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.

Continue reading

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!

Fall Appointments

Happily, my appointments taskforce and I are swimming in applications for this fall’s selection and award committees as well as several important taskforces. For those of you that submitted a form, thank you for being willing to share your time and expertise with YALSA in this way.

Throughout the month, we’ll be filling slots with an eye toward creating strong and diverse committees. We hope to have all our work completed by the end of the October.

‘ And please remember, if we are unable to place you at this time or if you weren’t able to meet the September 30th deadline for these committees, there are a myriad of ways to be an engaged member in YALSA including:

‘ Of course, these aren’t your only options. For more information and ideas, take a few minutes to watch a Get Involved webinar.

YALSA President’s Report – February 2012

Monthly President’s Report – February 2012

March kind of sneaked up on me, I guess because February is a short month. Below is a summary of activities that I have completed or am working on. Happy Teen Tech Week!

Completed Tasks

  • Committee Chairs:’ ‘ I had phone conversations with several YALSA committee chairs about the work of their committees.
  • Board Activities: ‘ 
    • The Board had an online chat on February 1. Board members offered suggestions for the content of the selection and award committee chair and member webinars.
    • The Board met by telephone on February 29 to discuss chair quarterly reports and to take action on two requests for Board action that came from committees.
    • The Board voted to accept a proposal from the Morris Award committee to amend the eligibility rules to exclude self-published and e-book only books from consideration. The new rule will be re-evaluated after the 2013 award. Continue reading