celebrate the diversity of library staff and the teens they serve.
  2. The taskforce will identify and engage in efforts that aim to study the value of YALSA resources amongst library staff who work with teens that are seen as “non-members.” There are many non-member library staff whose actions adhere to the YALSA mission or support the YALSA vision and who utilize YALSA resources regardless of having purchased a YALSA membership.
  3. Finally, the taskforce will develop a report that includes findings from the aforementioned study, as well as provide recommendations on strategies for engaging non-members.

Consider applying for this taskforce as an opportunity to further develop your network with fellow advocates invested in EDI work. At the same time, please consider your capacity and knowledge to valuably contribute to conversations on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Interested members should contact Amanda via email AmandaBarnhart@kclibrary.org with a reply to the prompt: Explain which outcome you feel is most important and why. Applicants may also include relevant education or experience. Deadline for volunteering is Monday, June 22nd.

The direction of this taskforce was also influenced by recent work from the YALSA Division and Membership Promotion Committee 2019-2020. YALSA appreciates their efforts in engaging with LIS students and their ideas on reaching out to affiliates.

YALSA Seeks Member Volunteers

Have you ever presented at a local or national conference? Or are you a long-time participant at YALSA webinars or conference and Symposium sessions? YALSA is currently seeking member volunteers, including a committee chair, for the newly created Education Advisory Committee (EAC). The date to apply has been extended to June 10, 2020. 

The role of the Education Advisory Committee is to assist with providing appropriate and timely topics for continuing education offerings and identifying qualified individuals to facilitate continuing education sessions. Our communities are quickly changing and evolving in response to current issues which requires library staff to remain up to date on information and skills if libraries are to remain relevant in the 21st century. 

Providing your voice and direction to the EAC will help guide YALSA in its educational endeavors. Becoming a member volunteer of the EAC is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with your peers and make a difference in continuing education by assuring YALSA is offering relevant and timely content. YALSA needs your leadership in promoting CE opportunities and recognizing the contribution of facilitators and presenters, which is crucial for the growth of our profession and the teens that we impact.

The chair for the EAC serves in an Ex-Officio position on the Board of Directors and attends two board meetings a year. The EAC is a virtual committee with a one year (12 months) term beginning July 1 and is renewable. Complete this form by June 10th to apply.

YALSA Board created the Education Advisory Committee (EAC) to assist with identifying and providing feedback on Continuing Education topics to YALSA’s Executive Director and the newly created position of Program Officer for Continuing Education and Development. You may find more information about the board document here.

YALSA Plans for Fiscal Challenges 

Last month, your YALSA Executive Committee moved forward with budgeting plans for the next fiscal year and in setting a priority to fund strategic planning activities. We’ve also been keyed into finding solutions for the programs and activities that were scheduled for the 2020 ALA Annual conference. In doing so, your YALSA Board is moving these pieces along with special attention to our fiduciary obligations given the current ALA financial environment.

During fiscal year 2020, YALSA’s budget plans were substantially impacted as current funds were utilized to cover ALA expenses. Furthermore, not just YALSA funds, but all other ALA division budgets were also impacted. The utilization of division funds is fully within ALA authority and is a strategy all divisions agreed upon, as is stated in the ALA operating agreement. With these current financial challenges in mind, your YALSA board is planning the next fiscal year’s activities from the seat of a zero-based budget to address our overall YALSA financial health. Perhaps you may wonder “but what does that really mean?” In a nutshell, this means:

  • The YALSA Board continues to fully support that we are ALL ALA and maintains shared ALA values.
  • The YALSA Board values the flexibility of the ALA operating agreement that provides us the opportunity to achieve our mission: to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens – especially those with the greatest need – on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.
  • The YALSA Board is interested in addressing solutions for improving the operating agreement’s policy strategies. One such strategy may be supporting a more efficient and targeted communication within the internal ALA structure on such matters. In other words, the YALSA Board is more interested in moving forward together, rather than dwelling on any errors of yesterday.

This also means that, as we move through these opportunities and challenges, we welcome your questions, comments, or concerns you may have regarding our financial situation. While we may have our own perspectives, your voice is vitally important in guiding the YALSA Board and focusing our efforts in better collaboration with our ALA Executive Board on YALSA members’ priorities.

We appreciate your time in sharing your thoughts regarding the future of YALSA’s financial health and, in doing so, the financial health of ALA.

Todd Krueger, YALSA President, and Amanda Barnhart, YALSA President-Elect

Kelly Czarnecki wins 2021-2022 YALSA presidency

2020-2021 YALSA President-Elect Kelly CzarneckiKelly Czarnecki, Teen Loft Manager at ImaginOn in Charlotte, NC, has been elected as YALSA’s 2020-2021 division president-elect. Czarnecki will begin her three-year term as president-elect in June of 2020, becoming president starting in June of 2021, and remain active on the board for one year as past president in 2022. Voting took place March 9 – April 1.

“It is such an honor to be elected to this position by the members,” said Czarnecki. “I am grateful and look forward to continuing to get their input to move toward YALSA’s future. In these unchartered times during this pandemic, I am hopeful that in working with the board, along with past presidents, we will continue to seek solutions to inevitable shifts we’ll see in library services. In allowing ourselves to listen and engage with teens, we’ll continue to be a viable organization that will meet their needs.”

Highlights of Czarnecki’s involvement in YALSA include:

  • Serving as a content expert for the YALSA Programming HQ
  • Serving on the YALSA Programming Guidelines Development Task Force
  • Serving on the YALSA Advisory Board
  • Serving on several YALSA committees including Technology, Gaming, and Outreach to YAs with Special Needs

In addition to the president-elect position, YALSA members have also elected Kate Denier as Fiscal Officer and both Susannah Goldstein and Dawn McMillian as Directors-at-Large. All three positions will serve three-year terms.

