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 Jane Gov, Teen Librarian at the Pasadena Public Library and YALSA Board Member Financial Advancement Committee Chair.

1. What drew you to the Board?

To be honest, I hadn’t considered board work until I was appointed in November 2015.  At the time, the Board seemed like something out of my reach and I wasn’t sure if I was qualified to serve. Now that I’m here, I feel fortunate to have this opportunity.  Being on the board is fascinating, and it’s made me more involved in civic engagement in my own community.  Like many YALSA members, I volunteer because I want to make positive change; being on the YALSA Board is getting to the heart of where these changes can start… and we can make improvements nationally.
2. What do you do on the board?

I am the Financial Advancement Committee (FAC) chair, which is an ex-officio member of the YALSA board. The charge of the committee is to provide oversight and continued enhancement of the Friends of YALSA program, including promotion, fundraising and donor recognition. We work with the Board to create and implement virtual fundraising campaigns and fundraising efforts at conferences. Each year, FAC is tasked with raising enough funds (over $14,000) to support member grants, scholarships and awards that do not have a sponsor or otherwise dedicated funding source. The fundraising campaigns are aimed at both members and nonmembers. We are also tasked with reviewing YALSA’s Fundraising Toolkit and make updates, which we’ve just completed.  In short, FAC basically helps raise money and thank our donors.

As a board member, I was on the standing committee for the priority Leading the Transformation of Teen Library Services, which includes strategies for leadership development, member engagement, and cultural competency.  However, since Midwinter, I’ve switched to the standing committee for Funder and Partner Development, which make perfect sense as it relates to my role as FAC chair.

I am also the board liaison for the Writing Award Jury, an award that’s funded by Friends of YALSA. The jury just finished their term last month.
3. What the board is doing for its members?

The YALSA board is taking a careful look at what we’re doing currently and whether some processes could improve. We’re evaluating the impact of what we do as an organization. YALSA board is looking to increase member engagement by giving members more feasible opportunities to get involved (such as short term and virtual opportunities), and provide resources that are more relevant, more effective, more engaging, but at a quicker pace—yet still with the same (or better) quality. Some examples include the proposed improvements with the mentorship program, the movement of some selection lists to the Hub, and the new Teen Book Finder Database.
4. Do you have a teen book you may be reading or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.

My teens just wrapped up our next issue of the Teen Zine, a bi-annual publication that features writing, photos, book lists, and articles by or about teens at the library. I’m proud of this issue because there were more teens involved in its making—double the number since the pilot issue. There are about a dozen editors and graphic designers, and another dozen writing contributors, half of whom got an opportunity to interview authors during our book festival. This issue includes teen articles about some of our more notable programs such as our annual murder mystery (written and delivered by the Teen Advisory Board), a large art show featuring artwork by teens with autism, photos of our National Coming Out Day celebration (which was the first for our city and took place at the library), and articles about our annual teen book festival. Not only does the zine show in photos all the great work our teens have done in the last six months, but working on the zine itself gave them a chance to showcase their graphic design and editing skills—more so than the previous years. And it’s nearly twice the length of the last issue.

I just finished a book I was reviewing for a journal, and it’s amazing! Traitor to the Throne, sequel to Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton.  It’s got the action of a western, mixed with Arabian mythology, and threaded with magic and political intrigue. Fans of Leigh Bardugo or Rae Carson would love this one.

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