Hi everyone!

I am finally finding the time to write this month’s president report post LLX! Thank you for your patience as I took a month off, attended LLX, was sidelined with Covid, and am now returning with a report this month.

So the YMA’s were pretty fantastic, weren’t they! I have so many TBR titles now, and we definitely had some exciting announcements. And also a big thank you to all our Book Awards and Selected Lists committees, and our Book Awards and Selected Lists Oversight Committee! You all did extraordinary work this year and I am so grateful you all stepped up and volunteered this year!

Speaking of our 2024 awards, thank you everyone for your patience as staff work to post the current winners, nominees, and our YALSA Selected Lists on our website. Some of you may or may not know that YALSA has faced some staffing challenges recently. In December our newly hired Executive Director resigned suddenly and our long term Membership Manager, Letitia Smith, retired. YALSA had to pivot quickly, and I will be eternally grateful to ALSC Executive Director, Alena Rivers, for stepping in as YALSA’s Interim Executive Director.

I am going to go into some details now, so bear with me: Currently YALSA is in good hands with Alena but we are in sort of a holding pattern because we have a limited staffing capacity and our focus right now is really on the big items like budgeting, conferences, and volunteer work. Alena is the Interim YALSA executive Director, we have our full time temp communications specialist (Camille Alcazar), Ninah Moore works part time for YALSA helping us coordinate conferences and awards, and Alena has been approved to hire another temp full time position.

Alena will also be working with the YALSA Board to plan our FY25 budget. The budget planning process starts on the staff side this month and then it will be brought to the YALSA Board once there is a draft budget to review. So YALSA is going to get the resources it needs to continue operations. We are moving forward with the idea that Alena will be our Interim Executive Director for the foreseeable future, as ALA is focusing its resources on the ALA Executive Director search. I expect once that has been completed, we will look to have conversation with ALA leadership for next steps for YALSA.

Right now, the support we need are the member volunteers that can continue to move YALSA forward in the work that we have traditionally expected from our volunteers. Thank you so much to everyone who has volunteered this year! I am not sure you know it, but you all have really been the glue that holds YALSA together and provides excellent services and resources to our members. For those of you who are interested in volunteering for YALSA we will be recruiting for our strategic committees coming up in about a month or two! Watch our YALSA Blog and YALSA’s Connect Space for ore information!

All of that to say– please keep checking in if you need something from the YALSA Board or YALSA Staff. I am always happy to get an email from a member and work to find solutions for any challenges you are facing.

Completed Activities

  • The YALSA Board Programming and Resources Strategic Committee proposed that a TeenTober Task Force be created this spring to evaluate the event. More details can be read in their Board document proposing the formation of the task force
  • President Seisser completed thank you letters to all outgoing chairs
  • President-Elect Garcia competed the winter appointments and worked with the Book Awards and Selected Lists Oversight committee co-chairs, Isaiah West and Erin Durrett, to present committee and chair training

Ongoing Activities

  • President Seisser is working with Interim Executive Director Rivers to address a need for an awards ceremony celebrating the Alex, Morris, Nonfiction, and Edwards awards. The Printz Award has been secured for ALA Annual and Booklist staff will be working with YALSA staff for the event.
  • President Seisser is working with the Board Development Committee to promote our upcoming YALSA slate for the elections opening in March. Watch the YALSA Blog and YALSA’s Connect Space for interviews with the candidates
  • The YALSA Board has received reports from the YALSA Symposium Evaluation task force and YALSA’s Division and membership Promotion committee that will be presented at our February Board meeting. The Symposium Evaluation task force conducted a member survey and examined data to make recommendations for the future of the YALSA Symposium, and the Division and membership Promotion committee held a focus group at Symposium of which the results are documented in the report for the Board to discuss.

Respectfully submitted by Colleen Seisser, YALSA President

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