YALSA Plans for Fiscal Challenges 

Last month, your YALSA Executive Committee moved forward with budgeting plans for the next fiscal year and in setting a priority to fund strategic planning activities. We’ve also been keyed into finding solutions for the programs and activities that were scheduled for the 2020 ALA Annual conference. In doing so, your YALSA Board is moving these pieces along with special attention to our fiduciary obligations given the current ALA financial environment.

During fiscal year 2020, YALSA’s budget plans were substantially impacted as current funds were utilized to cover ALA expenses. Furthermore, not just YALSA funds, but all other ALA division budgets were also impacted. The utilization of division funds is fully within ALA authority and is a strategy all divisions agreed upon, as is stated in the ALA operating agreement. With these current financial challenges in mind, your YALSA board is planning the next fiscal year’s activities from the seat of a zero-based budget to address our overall YALSA financial health. Perhaps you may wonder “but what does that really mean?” In a nutshell, this means:

  • The YALSA Board continues to fully support that we are ALL ALA and maintains shared ALA values.
  • The YALSA Board values the flexibility of the ALA operating agreement that provides us the opportunity to achieve our mission: to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens – especially those with the greatest need – on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.
  • The YALSA Board is interested in addressing solutions for improving the operating agreement’s policy strategies. One such strategy may be supporting a more efficient and targeted communication within the internal ALA structure on such matters. In other words, the YALSA Board is more interested in moving forward together, rather than dwelling on any errors of yesterday.

This also means that, as we move through these opportunities and challenges, we welcome your questions, comments, or concerns you may have regarding our financial situation. While we may have our own perspectives, your voice is vitally important in guiding the YALSA Board and focusing our efforts in better collaboration with our ALA Executive Board on YALSA members’ priorities.

We appreciate your time in sharing your thoughts regarding the future of YALSA’s financial health and, in doing so, the financial health of ALA.

Todd Krueger, YALSA President, and Amanda Barnhart, YALSA President-Elect

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 Board at #alaac19: Selection List Marketing

It was brought to the attention of the YALSA Board regarding a lack of knowledge and marketing for the current selection lists created and developed by our YALSA Hub Bloggers and committee members. Our lists, like Amazing Audio, Quick Picks, Great Graphic Novels, and Teens Top Ten, and the hardworking members who create them have not gotten as much attention as they should since the move to the YALSA Hub.

The solution the Board has discussed is to create a team whose main focus is highlighting and marketing the content generated by the selection committee. This would include working with the blog list coordinator, publicizing lists in Cognotes at the Midwinter and Annual conferences, creating social media postings and branding, and highlighting selection list members on the blog.

Other recommendations include:

  • Create an Instagram account for the division and for marketing the selection list to reach teen users.
  • Maintain an online record of past members.

If you would like to join us, the meetings are open and any individual who is registered for the conference may sit in.

Board I, Saturday, June 22, 1-5 PM, Washington Convention Center, 155 link

Board II, Sunday, June 23, 4-5 PM, Washington Convention Center, 155 link

The agenda may be viewed here

And the specific document (Item #24) may be viewed here

YALSA Board at #alaac19: YALSA Board Contract

In May, the YALSA Board approved a new Board Member Contract. This document is signed by all Board members and it stipulates what responsibilities the Board members have to the organization, as well as the responsibilities that the organization has in regards to the Board members.

The current YALSA Board Member Contract was approved on January 16, 2010. Since then the Board’s work has evolved to include more year-round governance discussions and decision-making by board members. The contract was also updated to better reflect the time commitment involved in serving as a YALSA Board Member.

If you are interested in more info, Board Document #10 shows both the old contract as well as the new one that was agreed upon.

See the full agenda of the Board of Directors at ALA Annual in Washington D.C. All Board meetings are open to attendees, and you can learn more about the Board meetings on the YALSA Conference wiki.

