Hi everyone!

I was going to write, “not much to report this month” but then I realized as I was pulling this report together that there was actually a lot going on this past month. I am reminded of what one of our Board Members mentioned recently when we were having preliminary discussions regarding YALSA activities for this year: there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that is not member-facing. In fact, it feels like that is the case for a majority of the work that is happening for YALSA right now–behind the scenes. 

I feel that this is often true when an organization is undergoing a transition. A lot of work is done to reestablish a foundation so that the solid footing returns for its volunteers or staff to begin again the activities and projects that benefit and are more engaging with the members or community.

As our YALSA staff and volunteers continue this work of establishing a new YALSA, one that is built on documentation and one that is more transparent and engaged with our members, it’s important to recognize and thank the volunteers who are working hard to help keep moving YALSA forward. One way we recognize our Volunteers is with our Volunteer of the Year Award. There are also many other YALSA member awards that we can use to recognize those who are contributing to YALSA and the fields of Teen Library Services. Check them out on our Awards, Grants, Stipends, and Scholarships webpage, and watch your YALSA eNews and YALSA Connect later this spring to see this year’s member award winners!

Completed Activities

  • The YALSA Board completed a review of this year’s strategic activities thus far. This was an offline discussion of which the summary has been captured in a board document here. It will be presented as an information document at our March meeting (guaranteeing the documentation is there for future boards to review). We are entering the last months of the current YALSA Strategic plan and due to the current state of YALSA and recent staff turnover, the YALSA Board will need to consider the viability of our current strategic plan and work with our Interim Executive Director, Alena Rivers, to determine what will guide us in regards to strategic activities starting July 2024.
  • At our February Board meeting, the YALSA Board reviewed the report from our Symposium Evaluation Task Force. The Board voted to return to a biennial Symposium, that the timing of the conference be moved from early November to a new date, to host a one-day virtual Symposium in the alternating year, and to conduct a trial run of the bi-annual conference as a hybrid event. These changes will be enacted with the 2025 YALSA Symposium. The document containing the Symposium task force’s report can be found here.
  • Additionally, at our February Board meeting, our YALSA Board members reviewed a report from the Division and Membership Promotion committee, from a focus group they conducted at the YALSA Symposium. The board document containing the report can be found here. The Board decided to take a month to discuss the priorities from the report that we need to address, and the YALSA Engagement and Membership Strategic Board Committee will take the Board’s discussion and create action items for a vote to address the identified priorities.
  • The YALSA Board Development Committee conducted interviews with all the members standing for election for YALSA. Please visit the YALSA Blog to read these interviews. A reminder that voting begins on March 11.

Ongoing Activities

  • Preparations are beginning for ALA Annual. Our Division and Membership Promotion Committee is planning the YALSA 101 session, for those new and prospective members of YALSA. The YALSA Board will also begin planning out Membership meeting and our 301 Session, which is for those YALSA members interested in leadership opportunities.
    • Staff are still working with YALSA leaders to determine what is possible for our Awards ceremonies for ALA Annual
    • The YALSA Presidential Initiatives Implementation Task Force has started reaching out to panelists for the program that centers on the Freedom to Read theme. 
  • Our Teen Programming HQ Task Force completed their report with recommendations to the YALSA Board for the future of the Teen Programming HQ website. It can no longer be supported in its current form and the YALSA Board will be reviewing the report and voting on actions proposed at our March Board meeting. You can view the YALSA board document containing the Task Force’s report here.
  • The YALSA Advocacy Board Strategic Committee has reviewed our current Advocacy toolkit and has found it to be outdated and in need of an update. At our March Board meeting, they will be presenting the creation of a task force to update the toolkit. The document containing this creation of a task force can be found here.

Respectfully submitted by Colleen Seisser, YALSA President

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