Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2019 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from Monday, March 11 through Wednesday, April 3. To help you further prepare for the election, be sure to check out the YALSA Candidates’ Forum on March 7th!

Serving three-year terms, YALSA Board Members-at-Large 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. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Valerie Tagoe, Media Specialist Wilmer-Hutchins High School

What best qualifies you for being Board Member-at-Large?
Experience. I am currently on the Board serving a one year term as Organization & Bylaws chair. Prior to my appointment as O & B Chair, I was a member of the YALSA Advancing Diversity Taskforce & the National Library Legislative Day Taskforce

How do you envision furthering the mission of YALSA as Board Member-at-Large?
As a Board Member-at-Large, I hope to lend my ideas and insight as a high school librarian to the work of the board so that we can continue to further the mission of YALSA in supporting library staff in serving teens. Our teens face a myriad of challenges and opportunities.  Libraries and librarians can play a vital part in their learning and equip them with the information needed to be successful in school and in life.

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?
I am the immediate past president of the Dallas Association of School librarians, and I am also active in the Texas Library Association-presenting at conferences and as a member of the legislative committee. As a YALSA Board Member, I will bring the an understanding of what is going on in libraries at the state, local, and national levels and share the information with librarians in various organizations.  This will help me to be a connector to help libraries become thriving learning environments.

How would you embed the concept of “teens first” in the work of the board?
In my daily work in the library I seek the input of teens and their needs and interests and I believe the board can do the same take into account the needs and interests of teens in the work that we do.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of the board of directors?
My experience and work at the state and local levels are reasons why YALSA members should choose me to be a member of the Board of Directors. I believe my perspective as a school librarian serving teens in a diverse urban school district will also be beneficial to the board as well.

About Meaghan Darling

Meaghan is the Youth Services Librarian at the Sparta Public Library in Sparta, New Jersey.

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