YALSA Board at #alaac18: Book Awards and Lists in Light of #MeToo

The YALSA board will hold a discussion at #alaac18 about YALSA’s book awards and lists in light of #metoo. I have been a member of the Printz, Odyssey, and Alex Award committees and am bringing this topic to the YALSA board for discussion and possible action.

The #MeToo movement exploded in Fall 2017, when women and some men collectively began to speak out against abusers and harassers. The movement carried over to the young adult publishing world in February 2018 via an article in School Library Journal that led to hundreds of comments to the article indicating certain authors and publisher representatives as harassers or abusers.

YALSA and its board extend their compassion to those harmed by abusers and harassers and commends those for speaking up, while at the same time also extending support to those who were also harmed but remain silent.
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YALSA Leadership and Volunteering

At ALA Annual this year, YALSA held information sessions on how to get involved with the organization, both as a new volunteer and as someone seeking leadership opportunities.  Here’s a recap of the event.

If you’re just starting out, volunteering for one of YALSA’s committees is an excellent first step.  All YALSA members are encouraged to fill out the Committee Volunteer Form once a year. Here is a list of committees and the link to the form. Continue reading

YALSA Board @ Midwinter – an Overview

View of Atlanta from the Omni Hotel

Happy post-Midwinter!

The YALSA board started off Midwinter on Friday with a training session about cultural competency in order to start the process of implementing cultural objectives of YALSA’s new organizational plan.  With the help of two facilitators, board members used the world cafe discussion method to discuss culture, what it means to our members, and what components are needed from YALSA to help our members and teens be successful with cultural competency.

Also on Friday, the awesome Future Ready with the Library group finished their second day in Atlanta–learning more about their grant program and expanding their professional learning networks.

The Board was very busy over the weekend! Since the adoption of the organizational plan in April, the Board and YALSA staff have been aligning the current structure of the organization (see the Current Projects page) to better fit its needs. At Midwinter, the following documents were discussed and approved:

Fiscally, a new fundraising plan for leadership celebrating YALSA’s 60th anniversary will be enacted, as well as a new plan for the Friends of YALSA.

The Board doesn’t always approve board documents as is.  In Atlanta, the Board sent two documents back to the standing board committees for more work–the Interest Group Support & Build-Out and the Proposal to Create ALA Liaison. The revised documents should be brought before the board virtually before ALA Annual.  Other documents were approved with modifications, like the Selected List Implementation Plan and the Position Paper on Teen Privacy.

The YALSA board is excited about a new document that will have great impact in the library world–a new research agenda. It notes five forward-thinking priority areas:

  1. The Impact of Libraries as Teen Formal and Informal Learning Environments
  2. Library Staff Training, Skills and Knowledge
  3. Equity of Access
  4. Cultural Competence, Social Justice and Equity
  5. Community Engagement

Unfortunately, the Board ran out of time and didn’t get to two of the agenda items–Measuring the Impact of Volunteers and Re-Envisioning the Mentoring Program. These will be discussed virtually by the board in the next few months.

Check out the full board agenda and documents online to get the details of what the board talked about. We will also be posting meeting minutes there in the next week or so. You can also read the upcoming blog posts from board members about some of the actions taken at Midwinter.

If you have question about a particular agenda item or issue or would like more details about it, feel free to e-mail me or any of YALSA’s Board members. Also, feel free to follow Executive Director Beth Yoke (@yalsa_director), myself (@glibrarian), and/or other YALSA Board members for tweets about the work of the board!

YALSA Board @ Midwinter 2017: Preview and Governance Update

A new year means a new conference is right around the corner!  ALA Midwinter is January 20-24, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia, and I’m hoping for balmy temperatures and sunshine! If you’re able to attend, check out the YALSA Wiki for dates and times of all YALSA events, as well as other important happenings like the Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women.

If you aren’t able to travel to Georgia, please follow Midwinter activities with the Midwinter hashtag #alamw17.

