YALSA Board @ #alaac17

Happy LGBTQIA Pride Month!

YALSA’s Board has been hard at work since their last face-to-face meeting in Atlanta: continuing the work of the organizational plan, working on these projects, and planning for ALA Annual in Chicago!

Now, the Annual Conference is fast approaching, and I’m looking forward to the Printz Ceremony on Friday night, honoring Sarah Dessen at the Edwards Award Brunch on Saturday morning, talking with members at our Membership Meeting and President’s Program and so much more! You can find the details about these events and many more YALSA activities on the YALSA wiki.

In lieu of a happy hour this conference, YALSA is co-sponsoring The Other (Invisible) Refugees – Supporting Central American Children in Crisis on Saturday, June 24, from 4:30-6:30 pm in McCormick Place, W178a.  Join us for viewing a film from IBBY & REFORMA, and learn about the Children in Crisis Project, which seeks to raise awareness about these vulnerable youth and to provide resources to them. Donations are accepted at the door.

The Board agenda is up online, and more documents will be posted soon. Members can check them out in advance and send comments or feedback to me at gsarahthelibrarian @gmail.com. If you’ll be in Chicago for the conference, the first ten minutes of each of our board meetings are open to public comment. If you have a question for a particular board member about a document they’ve written, you can reach out to them here.

Be on the lookout for more blog posts in the two weeks from fellow Board members about the topics up for discussion and action.

You can stay up to date with all the conversations by following Executive Director Beth Yoke (@yalsa_director), myself (@glibrarian), and/or other YALSA board members for live tweets of adopted actions and discussion highlights. In addition, there will be follow-up blog posts explaining decisions and board actions once the conference is done.

Thanks for all that you do to make YALSA an awesome association, safe travels and hope to see you in Chicago!

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 Crystle Martin, Postdoctoral Researcher Digital Media and Learning Research Hub University of California, Irvine.

1. What drew you to the Board?

I started out my work with YALSA managing the YALSAblog. This gave me a great perspective on the needs and interests of members and what YALSA does as an association, which inspired me to contribute to YALSA more. When the Governance Nominating Committee approached me about running for the Board I was very enthusiastic.

2. what do you do on the board?

I am the Secretary of the YALSA Board and the Chair of the Leading the Transformation of Teen Services Standing Board Committee. The Secretary is a member of the Executive Committee and is responsible for ensuring that accurate documentation exists of both Board meetings and Executive Committee meetings. The Leading the Transformation of Teen Services Standing Board Committee is responsible for advancing the priority area of the same name in the Organization Plan. This year I was elected President-Elect for YALSA.

3. What the board is doing for its members

The board is always looking to make YALSA better for its members. We want to create opportunities for professional learning, access to content, and volunteering that are focused on the needs library staff have to serve youth today and in the future. To see what the Board and YALSA as a whole has been up to, check out the current projects page. One of the changes that the Board has undertaken recently that I have been very excited about is the transition of the Selection Lists to The Hub, which is making nominations for selected lists available to members as they are selected instead of all together at the end of the year. So keep an eye on the Awards and Selection List Category on The Hub to see Amazing Audiobooks, Quick Picks, and Popular Paperbacks nominees as they are posted, and look for a compiled list at the end of the year. 

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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 Gretchen Kolderup, Youth Librarian at the St. Helens Public Library in Oregon


What drew you to the Board?

I’d really enjoyed the committee work that I’d done with YALSA and at some point I started sitting in on board meetings and conference calls and thought the work the board was doing was really engaging and something I could contribute to. I’d gotten a lot out of my time with YALSA up to that point, and it seemed like a good opportunity to lend my time and talents to the organization. I also appreciated that board service gave me the chance to work with awesome people, to develop skills I didn’t already have, and to broaden my perspective on libraries to a national level.

What do you do on the board?

Like all board members, I liaise with chairs of member committees and task forces and contribute to our monthly board chats and our meetings at conferences. Board members are responsible for monitoring the financial health of the organization and attending to governance issues.

In my three years on the board, I’ve been on three different standing committees: Continuing Education, Research and Best Practices, and Advocacy. As part of those groups, I’ve helped bring documents to the board for consideration during meetings.

My term on the board also happened during a time when we’ve been very focused on strategic planning, and I think my experience in suburban, urban, and rural libraries has been helpful there. Board work is much more nebulous than committee work; it sort of reminds me of being a supervisor vs a front-line staff member.

What is the board doing for members?

Over the last year, the board (and YALSA’s Executive Director and staff) have been working on better aligning what the organization does to its organizational plan. There isn’t infinite staff time or infinite money, so we want what we’re doing to be as useful to members as possible!

For example, there’s been a renewed focus on supporting members as they create and run interest groups so that people who are working on similar projects or who have similar focus areas can come together and exchange information and ideas (for example, there are teen mental health and DC- and LA-area interest groups).

The board also directed the president to create a task force that’s been reviewing member grants and how members are recognized for excellent work; we’ll discuss their recommendations at Annual and that’ll lead to better grant and recognition opportunities for members.

