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 Melissa McBride, a School Librarian in Southhold, New York and a YALSA Board of Directors member and Organization & Bylaws Chair.

  1. What drew you to the Board?

I have been serving on YALSA committees since 2008, mostly on the process side, and I love seeing how the organization runs. I like thinking strategically and figuring out how YALSA can best help members. For years I had been saying that I would nominate myself to run for a Board position, but I kept chickening out. I was approached about a year and a half ago and was asked if I would serve as Chair of Organization & Bylaws, a committee that I had served on as a member twice. I love O&B and knew that as Chair I would be an Ex-Officio Board member, meaning I do everything a regular Board member does, I just don’t have a vote. I jumped at the opportunity because I absolutely love the behind the scenes committee work and it was a chance to get over my fear of putting my name on the ballot! The work is so rewarding, and so different from what I do as a school librarian. I have a chance to look at things holistically and organization wide; instead of focusing on the nitty gritty like I do in my small school.

  1. what do you do on the board?

As I mentioned before, I am Chair of Organization & Bylaws, which means we make recommendations on changes to: bylaws, committee functions, committee structure, and the organizational handbook. Basically, O&B helps to ensure that YALSA is running smoothly. We recently had two bylaws revisions put before membership on the March ballot. I am responsible for bringing the work my committee has done to the Board. I also participate in all Board meetings and discussions like a regular member. I try to bring an O&B perspective to the discussions when it is called for. My role as Chair of O&B definitely makes it easier to think about the organization as a whole and look at the big picture.

  1. What the board is doing for its members

Wow! So much is going on right now – it’s a very exciting time! O&B is going to start evaluating committees, juries and task forces to ensure that they are functioning the way they should and, more importantly, to make sure that volunteers are getting what they need out of the work they do for the committees. We are going to pilot the use of eARCs/ebooks for award committees and selected list bloggers. The committees and bloggers will also indicate on all lists/awards whether titles are readily available in languages other than English or in other formats, like Braille or large print. The Board agreed to begin transitioning YALS to an all digital format. These are just a few things that are happening, to see more check out Immediate Past President, Sarah Hill’s blog post.

  1. What’s a teen book you may be reading or a recent program you may have done with and for teens.

I am currently reading Scythe by Neal Shusterman and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.

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