Throughout the conference, the YALSA Board will focus on continuing the reorganization and realignment of the organization after adopting the Organizational Plan in April 2016.  The Board will kick off Midwinter on Friday with a board member training session about cultural competency. On Saturday during Board I, many items will be approved in the consent agenda–these were items acted upon virtually by the board between Annual 2016 and Midwinter 2017.  Most of the agenda’s actionable items will be discussed during Board I also, including the creation of two interest groups (Teens are Not Alone and Picture Books for YAs), bylaws changes to awards committees, updating board assessments, changing the governance nominating committee into a board development committee, and the proposed plan of action for the Selected Lists Transition. Board II and III on Sunday and Monday will consist of many discussion items, like a leadership fundraising proposal, a proposal to extend Symposium events, and a proposal to create an ALA Liaison.

Please check the 2017 Midwinter Meeting Agenda and Documents page for updates with links to the board documents as they become available, and look for more blog posts coming soon from board members about agenda items.

If you have a comment, idea or question for the Board, the first 5 minutes of each of the board meetings is set aside for visitors to ask questions. Feel free to chat with me or any of the board members at YALSA events at ALA Midwinter, too! You can also email me with comments if you are not able to make it to a session to share your feedback.

On Twitter, please follow YALSA (@YALSA), Executive Director Beth Yoke (@yalsa_director), myself (@glibrarian), and/or other YALSA Board members for live tweets of adopted actions and discussion highlights.

We’ll also be sharing post-conference round-ups over the coming weeks so stay tuned!

President’s Report – October 2016

Hopefully you were able to attend the recent YALSA Youth Services Symposium! If you weren’t, please check out the #yalsa16 twitter hashtag and this blog for posts about the symposium–it was inspiring! Please see below for my October President’s Report.

Accomplishments

  • Wrote a blog post about the current reorganization process of YALSA committees
  • Wrote the YALS President’s Column for the Winter issue
  • Completed documents for the YALSA Executive Committee meeting on Nov. 5 and prepared to lead the meeting
  • Co-led the October monthly chat with the YALSA Board about standing board committee work and prepping for the symposium
  • Completed my registration for ALA Midwinter in Atlanta–have you?
  • Participated in calls with the chair of the Selection List Transition Task Force
  • Filled vacancies on various strategic committees
  • Reminded the YALSA Board of a need to communicate with members–look for YALSA blog posts coming soon from each board member
  • Provided quotes for multiple YALSA press releases, including Teen Read Week
  • Sent the ALA Awards Chair a list of YALSA members to possibly be appointed to ALA juries
  • Reminded jury chairs and board members about the new process for filling juries this year
  • Participated in many phone calls and email conversations with YALSA staff, board members, and committee members

Works in Progress

  • Started discussion with the Board about a new YALSA logo
  • Preparing for ALA Midwinter in Atlanta
  • Preparing to review YALSA committee and task force quarterly reports that are due Nov. 15.
  • Answering questions and working with YALSA board members as they prepare board documents in the standing board committees

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Rethinking YALSA: Reorganization for the Future!

This year is a time of transition and YALSA staff and the YALSA board have been busy since Annual revamping the organizational structure. We’ve written about what’s going on before, but I wanted to post another update. Check out this PowerPoint slideshow to see how the Board is re-envisioning YALSA to support our new mission. The difference between the current organizational structure on Slide 2 and the future organizational structure on Slide 3 is big!   Would you like to be a part of it? Are you interested in advocacy, cultural competence, diversifying & expanding the membership, fund and partner development, leadership development, leading the transformation of teen services or state level outreach and engagement? If so, complete this short form. After the organizational realignment is complete next year, we’ll be looking for members to participate in short-term opportunities in those categories–if you have an idea, be sure to share it on the form. Look for more information coming soon on this blog!  While the reorganization involves more than just committees, most of the questions I’ve received are about those, so here is some information that may be helpful:

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