We’ve also been looking at how to measure how effective different member groups are and what members get out of being on committees and task forces so we can make that experience even better.

All of this — and more! — will be on the agenda for Annual, so stop by a meeting if you can!

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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 Jane Gov, Teen Librarian at the Pasadena Public Library and YALSA Board Member Financial Advancement Committee Chair.

1. What drew you to the Board?

To be honest, I hadn’t considered board work until I was appointed in November 2015.  At the time, the Board seemed like something out of my reach and I wasn’t sure if I was qualified to serve. Now that I’m here, I feel fortunate to have this opportunity.  Being on the board is fascinating, and it’s made me more involved in civic engagement in my own community.  Like many YALSA members, I volunteer because I want to make positive change; being on the YALSA Board is getting to the heart of where these changes can start… and we can make improvements nationally.
2. What do you do on the board?

I am the Financial Advancement Committee (FAC) chair, which is an ex-officio member of the YALSA board. The charge of the committee is to provide oversight and continued enhancement of the Friends of YALSA program, including promotion, fundraising and donor recognition. We work with the Board to create and implement virtual fundraising campaigns and fundraising efforts at conferences. Each year, FAC is tasked with raising enough funds (over $14,000) to support member grants, scholarships and awards that do not have a sponsor or otherwise dedicated funding source. The fundraising campaigns are aimed at both members and nonmembers. We are also tasked with reviewing YALSA’s Fundraising Toolkit and make updates, which we’ve just completed.  In short, FAC basically helps raise money and thank our donors.

As a board member, I was on the standing committee for the priority Leading the Transformation of Teen Library Services, which includes strategies for leadership development, member engagement, and cultural competency.  However, since Midwinter, I’ve switched to the standing committee for Funder and Partner Development, which make perfect sense as it relates to my role as FAC chair.

I am also the board liaison for the Writing Award Jury, an award that’s funded by Friends of YALSA. The jury just finished their term last month.
3. What the board is doing for its members?

The YALSA board is taking a careful look at what we’re doing currently and whether some processes could improve. We’re evaluating the impact of what we do as an organization. YALSA board is looking to increase member engagement by giving members more feasible opportunities to get involved (such as short term and virtual opportunities), and provide resources that are more relevant, more effective, more engaging, but at a quicker pace—yet still with the same (or better) quality. Some examples include the proposed improvements with the mentorship program, the movement of some selection lists to the Hub, and the new Teen Book Finder Database.
4. Do you have a teen book you may be reading or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.

My teens just wrapped up our next issue of the Teen Zine, a bi-annual publication that features writing, photos, book lists, and articles by or about teens at the library. I’m proud of this issue because there were more teens involved in its making—double the number since the pilot issue. There are about a dozen editors and graphic designers, and another dozen writing contributors, half of whom got an opportunity to interview authors during our book festival. This issue includes teen articles about some of our more notable programs such as our annual murder mystery (written and delivered by the Teen Advisory Board), a large art show featuring artwork by teens with autism, photos of our National Coming Out Day celebration (which was the first for our city and took place at the library), and articles about our annual teen book festival. Not only does the zine show in photos all the great work our teens have done in the last six months, but working on the zine itself gave them a chance to showcase their graphic design and editing skills—more so than the previous years. And it’s nearly twice the length of the last issue.

I just finished a book I was reviewing for a journal, and it’s amazing! Traitor to the Throne, sequel to Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton.  It’s got the action of a western, mixed with Arabian mythology, and threaded with magic and political intrigue. Fans of Leigh Bardugo or Rae Carson would love this one.

Three Modes of Board Work

The YALSA board is always looking to grow and improve. We use monthly board chats as a way to deepen our skills in governance and discuss trends and best practices impacting non-profit boards around the country and how we can bring those ideas to make YALSA the best association it can be.

In January, we met to discuss the article “Governance as Leadership: Reframing the Work of the Nonprofit Board” with past board member Maureen Hartman. Maureen is the Manager of Strategic Services for the Hennepin County Library. She and her team lead the library in strategic planning, learning and development, diversity and inclusion, and change management. I can think of no person more qualified to lead a discussion about the three modes of board work.

Governance boards spend most of their time in one of three modes:

  • Fiduciary: When the board is being a good steward of association resources. In this mode you might see or hear the board discussion financial reports or going through expected costs for an upcoming event. For YALSA, this role is carried by the whole board, but the Executive Committee takes on special responsibilities to care for our assets.
  • Strategic: My home library board is often in Strategic mode! Here the board is setting priorities, reviewing the strategic plan and monitoring progress. You have probably seen this mode from YALSA in the past, but recently we have been spending a lot of time in the third mode…
  • Generative: With the formation of the new organizational plan, the YALSA Board has spent a lot of time in this third mode. The Generative mode is when the board is deciding “what to pay attention to, what it means, and what to do about it.”

