Volunteer Opportunity – 6 Month Commitment 

YALSA volunteers contributions are immensely valuable and the association would not be where it is today without the commitment, expertise, and efforts of so many of you. At the same time, we are as strong as the support mechanisms that were placed under us and we are better equipped to be future forward, when YALSA practices and policies within the volunteer environment acknowledge existing inequities and work towards redressing them. 

One outcome from the YALSA Board’s monthly chats has been the identification of the need for the Evaluating Volunteer Resources Taskforce. This volunteer team will collaborate with several YALSA volunteer groups from July 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021 to evaluate and update volunteer resources for inclusion and diversity and form recommendations for continued areas for improvement. The resources that will be evaluated include, but are not limited to (a full list will be shared with the group), the following: 

        • Volunteer groups’ charge and size;
        • Book Awards and Selected Lists policies and procedures; 
        • Continuing education presenter guidelines; 
        • Virtual volunteer member training for incoming chairs and group members.

Interested members may follow this link to apply here by June 1, 2021 to be considered for this opportunity. Further inquiries about the work of this taskforce may be directed to YALSA President AmandaBarnhart@kclibrary.org. Please feel free to reach out.

The YALSA Board recognizes the work already completed towards improving member engagement (2018) and believes that this Taskforce will encompass a different direction that is less focused on the volunteer appointment process. Likewise, the YALSA Board recognizes the big steps already completed towards updating the Odyssey and Morris Award manuals and believes that this new Taskforce will continue using a DEI lens in updating other YALSA Book Award and Selected Lists policies and procedures for inclusion and consistency. 

3 reasons to be the next ALA Liaison

We’re looking for the next ALA Liaison to serve a term from July 2021-June 2022 and you may be the perfect candidate to apply

1. Jump on the fast-track in learning about the work of ALA groups and how they operate within the current structure of ALA.

For instance, the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) does not fall directly under ALA as a division, but shares a relationship with ALA that is akin to the affiliates. Regardless, this powerhouse organization is staffed by a team of dedicated and fierce advocates and their meetings are truly fascinating. As the liaison, you’ll receive free access to hearing the inside scoop on litigation cases that are being fought by FTRF and realize the big picture in their connection to libraries. 

2. Become familiar with current trends in the field for each group’s area of expertise. 

The Intellectual Freedom Committee is one of the busiest and most active ALA groups I’ve seen in action. They are on top of their game when it comes to intellectual freedom issues in libraries. As liaison, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in volunteer work, if you wish. During my experience, I was able to assist a few sub-committees in the updating of documents for the latest edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual.

3. Networking and meeting many people! 

I know, you’re probably thinking “Not another Zoom meeting!” But these meetings feature all kinds of people that you don’t yet know. New professionals, life-long librarians, and even ALA Past-Presidents. Hear about what’s happening all over the country from the individuals themselves. There are in-person meeting requirements for the ALA Conferences whenever they begin occurring in-person again, but YALSA grants a stipend to assist in your participation. 

So what does the YALSA ALA Liaison do? In a nutshell, the appointed individual will:

  • Attend as many virtual meetings as available for each of the eight appointed groups. Some groups are more active than others, meaning that some only meet at conferences.
  • Take notes at meetings to share important updates with YALSA leadership related to teens or opportunities for collaboration with YALSA.
  • Meet virtually with YALSA leadership who will support you in sharing new information from YALSA. 
  • Write two reports for the YALSA Board, each to be submitted before Midwinter and Annual conferences.

If you’re still reading this, what are you waiting for? Submit your application today and get involved! Feel free to check out this page for more info or reach out to me at AmandaBarnhart@kclibrary.org. Deadline for application submission is March 1, 2021.  March 10, 2021.

Wishing you well in your professional endeavors,

Amanda Barnhart (she/hers)
YALSA President 2020-2021
YALSA ALA Liaison 2017-2019

Peeking Behind the Curtain: YALSA Board Fellow Program

I’ve been involved in YALSA in one way or another for much of my professional librarian life. My YALSA journey began with an impulse visit to a New Member session at a long ago ALA which led to submitting volunteer applications to serve on a selection committee. I guess you could say I jumped straight into YALSA’s labyrinth of service, networking, learning, and support. Over the years I’ve served on multiple committees, attended countless YALSA sessions at conferences and online, presented at the YALSA Symposium, and now serve as this year’s YALSA Board Fellow. 

What is the YALSA Board Fellow Program? It’s a peek behind the curtain. Prior to being appointed the Board Fellow, I had a very limited understanding of how the Board worked. I’d attended YALSA Board sessions at conference a few times, but freely admit to being somewhat confused by what I observed. The Board Fellow position is a chance to dip a toe into the waters of YALSA’s governing body and a chance to grow your leadership potential. The Board Fellow serves a one-year term and becomes a full, non-voting member of the YALSA Board. You’ll attend the monthly YALSA Board chats, the twice a year meetings, and participating in ongoing projects and discussions via ALA Connect. During my time as the Board Fellow I’ve learned a great deal about the inner workings of YALSA. 

Being surrounded by people as passionate about Teen Services and providing the best possible support to Teen Services library workers has been a blessing in this year of COVID upheaval. An added benefit of being selected as the YALSA Board Fellow is a stipend of up to $1,500 total to attend the 2 Annual Conferences (which is another blessing as library budgets are tight). I’ll be using this stipend to cover the cost of ALA’s Annual Conference which is to be held virtually due to the pandemic. If you are looking for opportunities to grow your leadership potential, get involved with YALSA, and make your voice heard, then the YALSA Board Fellow Program is the opportunity you need! For more information on YALSA’s Board Fellow Program visit  http://www.ala.org/yalsa/awardsandgrants/yalsa_fellows_program.

The application window for next year’s YALSA Board Fellow has been extended and I encourage anyone who is interested to submit their application here:  https://www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/4bes9ZdudTy. If you have questions about the program I’m happy to chat about my experience, please email me HPL.Teen@houstontx.gov.

This post was submitted by Rebecca Denham, Teen Services Coordinator at Houston Public Library.

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.