YALSA Board Update: Transforming Member Participation

Yesterday during a virtual meeting to address unfinished business from its June meeting, the YALSA board met to continue its discussion about how to improve member engagement opportunities so that they better meet member needs, as well as to re-think the structure of YALSA so that it’s better positioned to carry out the work of the new organizational plan.  Last month, the Board sought to review of all existing member groups at their June meeting (see Candice Mack’s blog post).  The Board accomplished a lot in June, but didn’t finish all of its work around member groups.  The Board met virtually yesterday to discuss the Leading the Transformation of Teen Services Board Standing Committee’s draft recommendations for the remaining member groups that were not addressed in June.  If you’re interested, you can listen to the audio recording of the meeting.

The Board voted to accept the recommendations from the Standing Board Committee for transforming the first 8 strategic committees as listed in Board Document #2.  This includes keeping some strategic committees as-is (Awards Committee Nominating Committee, Awards & Selection Oversight Committee, Competencies Task Force, President’s Planning Taskforce, School and Public Library Cooperation Interdivisional Committee), expanding others (Division and Membership Promotion Committee, Research Committee) and the transitioning to more of a short-term structure for the Summer Learning Taskforce.  These changes will not go into effect until July 2017, as the next several months will involve working out a transition plan.

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YALSA Board Update: Meeting on Aug. 1 & Town Hall on Aug. 17

As part of its ongoing effort to improve member engagement opportunities so that they better meet member needs, as well as to re-think the structure of YALSA so that it’s better positioned to carry out the work of the new organizational plan, the Board sought to review of all existing member groups at our June meeting (see Candice Mack’s blog post).  The Board accomplished a lot at its meeting in June, but didn’t finish all of its work around member groups.  If you haven’t already, check out June Board documents #25, #40, and #41, which were all approved by the Board.  Since the Board didn’t finish its work in June, the Board will be meeting virtually Aug. 1 from 12:30-1:30 pm, eastern, to discuss the Leading the Transformation of Teen Services Board Standing Committee’s draft recommendations for the remaining member groups that were not addressed in June.  These latest Board proposals on member engagement are the result of about a year’s worth of organizational planning work by the Board, exploring how best to adopt a “teens first” approach to YALSA’s work in order to better support members and to advance teen services so that all teens are prepared for college, careers and life. Any member interested in sitting in on the virtual meeting can contact yalsa@ala.org to request the access information. Continue reading

Rethinking YALSA: Member engagement part 2

As YALSA works towards the new intended impact statement laid out in the 2016 – 2018 organizational plan, the board is looking at member engagement opportunities that best fit with the implementation plan to achieve the plan’s priorities. These member engagement opportunities are not only the way that the work of the association gets done, but also are ways to support member to member connections and foster leadership skills.

Right now, most associations are built around a traditional committee model, which were established before virtual work environments were popular. That model requires a long time commitment from members and leaders, demands oversight and input from boards and staff, and is slow to produce results. In many cases, it also limits professional development opportunities by sequestering volunteers away from additional networking and learning activities.

One trend associations are exploring are microvolunteering opportunities, or adhocracies, where interested parties gather together around a need and work for a short period of time to deliver timely, relevant resources. These volunteer experiences can impact a member community much more quickly than the standard model, increase the number of leadership opportunities, and allow members with similar interests to connect with one another. Volunteers are also able to give time as their schedule allows, stepping back and returning to projects as their schedules allow.

Different engagement methods also allow members to better connect with members. YALSA generally receives over 1,000 volunteers for just over 300 committee spots. That leaves at least 700 members interested in doing work that moves the mission of YALSA forward, but with the onus of work on them. They can connect with other members through interest groups, YALS, YALSA Blog, the Hub, Programming HQ, and JRLYA, but those activities aren’t necessarily built around networking and bonding either.

So what does this mean for right now? Well, the board is doing a limited pilot this fall with YALSA’s 7 juries. Sarah Hill blogged about the changes in April, and you can find that post here. It also means the board will be looking at the ways the work gets done, the activities laid out in the implementation plan, and best way to keep members engaged with the mission of YALSA!

Do you have feedback on the organizational plan? Fill out our brief survey here.

My ALA Midwinter 2016 Experience

I just attended my first ALA conference and it was awesome.

I have heard many things about what to expect. Wear comfortable shoes, they said. Bring business cards, they said. Most of the meetings will be closed door, they said. Some of the things they said were right (seriously…who wants to walk around for 8 hours in cute new shoes that pinch the sides of your feet!..), but nothing prepared me for the magic that is Midwinter.

Like most Midwinter neophytes, I didn’t know what to expect, so I arrived bright and bushy tailed to the hotel at 7:30am sharp. I could not check into my room, so I left my bags with the hotel staff, and ubered my way over to the Boston Convention and Conference Center. (For those of you who cabbed your way around Boston, I would highly suggest you invest in the free Uber app. Most of my rides around the city did not cost me more than $6, some as little as $3.)

I arrived at the Conference Center to find that the exhibits were still being put together, and that I was late to all of the lectures that started at 8am. In hindsight, I could have just sat in, but I didn’t know if I needed a ticket. Is it okay to walk in late? Would I embarrass myself in front of my peers? Would I be asked to leave? Instead of tackling these hard questions straight on I decided on the very safe, unintrusive, and foodie-pleasing decision to register, find a coffee shop, and read the Midwinter guide over a hot cup of Joe and a cheese danish.

