Get ready to vote in this year’s YALSA election! To help you make informed decisions, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2022 YALSA Governance candidates. Voting will take place from March 14 through April 6, 2022.

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. You can learn more about ALA elections here.

Name and current position: Matthew Layne, Young Adult Librarian, O’Neal Public Library 

How has your experience prepared you to address issues within YALSA related to equity, diversity and inclusion? 
I have been honored to serve on a number of different non-profit boards over the years; some as a board member at large and some in a leadership position. I have worked to ensure that any board I’m associated with is fully representative of the larger community. While serving as the chair of the board which oversees Birmingham, Alabama’s Day of the Dead Festival, I actively recruited board members from across the Latinx community to lead the board into the future. When it comes to questions of equity, diversity and inclusion, my first job is to listen. My second job is to amplify the voices of those around me. My third job is to ensure that they not only have a seat at the table, but they are given opportunities to lead.

What are your ideas on how YALSA can collaborate with our Affiliate organizations like AILA, APALA, BCALA, REFORMA? 
We should invite representatives from each of our affiliate organizations to speak at YALSA meetings and share how YALSA can best serve them. Then, we should do our utmost to meet those needs and requests. 

In your opinion, what do you feel is the biggest challenge ahead for YALSA? 
One of the biggest challenges of YALSA is to meet the wide-ranging needs of YA librarians across the vastness of the United States. I think it’s important that YALSA take an active role in city and statewide library conferences. In this way, we can grow membership while simultaneously learning the needs of our constituents. 

How will you make YALSA’s mission, vision, and intended impact meaningful for current and potential members and supporters?
I want to help make YALSA more relevant on a local basis. I want to increase our presence in local and state conferences and offer our expertise in programming, services, and best practices to librarians and staff who work with teen populations. I also feel it is essential that we get a more direct line to the teen populations which we serve. I would love to institute a national YALSA Teen Advisory Board.

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