YALSA Board Discussion at Midwinter 2020

The question of “Where will YALSA need to focus over the next five years so that it may best support its membership and, just as importantly, the youth they serve?” cannot be quickly determined. During the past several months, your YALSA board rebooted discussions regarding the strategic planning path. Board members embarked on a new road, now led by our experienced and seasoned President and our knowledgeable Executive Director. 

As a starting point, the board has examined and discussed our current guiding documents (EDI plan, strategic plan, implementation plan, and more), evaluated other existing strategic plans, and delved deeper into conversations on future members’ values, needs, etc. We continue these discussions at ALA Midwinter during Board I scheduled for Saturday, January 25 at 1:00 pm in the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 304.

In addition to these discussions, the board will also undertake professional development training to better understand and facilitate the integration of the EDI plan with our future strategic plan (more on this soon). Board meetings are open to all and we invite you to join us and lend your input as we continue the strategic planning process.

Should you have any questions or wish to offer comments via email, please reach out to Todd Krueger, YALSA President, or to me, Amanda Barnhart, YALSA President-Elect.

YALSA Community Survey Results

Thank you very much to everyone, both members and non-members, who took the time to fill out YALSA’s Community Survey this past year. The results are in, have been analyzed and passed on to the board for their review. It was great to have so much valuable and thoughtful feedback on what you think is important about YALSA and how it addresses the diversity and inclusivity needs of the people it serves.

Almost a third of the survey participants were either somewhat unfamiliar or not at all familiar with YALSA’s recently updated Teen Services Competencies. Many respondents reported a lack of time or simply not being aware of them as reasons for not implementing or planning to implement the competencies. Others responded that they were not currently working with teens, so the competencies did not apply to them in their current position. The highest rated competency most respondents said they implemented or were working toward implementing was interactions with teens with 68 percent of responses. This was followed by equity of access at 48 percent and teen growth and development at 45 percent.

Survey participants were asked what they saw as the most important work of YALSA and its leadership in the teen services library field. The top three choices were advocacy with 25 percent of responses, equity, diversity and inclusion with 23 percent of responses, and continuing education with 22 percent of responses. Reading and other literacies followed not too far behind with 13 percent. When people were asked what they thought was the second most important work, answers continued to follow this pattern.

The survey also asked people about YALSA’s communication channels in terms of how much they are used and how they keep up with the latest news about YALSA and library/teen services. Most of the responses indicated that people obtain the latest news from YALSA’s website and YALSA E-news with each choice being ranked first by 25 percent of responders. People said they also got their news from other YALSA emails and listservs and their colleagues and friends.

More than half of respondents, totaling 64 percent, were not familiar with YALSA’s updated Intended Impact Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.  But when directly asked, about a third of people stated that increasing diversity in YALSA is the most important item on a scale of one to ten. Many different reasons were given for this, which included needing to be more diverse, wanting to reflect the communities they serve, and the importance of having different perspectives.

Some of the other general takeaways from the survey is that many respondents think YALSA is useful and has an important purpose, but the cost is prohibitive for many people. Many participants expressed concerns about the membership price, especially when attached to the cost of ALA membership and whether the benefits of membership were really worth the money. Other respondents felt YALSA mostly caters to public libraries and is not particularly inclusive for school librarians, small, rural libraries, special libraries, certain ethnic groups, demographics and sexual orientations. Some of the suggested solutions to address these issues included hiring more diverse people within the field, offering more conference discounts and grants, academic scholarships and free or discounted memberships, especially to diverse people. Cost was frequently mentioned as a barrier to diversity within the organization.

About 62 percent of survey participants hold a current membership in YALSA. Most of the survey respondents work in a public library, 82 percent are white/Caucasian, most do not speak another language, 88 percent are female, 69 percent are heterosexual, and 84 percent do not have a disability. Survey participants frequently referred to themselves as members of the majority and did not feel they were the right people to answer some of these questions.

The survey received a total of 436 responses.

This post was submitted by Rebecca Leonhard and Kimberly Kinnaird.

YALSA Board @ Midwinter – Fiscal Matters Follow-Up

creative commons licensed piggy bankAt ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in Boston, one of the topics the YALSA Board focused on was YALSA’s dues and member categories. This was a follow-up to a Annual Conference 2015 conversation at which the Board approved placing on the YALSA 2016 ballot an item that will ask association members to approve an initiative that allows YALSA to align dues with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In Boston the Board looked at three more options for the 2016 ballot on the topic of dues and member categories:

  • Raising regular member dues by $5 to $65/year.
  • Raising organizational member dues by $30 to $100/year
  • Not adding any ballot items beyond the previously approved CPI related measure

After discussing the three options the Board decided to not add a ballot item other than the CPI measure. However, the Board wanted to continue to review this topic, particularly once the association’s current organizational planning is done. With that in mind, the Board did approve the following motion: Continue reading

New Year’s Resolution: Getting to Know Fellow YA Librarians

I don’t know about you, but I love the days when I get to hang out with youth services librarians and talk shop. I’m pretty shy, so it’s hard for me to get to know people. At conferences and hanging out on Twitter, I’ve heard/read remarks about librarians wanting to get to know each other. But it can be hard when we’re so spread out. I’m lucky if I get to see some of my fellow Connecticut librarians once or twice a year. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all knew each other?

So I came up with this idea – that we should get to know one new person a month. I created this questionnaire – it’s pretty short, with just 10 questions. Take a look here and fill it out.

And help us get the word out so we can meet more of our people!

Fall Appointments Reminder – Volunteer Form Deadline Approaching October 1st!

YALSA members, I have a question for you – have you filled out your volunteer forms yet? I’ve been working with the amazing Letitia Smith to begin looking at committee volunteers, and have noticed that I’m not seeing all the people who talked with me in Chicago or online and who expressed interest in volunteering their time to serve on a selection committee. So, please, please, please make sure that you’ve completed the volunteer form! And for the committee members who are eligible to serve a second year, be sure you’ve filled out the paperwork too!

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YALSA Student Membership: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

In her presidents’ report, Linda Braun mentioned that YALSA is now offering gift memberships – that’s true for student memberships as well! As you get ready for the next term, think about asking your family and friends for a YALSA gift membership (or think about giving one to your fellow students). Student membership in YALSA costs $53 and includes ALA membership. Gift memberships can be purchased by contacting Letitia Smith, YALSA membership coordinator, at lsmith@ala.org or by phone at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4390 (you can’t buy a gift membership online).

Before your parents (or aunt and uncle or boss) ask, here are five great reasons why they should consider buying you a gift membership this holiday season.

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Help: We Need Somebodies

Recently, two ALA projects have come to my attention that could be perfect for some YALSA blog readers.

  • Do You ALA? is a project of the Young Librarians Task Force of ALA. The group is asking young librarians to create videos that answer the questions do you belong to ALA, if so why, and if not why not? If you are a member of ALA and YALSA why not produce a video that explains what you value in those memberships? If you do not belong to either, a video on your reasons for not joining would also be useful to the young librarians group.

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YALSA seeks member manager for new blog

Update, 11/5: YALSA will extend the application period to Nov. 30, 2009.

YALSA is seeking a Member Manager for its upcoming YA literature-focused blog (whose exact name is still to be determined) with the mission to provide an online resource for teens to use to find reading recommendations. This blog will focus solely on young adult literature and will provide teens with a definitive web connection to blog posts, images, booklists, and videos and more all related to teen reading.’  The deadline for applications is October 30, 2009.

The Member Manager will lead an advisory board and together the group will be responsible for the content of the site. In addition, the Member Manager and the advisory board will solicit content submissions from the YALSA community.
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