This week YALSA Board members are writing about their experience serving on the Board. This post is one in that series.

First off: the work of the Board takes place all year round, not just when the Board meets in person at the Midwinter meeting and Annual conference.

Tip: Talk with your supervisor and your loved ones before you decide to run. Make sure they understand and support the commitment that will be involved.

Between Midwinter and Annual, there are conference calls, online chats, posts in ALA Connect, talking with YALSA members and prospective members, and emails…lots of emails!

Thus, it’s extremely helpful for a prospective Board member to be comfortable with communicating in all kinds of ways, both online and offline.

Tip: I use my personal email rather than my library email address for Board mail because Gmail allows me to filter and sort incoming messages using a delightful and elaborate color scheme. All my Board messages are labeled in orange. (Like orange alerts.) I keep them in my inbox until I’ve answered them.

What does the Board actually do? Well, there’s a long list of duties on the website that I’d encourage you to read, but in short: the Board works to make YALSA more effective and successful at reaching its goals.

Some examples of things you’re likely to do as a Board member:

Give input about the slate of programs planned for an upcoming conference
Vote to launch a new award
Make recommendations to YALSA staff about how to proceed with potential partnerships
Encourage talented YALSA members to take on leadership roles
Advise the chair of a committee as their liaison to the Board
Vote to convene a new task force, like the Recession Relief Task Force
Support the Friends of YALSA
Learn strategies for being an effective Board member!

Tip: Find ways to make connections between your YALSA Board work and the work you do in your own setting. Maybe you’ve met a committee chair who’d be a great guest speaker at your next staff development event, or used an online tool that your colleagues will find useful. Sharing the knowledge, professional connections and resources you encounter as a Board member will help your manager and colleagues see the value of your service.

What I really appreciate about serving on the YALSA Board is the chance to work with other folks who are passionately committed to teen services. It’s hard work, but it’s also both rewarding and fun.

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