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 Jennifer Korn, TeenSpot Manager at The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and YALSA Board of Directors Member-at-Large.

  1. What drew you to the Board?

The TLDR answer: Former YALSA Board members and leaders asked if I’d like to serve on Board!

YALSA Board was a long-term, nebulous-feeling goal for me. I certainly did not think I would serve on Board only five years into my YALSA involvement. I served on several YALSA committees and task forces as a member and as chair prior to serving on Board. Those experiences exposed me to a few of the many facets of YALSA’s work, and I found myself curious about the association’s other work. I also wanted to give back to YALSA in a more impactful way to thank YALSA for helping me grow my knowledge of serving teens and developing my leadership skills. I shared these sentiments with a few YALSA leaders and that’s when I got a friendly nudge to set my sights on Board sooner than I thought I would.

2. What do you do on the Board?

Like all Board members, I develop and present initiatives and propose changes and improvements that match with YALSA’s Strategic Plan, engage in discussions and make tough decisions about YALSA’s present work and future goals, and support our member’s work with teens.

I currently liaise with two very productive committees, Teen Tech Week and Legislation. Liaisons offer support to committee chairs and members so they can complete their task lists for the year.  I also serve on the Advocacy Standing Committee, which is identifying advocacy priorities in the short and long-term. I am also working with fellow Board member Diane Colson to develop a plan to invigorate and better support YALSA’s fantastic Interest Group opportunities.  One of my favorite aspects of Board work is collaborating with fellow Board members on Board documents and proposals in support of YALSA initiatives!

3. What the board is doing for its members?

The Board is always looking for ways to better support our members so our members can better support teens in their communities. 

I’m currently really excited about the new short-term volunteer and engagement opportunities for our members. These opportunities are mindful of our members’ heavy workloads and ever-changing life responsibilities.  Members can join a short-term task force or committee for a couple of months rather than an entire year, or they can devote a day or two to a resource retreat.  Members can also start or join Interest Groups, a more flexible way to connect with learn from other members.  These opportunities let members actively participate in YALSA, connect with other members, and develop leadership skills in a way that matches their availability at a particular time.

4. Do you have a teen book you may be reading or a recent program you may have done with and for teens?

My favorite program, and the teens’ favorite program, is Teen Chef. We teach teens how to cook simple, healthy, and tasty food with easy to find and inexpensive ingredients. The teens conduct recipe research and collaborate with each other in all parts of the prep, cooking, and clean up. Of course the teens get to eat what they cook too! We do not have a kitchen in our library, so we’ve collected portable burners, pots, and utensils from thrift stores, yard sales, and donations. Popular recipes have included veggie stir fry, DIY Chipotle, and Panera’s broccoli cheese soup. We also try to host local chefs a few times each year as out budget allows.

Emilio Estevez recently directed and acted in a film shot in the Library where I work, which included several scenes in our Teen Department. I shamelessly asked him for the included photo when he stopped by to check out the space. He was also incredibly kind to the teens who asked him for photos and autographs throughout the shoot.

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