Learn more about YALSA elections at www.ala.org/yalsa/workingwithyalsa/election.

2020 YALSA Election: An Interview with Board of Directors Candidate Joel Shoemaker

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2020 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 9 through April 1. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out a sample ballot!

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board members are responsible for jointly determining YALSA’s current and future programs, policies, and serving as liaisons to YALSA’s committees, juries, taskforces and advisory boards. Members work year round, and attend in-person meetings at ALA’s Midwinter and Annual Conferences. A full description of Board member duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Joel Shoemaker, Director, Illinois Prairie District Public Library

What best qualifies you for being on the Board of Directors?
I suppose what best qualifies me is both my experience serving teens in rural communities as well as my administrative experience. I also have experience with governance which should support my role on the board of directors well. Finally, my enthusiasm for serving our teens and my desire to continue to best meet their needs in the library setting shouldn’t set me apart from other fine candidates, but absolutely can be considered a qualifying attribute for the position.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA if elected to this position?
In addition to the mission of YALSA being to support library staff, the mission extends to putting teens on a path to success. I love that. As a former school librarian, I find this mission very appropriate. I want to do what I can, given my experience in rural settings to ensure that those in smaller libraries do not feel left out of this crucial mission. YALSA should work to extend its reach and market better to those of us with small staff and multiple responsibilities, even down to the one-person operation. All of us are serving teens. None of us need to feel alone in this important work.

What would be the most exciting aspect of this position? The most challenging?
An exciting aspect of this position, for me, would be to further YALSA’s reach, as indicated above. This acts as a sort of dual answer because it would indeed be a challenge as well. I’m up for the challenge of figuring it out, however. I will work hard for all of our members, current, former and prospective, with a goal towards increasing membership.

Share a recent example(s) where you made a shift to better focus on the current needs of teens.
Recently, we noticed a desire for more teen gaming after school. Much of this gaming included working with peers and there began to be some patron complaints regarding noise. I informed staff that we wouldn’t want to punish teenagers for coming into the library. That said, we do not have teen rooms in any of our branches at this time. As a result, we were able to move some computers around to make them friendlier for gaming and encouraged teens to use computers that were closer together. It has helped and they seem to enjoy the small updates to our layout. We are continuing to look into how better serve them in our current facilities.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
I think one of the most pressing issues facing YALSA is similar to what is facing ALA in general. I believe the organizations are seeing less and less membership, and less involvement from members across the board. I would like to see YALSA market towards library workers in organizations with smaller budgets and find ways to make itself more attractive and relevant to the types of libraries indicated above.

2020 YASLA Election: An Interview with Board of Directors Candidate Dawn McMillan

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2020 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 9 through April 1. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out a sample ballot!

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board members are responsible for jointly determining YALSA’s current and future programs, policies, and serving as liaisons to YALSA’s committees, juries, taskforces and advisory boards. Members work year round, and attend in-person meetings at ALA’s Midwinter and Annual Conferences. A full description of Board member duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Dawn McMillan, Teen Librarian, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Oakley Branch

What best qualifies you for being on the Board of Directors?
I believe that my experience working with YALSA for over ten years, working as a member of multiple task forces and committees will make me an asset to the YALSA Board.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA if elected to this position?
My priority in furthering the mission of YALSA if elected as a board member would be to make sure that library staff, both professional and paraprofessional, have the resources they need to offer practical, personalized services for the teens they serveTeens with the greatest needs are often overlooked and administrative staff can press Teen Librarians to focus on programming that is not suited to the needs of their teens. By prioritizing the most at risk, greatest need teens as an organization, we can help shift the attitudes of administration and begin to offer targeted services for teens that need them most. 

What would be the most exciting aspect of this position? The most challenging?    
I am most excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Librarians who serve teens and are passionate about creating the best resources for our YALSA community. I love collaborating and working together to find the absolute best service that we can provide.  

Share a recent example(s) where you made a shift to better focus on the current needs of teens.
The youth that I serve primarily come to my public library directly after their school day. After I observed that traditional programming like crafts, games and book clubs were not of interest to these kiddos I took a step back and asked them what they would like from the library. They overwhelmingly stated that they would like to have space where they could talk and hang out with feeling like they needed to be quiet. I adjusted my programming to allow the kids to have music and snacks and unstructured hang out time. I think it has made a real difference in their perception of what a library can be.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
In my opinion, one othe most pressing issues facing YALSA is member engagement. While I know that members take advantage of the webinars, I just feel like there has to be more that we can do to energize the members of our division and be more of an active presence for resources in their professional lives. 

What else would you like voters to know about you?
I’ve been working with teens in public libraries since 2005. My passion for making sure that teens are welcomed and supported within our institutions is at the center of every choice I make within my professional career. I strive to be abreast of new information in terms of adolescent brain development as well as mental health first aid for all youth. I love working in public libraries and am proud of the strides we make to always treat every person who walks through our doors with respect and dignity. 

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

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2020 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 9 through April 1. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out a sample ballot!

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

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

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

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

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

Some of the highlights of my involvement with ALA and YALSA include:

  • Serving as a content expert for the YALSA Programming HQ
  • Serving on the YALSA Programming Guidelines Development Task Force
  • Serving on the YALSA Advisory Board
  • Serving on several YALSA committees including Technology, Gaming, and Outreach to YAs with Special Needs
  • Serving a term as an ALA Councilor-At-Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2020 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 9 through April 1. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out a sample ballot!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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