Ever wanted to get to know the YALSA Board of Directors more? Here’s your chance! All month long, we’ll be posting fun mini interviews with each board member so you can get to know them a little better. Here’s the next Director.

First, a little background on Presidential Advisory Taskforce Director Ryan Moniz:

Early on in my career I realized that what motivates me is providing all members of my community, regardless of personal limitations or disabilities, with opportunities to learn, succeed, and improve their quality of life. I have more than 10 years of experience in strategic planning, project management, program development, instructional design, community outreach, along with public speaking and have had a fulfilling career because I have chosen to work for organizations that give back to their community.

YALSA: What does YALSA mean to you?

RM: I’ve always thought of YALSA as a compass for not just library professionals working with teens, but anyone who is committed to serving teens and youth in their community. It can guide both individuals and organizations down the sometimes challenging road of teen customer service. It’s a group of bright minds and passionate people who are committed to doing their part to make the library world a more equitable place for teens and it stands tall as a positive model for our library peers.

YALSA: What are your hopes for the future of teen services?

RM: I’d like to see more of an emphasis placed on teen spaces when designing new library branches. I’ve grown tired of visiting library systems across North America only to see teen spaces no bigger than a broom closet. We put so much thought into the design of children’s spaces but for some reason completely forget about teens. It would be refreshing to see library systems actually consult with teens in the community to get an understanding of what it is that they want, not just what a bunch of senior managers in a room think they want.

YALSA: What was your favorite band as a teen?

RM: I was obsessed with Blink-182. I listened to them to and from school, while I was showering, making food, and doing homework. I was especially obsessed with their album “The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show” since it was a live album and I could close my eyes and pretend I was actually at the concert. Their music marked so many milestones in my life, but I’ll always remember their song “Not Now” as a bookmark for a defining moment in my life when I left home and all of my closest friends for university. It’s a great track that hits right in the feels.

YALSA: What’s your ultimate comfort food?

RM: Oh without a doubt my go-to comfort food is a serving of butter chicken (extra spicy) with a bowl of chicken biryani (also extra spicy) and a crispy naan. My fiancée and I have a ritual after we return from any trip; we always pick up this exact meal on the way home from the airport and chow down the minute we get home. Nothing like a warm and flavorful meal after a long flight!

YALSA: Which city is your favorite to travel to and why?

RM: My fiancée and I just returned from a road trip in Iceland and I can easily say that Reykjavik has leapfrogged to our favourite city we’ve traveled to thus far. The downtown core of Reykjavik has something for everyone; the food was amazing, the people were friendly, and there’s history around every corner. On our final night there we went out for Indian food and once our bellies were full, we just started walking and taking in the sights. By the end we both chatted about how we could see ourselves living there…so who knows what the future holds!

About Allison Renner

Allison recently graduated with her MLS and is a new teen services librarian in Memphis, Tennessee.

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