As you know, the ALA/YALSA election season has started. Polls are open March 19 through April 27 and YALSA has candidates on the association’s slate running for governance positions and candidates running for awards positions. In this post I’ll talk about the governance positions and provide information on resources you can access to learn more about the positions. The information should also help you think about what you want to consider when you cast your ballot. (Next week 2012 YALSA Nominating Committee member Dawn Rutherford will post on the awards slate with information on those positions.)

This year the positions open on the YALSA governance slate are (the full slate is available on the YALSAblog):

  • President-elect/President
  • Board of Directors
  • YALSA Councilor

You may have heard of all of these positions but aren’t really sure what the people in them actually do. Here’s a brief run-down:

  • President-elect/President: The person serving as YALSA President-elect and then President is as a member of YALSA’s Executive Committee as well as a member of YALSA’s Board. As President-Elect this YALSA leader participates fully in all Board meetings and Executive Committee meetings. She is responsible, during the President-Elect year, for appointing members to YALSA member groups including process and selection committees. And, during this elect year she works closely with the President and Past President on association planning. During the Presidential year the elected candidate runs all YALSA meetings including Board and Executive Committee meetings. She is responsible for representing YALSA at official events at Midwinter Meeting and Conference. She works closely with the Executive Director, President-Elect, and Past President on planning leadership and governance activities including drafting agendas and Board documents.
  • YALSA Councilor: The YALSA Councilor is a full member of the YALSA Executive Committee and the YALSA Board. He or she is required to attend all Executive Committee meetings, all association Board meetings, and all ALA Council meetings. As YALSA’s representative to ALA Council, the Councilor is expected to speak up for issues that have an impact on teens at Council meetings. He or she is expected to bring topics of concern from Council to the YALSA Board as well as bring similar topics from the YALSA Board to Council. He or she is also expected to actively participate in the Youth Council Caucus, which is made up of all of those on ALA Council that are involved in serving youth. You can read more about the Councilor position on the YALSA website.
  • Board of Directors: Each person elected to a YALSA Board of Director position is expected to participate fullly in the governance activities of the association 12 months a year. These members are required to attend face-to-face meetings at Annual Conference and Midwinter as well as a series of virtual and phone meetings held throughout the year. Board members serve as liaisons to all YALSA member groups including process and selection committees, task forces, and juries. Often Board members are asked to take on work as a part of an ad hoc committee that is investigating a particular activity in which YALSA is or might be involved. More information on the duties and responsibilities of YALSA Board members is available on the YALSA website.

For each of these positions strong leadership skills are required. These include big picture planning and thinking, organizational skills, time management skills, and political and interpersonal skills. Those who serve on the YALSA Board need to be strong leaders they also need to be able to dedicate the time required to successfully plan and lead for the association so that members are served successfully.

As you determine who you will vote for in 2012, keep these roles, duties, and skills in mind. You can read more about each position in the Governance section of the YALSA website.

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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