At the 2016 Annual Conference last summer, the YALSA Board passed a motion to revitalize our Interest Groups. The timing could hardly be better. The reorganization project has members thinking about YALSA in a fresh light, realizing that an organization must continually translate its mission into the language of the times. And while YALSA’s structural innovations may come from the vision of the Board, individual members may also seize the opportunity to envision new directions for young adult library service. Interest Groups offer members the agency to create small communities that foster professional networking while granting the legitimacy of the YALSA organization.
Participating in Interest Groups is easy. It’s an opt-in virtual opportunity that can be short-term, medium-term, or long-term. The level of participation is completely up to members.
One year ago, YALSA had just one active Interest Group: Teen Mental Health. Now there are two Interest Groups that focus on geographical proximity (Washington DC Metro Area and Los Angeles County Area) and two more that are up for approval at this year’s Midwinter Conference (Picture Books for Teens and Teens Are Not Alone.) We expect the number to increase as the final steps of the revitalization plan are implemented. These steps include revamping the content on the YALSA Interest Group FAQ page, creating a list-serv for Interest Group conveners, and organizing opportunities for an All-Interest Group meeting at conferences.
The YALSA Board will be discussing the implementation of these ideas (http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/InterestGroups_MW17.pdf) at the Board I meeting, held on Saturday, January 21, at the Georgia World Congress Center, Room A406.