Are you planning on going to ALA Annual in June 2022? Would you like to write about your experience for YALSAblog? We’d love to feature you as a guest blogger! 

As a reminder, YALSAblog posts are typically 500-750 words. We ask that bloggers link to YALSA information when relevant – there are some guidelines on the blog that might help you out herehere, and here

And here’s an example of what these ALA Annual recap posts look like: https://yalsa.ala.org/blog/2018/07/05/ala-2018-annual-recap-from-a-first-time-attendee/ 

Feel free to reach out to Kelly Czarnecki l if you’d like to write a post about ALA Annual, or if you have any questions about deadlines.

This is a guest blog post from the 2021-2022 AASL/ALSC/YALSA School & Public Library Cooperation Committee.

It’s that magical time of year. Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and Summer Reading planning is in full swing! This is the time of year when I get to work most closely with my school librarian colleagues. I am a Family Services librarian in a suburban public library. I’m lucky to be in a town that really loves its libraries, both public and school. We get to see kids after school all year, and we hear a lot about the fabulous author visits and book recs that their school librarians bring to them. We plan programs and recommend reading to build on the learning that happens at school, and the school librarians likewise guide students to further develop learning they’ve started in public library programs. Summer, of course, is different. That daily exchange of learning changes shape, as school days transform into summer camp days and engagement in our public library’s Summer Reading program. Still, even without physically entering their schools, families’ connections to their school libraries remain strong. The biggest question that we get over the summer is, “What do the schools say that we should read?”

What a child should read is always a tricky question to answer. Our school librarians and reading specialists fully agree with my Family Services team that children should read books that interest them, not simply books that fall at a particular reading level. Yet “What do the schools say that we should read?” expresses a lot of valid concerns, which should not be brushed off with a simple, “Read whatever you like!” There’s the question, “What should we read to be ready for class next year?” of course. There’s also, “I miss my fabulous school librarian. What would they recommend?” School, and the school library, is so central to students’ lives all year—it’s only logical that we should do what we can to celebrate that connection and keep it strong over the summer!

To make the transition to Summer Reading as seamless as possible this year, my school librarian colleagues and I started meeting in March to plan a joint Summer Reading list. We’re working together to create online and print book lists, centered around a guide to text complexities that the schools share with parents. We’ll all throw in the books that we know our students love, along with new favorites. We will ensure that the public library owns every book on the recommended reading lists so that access will be easy for families. We will also build information about our public library’s Summer Reading activities and theme—and even some thematic recs!—into the Summer Reading guide that the schools distribute. The schools will provide guidance for parents to create thematic text sets for their kids over the summer, and all of our Family Services team will be ready to help families in this endeavor. Our Family Services team will visit every school for a Summer Reading kickoff assembly in June. All of the schools’ Summer Reading info will include links to our public library’s webpage, and our webpage will link to the schools’ lists. We’ll bring a little of the schools into the public library for the summer (including the best-loved books of all the kids’ favorite school librarians!), and the schools will welcome us into their classrooms as the year winds down. “What do the schools say that we should read?” Exactly what your public library says you should! And a marvelous variety it is! 

Rebecca Fox is the Assistant Manager of Family Services at New Canaan Library. When she’s not at the library, you can find her curled up with a book or a crossword, or crafting goofy bead animals. You can reach Rebecca at rfox@newcanaanlibrary.org. 

The ‘School-Pub’ Update

Last year, the AASL/ALSC/YALSA School & Public Library Cooperation Committee was charged with developing an informational list of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) resources and brainstorming ways to ensure the resources remain relevant and up to date. The committee is pleased to announce it has presented the ‘Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Resource Exchange for ALA Youth Divisions (AASL, ALSC, YALSA)’ to the three divisional presidents and now await guidance on where it will be hosted. On behalf of last year’s committee chair and myself, I thank all of our committee members for their hard work and insight in developing this document. 

Our committee now looks forward to working on our next charge: constructing some strategies for how our youth services libraries can all work together in the face of the current climate of book challenges. 

Jodi Silverman is the Youth Services Department Supervisor of the North Plainfield branch of the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey. She is a 2020-2021 ALA Emerging Leader and the 2021-2022 Chair of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA School & Public Library Cooperation Committee. When not designing escape rooms for teens, you can find her playing MMOs and running virtual karaoke get-togethers. You can reach Jodi at jsilverman@sclibnj.org.

