Two weekends ago the YALSA Executive Committee met in Pittsburgh simultaneously with the YALSA Symposium. During a marathon Saturday meeting, the members of the Executive Committee (President Sarah Hill, who led the meeting; President-Elect Sandra Hughes-Hassell; Immediate Past President Candice Mack; Fiscal Officer Nick Buron; Secretary Crystle Martin; yours truly YALSA Division Councilor Todd Krueger; and Executive Director Beth Yoke) discussed many matters affecting the division.

One of the things that we discussed at length was making sure that the youth divisions (AASL, ALSC and YALSA) are well-represented in ALA governance, i.e. ALA Council and the ALA Executive Board. Because there are a number of YALSA members running for ALA Council this coming spring, we have high hopes that there will be more representation from members of youth divisions on ALA Council in the coming years. When the ballot arrives, be sure to access and check out the YALSA members running for Council. As the Division Councilor, I will be working with my companion Councilors in ALSC and AASL to make this objective a reality. It is a benefit to YALSA to have former president Jack Martin serving on the ALA Nominating Committee for 2017, which puts forward nominees for ALA President and Council for the following year. If you are interested in either of these positions, please contact me or Jack for more information.

A discussion about the future of ALA conferences and the ALA committee that is determining the scope and size of the conferences followed. Due to the way that YALSA has scheduled its meetings to avoid conflicts, any changes to future ALA conferences will likely not affect YALSA or its members in a negative way.

In other Council news, we discussed the possibility of a few resolutions that we may consider bringing forward to ALA Council in Atlanta. One involves putting together a taskforce of ALA members, selected by the ALA President, to better define the term literacy throughout ALA. At this time, there are countless definitions from various bodies within the organization. Simplifying this would help messaging and understanding of this key term within and outside of our profession. We are also interested in bringing forth a resolution that would address the library research crisis as more and more former library schools move to an iSchool platform.

Another important task that was addressed was the new role of the Executive Committee itself. As many of the unofficial roles taken on by the Exec Comm in the past have reverted to the YALSA Board at-large, there has been an increasing desire to see the Exec Comm have a greater role in fiscal oversight matters. The YALSA office will provide quarterly financial information to the Exec Comm so that there is a continuous awareness of the fiscal state of the division. Each of the Exec Comm member’s directives were considered and updated. Specifically, the role of the Immediate Past President was also addressed in terms of focusing on relationships to serve as a conduit from YALSA to appropriate ALA colleagues in other divisions and committees.

In relation to that, Sandra led a discussion of collaboration opportunities to gauge the alignment between the ALA Strategic Plan and the YALSA 3-year Organizational Plan. This was a fruitful discussion which showed the many ways that YALSA and its parent organization are in alignment and those areas that are in the ALA Strategic Plan that YALSA and the YALSA membership have a stake in. Questions were raised which require follow-up with the appropriate ALA committee or staff to clarify the needs of the association overall and YALSA’s relationship.

There was also talk about reimagining and reinvigorating YALSA awards ceremonies. We would like to keep them financially responsible for the membership and the division, while making the most of them for both the members and those receiving accolades. More information about this will be forthcoming as ideas are fully formulated.

All in all this meeting was very productive, with everyone working toward the common good of bettering the work of YALSA governance with the overarching goal of making sure that what is decided puts Teens First in our libraries.

Respectfully submitted,

Todd Krueger, YALSA Division Councilor

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