I planned to post about YALSA’s Board meetings every day of Midwinter. But, as they say, “The best laid plans….”

Following the Saturday 1/16/10 meeting, the YALSA Board met twice more and the hard-working members continued to strategically plan for the Association. Items on the agenda on Sunday and Monday were discussion items. That means that what was discussed was not slated for specific action. Items listed as discussion usually are related to topics that haven’t yet been discussed by the Board and which may need more thought, and perhaps revision, before placed on a future agenda for a specific action. Discussion items can be acted on, but they do not have to be. An overview of topics discussed on Sunday, 1/17/10, and Monday, 1/18/10, follows.

  • At both Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting, the YALSA Board receives an update on the Association’s financial health. This update is provided by YALSA’s Fiscal Officer, Mary Hastler, and Executive Director, Beth Yoke. The report at Midwinter included suggestions that help guarantee that during financially difficult times, YALSA remains financially secure. The YALSA Board will continue to consider ways to control expenses and maximize revenues while meeting member needs. The full financial report is available on the YALSA web site.
  • Over the past couple of years the YALSA Board has spent some time discussing the possibility of the Association starting a foundation. The reasons for this are multiple and include that a YALSA foundation could help the Association to better manage fundraising efforts. The YALSA Board decided to go forward with an investigation of this concept and has asked me to contact YALSA’s representative to the Executive Board to discuss whether or not it is feasible, within the ALA structure, to continue to explore YALSA foundation possibilities. The document related to foundations which the Board discussed is available on the YALSA web site.
  • In the fall YALSA member Sarah Flowers worked with a task force to revise YALSA’s competences for librarians serving teens. Sarah presented the revised document to the YALSA Board and discussed with Board members the changes and decisions made during the revision process. Changes include a simplifying of language and embedding of technology into the entire set of competencies. The Board approved the revised competencies and the update will be released and distributed soon. The revised document is available on the YALSA web site.
  • In 2004 a task force charged with coming up with recommendations for use of the William C. Morris Endowment interest funds included in their report that after five years the use of the funds should be evaluated. A draft evaluation report (prepared by an ad hoc committee of the Board, Chaired by Mary Hastler) was presented to the Board. The report included an overview of the ways in which the funds have been spent to date and ideas for future use of the monies. Ideas covered in the document include possible grants and awards for librarians and authors. After some initial discussion, it was determined that the Board needs to spend more time looking at the possibilities and to think strategically about the best ways to support members when using these funds. The Board will continue their discussions on their ALA Connect space. The report presented to the Board is available on the YALSA web site.
  • In the fall a task force was convened with the charge of developing a proposal that outlines the best way to launch and maintain a reader’s choice list. The initial proposal was presented to the Board by Task Force Chair Sarah Ludwig. The group developed a framework for the list including how to promote and market the list, how to categorize nominations, and a timeline for implementation. The Board asked the Task Force to add a few details to their proposal including more specificity about the categories that would be used and a revised timeline that would take into account that the list announcement would be made in December of each year, when many other best lists are published. The Task Force will revise the document and submit it to the YALSA Executive Committee this spring. The fully revised proposal will then be presented to the Board at Annual 2010. The proposal submitted to the Board at Midwinter 2010 is available on the YALSA web site.

During the weekend several guests spoke with the Board. Both of the candidates for ALA President (Sara Kelly Johns and Molly Raphael) presented their platforms to YALSA Board members. The candidates also answered questions from the Board. ALA’s Executive Board representative to YALSA – Steve Mathews – and ALA’s Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) representative – Alex Villagran – provided updates to Board members about ALA Council and the ALA budget.

There were several discussion items on the Board agenda that there was not enough time for during the weekend meetings. The Board will discuss these on ALA Connect and, based on the discussions, move forward as necessary.

As I’ve mentioned before, the YALSA Board is an amazingly hard-working group. Visitors to our meetings – and I’m happy to report that we had quite a few – mentioned how much they appreciated the dialog at the meetings and the way decision-making takes place. The Board has a lot to follow-up on over the next weeks and months. I’ll keep everyone posted on what’s going on via the YALSA Blog.

If you have any questions about the YALSA Board, the way it works, and how decisions are made, feel free to get in touch – lbraun@leonline.com.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.

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