Meet the YALSA Board of Directors

What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:

  • establishing a clear organizational mission
  • forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
  • overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
  • hiring a competent executive director
  • providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Franklin Escovedo, Principal Librarian for the City of Coronado, California.

What drew you to the Board?  

I think I have a strange back story for my involvement with the YALSA Board.  So at Annual in 2008 in Anaheim, my first ALA conference, I went to the member meeting GLBT-RT, and they were asking if any members were members of YALSA, “the perky librarians” the chair asked at the meeting.  Myself and a colleague who is no longer with us, were the only two members hopping up and down trying to get their attention.  We laughed about this later, since we did indeed fall into the category of perky librarian.  They were looking to fill a Liaison position for the round table, since the Liaison position had become vacant.  So I was appointed to be the liaison.  They didn’t seem to know what had happened to the previous one, they just told contact two people.  One of those was Beth Yoke and the other was a Board Member who was also a member of the GLBT-RT.  Since this was my first official activity in ALA, I was pretty lost at what to do, figured the best way to find out what YALSA was doing was to go to Board meetings.  So at Midwinter in 2009, I attended my first board meeting and was the only observer.  Sometimes they forgot I was there and would get into really heated debates, then someone would point out that there was an observer.  But from that first meeting in Denver, I was really impressed at the work that the Board did.  And from then on people kept asking me to be more involved and run for board.  So for several years I kept telling them I wanted to learn more about YALSA before I would run.  But what has kept my interest is the passion that the members of the board have for YALSA and the future of teen services, the need to adapt to the current and future landscape of teen services and for the librarians working with teens.  This is a division that hasn’t rested on its laurels but one that is trying to keep pace with the ever changing landscape of information and library services for teens, whether physically or virtually.     

What do you do on the board?  I’m one of the Board of Directors; I’m helping to shape the future of YALSA by helping to implement the new organizational plan.  I also liaison with few Chairs, the Teen Top Ten Committee, the Interdivisional Committee.  I’m also our liaison for the Division to ALA Advocacy group.  I’m currently working on a way to evaluate some of our older committees and to see what needs to be changed so that they will align with the new org plan.

What the board is doing for its members

One of the biggest challenges that the division has had over the past few years is how do you make YALSA more accessible to it’s members.  How to do you get more of the members involved?  One of biggest changes and exciting change is the ability to get more members involved in virtual committees.  The move of PPYA to a virtual committee made it possible for members who can’t afford to go to conference accessible.  One of the biggest road blocks for many members is the cost of attending a conference.  Like a lot of my colleagues, my library doesn’t cover the cost of me attending let a lot membership dues.  A not everyone is crazy like me, who pays for everything themselves.  Going to conference is no cheap affair.  So changing the charges of the selection committees has allowed more of our colleagues to participate.  This new change will allow many more librarians to get involved and help create selection list faster and hopefully get librarians who may not have participated in the past more actively involve.  YALSA is still trying to create better resources for its members and I believe for teen librarians in general.   We know that YA Librarians are often rare in libraries and that there a lot of generalist as well as paraprofessionals who serve as the Teen Librarian.  We want to continue to advocate for YA Librarians being added to the payrolls of libraries and schools.  We want to help with the continuing education of a YA Librarians, the new, the old, and the newly reassigned librarians who want to provided better services for teens.

Are you reading a teen book you may want to share or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.  I’m currently reading several books, one book is the first of the Magnus Chase series by Rick Riordan. I’m also reading Echo Park by Michael Connelly for my mystery book club that I run at my library. And I’m halfway through this year’s Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award winner, If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo.  I was lucky enough to meet Meredith at the Coffee Klatch in Orlando.  I’m so thrilled that it won! 

Board Update: Board Self-Assessments

The YALSA Board works year-round, tackling projects and other tasks in between conferences. One of those projects is updating the YALSA Board self-assessment tool.

