Hello members!

The YALSA/ALA election kicks off on Monday, March 8. Over the course of the next week, we will publish interviews with all of the candidates. Please take a moment to read through these, and most importantly, VOTE when you receive your electronic ballot from ALA.

Enormous thanks goes out to member Sarah Sogigian for conducting these interviews!

The live Candidates’ Forum will take place via Zoom on Friday, March 5 at 3pm ET / 2pm CT / noon PT. This event will include all YALSA candidates, along with the three candidates for President-Elect of the American Library Association. Please register to attend the Forum.

Our first interview is with Franklin Escobedo, candidate for YALSA President-Elect.

Name and current position:
Franklin Escobedo, Community Services Director [Larkspur, California]

What best qualifies you for being on the Board of Directors?
FE: If elected, this will be my second time serving on the YALSA Board. I have been an active member and served on committees, juries, and selection lists for YALSA. My past experience as a Liaison to YALSA has given me an insight into our division and the growth and challenges the division has faced over the last decade.

How do you envision furthering YALSA’s mission if elected to this position?
FE: Working with the YALSA Board of Directors and the YALSA staff and reaching out to membership for input. I also plan on working closely with the YALSA President and immediate past president to continue the work which was begun by past board members.

What would be the most exciting aspect of this position? The most challenging?
FE: For me the most exciting part of being the YALSA President, which past Presidents has expressed is the most difficult, is the appointment of volunteers to the various committees and taskforces. The most challenging thing at least for me is the prospect of speaking at the Youth Media Awards. Speaking in front a large crowd or group is still a nerve wracking experience for me.

Please share a recent example(s) where you made a shift to better focus on the current needs of teens.
FE: For my library it has always been a challenge to get teens to come in and visit the library. When the pandemic began, we had to shift the way we reached out and communicated with teens in our town. A big shift was finding ways for teens to still be active and ways to volunteer when people are not allowed in the building. Thus we began to let the teens create reading list and book trailers to share on social media which allowed them to continue to earn volunteer credit.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
FE: The most pressing issues facing YALSA are the financial health and retention of membership. These go hand in hand. The move to more virtual committees and ways to attend. We hope that more members who have not been able to participate due to the cost of traveling or attending conference, will volunteer virtually. Membership fees as well as donations help to fund the programs, scholarships, and a variety of activities that many of our members have relied on to help develop their careers and libraries. Without the funds the programs will go away and without these programs it makes it more challenging for our members to help the teens in their libraries. These financial troubles are not only affecting YALSA but ALA as a whole.

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