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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YALSA Executive Committee Update

This weekend is the exciting YALSA Young Adult Services Symposium in Pittsburgh and I can’t wait to see 500+ library staff, teen advocates and authors!  Follow the action on Twitter via #yalsa16.

But the YALSA Executive Committee is also preparing for our Fall Meeting that will be held Saturday, Nov. 5, from 9 am – 4 pm in conjunction with the Symposium.  The meeting is held in the Cambria Room on the second floor of the Westin Hotel and is open to symposium attendees.  Executive committee meetings focus on discussions, not decision making (that is the Board’s role)–you can see that by reading the 2016 Fall Executive Committee Meeting Agenda & Documents. We’ll be discussing how the Executive Committee will be taking a larger role in developing a closer relationship between YALSA and ALA, as well as delving into ALA and YALSA finances.  Look for another blog post after the meeting with more information about what was discussed.  Do you have any questions about any of the documents? Feel free to contact me at gsarahthelibrarian@gmail.com or reach out if you happen to be at the Symposium.

Who is your YALSA Executive Committee? It changes every year, and this year I’m joined by these fabulous people: President-Elect Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Immediate Past President Candice Mack, YALSA Division Councilor Todd Krueger, Fiscal Officer Nick Buron, Secretary Crystle Martin, and Executive Director Beth Yoke.

YALSA Board Update: Transforming Member Participation

Yesterday during a virtual meeting to address unfinished business from its June meeting, the YALSA board met to continue its discussion about how to improve member engagement opportunities so that they better meet member needs, as well as to re-think the structure of YALSA so that it’s better positioned to carry out the work of the new organizational plan.  Last month, the Board sought to review of all existing member groups at their June meeting (see Candice Mack’s blog post).  The Board accomplished a lot in June, but didn’t finish all of its work around member groups.  The Board met virtually yesterday to discuss the Leading the Transformation of Teen Services Board Standing Committee’s draft recommendations for the remaining member groups that were not addressed in June.  If you’re interested, you can listen to the audio recording of the meeting.

The Board voted to accept the recommendations from the Standing Board Committee for transforming the first 8 strategic committees as listed in Board Document #2.  This includes keeping some strategic committees as-is (Awards Committee Nominating Committee, Awards & Selection Oversight Committee, Competencies Task Force, President’s Planning Taskforce, School and Public Library Cooperation Interdivisional Committee), expanding others (Division and Membership Promotion Committee, Research Committee) and the transitioning to more of a short-term structure for the Summer Learning Taskforce.  These changes will not go into effect until July 2017, as the next several months will involve working out a transition plan.

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YALSA Board Update: Meeting on Aug. 1 & Town Hall on Aug. 17

As part of its ongoing effort to improve member engagement opportunities so that they better meet member needs, as well as to re-think the structure of YALSA so that it’s better positioned to carry out the work of the new organizational plan, the Board sought to review of all existing member groups at our June meeting (see Candice Mack’s blog post).  The Board accomplished a lot at its meeting in June, but didn’t finish all of its work around member groups.  If you haven’t already, check out June Board documents #25, #40, and #41, which were all approved by the Board.  Since the Board didn’t finish its work in June, the Board will be meeting virtually Aug. 1 from 12:30-1:30 pm, eastern, to discuss the Leading the Transformation of Teen Services Board Standing Committee’s draft recommendations for the remaining member groups that were not addressed in June.  These latest Board proposals on member engagement are the result of about a year’s worth of organizational planning work by the Board, exploring how best to adopt a “teens first” approach to YALSA’s work in order to better support members and to advance teen services so that all teens are prepared for college, careers and life. Any member interested in sitting in on the virtual meeting can contact yalsa@ala.org to request the access information. Continue reading

YALSA Board @ Midwinter 2016: Organizational Planning Communication Plan

The YALSA Board Midwinter Meeting Agenda and related documents are available and you probably noticed a lot of time devoted to  strategic planning. The work YALSA began with the association’s Futures Report, was also the start of  gathering information, feedback and opinions that ultimately is helping to  inform a new organizational plan. A majority of Board meeting time (which is open to the public) will be spent on organizational planning, but the work doesn’t stop at Midwinter. One of the proposals before the board outlines a plan to communicate the outcomes and next steps of the organizational plan to all YALSA members and stakeholders.

As the Board commits to a “Teens First” focus for the organizational plan and works to prepare the association of the future, this will mean changes to the work of the organization. The Board wants to make sure all members are informed about any major changes to the work of YALSA committees and staff and services to members. These are outlined as priorities in the suggested communication plan proposal.