Self-assessment is an essential part of professional development. Self-assessments help us gage the success of our efforts and identify areas for growth. After all, an organization, be it YALSA or your library, can only successful if the people leading and working in the organization are successful.

YALSA’s Board Members are expected to conduct self-assessment to ensure YALSA’s leadership is effective.  At ALA Annual 2016, the Board discussed the need for an updated assessment tool and process that better reflects the new Organizational Plan. Diane Colson, Jennifer Korn, and Kate McNair are in the process of developing that new assessment tool and process. We examined the prior YALSA self-assessment tool, tools used by other organizations within and beyond ALA, and professional literature on the topic to create an effective and user-friendly self-assessment rubric. The Board at large is now in the process of examining and offering feedback about the current draft of this tool.

This finished tool will be used by all board members annually at minimum. Results will be used to develop individual and group goals, which will ensure YALSA keeps moving forward in its teens-first mission. The tool will also be used by members interested in pursuing a YALSA Leadership role to better understand Board work and expectations, and will be available to the entire membership on YALSA’s website.

As the Board continues to work on this and other projects, we encourage you to also think about your personal self-assessment and growth. Teen services in our libraries thrives because of your work and development!

YALSA Board @ Annual 2016: Communicating Change

Extra! Extra!You have been hearing about the new organizational plan for months and that is not by accident or happenstance. When the YALSA Board began working on the new organizational plan, we made a commitment to emphasize communicating that work out to YALSA members and stakeholders. In every step along the way, the Board has been carefully and intentionally planning the ways we can best reach members to ask, inform and engage them around the new plan.

As we reach the last step of the organizational planning process (not to be mistaken with the last step of the plan itself, we still have a long way to go!), we wanted to look back on the past few months and evaluate the ways we have reached out to members. Here are few highlights of what Board members and YALSA staff have done to spread the word about the new organizational plan.

  • 11 blog posts from Board members and YALSA Blog contributors with over 800 cumulative views
  • Over 1,000 unique page views on the organizational plan website
  • Mentions in YALS President’s Column, Editor’s Column and special highlights article from President-Elect, Sarah Hill, in the Spring issue
  • Engaging in conversations with stakeholders and committee chairs (95% of chairs surveyed were familiar with the plan by mid-May)
  • Too many social media posts to count!

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YALSA Professional Learning Summer 2016

photo of two sneakered feet standing next to a tablet, notebooks, pencils From monthly webinars, to an e-course, to ALA Annual, YALSA has a lot of opportunities for you to take part in professional learning this summer.

Summer Webinars
First up is the June 16 webinar titled, Content Creation Tools for You and Your Teens. The session will be facilitated by Nick Grove from the Meridian Library. Nick is the digital services librarian at the Meridan (ID) technology center, unBound, in the heart of downtown Meridian. Anyone who participates in the webinar will leave knowing:

  • How to decide what content creation tools to use with and for teens.
  • How content creation can help support teen 21st century skills development
  • Where to go next to learn more about the topic

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Interview with Eric Meade

Last month, YALSA announced a new three-year organizational plan building from the Futures report and looking forward to 2018.  The YALSA Board has been working on this for over eight months, and consultant Eric Meade from Whole Mind Strategy Group has been an integral part of the process. I interviewed Meade to hear about the process so far, what has been rewarding about the process, and where YALSA is headed next.

Eric Meade will answer questions at ALA Annual in Orlando at a session titled “What’s New in YALSA & How You Can be a Part of It” from 8:30 – 10am EST at the Rosen Centre Hotel, Salon 03/04. Please attend to hear more about the new organizational plan, where YALSA is going from here and explore ways you can be a part of it.

Rethinking YALSA: I’m Excited – How About You?

In late April the YALSA Board approved the association’s new organizational plan. If you haven’t read the plan I think you want to. And, if you need some encouragement, check-out what some YALSA Board members are excited about:

photo of Jennifer Korn with teens and a sign that says - excited about the teens first approach


YALSA Board member Jennifer Korn with library teens – they are excited with the Teens First focus.
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