Get ready to vote! The YALSA election runs from March 15 through April 22, and to help you be an informed voter, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2016 YALSA Governance and 2018 Selection Committee 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 and YALSA Election FAQs here.

Today we have an interview with Franklin Escobedo.

Name and current position
Franklin Escobedo, Principal Librarian. Coronado Public Library

What best qualifies you for being a YALSA Board Member?
I first began my work with YALSA as the GLBT-RT Liaison to YALSA back in 2009. As the liaison I thought the best way to find out what was going on in our Organization was to attend the Board Meetings. Oftentimes, I was the only observer at the meeting, which can grow passionate and heated depending on the topics. Over the years I’ve worked on a number of committees learning how the organization works, both in the selection committees and the governance committees. I feel confident with my experience within YALSA will make me a worth candidate for the Board. Knowing how the board works, as well as knowing our goals laid out in the Strategic Plan and ongoing projects.

Talk about the experience you’re bringing to the position with leadership, advocacy, and impact on teen services in the library?
I’ve been working in libraries since graduating from High School. When I went to Library school, I realized that both libraries I worked at had wonderful collections of Young Adult books, but they lacked any services and programs for the teens that came into the library. Thus I focused my schooling on Young Adult Services. Ever since graduating and attaining my first Librarian job, I’ve been advocating for teen services. Encouraging other librarians who do not always work with teens to hone their skills at reader’s advisory and advocating for the staff to become more engaged with our teen users. As a Principal Librarian, I’m now in a position to advocate for staff and budget allocations to improve services for teens. Over the years I’ve also faced many of the same challenges that my colleagues have faced, budget cuts, staff shortages, staff push back from coworkers who weren’t big fans of teens.

How can being a YALSA Board Member help make a difference with issues teens may be struggling with?
Being a YALSA Board Member is a platform for bringing issues that one might be facing in your library, and help to share the experience and lessons learned with other librarians in our profession. Being on the board will all me to help shape our response as an organization to the needs that teens are struggling with. The ultimate goal is to share what we’ve learned with each other, to help serve the teens that use our libraries every day.

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?
Serving on a governance committee is a great way to find out what other issues are being experienced by other librarians in other parts of the country. The teens we serve are different in every community; they all have their own needs. Nevertheless there are some issues that face all teens. When I served Linda Braun’s President Program committee, I learned about new technologies that were being introduced to teens in another part of the country. It made me look at my own library and try to find a way to bring those technologies to my teens. Serving on a governance committee is also an experience that has strength my professional growth and help me better understand projects that my own libraries was beginning to undertake.

Share a recent example(s) where you made a shift to better focus on the current needs of teens.
While I believe my focus has been on teen services over the years. As a manager, I try to get the staff to focus on better serving the teens who use the library every day. Whether it’s encouraging the staff to broaden their skills at reader’s advisory, having my adult services librarians keep up with various lists compiled by YALSA.

I’ve made push for more outreach to the community to bring in teens who may not always come into the library, and to make the ones who think they don’t need the library by highlighting our remote services. I’ve begun increasing the number of teen e-books we have in our consortiums collection and trying spread the word that these titles are available for free.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the governance committee?
I’ve been working on a variety of YALSA committees over the years. I believe I have a great understanding of the workings of our organization. I’ve worked in two different libraries that have had a extreme difference. I’ve worked with wide range teens and librarians and I believe that teens are the future of libraries; we need to make their experiences the greatest so when they grow up they’ll keep coming back and remember us with fond memories.

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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