I am please to share the following YALSA President’s Program at ALA Annual 2024 in San Diego. A reminder that the session will begin with a YALSA Membership meeting at 10:30 am. Makes sure to mark your calendars, or add it to your conference schedule via the scheduler app now live. I look forward to connecting with any of you that will be attending the conference!

ALA Annual 2024 logo

YALSA’s President Program: Teen Activists and the Freedom to Read

About: Learn how teens have successfully engaged with and activated their communities around the freedom to read. This moderated panel discussion will feature teen advocates and address book banning, censorship, and how they engaged in civic leadership and built coalitions in the face of challenges. The panel will be preceded by a YALSA Membership meeting from 10:30-11am. It will take place at ALA Annual in San Diego. All are welcome!

Date/time: Monday, July 1st from 10:30a.m.-12:00p.m.

Panelists:

Teen Activist: Nationally Recognized: Da’Taeveyon Daniels

Teen Activist: Midwest: Meghana Nakkanti

Teen Activist Group: California, Golden State Readers: Gianna Goodman-Bhyat, Anais Lee, Mirabelle Lee, and Elizabeth Goldman

Respectfully submitted by Colleen Seisser, YALSA President

Hi All,

Spring appointments have been slightly delayed due to onboarding of new YALSA staff.

In early June, I will host an abbreviated recruitment for strategic committees and taskforces. This will take place over two weeks and application will be review after the two weeks.

We’ll take a short break for ALA annual conference and then resume recruitment efforts after conference.

Thank you for your patience,
Yvette Garcia
YALSA President-Elect.

Hi everyone!

If you had not had a chance to review, the ALA election results were announced!

Congratulations to all of those elected! Here are the final results for the YALSA elected positions:

  • YALSA President-elect: Amber Creger, 479 votes 100.00% Elected
  • YALSA Board of Director (2 positions): Ziba Pérez, 351 votes 36.87% Elected and Allie Stevens Gosselink, 210 votes 22.06% Elected
    • Heather Love Beverley, 204 21.43% 
    • Alicia Blowers, 187 19.64%
  • YALSA Division Councilor: Isaiah West, 470 votes 100.00% Elected
  • YALSA Recording Secretary: Kate Denier, 470 votes 100.00% Elected

In my last report I touched on YALSA being in transition. As I reflected on those who would be starting anew on the YALSA Board in July, it made me think more about this transition phase for YALSA. 

First we currently have limited staffing and our budget challenges for FY25 (September 2024-August 2025) will not alleviate this. We will continue to work as Alena Rivers, YALSA’s current Interim Executive Director and ALSC’s Executive Director for the foreseeable future. Our funding is sparse due to dwindling memberships (as can be seen across ALA) and YALSA’s lack of staffing the last couple of years has made it hard for there to be consistent enticing resources and benefits for current and new members. However, to remain proactive, the YALSA Board is in discussion regarding ALA’s plans to restructure membership dues and in this final quarter of the board cycle year, we will begin looking at how we can replace revenue streams lost. It’s a difficult challenge to have, as many ALA units are looking to do the same, but I know both Board Members and Staff are committed to meeting this challenge head on.

Second is how we work as volunteers with limited staffing. We are seeing many of our public facing initiatives needing to be reevaluated because we don’t have the staff hours or funding to continue them in the current state they are in because they were created when we had more access to resources. There are also online member tools and information that are woefully out of date and we are struggling to find the resources to update them (this includes the Teen Book Finder, the YALSA Handbook, and our toolkits). As we move forward in an era where we have less resources than before, how can the YALSA volunteers be empowered to make change? The one thing that I am thankful for is the YALSA Board and our YALSA volunteers that are identifying these issues and updates needed and offering YALSA leadership some great solutions. Special thanks go out to our YALSA Symposium Evaluation Task Force, YALSA Teens’ Top Ten Committee, YALSA Programming HQ Task Force, and the YALSA Board Strategic committee on Advocacy and the YALSA Board Strategic committee on Programming and Resources. They are responsible for the list below of our current public facing initiatives that the Board has passed motions to reevaluate in one way or another (linked are the board documents with further information). 

