YALSA Community Survey Results

Thank you very much to everyone, both members and non-members, who took the time to fill out YALSA’s Community Survey this past year. The results are in, have been analyzed and passed on to the board for their review. It was great to have so much valuable and thoughtful feedback on what you think is important about YALSA and how it addresses the diversity and inclusivity needs of the people it serves.

Almost a third of the survey participants were either somewhat unfamiliar or not at all familiar with YALSA’s recently updated Teen Services Competencies. Many respondents reported a lack of time or simply not being aware of them as reasons for not implementing or planning to implement the competencies. Others responded that they were not currently working with teens, so the competencies did not apply to them in their current position. The highest rated competency most respondents said they implemented or were working toward implementing was interactions with teens with 68 percent of responses. This was followed by equity of access at 48 percent and teen growth and development at 45 percent.

Survey participants were asked what they saw as the most important work of YALSA and its leadership in the teen services library field. The top three choices were advocacy with 25 percent of responses, equity, diversity and inclusion with 23 percent of responses, and continuing education with 22 percent of responses. Reading and other literacies followed not too far behind with 13 percent. When people were asked what they thought was the second most important work, answers continued to follow this pattern.

The survey also asked people about YALSA’s communication channels in terms of how much they are used and how they keep up with the latest news about YALSA and library/teen services. Most of the responses indicated that people obtain the latest news from YALSA’s website and YALSA E-news with each choice being ranked first by 25 percent of responders. People said they also got their news from other YALSA emails and listservs and their colleagues and friends.

More than half of respondents, totaling 64 percent, were not familiar with YALSA’s updated Intended Impact Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.  But when directly asked, about a third of people stated that increasing diversity in YALSA is the most important item on a scale of one to ten. Many different reasons were given for this, which included needing to be more diverse, wanting to reflect the communities they serve, and the importance of having different perspectives.

Some of the other general takeaways from the survey is that many respondents think YALSA is useful and has an important purpose, but the cost is prohibitive for many people. Many participants expressed concerns about the membership price, especially when attached to the cost of ALA membership and whether the benefits of membership were really worth the money. Other respondents felt YALSA mostly caters to public libraries and is not particularly inclusive for school librarians, small, rural libraries, special libraries, certain ethnic groups, demographics and sexual orientations. Some of the suggested solutions to address these issues included hiring more diverse people within the field, offering more conference discounts and grants, academic scholarships and free or discounted memberships, especially to diverse people. Cost was frequently mentioned as a barrier to diversity within the organization.

About 62 percent of survey participants hold a current membership in YALSA. Most of the survey respondents work in a public library, 82 percent are white/Caucasian, most do not speak another language, 88 percent are female, 69 percent are heterosexual, and 84 percent do not have a disability. Survey participants frequently referred to themselves as members of the majority and did not feel they were the right people to answer some of these questions.

The survey received a total of 436 responses.

This post was submitted by Rebecca Leonhard and Kimberly Kinnaird.

YALSA Survey: speak up!

Have you heard about the YALSA survey? We are on the final homestretch; it ends September 30th, so you’ve got a few more days to make your opinion known.

YALSA is ALA’s fastest growing division, and wants to hear more about your experiences. YALSA uses your responses to make sure we continue to be an enthusiastic and productive group. Previous surveys have led to big changes; we have mentioned some of them before. Other benefits from past surveys include:

  • Expanding our portfolio of CEU offerings by adding monthly webinars and launching the YALSA
    Academy
  • Encouraging and supporting research in Young Adult Librarianship by launching JRLYA.
  • Those monthly Tweet-ups? You asked for more social media communication, so YALSA added social media as an option for member engagement and communication, while maintaining existing methods for those who wanted/needed them to remain.
  • The Hub came out of your feedback!
  • YALSA increased advocacy efforts by creating District Days and writing Issue Briefs
  • Created guidelines for Teen Spaces, updating competencies, and creating a teen program evaluation tool’ 

These changes have been so important — but there are more to make and we can only do it with your help! It doesn’t matter if you are a current member, a former member, or a non-member. If you care about teens and libraries, your voice is important. The survey should only take about fifteen minutes. And, as an incentive to complete the survey, YALSA is offering one lucky winner, who submits their email address at the end of the survey, the opportunity to win a free group registration (Valued at $195) for an upcoming educational webinar.

Current members: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YALSAmbr
Former members: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LapsedMbr
Non-members: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NMbr

Please take some time to speak up. Be a part of positive change. Your voice is crucial!