YALSA Board @ Annual 2013: Getting Buy-in from Administrators

At the 2013 ALA Annual Conference, the YALSA board discussed an issue that we have been grappling with for some time: how do we get library administrators on board with the idea that teen services and programs are important, and deserve a fair piece of the library pie?

At the 2013 Midwinter Meeting, the board decided to survey YALSA members who are supervisors and managers, to get some input on this issue. The YALSA Executive Committee discussed the survey results at our April conference call, agreeing that we needed to focus on:

  • collecting and sharing case studies
  • helping members build skills that will enable them to better interact with administrators and articulate the needs of the teen services department
  • collaborating with other organizations in order to build stronger ties with administrators

Since that discussion, the following activities have taken place:

  • I wrote a six-part series for the YALSAblog on “What Your Manager Wishes You Knew” that incorporated information from the survey and tips from managers about what teen services librarians could do to work with administration to improve teen services.
  • YALSA and LLAMA (the Library Leadership and Management Association, another division of ALA) collaborated on a webinar for managers, “Increase Your Library’s Value by Amping Up Teen Services,” which was facilitated by YALSA and LLAMA member Mary Hastler.
  • LLAMA members received an e-blast in June about YALSA’s instructional kits. Continue reading

Are you Taskforce ready?

Wowsers is right, the ALA Annual meeting was an action-packed few days for the YALSA Board. Several Board members will be sharing background and information on select proposals that were brought forth over the course of the next few weeks, so please stay tuned. Obviously I’m a bit of a governance nerd myself, but I hope you’ll find that the processes and paths that the Board follows to come to these decisions are almost as thoughtful and interesting as the results themselves. I said it once and I’ll say it again: your YALSA Board volunteers are awesomesauce.

Part of my follow-up over the course of the next few months will be to madly appoint to some amazing new taskforces. Either as a newer member looking for a way to get more involved or as a seasoned vet ready to share your expertise, this could be you! Check out the taskforce descriptions below and if interested, please fill out a volunteer form.’ ‘ The more information you can give me related to the group(s) that you’re interested in serving on, the easier it will be for me to place you. And remember, if you aren’t selected in this round of taskforce appointments, President-Elect Chris Shoemaker will soon be perusing selection committee volunteer forms which are due September 30th.’ ‘ Thanks for considering!
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What Your Manager Wishes You Knew – Part 2

Do you sometimes wonder what you could do to get more administrative support for teen services in your library? There are some relatively simple steps you can take to win friends and influence managers! This is a six-part series that shares some tips from managers that you can integrate into your work life and maybe make some positive changes in your library.

Last week I talked about presenting yourself as a professional. This week, the topic is:

Speaking the Language

When YA librarians talk about teen services they often–naturally enough–focus on the teens. They are likely to describe programs and activities in terms of the benefits to teens. Talking about how much fun a program or service will be, or how it’s the latest rage may be what’s on the top of your mind, or that of your teens, but it’s not necessarily what your library’s director thinks is important. Generally, upper-level managers are more interested in big-picture issues. In YALSA’s recent survey of members who are identified as supervisors or managers, several of the respondents commented that the upper-level administrators at their libraries want to hear about programs in terms of issues like community engagement, community health, collaboration, purpose, sustainability, partnerships, and return on investment (ROI). Continue reading

What Your Manager Wishes You Knew – Part 1

Do you sometimes wonder what you could do to get more administrative support for teen services in your library? There are some relatively simple steps you can take to win friends and influence managers! Over the next six weeks, I’ll be sharing some tips from managers that you can integrate into your work life and maybe make some positive changes in your library.

In March, YALSA surveyed members whose job titles identified them as supervisors or managers. We asked them some questions about administrative support for teen services in their libraries, and what would improve that support. There were some common threads, and today I’m going to start with a big one:

Presenting Yourself as a Professional

In the comments to our survey, one manager said that YA librarians need to learn how to “code-switch” between being “hip” and being “professional.” It’s true that a lot of YA librarians have a lot invested in their look and style–and that works with teens. But sometimes the style doesn’t come across with the people who are making decisions–especially the ones who are of a different generation.’  Continue reading

30 Days of Innovation #2: Get a New Wardrobe

Because of my job I get to travel around to conferences and meetings and talk with librarians all over the place. Wherever I am I spend a lot of time discussing advocacy and the importance of helping members of a community understand the value of teen services. We frequently talk about the image that people have of librarians and how that image is often not based in reality. We also discuss how hard it is to change how people see librarians and libraries.

During these trips and in these conversations, it often feels a bit strange because I’ll be talking to someone about library and librarian image and that person will be wearing a book t-shirt with a cute saying, or book earrings or necklace (or both), or a book themed-watch, or….. you get the idea. I don’t believe I can say during these conversations, “Have you ever thought about the image you portray by wearing book related clothing and accessories?” Even though I really really really want to.
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