Teens’ Top Ten: Item #9 Teens’ Top Ten Information Document

TeenTober: Item #12 TeenTober Recommendation 

YALSA Symposium: Item #14 YALSA Symposium Evaluation 

YALSA Programming HQ: Item #16 Teen Programming HQ Recommendations 

Advocacy Toolkit Update: Item #18 YALSA Advocacy Toolkit Update Recommendation 

As your YALSA President, I have strived this year to continuously face these operations and funding challenges head on and find the solutions. Reflecting back, however, this means that I have had less time for more traditional President initiatives like advocacy and member engagement. So, my two main goals for the remainder of this year are to leave YALSA in a better state than when I started in July 2023 and to have a fantastic President’s program at ALA Annual in San Diego. I am confident that both of these goals are achievable with the support of YALSA members, leaders, volunteers, and staff! We have so many great efforts in place to make improvements to YALSA. I am excited to see the next generation of YALSA members step up and continue moving YALSA forward!

…and I cannot wait to share the details of my President’s Program with YALSA members soon!

Completed Activities

  • Onboarded our new Fiscal Officer, Caroline Aversano, due to a resignation. Caroline was on the YALSA Board as our Board Fellow and I am excited to see what she does as our Fiscal Officer. She will serve in this role until 6/30/2025 and will have the option to stand for election for the final year of the vacated three year term (7/1/2025-6/30/2026)
  • The YALSA Board reviewed the recommendations for the Teen Programming HQ site from the Teen Programming HQ Task Force. Due to additional options explored with the ALA Public Programs Office after the task force report was submitted, the YALSA Board amended the motion to continue the work of evaluating Teen Programming HQ options with a new task force of similar size, and if it’s possible, keeping 2 members from the current task force
  • The YALSA Board also voted to create a task force to plan for an update our current advocacy toolkit since it is out of date
  • President-Elect Garcia led the processes for the review of YALSA Member Award applications via a blind review by the YALSA Board and Programming committee. Announcements should be coming soon!

Ongoing Activities

  • Focus for staff and leadership is shifting to planning for various YALSA sessions and activities at the ALA Annual Conference in San Diego. This includes the Board led sessions of YALSA 301 and the YALSA Membership meeting. President-Elect Yvette Garcia, is also leading a small group to plan for a YALSA Social at ALA Annual. YALSA Staff are putting the finishing touches on the Printz ceremony and the YALSA Awards Celebration, a trial run for a newly designed celebration of the winners of our other YALSA book awards (Alex, Morris, Nonfiction, and Edwards awards). Once we have everything set we will publicize all YALSA activities at Annual in our eNews and on the YALSA Connect Space.
  • The Organization and Bylaws committee has sent YALSA Staff and President Seisser documentation for updating the YALSA Handbook. President Seisser will take this information and create a draft handbook that will be sent to staff for review and implementation. The plan is to keep this updated handbook in a format that will allow for easier sharing and updating (instead of a series of linked web pages on the YALSA website). No deadline has been set for the completion of this project as the scope is currently unknown–further planning is needed to determine the scope and we will need to know what the future of updating the YALSA web pages will look like after the ALA site migration. 

Respectfully summitted by Colleen Seisser, YALSA President 2023-24

Hi everyone!

I was going to write, “not much to report this month” but then I realized as I was pulling this report together that there was actually a lot going on this past month. I am reminded of what one of our Board Members mentioned recently when we were having preliminary discussions regarding YALSA activities for this year: there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that is not member-facing. In fact, it feels like that is the case for a majority of the work that is happening for YALSA right now–behind the scenes. 

I feel that this is often true when an organization is undergoing a transition. A lot of work is done to reestablish a foundation so that the solid footing returns for its volunteers or staff to begin again the activities and projects that benefit and are more engaging with the members or community.

