Risky Business

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The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association is to advocate, promote and strengthen service to young adults as part of the continuum of total library service, and to support those who provide service to this population.

Mission Moment
How Recent YALSA Activities Support the Association’s Mission and Strategic Plan

At their Annual Conference meetings the YALSA Board discussed recommendations, made by an ad hoc committee of the Board, related to the use of William C. Morris Endowment funds. Following their discussions, the Board voted that over the next three years the Association would use the funds to support Teen Read Week in three areas that connect to the YALSA strategic plan. These three areas are: research, marketing, and member recruitment and engagement. By supporting these areas with Morris funds, not only does YALSA support its mission and strategic plan, the Association also helps librarians to participate actively and successfully in Teen Read Week. The document discussed by the Board which led to their vote is available on the YALSA website.

Much of the work in June centered on getting ready for Annual Conference in D.C. and then participating in the Conference.

  • Agendas and supporting documents for the Annual Conference Board and Executive Committee meetings were finalized. This process included gaining feedback from Board and Executive Committee members prior to completing the agendas. Agendas and supporting documents for all YALSA Governance meetings held during Annual are available on the YALSA website in the Governance section.
  • A Board planning conference call was held in mid-June to provide Board members with the opportunity to plan for their work at Annual Conference. The call covered the programs and events which Board members needed to attend during Conference and a conversation about working as a Board Liaison during Conference.
  • Last year YALSA began to consider ways in which to help prepare new Board members for their Board role. One activity that was started in 2009 and continued in 2010 was a Board training lunch held during Annual Conference. In June I worked with YALSA’s Executive Director, Beth Yoke, and Kim Patton (the President Elect at that time) to develop an agenda for the training meeting/lunch. The lunch was held with all incoming Board members on the Tuesday of Annual Conference and included discussion of Board member roles and responsibilities, duties of Board members when not at Midwinter Meeting and Conference, and the Board Liaison and committee chair relationship.
  • YALSA Board members discussed and acted on several items of import to Association members during Annual Conference. These include:
    • Deciding to continue to fund stipends for librarians to attend library advocacy/legislative days at the national level. In 2010 YALSA provided funding for five teen librarians to attend Library Advocacy Day. The YALSA Board determined that this is an important activity for the Association to support as it provides teen librarians with opportunities to not only advocate at a national level, but the selected librarians have opportunities to use and improve advocacy skills which they have gained within their local communities.
    • Approval of the policies for the Association’s brand-new YA literature blog, approval of the proposal to launch the new Readers’ Choice list (thanks to the Readers’ Choice Task Force chair Sarah Ludwig and her members for developing and revising the proposal), and the approval of a request to start a new interest group on the topic of managing teen services (thanks to Maureen Hartman for submitting the proposal and agreeing to convene the group). All of these new initiatives, which will be launched by YALSA this summer and fall, focus on projects that allow members and teens to get actively involved in the work of the Association.
    • The YALSA strategic plan is a living breathing document and this was demonstrated at Annual Conference when a new objective for the strategic plan was approved by the Board. This objective is within the member recruitment and engagement section of the plan and focuses on supporting members during difficult economic times and working to guarantee that members understand the value of YALSA membership.

    These are just a few of the areas that the hard-working YALSA Board members discussed during their meetings at Annual Conference. I would like to thank YALSA Board members for their work in preparing for conference and while at YALSA Conference events and at Board meetings.

  • YALSA sponsored many successful programs during Annual Conference in DC. These include two preconferences, YALSA 101, a Happy Hour, the Edwards Award Luncheon, and the Michael L. Printz Awards program and reception. The first ever virtual President’s Program launched during ALA Annual. I would like to thank everyone who helped to make YALSA’s programs and events at Annual a success. Including those who organized and/or spoke at programs. Specific thanks go to the Local Arrangements Committee (Carrie Kausch Chair), the Division and Membership Promotion Committee (Candice Mack, Chair), the half-day and full-day preconference committees (Wendy Stephens, mk Eagle, and Connie Urquhart, Chairs), the President’s Program Committee (Sarah Couri, Chair).

In Progress

  • Following their Midwinter meetings, the YALSA Board approved the creation of a task force to develop an evaluation tool that when complete will help libraries evaluate their programs and services for teens. A draft of the evaluation tool, which is based on YALSA’s newly revised Competencies, was presented to the Board at Annual and Board members agreed that the product, when completed later this summer, will prove to be very useful to library administrators, teen librarians, library school educators, and others. Thanks to Sarah Flowers for leading the group working on the evaluation tool, and to the members of her group.
  • At their Midwinter meetings, the YALSA Board agreed to move forward in developing a proposal for a member recognition award. A task force, chaired by Stephanie Squicciarini, worked between Midwinter and Annual on a proposal for the Award. The Board voted at their Annual meetings to use the ideas presented in the proposal and submit the award concept to the ALA Awards Committee in order to officially gain approval for the award. Thank you to Stephanie, and her task force members, for their work in putting the proposal together.
  • In an effort to continue to support chairs of YALSA Committees, the YALSA Board voted at Annual Conference to ask the Association’s Executive Committee to develop materials that will help process committee chairs plan for the work of the year ahead. These materials will include a specific set of tasks that the YALSA Board would like each Committee to work on during the year.
  • YALSA’s Program Officer for Continuing Education, Eve Gaus, and YALSA staff is in the process of developing webinars that will provide information to those chairing YALSA’s virtual member groups and those that are considering participating in the work of a selection or award committee. Later this summer YALSA members will be able to watch a webinar on how to successfully manage virtual committees and another webinar on what it takes to be a successful selection committee member.


  • YALSA Past President Sarah Debraski was a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi radio show on WAMU. Sarah discussed the Alex Awards.
  • Spoke with a reporter from the AP who was working on a story about GLBT literature for teens.
  • Provided quotes for YALSA’s Communications Specialist, Stevie Kuenn, on the Association’s continued support of the ALA Emerging Leaders program.

Other Important YALSA News

  • The deadline for YALSA’s Great Ideas contest has been extended. If you have an idea for how to make the Association’s booklists and awards household names, or if you have an idea on how to recruit new members, or an idea on how to develop continuing education programs that will meet the needs of teen librarians now is the time to submit. Find out more on the YALSA website.
  • Registration is now open for several upcoming YALSA events. Don’t miss the opportunity to sign-up for the next round of the Wrestlemania Reading Challenge, Teen Read Week 2010, summer online classes, and the YA Literature Symposium. These programs and events are not to be missed.

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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