Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election!  To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2018 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from Monday, March 12 through Wednesday, April 4.  To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out the recording of the Candidates’ Virtual Town Hall and read the sample ballot.

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board members are responsible for jointly determining YALSA’s current and future programs, policies, and serving as liaisons to YALSA’s committees, juries, taskforces and advisory boards. Members work year round, and attend in-person meetings at ALA’s Midwinter and Annual Conferences. A full description of Board duties and responsibilities can be found here.

What best qualifies you for being Secretary?

I’m currently the YALSA Secretary; I’m finishing up my one-year appointment and running for a second term, which would be another one-year term. I’ve served on the Board for the past two years, but my history with YALSA Board can be traced back to my time as the GLBT-RT’s Liaison to YALSA in 2009, when I just a new member and starting to get involved with YALSA. As the Liaison to the Board, I was to bring information from the GLBT-RT to YALSA Board and vice versa. I’ve always believed that the best way to see where the division is going is to watch what the board is doing and where they’re leading the organization.   

I’ve always believed that the best way to lead is to be involved, to pay attention, and to speak up for others. Serving on the YALSA Board is a way to have my voice heard and the voice of my coworkers heard, and most of all the voices of the teens I work with. I want to continue to look at services: where they are and where they need to be to serve the best interest of the membership, but most of all to serve the best interest of the teens we’re advocating for. Librarianship is changing; we’re competing daily with electronic devices that are pulling teens away from the traditional way of reading, but they’re reading.  YALSA is helping to create the tools and resources for all our members to be involved and ways that teens can discover the next great read.

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA as the Secretary?

While keeping notes for the organization is very important for both the board and the members to know what is going on, the YALSA Secretary is also on the Executive Committee of the YALSA Board, which allows me to help shape the future of the organization. I can also to relay the feedback I get from members and from my coworkers who work on the front line.  We’re entering the third year of our new organizational plan; I’m eager to see it completed and evaluated to see what we need to change and do next.

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?

The board is the bridge builder between the other divisions of ALA. Helping to share our mission with other division like LLAMA and PLA, we are able to spread the message and the ideas of the organizational plan with other library workers whose focus isn’t teen services. We are advocating at the management level to get support to help create the learning environment and reminding the administrators and leaders that teens are our future. Without creating a great teen experience in the library, without creating programs that relate to teen, we are going to lose our future users.

What about YALSA’s Organizational Plan excites you most and why?

I’m hoping that we will have more member participation. With the move of selection list to the blog, members who have had economic barriers preventing them from volunteering now can volunteer virtually. I’m hoping library workers who work in small libraries will begin to add their voices and opinions to the work that is done. Also, the micro-volunteering opportunities that are in the in works will allow more library workers with limited time a chance to help YALSA mission. 

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?

Teens first is a great way thinking and acting! Even before this was part of our organizational plan, my thinking has always put teens first. How they going to use something we create? How is what we’re doing going impact how they use the library? We need to keep this in mind when we’re creating toolkits, lists, and other resources for YALSA members. We should be producing the necessary resources that make it easier for young adult library workers to turn around with ease and help make a great experience for their teen users.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the board of directors?

Because I care about teen services. I believe that YALSA needs to stay focused on Teens First and providing library workers and paraprofessionals the resources and tools that will help them in their libraries. 

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