As our YALSA staff and volunteers continue this work of establishing a new YALSA, one that is built on documentation and one that is more transparent and engaged with our members, it’s important to recognize and thank the volunteers who are working hard to help keep moving YALSA forward. One way we recognize our Volunteers is with our Volunteer of the Year Award. There are also many other YALSA member awards that we can use to recognize those who are contributing to YALSA and the fields of Teen Library Services. Check them out on our Awards, Grants, Stipends, and Scholarships webpage, and watch your YALSA eNews and YALSA Connect later this spring to see this year’s member award winners!

Completed Activities

  • The YALSA Board completed a review of this year’s strategic activities thus far. This was an offline discussion of which the summary has been captured in a board document here. It will be presented as an information document at our March meeting (guaranteeing the documentation is there for future boards to review). We are entering the last months of the current YALSA Strategic plan and due to the current state of YALSA and recent staff turnover, the YALSA Board will need to consider the viability of our current strategic plan and work with our Interim Executive Director, Alena Rivers, to determine what will guide us in regards to strategic activities starting July 2024.
  • At our February Board meeting, the YALSA Board reviewed the report from our Symposium Evaluation Task Force. The Board voted to return to a biennial Symposium, that the timing of the conference be moved from early November to a new date, to host a one-day virtual Symposium in the alternating year, and to conduct a trial run of the bi-annual conference as a hybrid event. These changes will be enacted with the 2025 YALSA Symposium. The document containing the Symposium task force’s report can be found here.
  • Additionally, at our February Board meeting, our YALSA Board members reviewed a report from the Division and Membership Promotion committee, from a focus group they conducted at the YALSA Symposium. The board document containing the report can be found here. The Board decided to take a month to discuss the priorities from the report that we need to address, and the YALSA Engagement and Membership Strategic Board Committee will take the Board’s discussion and create action items for a vote to address the identified priorities.
  • The YALSA Board Development Committee conducted interviews with all the members standing for election for YALSA. Please visit the YALSA Blog to read these interviews. A reminder that voting begins on March 11.

Ongoing Activities

  • Preparations are beginning for ALA Annual. Our Division and Membership Promotion Committee is planning the YALSA 101 session, for those new and prospective members of YALSA. The YALSA Board will also begin planning out Membership meeting and our 301 Session, which is for those YALSA members interested in leadership opportunities.
    • Staff are still working with YALSA leaders to determine what is possible for our Awards ceremonies for ALA Annual
    • The YALSA Presidential Initiatives Implementation Task Force has started reaching out to panelists for the program that centers on the Freedom to Read theme. 
  • Our Teen Programming HQ Task Force completed their report with recommendations to the YALSA Board for the future of the Teen Programming HQ website. It can no longer be supported in its current form and the YALSA Board will be reviewing the report and voting on actions proposed at our March Board meeting. You can view the YALSA board document containing the Task Force’s report here.
  • The YALSA Advocacy Board Strategic Committee has reviewed our current Advocacy toolkit and has found it to be outdated and in need of an update. At our March Board meeting, they will be presenting the creation of a task force to update the toolkit. The document containing this creation of a task force can be found here.

Respectfully submitted by Colleen Seisser, YALSA President

Are you a bookworm looking to flaunt your literary love? Look no further! YALSA is dedicated to advocating for young adult literature and supporting library services for teens. By purchasing YALSA merchandise, you’re not only expressing your love for books but also contributing to initiatives that promote literacy and enrich the lives of young readers.

Purchasing YALSA merchandise is easy and convenient. Simply visit the American Library Association’s online store, where you’ll find a full range of YALSA products available for purchase. By purchasing YALSA merchandise, you’re not only expressing your passion for books but also supporting initiatives that promote literacy and empower young readers. Whether you’re rocking a YALSA tote bag, sporting a book-themed t-shirt, or sipping from a YALSA mug, you’re making a statement about the importance of young adult literature in today’s world.

