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: Carrie Sanders, Youth Services Coordinator, Maryland State Library 

How has your experience prepared you to address issues within YALSA related to equity, diversity and inclusion?
I served several years as a youth librarian in a suburban public library and also as a school librarian in two very different settings: a small community with affluence and also poverty and then in an urban, large, Title 1 school, where the vast majority of students represented under-served and under-resourced populations.  These years of experience working with youth from a wide variety of backgrounds reinforced to me the importance of striving for equity, diversity, and inclusion in our library services, resources, and programs so that all youth can explore their interests, read, and engage in learning experiences. I also feel strongly that EDI efforts to reach youth will not be successful if they exist solely within library walls; they must include mobile/outreach services and community partner collaboration in order to reach all youth in our communities.  

What are your ideas on how YALSA can collaborate with our Affiliate organizations like AILA, APALA, BCALA, REFORMA?
Collaborating with these organization will further our pursuit of equity in teen services.  The leads of these groups could convene regularly and/or there are guests at each other’s meetings to discuss their projects and priorities as well as explore ways to collaborate – perhaps through crosswalks, joint meetings, or joint presentations at conferences.  Connections with organizations such as ARSL and the Urban Library Council would also bring valuable perspectives as we strive “to provide equitable, diverse and inclusive teen services”.  Intentional collaborations with ALSC acknowledges the developmental continuum from childhood to tweens/Teens, while deliberate collaboration with AASL would enable YALSA to reinforce its efforts in “transforming teen services” through support of student learning in our informal environment, augmenting AASL’s focus on formal instructional learning in schools.  

In your opinion, what do you feel is the biggest challenge ahead for YALSA?
Membership growth remains an important priority for YALSA and can be encouraged through strong efforts around YALSA’s priorities: advocacy, research, training, capacity-building, development of teen services best practices, and trend identification.  It is also vitally important now, as we hopefully merge out of the pandemic, to support our library staff and their community partners in reconnecting with teens: providing needed trainings and resources regarding teen mental health, educational supports, and re-connecting teens with peers and mentors.   

How will you make YALSA’s mission, vision, and intended impact meaningful for current and potential members and supporters?
I will continue to work diligently in my role as a state youth consultant as well as embrace new projects with colleagues, serving on the YALSA board, to further YALSA’s priorities of networking, advocacy, and professional development to support library staff and their community partners in their service for and with teens.  Equity diversity, inclusion will be the constant lens driving my work with youth services staff in Maryland as well as with YALSA.  YALSA’s mission, vision, and intended impact becomes real and tangible when the needs and voices of all our teens remains the guiding force in our work and will be the motivator to inspire current and bring in new members.  

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