Posted by Linda W. Braun
This morning bright and early YALSA committee chairs and board members met at leadership development. This meeting happens at each conference and gives chairs and Board the chance to talk about what’s up and what’s new. Two things were different this time around. First, there was breakfast (with giveaways) sponsored by Listening Library – thanks to YALSA staff for organizing that. And, the meeting included time for small groups to talk about how to manage difficult committee situations.
The small groups happened at the end of the meeting and it was great for two reasons. First, because it meant that we got to talk and not be talked at for the full meeting. And, we got to talk about something that was useful – how to better manage committees. Time ran short so we didn’t really get lots of opportunity to reflect on the discussions but Pam is going to collate the info. and send it out on the committee chair list and I’ll post it on the blog.
Actually, as I think about it the meeting was different in another way too. The agenda included lots of people talking about specific things. But, no person talked for more than 3 minutes I would say. That was great. Each person said what they needed to say and then we moved out. There wasn’t anything that needed lots of discussion but we still got to find out about lots of stuff.
Amy Alessio, YALSA’s fiscal officer, discussed how important it is for YALSA to be aware of our finances. Since YALSA is just striking out on its own as a non-subsidized division of ALA we have to be sure to spend money very wisely. Two things to remember within this context. First, Amy says she’s going to be always asking – do we have the money for that? And second, YALSA can only keep up with the needs of its members if the dues increase which will be on the ballot this spring is approved.
The dues increase is important so that we can continue to provide great programs and conferences, regional institutes, publications, staff, and lots more. It’s a small increase we are going to be asked to approve – $10 – but that money will go quite a long way.
Another topic addressed during the meeting was YALSA publications. I thought it was great that this conversation didn’t focus just on writing books but also on other types of publications YALSA can and does produce – this blog, booklists, journal articles, web content, and more. YALSA publications is interested in working with people on their ideas and will try to help match the idea with the best publications format. So, anyone with ideas should contact the publications committee.
YALSA Executive Director, Beth Yoke, told us about ALA’s Online Communities which is a place that committees will be able to use to conduct business. Committees can have real-time chats, upload documents, archive documents, and more using the Online Communities. Not all of YALSA’s Committees are included on the site yet but members can check it out.
Beth also gave a good rundown/overview of who does what in the YALSA Office. A good thing to remember is that if not sure who to contact the first point person is Esther Murphy.
Before we broke into small groups Pam Spencer Holley gave us her list of the top 10 responsibilities of committee chairs. The list is:
- communicate with committee members
delegate committee members
- start and end on time
- always have an agenda – circulate in advance
- circulate an attendance sheet
- have someone else take notes
- read your charge – make sure know what are supposed to do
- be sure to submit pre and post conference reports – board pays attention to them – can email liaison with sensitive info. – it’s OK to resign from a committee
- contact board lisiason with questions, concerns, etc.
- have a good time and accept the Board’s thanks