A few weeks ago I blogged about getting ready to start the committee appointment process for YALSA. One of the things I get to do as Vice President/President-Elect is appoint people to committees. While I’ve been an active member of YALSA for over a decade, and, while I’ve served on a few committees, the appointment process is totally new to me.’ And in talking to a variety of people I’ve realized that the appointment process is probably pretty confusing to lots of people. This blog post is therefore my attempt at YALSA Appointments 101.
Three basic facts:
- Appointments primarily happen twice a year – in the summer and early fall when appointments are made to selection committees (things like Quick Picks, Best Books, Popular Paperbacks, etc.) and in the spring for process committees (things like Web Advisory, Organization & Bylaws, Teen Read Week, etc.)
- No one gets on a committee without submitting a volunteer form. (I’ve heard this is a hard and fast rule.’ I can’t slip anyone by without that form being submitted. 🙂 )
- The best way to start getting involved in YALSA is to check out what committees are available and fill out a volunteer form for something you are interested in.’ If you aren’t sure how to decide calling the YALSA Office (800-545-2433 ext 4390) to get some more information or contacting me, firstname.lastname@example.org, is a good way to get started.
I pretty much knew about the above as a result of being active in YALSA for the past several years.I was ready for the schedule and the “rules.”‘ But, I wasn’t really aware of the exact process for making appointments and now I am certainly learning.’ I’ve found the demystification process pretty interesting. Here is some of what I’ve discovered:
- Google Docs is a perfect tool for managing the process.’ This is something new we are trying out this year and I think it will work really well. Once volunteer forms are submitted to the YALSA Office, Letitia (YALSA staffer who I’ll work with on this process) will email me the forms and I’ll add them to the Google Spreadsheet we started. One thing that is good about this way of managing the process is that Letitia, YALSA President Sarah Debraski, and I all have access to the file. That way any time one of us needs to work on an appointment, or check-in on the process we can each look in the same single place.
- YALSA President Sarah Debraski appoints members of Task Forces and appoints replacements for Committees. Those are two things I don’t have to work on. However, I will have to keep track of who Sarah is appointing since it might take someone out of the running for one of the Committees I’m responsible for appointing members to.
- The process is pretty seamless from where Sarah Debraski left off when she was making appointments and where I start the process.’ Sarah sent me the spreadsheet she worked from as she made appointments and it gave me a really good idea of the kind of information I need to keep track of.’ I probably couldn’t have started the spreadsheet from scratch, so thank goodness for this file from which to work.
- There are a lot of pieces to remember. To be honest, when I got back from Annual I was a little concerned about how I would keep everything related to the appointment process straight. But, then I got an email from Past President Paula Brehm-Heeger which included a list of “You HAVE to” statements.’ This worked perfectly for me because I now know exactly what I HAVE to keep track of.’ The list includes: 1) the number of committees someone is appointed to’ – the rule is that a member can’t be appointed to more than 3 “things” at once. 2) who has accepted an appointment and who needs a reminder about replying to an appointment email. 3) which appointments have been turned down and who is next on the list to be asked to join that committee.’ Even though there are lots of moving pieces to this process, not that I have my “HAVE to” list, the pieces have stopped moving, at least a little bit.
- The appointment process can be changed and improved. I already mentioned the new use of Google Docs. Also, YALSA is working on a process for letting those who don’t get appointed to a committee know if their appointment didn’t go through. (By the way, a non-appointment often means nothing more than there were too many names from which to choose.)
I’m really looking forward to this project and process. It will give me a really good chance to get to know people within the Division, and it will help me to have a better sense of the work being done in YALSA.
If you submitted a committee appointment form you will get word about the status of your appointment either later this summer or early Fall. (My goal is to have the selection committee appointments completed by November 1.)
If you have questions about how the appointment process works, feel free to ask the question as a comment on this blog post, or contact me via Twitter – lbraun2000 – or email – email@example.com.