Get ready to vote! The YALSA election runs from March 13 through April 5, and to help you be an informed voter, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2017 YALSA Governance and 2019 Selection Committee candidates.
Today we’ll hear from a candidate for Board Director-at-large. YALSA Board members serve three-year terms, during which they jointly determine YALSA’s policies, programs, and strategic direction, in accordance with YALSA’s bylaws. They attend both virtual and in-person meetings and serve as liaisons to YALSA’s committee chairs and members. A full description of Board duties and responsibilities can be found here.
Today we have an interview with Jess Snow.
YALSA Governance: Board Member-at-Large (Three Year Term) Candidate Jess Snow, Teen Services Team Leader, Teen Central, Boston Public Library
(Currently serving a one year YALSA Board Member-at-Large position)
Q: What best qualifies you for being Board Member?
A: I have over 16 years experience as a Teen Services Librarian and most specifically five years in leadership positions within a public library . For the past year I have filled in a position on the Board for a resignation and feel I have some governance experience thus far. In addition I have been a YALSA member for 16 years and have been involved with YALSA in various capacities for over six years. I also feel excited about the organizational plan and with the implementation plan I feel poised to move forward with both the help of the Board and most importantly other YALSA members.
Q: How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA as Board Member?
A: YALSA’s mission is to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.
I think it’s important to keep in mind that each of us in every community that we serve there are teens that have needs. Sometimes these are teens that we don’t see inside the walls of the library and it is our responsibility to find those teens and find out directly from them what their needs are. This may not sound like the easiest of things to accomplish and this is where I feel the mission of YALSA can help provide members with support they need. This comes in a plethora of ways by meeting and connecting with other YALSA members, participating in continuing education opportunities, reading and/or writing YALSA Blog posts, involving oneself in the many YALSA opportunities like Board work, committee, task force work and more.
Q: What are some ways that being a member of the YALSA Board can help you serve as an even better connector to helping libraries become thriving learning environments for/with teens?
A: I feel being on the Board has helped connect me to other YALSA members and learn more about what teen services staff are doing around the country and this has enabled me to have a greater understanding of what learning environments there are with and for teens across the country. This has been achieved by becoming connected to other members, learning more from other Board members, keeping up to date on Blog entries, reading YALS consistently, participating in YALSA webinars, writing for the YALSA Blog. Through all of these means I feel knowledgeable about what teen services staff are doing and have an ability to connect others through this network.
Q: What about YALSA’s Organizational Plan excites you most and why?
A: I’m excited about the priority areas and most especially about “leading the transformation of teen library services”. They are very clear and with strategy action items I feel the outcomes can come to fruition with the help of the Board and of course with members. Having an organizational plan that is so succinct and comprehensive lays the groundwork for this work to move the division forward as well as moving teen services staff forward in libraries across the country.
Q: How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
A: It’s important not to lose sight of our work and who it is for-teens and those that serve teens. The teens first concept to me means when I’m working on the Board to always be thinking about that concept and how decisions, the organization plan, the mission and how they are achieved when that concept is put into practice.
Q: Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the board of directors?
A: Since becoming a teen librarian over 16 years ago I have been a member of YALSA because I see the value in the division and the members. I feel this is foundational and a big part of the reason why member should choose me to become a Board of Directors member. In addition, I have both the experience of working on the front lines directly with teens as well as leadership positions and working on higher level projects with and for teens. I would bring these experiences to my YALSA Board work.