We’re currently looking for volunteers to serve on YALSA strategic committees and task forces.  What’s a strategic committee?  These are all the committees that help move our association forward. They include both a year commitment or less.  This is a list of the current volunteer opportunities:  

AASL/ALSC/YALSA Committee on School & Public Library Cooperation: This joint committee will identify, develop, promote and disseminate information on effective cooperative or collaborative projects that link schools and public libraries.

Division & Membership Promotion: Help spread the word about YALSA and welcome our new members! 

Editorial Advisory Board (for YALS & the YALSAblog): To serve as advisor to the co-chairs of the Advisory Board, the editor of YALS and the YALSAblog Member Manager, on the overall content of the journal and blog. To take an active role in determining content for both publications and an annual editorial calendar that identifies timely topics as well as authors for articles and blog posts.

Education Advisory Committee/Board :  The role of the Education Advisory Committee is to assist with providing appropriate and timely topics for continuing education offerings to the Executive Director and Program Officer for Continuing Education and Development and to identify qualified individuals to facilitate continuing education sessions.

Financial Advancement: This is the committee that helps supports YALSA mission by fundraising.  The part of the work is writing thank you notes to members who have donated.  They also help raise money through silent auctions at conference and at the symposium.  One year we had shot glasses!  

Hub Advisory Board: The Hub Advisory Board participates in the development and maintenance of the Hub and follows the guidelines for the site as set out by the YALSA Board of Directors. The Advisory Board also serves in an advisory capacity to the Member Manager of the site and assists with the collection of content for the site, generates ideas for content, works on getting teen and library staff input and feedback, facilitates marketing and PR as needed, and writes for the site as needed.  

Organization & Bylaws: To periodically review the Bylaws and, when necessary, to recommend revision and amendment to improve them for the effective management of the Division, for the achievement of its stated objectives, and to keep them in harmony with ALA Constitution and Bylaws; to study and review committee functions, recommending changes in committee structure; to regularly review and when necessary recommend and draft revision of content for the YALSA Handbook; and to make recommendations on other appropriate policy and process matters.  The O&B Committee will be instrumental in the coming year as we begin to implement our new strategic plan.

Research:  To stimulate, encourage, guide, and direct the research needs of the field of young adult library services, and to regularly compile abstracts, disseminate research findings, update YALSA’s National Research Agenda as needed.

Research Journal Advisory Board: Oversee the peer reviewing process as outlined in the Refereeing Process Guidelines as approved by the YALSA Board of Directors.  The JRLYA Board also serves in an advisory capacity to the Member Editor of the journal by assisting with the solicitation of contributors and articles as well as generating ideas for topical articles or themes, when requested from the Member Editor

Teens’ Top Ten: To facilitate the exchange of information and galleys of books published within the current and previous publishing years among the voting teen group members as well as the non-voting members; to annually prepare the “Teens’ Top 10” list for Teen Read Week; and to coordinate the public electronic vote. To assist with the collection and vetting of applications from libraries who wish to host an official reading group.

Teen Programming HQ Taskforce: This is a new taskforce that will assist the Teen Programming HQ manager find and assist with putting teen programs into the HQ. 

Social Media Marketing Committee:  I chaired the taskforce prior to this became a committee, if you are a social media maverick at your library this is the committee for you!  The mission is to help promote and share the work of our selection lists and awards though various social media platforms, i.e., twitter, Instagram, Facebook.  

Teen Civic Engagement Committee:  To create resources, training, and events that support members in centering engaging diverse teen voices and elevating the issues that are important to them; to highlight all aspects of civic engagement programming, with a special focus on teens being heard, counted, and active during elections; explore partnership opportunities with other ALA divisions or groups to develop trainings, toolkits, or other resources.

CALA YALSA Joint Taskforce:  This is a very exciting new task force: To determine a booklist to highlight and promote Chinese American creators and characters to commemorate the 50th anniversary of CALA. To select titles for the list in conjunction with ALSC (to begin work in February 2022). To provide recommendations to the board for review. To make changes as necessary depending on feedback from the YALSA Board. 

President’s Program Planning Taskforce:  This last one is for me.  When I go from President-Elect to President, this task force will help me shape my theme and eventual program for Annual 2023 in Chicago.  This is from the charge of the task force: To provide support, guidance and advice to the YALSA President in the implementation of their theme.  Activities may include working with the President to review Organizational and Implementation Plans to develop and coordinate appropriate theme-related goals, activities, and initiatives.

