As President-Elect of YALSA, it is my role to make this year’s YALSA volunteer appointments. As I mentioned in my last post about volunteers, we have been experiencing volunteer shortages recently. I am happy to report that I have worked with YALSA Staff, Letitia Smith, to fill all of our selected list and book award committees this month of December. We have reached out to a majority of members at this point and are working to get the final appointments accepted. We also have a good list of alternates in case there is a conflict and one of our appointed members cannot accept the position. For those of you that have applied, if you don’t hear from YALSA in the coming weeks, please do apply next fall when our next round of appointments for book and selected lists open up (usually September).
A note: the Pura Belpré YALSA committee members have yet to be finalized, as it is a joint committee it is taking a little more time that we had expected.
For those of you that have been appointed we do plan to have some training for you all mid-January. I will be working with our book award and selection list oversight committee chairs to coordinate this training and I will also make sure we get some chair training scheduled in January as well. We plan to have the training recorded for easy access by members at any time.
Some good first steps for those of you who have accepted an appointment is to get familiar with your committee’s manual or policies/procedures. You can access selected lists pages that list the manuals/polices from this site: https://www.ala.org/yalsa/booklistsawards/booklists and you can access the book award lists pages from this site: https://www.ala.org/yalsa/booklistsawards/bookawards. All you need to do is click on the link with your committee name to find the list of resources. Once we get rosters finalized in the coming weeks, you will hear from your committee chair for next steps.
I also want to take the opportunity to address how the YALSA Board is working to address some of the challenges we are facing from a shortage of volunteers. Here’s what we have accomplished so far:
- The only member award jury that has convened this year is the Joann Sweetland Lum Memorial Grant jury. All other juried awards have been compiled into a blind review for our YALSA Board members. They will be reviewing applications and selecting winners by the end of January. Just like volunteer positions, our member awards also did not receive as many applications as in the past. Please make sure you apply next fall for one of our member awards! If not you might be missing out on a great opportunity to provide more resources to yourself and/or your library.
- The following committees are on hiatus until July 1 due to lack of committee members: Organization and Bylaws, Division Membership and Promotion
- We are currently looking to create a conference committee that would work across all conferences (LibLearnX, Annual, YALSA Symposium) for planning and coordination of events, among other duties. This doesn’t mean that the Local Arrangements and Symposium Task Forces will go away, just the way they operate will be different. We still need the volunteers on the ground at the conferences but how each of those teams are coordinated might look different. More details will come as the committee is formed
- Our Teen Programming HQ task force was also never convened. This task force was to take a look at the Teen Programming HQ Site (a site that will have to be moved to an ALA domain) and how to improve functionality and also how to create content, as in years past it was the former Teen Programming HQ manager that would crowdsource and create a majority of the content for the site. We hope to try again at convening the task force for next year, and in the meantime the Board will plan to also take a look at the Teen Programming HQ site as it connects with our strategic plan, and what might be able to be done at the Board level to keep the site moving forward.
- We are also looking at some of our strategic committees alongside our current strategic plan, and have a long range goal of combining any strategic committees that are doing similar work and/or ceasing and strategic committees that do not align with our current goals
These strategies are only in effect for this year (until July 1, 2023), and will be re-evaluated by each new President-Elect to determine, with the Board of Directors, if these strategies should continue, return to their previous iteration, or if there are new strategies that can be used.
Please be on the lookout here at the YALSA Blog and in our YALSA Connect spaces for more updates about all things volunteering! In the new year we already are planning to look for members to volunteer for the next Outstanding Books for the College Bound Selection committee, as well as new member managers for our HUB and YALSA Blogs. More information to come on those opportunities in January.
Respectfully submitted by Colleen Seisser, YALSA President-Elect