Get ready to vote! The YALSA election runs from March 24 through May 1, and to help you be an informed voter, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2015 YALSA Governance and 2017 Selection Committee candidates as well as the ALA President-Elect Candidates.

Today we’ll hear from the candidate for YALSA Councilor. The Councilor serve a term of three years commencing at the adjournment of the final ALA Council meeting of the annual conference following their election. The YALSA Councilor is also a member of the YALSA Executive Committee, as well as the Board of Directors.

The YALSA Councilor’s primary job is to serve as a member of the YALSA Board, attend all meetings of the ALA Council, report to the YALSA Board about Council agenda, vote as directed by the YALSA Board, represent YALSA’s position on Council, and report to the YALSA Board about Council actions.

A full description of the Councilor’s duties and responsibilities can be found here.

Full biographical information on all of the candidates can be found on the sample ballot.

Today we have an interview with Todd Krueger.

Name and current position:
Todd Krueger, Selector, Collection Development, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, Maryland

What best qualifies you for being a YALSA Councilor?
I have worked within many governing bodies and have learned the best ways to understand the matters at hand in a legislative process. Communication is key, and making certain that the issues facing teen librarians and teens in libraries are brought forth as necessary before the ALA Council. Conversely, reporting any items of note regarding teen librarianship and service to teens that are raised by ALA Council members back to the YALSA Board and membership at large. Using soft skills can often be the difference between getting the desired result for an organization and being left on the wrong side of the vote. My experience within YALSA has largely been on selection committees, but I have numerous colleagues who serve and continue to serve on ALA Council and the ALA Executive Board who have given me considerable understanding of the work of that body.

Talk about the experience you’re bringing to the position with leadership, advocacy, and impact on teen services in the library?
I have chaired several committees within and outside of my public library system that focused on services to teens, particularly with regard to collection needs. These have given me an understanding of the ever-moving target of what teens are looking for from their libraries. Always making sure that teens are considered when teen programming, building renovation, and staff development needs (for example, best practices for staff interaction with teens) are raised has been critical to my constant advocacy for this population.

How can being a YALSA Councilor help make a difference with issues teens may be struggling with?
I believe it’s vital that the YALSA Division Councilor, among all councilors that have served and continue to serve teens make it a priority to remind fellow councilors of the needs of young adults. I have had a longstanding focus on teen literature, collection development, and intellectual freedom. Issues regarding these subjects continue to arise in the form of materials challenges, censorship, and selection decisions. As the lines blur of the borders of adolescence, both on the tween side and for younger adults, YALSA is positioned perfectly to advocate for an ever-growing group of library users.

What are some ways that being a member of a YALSA governance committee can help serve as an even better connector to helping libraries become thriving learning environments for teens?
It is critical that teens have a place to be comfortable to self-educate. If that means becoming lost within the pages of a novel, or socializing with other teens, or following a path of personal interest, teens need to know all that the library can be for their growth. This may mean individual attention but can also be as simple as the right programming for the right group of teens at the right time. Constantly reassessing the needs and wants of the given crop of teens cannot be overstated. As a member of the governance committee I would advocate for ways to best use the often limited resources currently in place, while always being ready to pivot to reallocate resources as changes occur.

Share a recent example(s) where you made a shift to better focus on the current needs of teens.
These days, teens are continually overscheduled. Few have the opportunity to spend time reading more than a handful of free reading titles over the course of a given year, aside from the exceptional readers. Using data that showed how titles circulated among readers in my library system, I was able to clear out a lot of never or rarely used materials, and allow readers to more easily browse the teen collections at our twenty locations. This allowed me to identify just how quickly the reading tastes of teens changes in my community.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the governance committee?
It’s important for teen librarians to be constantly aware of the current needs of the teens they serve, given the short window of time that a connection can be made. After serving on a number of YALSA and other selection committees, I am looking forward to transitioning to the governance side of advocacy for teens. There is so much potential in each of the young people we work with; let’s use our energy and focus to prepare the teens we encounter for successful young adulthood and beyond.

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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