This Midwinter conference, I attended a meeting of the Youth Council Caucus (YCC). There were well over forty people that came from the three ALA youth divisions. The momentum was exciting as ideas and information sharing buzzed throughout the room.

A few months ago, when a few of my colleagues told me that it was important to have youth member representation on such entities as ALA Council or to attend the Youth Council Caucus, I thought it was a good idea in principle. Meaning, it made sense to me on the level that I work with youth every day and am passionate about what I do. But beyond that, I didn’t completely understand how such representation helps. Until now.

When Nick Buron, who represents YALSA to the ALA Council, stood up at the Youth Council Caucus and commented on the large numbers of us present at the meeting and how we as a group, have the power and network to move initiatives along, it definitely made more sense.

Youth representation also made sense to me when I attended my first meetings as an ALA Councilor at this past conference. When resolutions were drafted about a particular issue, feedback given was oftentimes from people that were experts in that particular field. Or recommendations to connect to a more authoratative person were given. In regards to YCC, As YALSA members, we are knowledgable about teens and issues involving teens in ways that others might not be. It is because of this, that we can lend our voices to related issues.

For the nuts and bolts of Youth Council Caucus, to be a member, you need to be a member of ALA Council and one of the three youth divisions (YALSA, AASL, or ALSC). To attend a meeting, the only requirement is that you are an ALA member!

Some of the issues YCC discussed at Midwinter included:

  • Highlighting the importance of summer reading for teens and children (which was passed by Council)
  • The value of public and school libraries and librarians during after school hours and to increase funding for national and federal monies.
  • Equitable access to electronic content as a possible issue to pursue in the future.

To be honest, I still feel I have more questions than answers on how ‘big ALA’ works, but the YCC is definitely a great connection to YALSA and being a Council member. Look for a follow up post about Caucus in the future, closer to our next meeting at annual conference as well as an interview with members that can explain some more details of this important committee.

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

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