Once the Board approves a communications plan, over the next six months it is likely you will see news and updates about the new organizational plan on the YALSA website, YALSAblog, e-news, on our list-servs, in personal messages from Board members, and on social media. We want to make sure all members and stakeholders have access to the plan and have chance to ask questions and gain a better understanding of how the new plan will shape the work of YALSA.

Do you have questions or ideas about YALSA’s organization planning process? Please take the time to share your thoughts via this short survey.

All YALSA Board meetings are open to Midwinter Meeting attendees. Feel free to drop by for a short or long period of time. The meetings are an excellent way to learn what YALSA is working on and get a sense of how the association’s governance works.  If you’re not in Boston, follow @yalsa for live Tweets from the meetings.

Engaging the Futures Report: discussions with library staff Part 1

The first time I read The Future of Library Services for and with Teens, I was inspired. The second time I read the report, I was overwhelmed. The third time I read the report, I was determined. As I looked at the findings in the report, and the steps YALSA calls out to ready our libraries to serve teens into the future, I felt like I was drowning. How could I implement all of these changes? And then I remembered that I was not alone, I was surrounded by amazing library staff who could, actually they should, come on this journey with me. So I started a discussion centered on the findings in the report and it has been one of the most professionally satisfying experiences of my career. If you feel a little overwhelmed, or want to build support for the actions outlined in the support with your colleagues, I highly suggest starting a discussion group.

First, the report looks deceptively long, don’t let that scare you or your colleagues from diving in. The real meat of the report, that provides the best fodder for discussion is only 33 pages long, that is achievably short, even for the time poor. We broke our discussion up, planning to cover the whole report in three discussions of 30 minutes each (about 10 pages per meeting).

We started small, with a look at the executive summary and the introduction to the report. This generated more discussion than we could cover in 30 minutes (I might recommend at least an hour) but I would rather get the conversation started and have it continue in the staff room, at the desk, and over coffee breaks. I knew we should allow for thoughts of dissent, one of the things I love about my colleagues is our ability to challenge assumptions. We want to really break things down so we can understand them better. You will notice a lot of questions that allow for the voice of dissent.

Introduction

  • How do recent cuts in school librarian jobs change our role as public librarians serving teens?
  • Does the Library play a role in closing the achievement gap? Are we succeeded at that? What could we be doing better? Is that what our community needs? Is our community defined merely by our serving district, or does it expand beyond city/county/state borders?
  • What are the negative influences on our teens that we can help alleviate or solve?
  • Do you feel prepared to deliver culturally competent library service?
  • What is our role in preparing teens for the workforce and making sure they have 21st century skills and technological literacy?

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Governance Preparations for Midwinter

It’s time to start schedule planning for Midwinter, marking off the chunks of time in your calendar or conference planner, factoring in coat buttoning, hunting for scarves and gloves, and all those other winter weather factors!

While YALSA’s Board of Directors will be meeting at the ALA Midwinter Meeting Jan. 30 – Feb. 2, we’ll be using some of our sessions a bit differently this year. Instead of three separate sessions to meet to discuss association business, the first board session on Saturday will be a facilitated strategic planning session for board members.  This session is part of a months’ long effort to develop a new strategic plan for YALSA.  There will also be a strategic planning session for YALSA members at Midwinter from 1:00 – 2:30 on Sunday in room W192b of the convention center.  During the spring we’ll also host virtual feedback sessions for members, and we hope to have a new plan finalized by no later than June.

The board will meet on Sunday and Monday at Midwinter to address current governance matters.  All board sessions are open, and any registered conference attendee is welcome to sit in.
For the Sunday and Monday meetings, the board will be addressing a wide variety of topics, including: adopting best practices in change management, bringing more diversity to the YALSA leadership, year two of rolling out activities that support the recommendations in the report “The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action,” prioritizing use of YALSA endowments funds for 2015, and more.

Right now, YALSA’s Board members are working hard to finalize the agenda and develop the related documents.  Our goal is to post them online in the Governance section of the web site on January 16th.

To learn more about what YALSA and the Board have going on at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting, visit http://tinyurl.com/YALSAmw15.
If you’re not attending the Midwinter Meeting, be sure to follow YALSA on Twitter, as Board members will be Tweeting news and board actions.

Have questions?  Feel free to contact me: @doseofsnark or cinf0master@gmail.com.  I’m excited about the work that has been done since Annual and Fall exec, and look forward to working with the board and members to keep moving YALSA forward!