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 a candidate for Board Director-at-large. YALSA Board members serve three-year terms, during which they jointly determine YALSA’s policies, programs, and strategic direction, in accordance with YALSA’s bylaws. They attend both virtual and in-person meetings and serve as liaisons to YALSA’s committee chairs and members. A full description of Board 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 Kate McNair.

Name and current position:
Kate McNair, Teen Coordinating Librarian, Johnson County Library (Overland Park, KS)

What best qualifies you for being a YALSA Board Member?
Experience and Passion are two qualities that will make me an effective and driven YALSA Board Member. As a young librairan I found a home in YALSA that has driven me to work hard for our organization. I have served on many committees and taskforces, and have learned something valuable from each about how our profession and our organization works. I want both YALSA as an organization to succeed, and YALSA members to get something meaningful from their membership. I am committed to making YALSA the best organization it can be.

Talk about the experience you’re bringing to the position with leadership, advocacy, and impact on teen services in the library?
Through YALSA I have had a variety of experiences on committees and taskforces, both as a member and as a chair. I have served on President’s Program taskforces and the Margaret A. Edwards Award Selection Committee. I have had the honor to chair the Midwinter Institute Taskforce, YA Literature Symposium Taskforce and Financial Advancement Committee. My work with YALSA has taught me just how diverse a community we serve (both librarians and teens) and where my own strengths can help YALSA most. I am an organized, driven and effective individual who can help get things accomplished. I think my talents have been leading me to the YALSA Board for the opportunity to tackle big-picture topics and look at the organization as a whole. My work with YALSA has greatly informed my work at Johnson County Library, where I just celebrated my 7th anniversary. Using the YALSA report The Future of Libraries for and with Teens we are implementing more ideas of connected learning into our programs and services by expanding our makerspace and target teens.

How can being a YALSA Board Member help make a difference with issues teens may be struggling with?
As a teen librarian YALSA supports me and broadens my horizon. I hope that by serving on the YALSA Board I can help to continue to grow the organization that has given so much to me as a young Librarian. By supporting our librarians we can help support our teens. YALSA has also done an amazing job of bringing the teen voice into our organziation’s work through the Teens’ Top Ten Award (Johnson County Library has been a nominating group for 4 years), the BFYA Teen Feedback Session, teen contributors to our blogs, and teen participation at conferences. We also support the amazing work that impacts teens by giving awards for literature and advocacy programs that encourage the improvement of our services to teens.

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?
I hope that by being a YALSA Board member I can hear about all the amazing things that are happening in our profession, by connecting with the best and brightest of YALSA, and disseminate that knowledge and experience throughout the organization. I hope that I can help to play the crucial role of connector between right ideas and the right people to build a spark into a fire.

Share a recent example(s) where you made a shift to better focus on the current needs of teens.
Over the past 18 months I have totally shifted my work in Johnson County based on the Future of Library Services for and with Teens report from YALSA and the concepts of Connected Learning forwarded by the organization. As an organization we are moving to more connected programs, interest-based learning opportunities and informing learning structures. YALSA’s call to action on this topic resonated with me and has moved the direction my career has taken for the better.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the governance committee?
I am someone who will work passionately and effectively to make YALSA a better organization for teens and for our members. I have found a home in YALSA and I want to give back to the organization and the people that taught me so much and gave me the opportunities to learn and grow. I want to pay forward what past YALSA Board members and committee chairs have given to me and put my skills in project management, communication, problem solving, leadership and vision to work for YALSA.

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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