We’re all members of YALSA, or should be, but you’re reading this blog for a variety of reasons. You love libraries. Or you love working with teens. Or you’re just trying to find out what’s happening in YALSA. But you’re here, reading this blog post. As members of YALSA we all participate in our association in a variety of ways, sometimes passively by donating to the scholarships or actively by volunteering to serve on committees, by volunteering to blog for a list, by contributing your programs to Programming HQ. 

In a recent YALSA survey many respondents voiced the opinion that their voices weren’t heard or weren’t acknowledged or they felt that their perspective wasn’t represented in YALSA. And I’d be the first to admit, yes it happens, it’s the reason I got involved. There was a time when I felt that my voice wasn’t being heard or felt in the list being created by the volunteers doing committee work weren’t representing my experience or worldview. So I stepped up and started volunteering. We make our association work; if you don’t volunteer or if you decide to drop your membership because you disagree, YALSA is going to fall apart and you know who will ultimately loses? Teens! The teens we support in our libraries, whether it be academic, public, or school; we serve the teens in our hometowns, whether it’s a big city or a small country town.

YALSA’s mission is to help our members across the country, across the economic, social, cultural landscapes. YALSA exists so that we members can get the resources to help the teens who visit our libraries, to make their library experience a memorable one and they in turn become lifelong users of libraries. We became librarians because we have a passion for libraries, and if people stop using libraries what then? That is why it’s vital to be active in YALSA; it takes all the members of YALSA to help build and to create the resources we share with other library workers. And if you don’t volunteer or you drop out how is that helping?

You want your voice to be heard? Well, it’s time to step up and run for Board. I did. I did it a couple of times and I finally made it on to the YALSA Board. I thought I wasn’t ready; it took a lot of prodding and cajoling to get me to throw my name in, but it was worth it. The reason I got involved in YALSA was to make sure my voice was heard and serving on the YALSA Board has made that possible. Serving on the board has opened my eyes and has also helped me grow professionally and personally. I’ve been able to take what I learn at work, share it with others, and bring back to my library what I’ve learned.

We’re currently looking for members to run for the 2019 YALSA Board. Here is the link to the form: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/governance-candidacy-form

If you’re nervous about running feel free to contact any member of the YALSA Board Development Committee or any of the current Board Members. We’re always willing to share our experiences. If you’re attending Annual in New Orleans come find out more about serving on the YALSA Board or other leadership positions in YALSA at YALSA 301! Meet past and current YALSA Board members, blog managers, and YALSA leaders. YALSA 301 is on Saturday, June 23 at 9 a.m. in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Room 214.  

If you can’t make it conference but want to volunteer, YALSA is still looking for volunteers to serve on committees and to work on the blog.  Find out the different ways you can get involved: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/getinvolved/getinvolved

Franklin L. Escobedo, YALSA Secretary 2017-2019.  Franklin L. Escobedo is the Principal Librarian at Coronado (CA) Public Library.  He has been an active member of YALSA for the past 11 years and is also a member of the GLBT-RT, LLAMA, and REFORMA, and is currently serving on the ALA Conference Committee and is a member of the YALSA Board Development Committee.

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