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

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

Taskforces Galore!!!

Wanna get involved in YALSA right now? YALSA needs your help! We’re looking for expert programmers, Teen Read Week gurus, Teen Tech Week geniuses, Road Trip afficionados, Common Core Standards experts and more!

Based on Board decisions at the 2013 Midwinter Conference, I’ll be making appointments to the following Super! Awesome! Taskforces! All you have to do is complete the volunteer form.
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YALSA Board Major Actions at ALA Annual

The YALSA Board met three times at ALA Annual in Anaheim. Over those three meetings, the Board had some substantial discussions, set up some new task forces and ad hoc Board committees, approved two new committee manuals, and moved forward on several other items. For more details on these items, see the official Board documents at http://www.ala.org/yalsa/workingwithyalsa/governance/board/annual2012. The official minutes will also be posted in the Governance section of the website in the near future. The summary is below:

New Task Forces

  • A president-elect advisory task force to work with president-elect Shannon Peterson on defining her presidential theme and setting her goals.
  • An appointments task force to work with president-elect Shannon Peterson to help her make committee appointments during the coming year.
  • A 365 Days of YA task force to create and disseminate a calendar of easy to implement teen services resources aimed at new teens services librarians, library generalists, and paraprofessionals.
  • A state library association outreach task force to reach out to YA sections and roundtables of state library associations and school library associations to strengthen ties with these like-minded organizations.
  • A youth engagement task force to find ways to involve teens in the work of the YALSA Board by identifying and implementing projects in conjunction with Teen Advisory Groups.
  • A capacity-building task force to focus on the capacity-building goal of YALSA’s strategic plan.
  • A task force to create a manual for virtual selection committees.
  • A YALSA/ALSC/AASL task force to look at issues around the Common Core Standards.

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Serving on the Mentoring Program Task Force

Earlier this summer, Melissa Rabey reflected on her experience so far on the Printz Committee. While I think a number of us one day aspire to serve on a selection committee, we may not be ready to make that kind of commitment yet, or we might feel like we don’t have the experience within YALSA to do so–but there are other ways to begin your involvement within YALSA. For new members especially, a task force can be a good way to try out professional service, so I thought I’d talk about my experience on the YALSA Mentoring Program Task Force.

The call for task force members went out a few days before I graduated. I’d been looking for avenues for getting more involved in YALSA, and a task force seemed like a manageable way to start. I’d applied for the mentoring program itself, too, so I made sure to mention that in my task force application. When I was asked to join the task force, I was told I just needed to recuse myself when my own application came up, but that I could still evaluate the other applications and help match proteges and mentors (and it turned out that one of the other members of the task force was an applicant to be a mentor!). Soon after the mentoring program application deadline passed, the chair of the task force emailed all of the members asking us to introduce ourselves to one another, and we began our work.

One thing that makes a task force a good place to start for people who are looking for their first way to get involved with YALSA is that many of them conduct their business entirely virtually. We did all of our work by exchanging emails and chatting via Skype, which was a great way for a group of people across the country with varying schedules to be able to collaborate. Of course, there are pitfalls in communication done primarily by email, but it opens task force work to people who can’t afford to travel and lets members work asynchronously.

Since task forces have a specific project to carry out, task force work is also usually done over a shorter timeline than a selection or process committee. We began our Mentoring Program Task Force work in early July and submitted our final recommendations at the end of August. If you’re anxious about how to get started with your YALSA involvement, a few months is a great trial period to see how you like it.

Joining a task force–or serving in any capacity with YALSA–is also a fun way to get to know your fellow YALSA members. Especially if you’re a new member, I think that trying to jump into a huge crowd of people you don’t know to make connections and friends can be intimidating. A task force is a good way to narrow that crowd to a friendly few and to start to put personalities and faces to the names you may have seen on listservs. While I’m not going to be able to make it to Midwinter this year since I’m going to the YA Lit Symposium in November, I’m hoping I’ll be able to meet up with some of the other task force members at future conferences.

I was a little nervous heading into my first professional involvement experience, but I had fun and I’m proud of the work we did. If you’re thinking about getting involved with YALSA but you’re not sure where to start, keep your eye out for calls for task force members. You’ll likely be able to work virtually, it’ll be a relatively short and easy introduction to serving within your professional organization, and you’ll come away from the experience with new connections and maybe even friends. And once you’ve got one task force under your belt, you’ll be ready for another opportunity to get involved!