What is the YALSA Board? What do they do? Who is on the YALSA Board? These could be questions you may have and if they are you’ve come to the right place. Each month, two YALSA Board of Directors are interviewed and their responses are shared here in order to help members get to know more about the Board members, the Board itself and things the Board is working on.

YALSA’s board of directors has the principal responsibility for fulfillment of YALSA’s mission and the legal accountability for its operations. The board has specific fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and obedience to the law. As a group they are in charge of:

  • establishing a clear organizational mission
  • forming the strategic plan to accomplish the mission
  • overseeing and evaluating the plan’s success
  • hiring a competent executive director
  • providing adequate supervision and support to the executive director

This month meet Sarah Hill, President of YALSA 2016-2017, YALSA Board Member and Information Services Librarian at Lake Land College in Mattoon, Illinois

1. What drew you to the Board?

When I was a high school librarian, I attended the Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA) conference every year, even when I had to pay for it myself. While serving on ISLMA’s high school book award committee, I was asked to participate in a weekend retreat to help write a strategic plan for the organization, and I enjoyed it! The ISLMA board members were energetic, dedicated to their students, and sincerely trying to improve the atmosphere for students and school librarians in Illinois.  I didn’t need much encouragement to run for the ISLMA board, and I loved it.  I then served as treasurer and president.  Serving on my state organization board prepared me to serve on a national level. While I was an active leader in ISLMA, I also participated on award and selection committees for YALSA and attended ALA conferences. Serving on the YALSA board allows me to give back to my professional community, to which I owe so much.  Because I’ve always worked in rural communities, my face-to-face interactions with librarians are limited, but YALSA has allowed me to expand my learning network, grow professionally, and improve the lives of teens in my community.
2. What do you do on the board?

I’m the current YALSA president, which means that I’m in the middle year of my three-year commitment to the board.  You can see what I do by reading the monthly reports on the YALSA blog.  If I had to give a one sentence summary of what I do, I’d say that I partner with Beth Yoke, the YALSA Executive Director, to help the Board lead the organization for our members.  I answer questions, lead the in-person meetings at Midwinter and Annual and plan the board’s monthly chats.  I strive to make sure that the board is advancing the goals of the organizational plan, as well as meeting the organization’s mission and vision.  

3. What is the board doing for its members?
You can check out what the board is up to by visiting the Current Projects page and by reading the board documents that are posted online.  The board does work virtually between ALA conferences, and recently the board voted to improve the current YALSA mentoring program by making it more short-term to match the members’ needs. The Board has been creating more short-term volunteer opportunities, like these three new task forces, and matching the length of the task force to the time it takes to finish the project.  The Board is also gearing up for National Library Legislative Day–look for more information coming soon from the YALSA Legislation Committee! Legislation and advocacy aren’t dirty words–it’s important for all of us to improve the world around our teens and to empower teens to speak for themselves! If you’d like to discuss this further, check out the YALSA Town Hall that is happening Feb. 28 at 2 pm ET. See your YALSA enews for login information. 
4. What’s a teen book you may be reading or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.
I’m currently Neal Shusterman’s Scythe since it won a Printz Honor award.  I don’t read many books for young children now that my daughter is fourteen, but I try to read the Caldecott and Newbery winners to stay in the loop. I recently finished Newbery winner Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon and loved it! 

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