The guide was very helpful. It was delightfully color coordinated, included start and end times of lectures, events, and meetings, and provided a legend that had information on whether events were ticketed, closed, or open to registrants. I highlighted everything that looked of interest to me – which was half the book, so I marked it up to a fairly unrecognizable degree. And then I discovered there is an app.

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Volunteer for Award, Selection & Strategic Committees and Taskforces!

*Please note that the PPYA and Amazing Audiobooks Committees are virtual. YALSA members with book selection and evaluation experience and who are comfortable working in an online environment with tools like ALA Connect, Google Docs, Skype, etc. should put their names forward for consideration.

Past-President Chris Shoemaker noted in his blog post last month that the YALSA Board adopted a new policy about serving on YALSA award committees (Alex, Edwards, Morris, Nonfiction, Odyssey & Printz).  Beginning Feb. 1, 2016, any individual who has served on any YALSA award committee will need to wait two years before they are eligible to serve on another YALSA award committee.

If you have been on selection and award committees before, please consider volunteering for the new Selection and Award Committees Oversight Committee (more info can be found in this board document).  This new committee needs experienced YALSA members to serve as liaisons and to standardize policies and procedures for selection and award committees.

The Fine Print

  • Eligibility: To be considered for an appointment, you must be a current personal member of YALSA and submit a Committee Volunteer form by Oct. 1, 2015. If you are appointed, service will begin on Feb. 1, 2016.
  • If you are currently serving on a selection or award committee and you are eligible to and interested in serving for another term, you must fill out a volunteer form for this round (so I know you’re still interested and want to do serve another term)
  • Qualifications: Serving on a committee or taskforce is a significant commitment. Please review the resources on this web page before you submit a form to make sure that committee work is a good fit for you at this point in time.
  • Need more information? Click on the links above. Check out the Committee FAQ.  Watch the Selection Committee Webinar.
  • Please free to contact me with any questions or issues at gsarahthelibrarian at gmail .com.

Thanks for volunteering with YALSA!

Committee Appointments Update

Happy New Year!

I am pleased to announce that all appointments have been made for the 2015-2016 award and selection committee cycle.

Many, many thanks to the all the talented and dedicated YALSA members who submitted nearly 600 volunteer applications to join these great committees!

If you submitted an application, you should have received an email from me inviting you to be on a committee or an email letting you know that my appointments taskforce and I were unable to find a spot for you this year.

If you received one of the latter emails, please don’t be discouraged and please try again. There were just not enough slots for the number of applications we received.

In the meantime, you can gain valuable YALSA and professional development experience by volunteering to be on a YALSA strategic committee, task force, or jury. The work of all of these strategic groups is done virtually and do not require conference attendance. The deadline for strategic committee applications is March 1, 2015, and I will be making those appointments in the spring.

Fall Committee and Taskforce Appointments

While we are all caught in the throes of summer reading, I want to take a minute to remind everyone to look forward to the fall! That’s because, as President-Elect, I’ll be making appointments to the following YALSA committees and taskforces:

*Please note that the PPYA Committee is being piloted as an all-virtual committee for the coming year. YALSA members with book selection and evaluation experience and who are comfortable working in an online environment with tools like ALA Connect, Google Docs, Skype, etc. should put their names forward for consideration.

The Fine Print Continue reading

Spring appointments, let’s get cracking!

As President-elect I’ll be making appointments to YALSA’s *virtual* juries and process committees in the very near future. Help move the organization forward, learn something new, and work with amazing people by serving on one of these:

Books for Teens Jury
BWI/YALSA Collection Development Grant Jury
Conference Travel Scholarships Jury
Frances Henne/VOYA/YALSA Research Grant Jury
Great Books Giveaway Jury
MAE Award for Best’ Literature Program for Teens
Continuing Education Advisory Board
Division and Membership Promotion
Editorial Advisory Board
Executive Committee
The Hub Advisory Board
Financial Advancement
Joint School/Public Library Cooperation
Legislation
Annual Conference Marketing (Las Vegas, 2014)
Nominating
Organization and Bylaws (conference travel is required)
Publications Advisory Board
Research
Research Journal Advisory Board
Strategic Planning (conference travel is required)
Teen Read Week
Teen Tech Week
Teens’Top Ten
Website Advisory’ 

Not sure which one to volunteer for? Just fill our the volunteer form as completely as possible and I’ll do my best to find the right fit for you. Appointments will be made through March. Questions? You can find me at shannon.peterson@gmail.com.’  Please note: book award & selection committee appointments are made in the fall, and the volunteer form for those will not open until June.
Thanks!

Spring Appointments

Each spring, the YALSA President-elect appoints members to serve on process committees and juries. These groups are the backbone of the organization, making sure that core initiatives like Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week happen in a suitably dynamic YALSA fashion and select recipients of awards and grants. They also find ways to engage new members, support our amazing blogs, plan conference programs, maintain our wikis, and implement genius plans to support the organization, its members, and initiatives financially. ‘ And… much much much more.

In my own experience, these groups provide a perfect opportunity to get your feet wet, learn something new about the division, develop your professional chops, and of course, work with genuinely awesome people. Plus, they’re entirely virtual, so conference travel (though welcomed) is not mandatory. ‘ Volunteer forms will be collected through the beginning of February and appointments will be made in March. A list of committees and juries as well as the volunteer form, can be found here: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/workingwithyalsa/yalsacommittee.

Please feel free to get in touch with current Chairs with questions http://www.ala.org/yalsa/workingwithyalsa/committees/committeechair or contact me at shannon.peterson@gmail.com.

Thanks, and I look forward to serving with you!