Volunteers Needed for Advocacy Resources Community Listening Taskforce

Greetings, YALSA members!

All of us are advocates. When we are promoting books and resources to our teens, staff, and community, we are advocating. When we are supporting a cause or group by speaking and/or writing about it, or donating to it, we are advocating.  When we are urging, championing, advancing, and pleading for our teens, communities, library, programs, services, and funding, we are advocating..  Advocacy utilizes many ways, styles, forms, and people.  Now, more than ever, we need to increase our advocacy, and at the same time, be more diligent and strategic in our advocacy efforts.

We need you! We need writers, talkers, listeners, researchers, doers, planners, organizers, analyzers and critics, Whatever your strength and skillset, we need you!  Individually we need your skills, knowledge, and resources, collectively we need many of you to serve on a task force to learn more about the advocacy needs of library staff and teens in preparation of accessible and relevant YALSA resources. 

For more information about the task force, click here:  YALSA Advocacy Resources: Community Listening Task Force

Volunteers will be working on a timeline.  The timeline is listed below:

  • Taskforce is formed and work begins: September 1, 2020
  • Taskforce reports results to YALSA board March 15, 2021 
  • YALSA Board Advocacy strategic committee develops next steps for implementation April 15, 2021

If you have additional questions, please contact: YALSA President, Amanda Barnhart at AmandaBarnhart@kclibrary.org.

If you are interested in serving on this task force, please  contact Letitia Smith at lsmith@ala.org by Friday, August 21.

Thank you for volunteering and your service to YALSA!
Sincerely,
Your YALSA Board

Spring Appointments Update

Greetings, all—

I am pleased to report to you that the Spring appointments for the 2020-2021 strategic committees have been completed. Spring appointments include member volunteers who submitted an application(s) over the period of December 2019 through February 2020. After the application form closed in February, I rolled up my sleeves to begin. Yet I was hardly aware of what lay ahead for us all nor did I suspect how quickly I would find myself navigating new aspects of what was clearly no longer a simple task. It will likely not surprise you to hear that I was thrown off course in several attempts to appoint members due to the unanticipated effects of COVID-19. 

Each year the YALSA President-Elect strives to complete all Spring appointments by the end of May. As we are now into the month of July, I want to offer my sincere regret for any YALSA member that has not received an update about their submitted application until now. I am grateful and inspired by all of you who have chosen to commit their time and efforts to support YALSA activities, especially given the challenges we face as a nation and a community, because your help is much needed. I thank each of you for the passion you bring to the field in finding solutions, maintaining relationships, and spearheading new methods for connecting teens to libraries, information, and resources. 

Stay tuned for more volunteer opportunities (a few brand new ones) advertised on the YALSAblog. Also, the Fall application cycle opens soon for all YALSA Award Selection Committees, Selected Lists Blogging Teams, and Juries. Please consider throwing in your name to be considered by the YALSA President-Elect Kelly Czarnecki. Much information on volunteering can be found on the YALSA site, but more Outreach efforts will be forthcoming in the following months. Should you have any questions about this upcoming application cycle, please feel free to reach out to Kelly via kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com

Incoming YALSA President Seeks Taskforce Members

The incoming YALSA President 2020-2021, Amanda Barnhart, seeks member volunteers to serve on the Presidential Taskforce. This role is for a one-year virtual appointment whereby the taskforce will focus on developing activities that support the President’s theme, Representation in Recruitment and Retention: Further Supporting YALSA’s EDI Plan. Three outcomes will guide the taskforce work,

  1. From such examples of how to start an affinity group to understanding intersectional identities, the Presidential Taskforce will work with YALSA staff to develop and provide the membership with quarterly continuing education strategies and ideas that support and celebrate the diversity of library staff and the teens they serve.
  2. The taskforce will identify and engage in efforts that aim to study the value of YALSA resources amongst library staff who work with teens that are seen as “non-members.” There are many non-member library staff whose actions adhere to the YALSA mission or support the YALSA vision and who utilize YALSA resources regardless of having purchased a YALSA membership.
  3. Finally, the taskforce will develop a report that includes findings from the aforementioned study, as well as provide recommendations on strategies for engaging non-members.

Consider applying for this taskforce as an opportunity to further develop your network with fellow advocates invested in EDI work. At the same time, please consider your capacity and knowledge to valuably contribute to conversations on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Interested members should contact Amanda via email AmandaBarnhart@kclibrary.org with a reply to the prompt: Explain which outcome you feel is most important and why. Applicants may also include relevant education or experience. Deadline for volunteering is Monday, June 22nd.

The direction of this taskforce was also influenced by recent work from the YALSA Division and Membership Promotion Committee 2019-2020. YALSA appreciates their efforts in engaging with LIS students and their ideas on reaching out to affiliates.

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.
Continue reading

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!