Hi everyone!

If you had not had a chance to review, the ALA election results were announced!

Congratulations to all of those elected! Here are the final results for the YALSA elected positions:

  • YALSA President-elect: Amber Creger, 479 votes 100.00% Elected
  • YALSA Board of Director (2 positions): Ziba Pérez, 351 votes 36.87% Elected and Allie Stevens Gosselink, 210 votes 22.06% Elected
    • Heather Love Beverley, 204 21.43% 
    • Alicia Blowers, 187 19.64%
  • YALSA Division Councilor: Isaiah West, 470 votes 100.00% Elected
  • YALSA Recording Secretary: Kate Denier, 470 votes 100.00% Elected

In my last report I touched on YALSA being in transition. As I reflected on those who would be starting anew on the YALSA Board in July, it made me think more about this transition phase for YALSA. 

First we currently have limited staffing and our budget challenges for FY25 (September 2024-August 2025) will not alleviate this. We will continue to work as Alena Rivers, YALSA’s current Interim Executive Director and ALSC’s Executive Director for the foreseeable future. Our funding is sparse due to dwindling memberships (as can be seen across ALA) and YALSA’s lack of staffing the last couple of years has made it hard for there to be consistent enticing resources and benefits for current and new members. However, to remain proactive, the YALSA Board is in discussion regarding ALA’s plans to restructure membership dues and in this final quarter of the board cycle year, we will begin looking at how we can replace revenue streams lost. It’s a difficult challenge to have, as many ALA units are looking to do the same, but I know both Board Members and Staff are committed to meeting this challenge head on.

Second is how we work as volunteers with limited staffing. We are seeing many of our public facing initiatives needing to be reevaluated because we don’t have the staff hours or funding to continue them in the current state they are in because they were created when we had more access to resources. There are also online member tools and information that are woefully out of date and we are struggling to find the resources to update them (this includes the Teen Book Finder, the YALSA Handbook, and our toolkits). As we move forward in an era where we have less resources than before, how can the YALSA volunteers be empowered to make change? The one thing that I am thankful for is the YALSA Board and our YALSA volunteers that are identifying these issues and updates needed and offering YALSA leadership some great solutions. Special thanks go out to our YALSA Symposium Evaluation Task Force, YALSA Teens’ Top Ten Committee, YALSA Programming HQ Task Force, and the YALSA Board Strategic committee on Advocacy and the YALSA Board Strategic committee on Programming and Resources. They are responsible for the list below of our current public facing initiatives that the Board has passed motions to reevaluate in one way or another (linked are the board documents with further information). 

Teens’ Top Ten: Item #9 Teens’ Top Ten Information Document

TeenTober: Item #12 TeenTober Recommendation 

YALSA Symposium: Item #14 YALSA Symposium Evaluation 

YALSA Programming HQ: Item #16 Teen Programming HQ Recommendations 

Advocacy Toolkit Update: Item #18 YALSA Advocacy Toolkit Update Recommendation 

As your YALSA President, I have strived this year to continuously face these operations and funding challenges head on and find the solutions. Reflecting back, however, this means that I have had less time for more traditional President initiatives like advocacy and member engagement. So, my two main goals for the remainder of this year are to leave YALSA in a better state than when I started in July 2023 and to have a fantastic President’s program at ALA Annual in San Diego. I am confident that both of these goals are achievable with the support of YALSA members, leaders, volunteers, and staff! We have so many great efforts in place to make improvements to YALSA. I am excited to see the next generation of YALSA members step up and continue moving YALSA forward!

…and I cannot wait to share the details of my President’s Program with YALSA members soon!

Completed Activities

  • Onboarded our new Fiscal Officer, Caroline Aversano, due to a resignation. Caroline was on the YALSA Board as our Board Fellow and I am excited to see what she does as our Fiscal Officer. She will serve in this role until 6/30/2025 and will have the option to stand for election for the final year of the vacated three year term (7/1/2025-6/30/2026)
  • The YALSA Board reviewed the recommendations for the Teen Programming HQ site from the Teen Programming HQ Task Force. Due to additional options explored with the ALA Public Programs Office after the task force report was submitted, the YALSA Board amended the motion to continue the work of evaluating Teen Programming HQ options with a new task force of similar size, and if it’s possible, keeping 2 members from the current task force
  • The YALSA Board also voted to create a task force to plan for an update our current advocacy toolkit since it is out of date
  • President-Elect Garcia led the processes for the review of YALSA Member Award applications via a blind review by the YALSA Board and Programming committee. Announcements should be coming soon!

Ongoing Activities

  • Focus for staff and leadership is shifting to planning for various YALSA sessions and activities at the ALA Annual Conference in San Diego. This includes the Board led sessions of YALSA 301 and the YALSA Membership meeting. President-Elect Yvette Garcia, is also leading a small group to plan for a YALSA Social at ALA Annual. YALSA Staff are putting the finishing touches on the Printz ceremony and the YALSA Awards Celebration, a trial run for a newly designed celebration of the winners of our other YALSA book awards (Alex, Morris, Nonfiction, and Edwards awards). Once we have everything set we will publicize all YALSA activities at Annual in our eNews and on the YALSA Connect Space.
  • The Organization and Bylaws committee has sent YALSA Staff and President Seisser documentation for updating the YALSA Handbook. President Seisser will take this information and create a draft handbook that will be sent to staff for review and implementation. The plan is to keep this updated handbook in a format that will allow for easier sharing and updating (instead of a series of linked web pages on the YALSA website). No deadline has been set for the completion of this project as the scope is currently unknown–further planning is needed to determine the scope and we will need to know what the future of updating the YALSA web pages will look like after the ALA site migration. 

Respectfully summitted by Colleen Seisser, YALSA President 2023-24

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