I don’t think these modes are exclusive to boards, I know I recognize these modes in conversations and meetings we have at my library. I bet you see them in your workplace too. As a board, we work to balance these three modes, which can be a challenges. Sometimes in the board cycle, like the recently organizational planning process we went through, will call for more time in the generative mode. Now the board, has to switch back to more time in the strategic and fiduciary modes as we work to operationalize the plan and move forward toward our goals.

To end the discussion, we all identified a goal or action item that we can work on at or leading up to the Midwinter meeting. Two goals clearly rose to the top as priorities for the board: communicating with members both in person, and virtually about the new organizational plan of YALSA and all the work we are doing, and helping the Executive Director and Staff balance their work to help achieve the goals of the new plan.

If you are wondering what the board is up to at Midwinter,  you can see the schedule of board meetings and agenda. If you are attending ALA Midwinter and you see a board member (look for our YALSA Board Member ribbons) please come up and say hello! We would love to hear from you!

Kate McNair is a YALSA Board Member. Come see her at the YALSA booth #709 on Saturday, January 21 9-10:30am.

My Year As YALSA Board Fellow

When I received my acceptance letter as YALSA’s 2014-2015 Board Fellow I was so ecstatic. I’d been involved in YALSA before I even began my time in library school at Drexel University. First serving on the Fabulous Films for Young Adults Committee and then YALS editorial Advisory Committee and the Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults Committee. But this I knew would give me a different experience that I was looking forward to, especially thinking at the time that I would love to run for an opportunity to sit on the YALSA Board of Directors.

Well, my year as Board Fellow did not disappoint. In fact, it proved to be so much more than what I bargained for when I first started out. I had certain tasks to fulfill as described in the YALSA Board Fellow Program – a major task of which was to undertake a project for the year. Stemming from a mega issue discussion, I quickly realized that the conversation of board diversity needed to continue and, with the help of Beth Yoke and Shannon Peterson, I put together a board document that would later be discussed at ALA midwinter 2015 and voted on to be moved forward via the work of a task force. I agreed to Chair this taskforce and work is currently underway to make suggestions for how YALSA can increase and maintain ongoing diversity among the board of directors.

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Board wrap-up from Annual 2015

I’m very proud of all the work that the 2014-2015 YALSA Board has accomplished, and wanted to share with you some of the highlights of our work from Annual last month.

  • The board approved the proposed Professional Values document, which outlines nine core values that define professionalism for those who work for and with teens through libraries
  • The board discussed Member Recruitment and directed the Standing Board committee on Member Recruitment & Engagement to explore the issue further and bring recommendations back to the board
  • The board discussed ways that YALSA might better support members in their Collection Development  and content curation efforts and determined a first step would be to compile resources on YALSA’s wiki
  • The board passed a policy designed to encourage a broader segment of the membership to participate in Selection Committees .  Beginning Feb. 1, 2016 any individual who has served on any YALSA award committee will need to wait two years before they’re eligible to serve on another YALSA award committee
  • The board voted to establish an Award & Selection Committees Oversight Committee to help ensure that these committees have the support they need to run smoothly
  • The board decided to put a proposal to the membership to vote on tying YALSA Dues to the Consumer Price Index, which will appear on the 2016 ballot
  • The board got an update on what is being done to align resources and activities with the Futures Report
  • The board approved a petition to establish a Teen Mental Health Interest Group.

To learn more, check out the Board agenda and documents as well as the meeting minutes.

At the conclusion of the board meeting, I turned over the reins to Candice Mack, who will be the awesome 2015 – 2016 YALSA President.

The Board’s next meeting will be at the 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting, Jan. 8 – 12. We’re looking forward to seeing YALSA members in Boston! And remember, YALSA’s YA Services Symposium is coming up in Portland, Oregon, November 6 – 8.

Thanks for all that you do to make YALSA an amazing association and I enjoyed working with you all this past year!

YALSA Board @ Annual Preview: Aligning YALS to the Futures Report

heading for YALS
One of the items on the agenda for the YALSA Board at Annual Conference in San Francisco is a discussion of YALS and how to make sure that the official journal of the association is in line with the findings and recommendations of YALSA’s Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action report. The Board document – under new business – presents some things for the YALSA Board to think about including:

  • A revised function statement for YALS that focuses on the YALS Advisory Board having an active role in developing an editorial calendar for the journal and to make sure that YALSA’s resources and initiatives are successfully highlighted in the publication. Continue reading

Board Preview for Annual 2015

Board Activities at ALA Annual

YALSA’s Board has been hard at work since Chicago; working on the strategic planning process, continuing the roll-out of activities related to the Futures report, planning for ALA Annual at San Francisco. And now, the Annual Conference is fast approaching, and I’m looking forward to the Printz Ceremony on Friday night, brunching with Sharon Draper at the Edwards Award Event on Saturday morning, talking with members at Saturday’s Member Happy Hour, and so much more. You can find the details about these events and many more YALSA activities on the YALSA wiki.

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