Part of my preparation for serving members as the 2017 – 2018 YALSA President is to participate in an orientation with all Division President-Elects and certain ALA leaders.   As YALSA’s representative at this event, I wanted to share with the YALSA membership what I learned about ALA, Divisions and association governance.

Last week the President-Elects of all the ALA divisions including me, Chris LeBeau (RUSA), Cheryl Middleton (ACRL), Pamela Smith (PLA), Steve Laird (United for Libraries), Nina Lindsay (ALSC), Pixey Mosely (LLAMA), Jeanette Smithee (ASCLA), Mary Beth Thomson (ALCTS), Andromeda Yelton (LITA), and Steven Yates (AASL) met in Chicago for orientation.  The executive directors for each division also attended the orientation.

The meeting agenda included a welcome by Keith Fiels (ALA Executive Director), an overview of ALA as an organization by Mary Ghikas (ALA Senior Associate Executive Director), a discussion of legal and ethical issues (Paula Goedert, ALA attorney), an overview of ALA finances (Susan Hildreth, ALA Treasurer, and Ann Martin, Chair of BARC), and media training (ALA Public Awareness Staff and Jeff Leshay, consultant).  Here are a few things that stood out to me from each presenter.

Welcome (Keith Fiels)

ALA is retooling how it, as the parent or umbrella organization, can work better with the 11 divisions to create a more harmonious, mutually supporting culture. This presents a great opportunity for YALSA to build capacity and advance its mission through collaboration with other divisions.

Overview ALA (Mary Ghikas)

Think “advocacy math!” Did you know there are:

  • 51,171 individual/personal members
  • 5,627 organizational members
  • 178 corporate members
  • 11 Divisions
  • 20 Round Tables
  • Approximately 5,000 ALA members actively involved with the Association
  • 57 ALA chapters
  • 26 ALA-affiliated organizations – plus more ALA Division affiliates

Legal/Ethical Issues (Paula Goedert)

WOW! Lots of new information in her presentation. One of the most important take aways…as Board members and division leaders our badge is ALWAYS on (even if we aren’t wearing it!).

ALA Finances (Susan Hildreth & Ann Martin)

For the FY17, the ALA approved a $64.4M budget. Did you know that all Divisions pay ALA overhead (i.e. business expenses) in exchange for services like HR, legal counsel and IT?  For FY 17 and FY 18 the overhead rate is set at 26.4%. Overhead is calculated on some, but not all products and services.   So, for example, divisions are not charged overhead on dues, but divisions are charged the full rate for event registrations, like YALSA’s YA Services Symposium.  That means that if YALSA brings in $100,000 in gross registration revenue for the symposium, $26,400 of that goes to ALA.  Now you know why Friends of YALSA, planned giving, and sponsorships are so important to the financial health of YALSA and our ability to support members.

Want to learn more about your “ALA dollar”- where it comes from and how it is spent? Check out this website:

Media Training (ALA Public Awareness Staff and Jeff Leshay, consultant)

These presentations were so informative (and a little scary!). Jeff provided key tips and techniques for successful interviews and for managing the media. I plan to put them on my office wall so when the media calls, I can review them!

One final note, before the orientation on Thursday, the division Presidents Elect had dinner with Jim Neal, ALA President Elect.  Jim shared his prospective priorities and actions during his 2017-2018 presidential year.  You can read them in his report to the ALA Executive Board. So many of his priorities align with YALSA priorities – it is going to be an exciting year! I am looking forward to working with Jim and with each of the Division President Elects to build capacity and advance YALSA’s mission and organizational plan.

If you want to know more, be sure to get in touch. or @bridge2lit

As always, thanks for all you do for YALSA and for putting teens first!

Sandra Hughes-Hassell
YALSA President-Elect



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