So why wait? Head over to the YALSA online store today and start shopping for your favorite bookish goodies. Enhance your style, support a worthy cause, and let your love for YA literature shine!

Post submitted by YALSA’s Financial Advancement Committee

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2024 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 11 through April 3, 2024.

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board members are responsible for jointly determining YALSA’s current and future programs, policies, and serving as liaisons to YALSA’s committees, juries, taskforces and advisory boards. Members work year-round, and attend regular Board meetings. A full description of Board duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

What is your name and current job position?

Allie Stevens Gosselink (she/her), Director, Calhoun County (AR) Library

What best qualifies you for being on the YALSA Board of Directors?

Since my first YALSA conference in 2014, I have volunteered many hundreds of hours to the organization. I am a past member of the Bylaws and Organization committee, have served on three (and chaired two) selected lists, am currently serving as co-chair of the Awards and Selected Lists Oversight Committee, and have held several other roles within the organization. Along with service to YALSA, I have gained governing and leadership experience through both ARSL and the Arkansas Library Association.

How do you envision furthering YALSA’s mission if elected to this position?

I plan to further YALSA’s mission by advocating for clear communication with all members and prioritizing organizational consistency. I hope to build on the work of previous board members to make decisions in the best interest of the sustainability of the organization rather than historical precedent, and to work toward ways to protect the institutional knowledge frequently lost when committees turn over.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?

The most pressing issue facing YALSA is borne of the increase in challenges and adversity surrounding our collections. YALSA’s members need support from the organization, as well as consistency and clear communication from its leadership, now more than ever as we navigate providing equitable and inclusive services to our teen patrons in the face of a changing cultural landscape.

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2024 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 11 through April 3, 2024.

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board members are responsible for jointly determining YALSA’s current and future programs, policies, and serving as liaisons to YALSA’s committees, juries, taskforces and advisory boards. Members work year-round, and attend regular Board meetings. A full description of Board duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

What is your name and current job position?
Hi! I’m Alicia Blowers (she/her)! For the last 15 years I have had the immense pleasure of serving as the Middle School Librarian and ES-12 Library Department Chair at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School in Alexandria, VA. I also volunteer as a member of the Capitol Choices board and have been a part of that amazing organization of librarians, booksellers and other awesome KidLit people since 2009.

What best qualifies you for being on the YALSA Board of Directors?
I have been a YALSA member since I was a baby librarian and have had the honor of serving on a host of different committees over the past decade and a half, so I feel like I know the priorities and ins and outs of the organization, but also have developed relationships with the people who make YALSA such a great organization. My daily work with teens, connections with YALSA members, and connections with librarians who serve teens and young people but aren’t current members gives me a broad base from which to draw my understanding of the needs of librarians serving young people.

How do you envision furthering YALSA’s mission if elected to this position?
YALSA is at a critical moment where some really big and important decisions about the future of the organization need to be made. I want to ensure that the various voices of those serving teens and young adults are carefully considered. The key is always putting our members, and the teens and young people they serve as our highest priority.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
YALSA exists for the benefit of its members and has done great work in providing resources and support around DEI topics, book challenges and other threats to our freedom to read. We have a reputation for offering quality professional development and resources. Like many member organizations in these post-pandemic times, we have to figure out the best way to continue to support our members (and potential members!) in their work. I don’t know exactly what this evolution will look like. I have a hunch it may be looking at our organizational structure and offerings and reconfiguring to streamline our services.

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2024 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 11 through April 3, 2024.

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board members are responsible for jointly determining YALSA’s current and future programs, policies, and serving as liaisons to YALSA’s committees, juries, taskforces and advisory boards. Members work year-round, and attend regular Board meetings. A full description of Board duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

What is your name and current job position?

Heather Love Beverley (she/her), Assistant Manager of Children’s Services at Cook Memorial Public Library District, Libertyville/Vernon Hills, Illinois

What best qualifies you for being on the YALSA Board of Directors?

