How YALSA Funds Member Services & Support for Library Staff

A common question that I get, especially from new board members, is about where funds come from to support YALSA and its members.  The answer is pretty straightforward, although not one many people expect.  Member dues make up only about a third of YALSA’s total funding.  The other two thirds comes from product sales (award seals, books & e-learning); events (YA Services Symposium & ticketed events at ALA conferences); grants; corporate sponsorships; interest from YALSA’s endowments; and individual donations.  Many people are surprised to learn that funds from ALA or the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) are not a part of YALSA’s annual budget.  Actually, YALSA receives important services from ALA, such as HR and legal counsel, but not regular financial support.  IMLS offers competitive grants that YALSA is eligible for, and we have been awarded two.  If you’re interested, you can learn more about YALSA finances in my latest annual report.

All the funds that come into YALSA, from whatever source, are used to

  1. Provide members with services and support, like free monthly webinars and the summer learning grants we now have available
  2. Create and share resources with the library community, at no cost to library staff, such as our short, informational videos and newest toolkit about teen literacies

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Giving Tuesday: Support the Spectrum Scholarship!

While I’m sure you’re already worn out pulling out your wallet for all those end-of-the-year donations and holiday shopping, I hope you’ll consider taking it out for a good cause today, for Giving Tuesday. And when you do, please consider donating to Friends of YALSA. This year, the goal is to raise at least $2000, which will help send two advocates for teen services to Washington.

Friends of YALSA funds important YALSA initiatives, including the Spectrum Scholarship, which I was a recipient of. Spectrum supports library students from under-recognized groups in order to diversify the workforce, and I was proud to be a part of the program. It made me a member of two powerful and vibrant groups: my Spectrum cohort and YALSA. Being a part of a group of colleagues who were also going through school, finding out their specific niches in library science, going on first job interviews, and all the while concerning themselves with issues of representation and privilege, was invaluable while I was going through those things, too. And being named YALSA’s Spectrum Scholar made me a member of arguably the most fun-loving and dynamic division of ALA. Some of the best people I’ve ever met (some only online, some also in person) welcomed me into the fold and let me blog, join committees, go out for dinner with them at conferences, and generally get to know what YALSA and YA services are all about. That empowered me through out my graduate school experience and helped me land my first job out of library school before I had even graduated. I had a distinct experience in school, thanks to my Spectrum Scholarship.

I owe YALSA and Spectrum a huge debt of gratitude for giving me a community to count on and learn from. Please consider making a donation to YALSA so that other future librarians can have the opportunities I’ve had. Click here to learn about your giving options, and please consider at least Tweeting about the importance of #GivingTuesday to pass on the word!

Thank you for your support.