I have been a member of YALSA for 12+ years, and in that time I have served on numerous process, selection, and award committees. My tenure on these various committees have given me an excellent grasp of the breadth of work and support that YALSA does and provides, the skills to collaborate and create with YALSA members across the country, and endless inspiration and appreciation for the work we do with teens as library professionals.

How do you envision furthering YALSA’s mission if elected to this position?

YALSA’s mission to empower all those in the profession to provide equitable, diverse and inclusive teen services is one that has become increasingly vital in today’s troubling climate, where vital library services for teens are being threatened. If elected, I would work towards helping YALSA create and maintain the tools and support necessary to stand firm against hostile environments that threaten vital services to our teens.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?

The most pressing issue facing YALSA today is navigating providing a safe and welcoming environment for teens while being immersed in an increasingly hostile climate. Threats against library books and services are increasing at an unprecedented rate, yet these very things are what teens need access to more than ever. We need to continue to develop the tools and support to push against those threats so we can still be the safe space teens need.

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2024 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 11 through April 3, 2024.

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board members are responsible for jointly determining YALSA’s current and future programs, policies, and serving as liaisons to YALSA’s committees, juries, taskforces and advisory boards. Members work year-round, and attend regular Board meetings. A full description of Board duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

What is your name and current job position?
My name is Ziba Pérez and my pronouns are she/her/ella. I am the Young Adult Librarian for the Palisades Branch Library of the Los Angeles Public Library system.

What best qualifies you for being on the YALSA Board of Directors?
What best qualifies me for being on the YALSA Board of Directors is that I’ve been attending YALSA Board of Directors meetings consistently for the past two years as YALSA’s Liaison to ALA so I know what the board has been up to recently and am ready to jump into action!

How do you envision furthering YALSA’s mission if elected to this position?
If elected to this position I envision furthering YALSA’s mission by making sure our voice is heard at every table. Through networking, advocacy, and professional development, the Young Adult Library Services Association empowers all those involved in the profession to provide equitable, diverse and inclusive teen services.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
The most pressing issue facing YALSA today is advocacy. We are the Young Adult Library Services Association and we need to advocate for the Young Adults in our community by advocating for our services in every middle school, high school and public library out there! We need to bring back the enthusiasm and visibility from our nineties: 

“YALSA continued to be proactive and an agent of change, preserving and promoting a dynamic young adult services presence in ALA.” -YALSA (1992-2000) https://www.ala.org/yalsa/aboutyalsa/yalsahandbook/yalsahistory

Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2024 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 11 through April 3, 2024.

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board members are responsible for jointly determining YALSA’s current and future programs, policies, and serving as liaisons to YALSA’s committees, juries, taskforces and advisory boards. Members work year-round, and attend regular Board meetings. A full description of Board duties and responsibilities can be found here. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

What is your name and current job position?
Isaiah West, Teen Services Specialist, Prince George’s (MD) County Memorial Library System

What best qualifies you for being on the YALSA Board of Directors?
For nearly a decade, I’ve actively contributed to YALSA, serving on various committees and task forces. Committed to its growth, I’ve volunteered extensively to enhance its role as a premier teen services organization, expanding its reach to librarians nationwide. Transitioning from teaching middle school English to being a teen services librarian in 2014, I’ve devoted my career to empowering teens and fostering spaces for them to explore their passions and identities.

How do you envision furthering YALSA’s mission if elected to this position?
YALSA is in the middle of some growing pains. I aim to help usher in a new era, prioritizing consistency by updating policies and collaborating with ALA/YALSA staff. I’m eager to explore new studies and strategies to advocate for consistent teen services in our communities.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
I think the biggest issue YALSA faces today is consistency. Although we’ve made strides with top-notch research and publications, maintaining consistent strategic planning is imperative. By moving beyond rhetoric and embracing strategic foresight, we can tackle the decline in volunteers and memberships head-on.