If you have questions about the committees or task forces feel free to email the chair of each group, you can find their contact info here

Any other questions don’t hesitate to email me.  You can fill out the volunteer form here.  

I look forward to working with you! 

Franklin Escobedo
President-Elect 2021-2022
fescobedo@cityoflarkspur.org
Follow me on twitter: @adrithian

Do you have in-depth knowledge of a disability related topic?  Are you the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) expert at your library?  Are you a person with a disability or a disability rights ally who wants to share your knowledge?  Let’s talk!

The Accessibility Assembly is looking for volunteers to help us update the Library Accessibility Toolkits: What You Need to Know, ALA’s seminal resource on library access for patrons and staff with disabilities.  These toolkits are the front line resource for libraries on accessibility issues.  They provide information and resources for both patrons and staff.

If you are interested or just want to find out more, please respond directly to Lauren Kehoe at lsk221@nyu.edu

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: Melanie Wachsmann, Library Director, Lone Star College – CyFair Library

How has your experience prepared you to address issues within YALSA related to equity, diversity and inclusion?
I began my career in education as a high school ESL teacher over 20 years ago. Those years instilled in me how important it is to listen to all voices and that they all have their own, different stories to tell. Those students taught me so many lessons, and I was often their advocate when they didn’t have one. Those experiences have carried on into my library career as a school librarian and now as the library director of a joint use community college and public library. I strive to ensure that the voices of my community are welcomed and represented in our collection and programming. Most of all I’ve learned how to listen. By listening to other’s ideas and experiences, I am better able to ensure that equity, diversity, and inclusion is not simply an acronym, but a part of everything. 

What are your ideas on how YALSA can collaborate with our Affiliate organizations like AILA, APALA, BCALA, REFORMA?
There are many avenues available for collaboration, from booklists or author spotlights that can be shared via a blog or fleshed out to more of an official selection committee list. Also, conversing with the leaders of the groups to learn more about their missions and goals and find ways that those align with YALSA and teen services in general. 

In your opinion, what do you feel is the biggest challenge ahead for YALSA?
I feel that the biggest challenge is finances. First, YALSA needs to have the full and complete financial picture and make plans for retaining the members we have, recruiting new members, and inviting back members who have left for various reasons. YALSA needs to show librarians what the organization has to offer them and the benefits of joining. 

How will you make YALSA’s mission, vision, and intended impact meaningful for current and potential members and supporters?
Communication is the key. Finding ways to tell and show stakeholders more about YALSA and its benefits, speaking with current and potential members about what they need and want from a professional organization, providing members with ways to collaborate at the state, local, and national levels. Lastly, in this era of book challenges and banning, providing librarians with resources and support is a way to make the work that the organization does meaningful. 

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: Melissa Malanuk, Coordinator of Teen Services, Queens Public Library

How has your experience prepared you to address issues within YALSA related to equity, diversity and inclusion?
I’ve spent my library career working in one of the most diverse areas in the world.  While working for Queens Public Library I have had the opportunity to work in different communities and to provide programs and services for people of different cultures and backgrounds.  When I was promoted to Coordinator of Teen Services for QPL I had to think about equity, diversity and inclusion in a much larger scale.   Inclusion, equity and diversity is something I think about in all facets of my role including developing programming, finding new vendors, staff training and collection development and reader’s advisory.   Celebrating and representing all cultures in our programming is something we discuss a lot and are working to incorporate into all of our system wide programs.  I am currently working on developing training on cultural competencies for our youth serving librarians and will be working with our collection development team to train on diversity audits.  Equity and inclusion is also something I think about when deciding where to place programs or which platform to hold programs in.  This is something we were constantly discussing when the pandemic forced us to go virtual.  We are very aware that not all youth will access to the same resources and do our best to plan accordingly.  Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is something we pride ourselves on and our always striving to improve on.

What are your ideas on how YALSA can collaborate with our Affiliate organizations like AILA, APALA, BCALA, REFORMA?
I think the best way we can work with Affiliate organizations is to break down silos and to make sure we are communicating with everyone.  I imagine that we are already doing similar work around equity, diversity and inclusion and civic engagement.  Communicating with each other to see where there is opportunity to pool resources and to amplify our messages and work is a strong first step.  For YALSA we can share information via The Hub or our newsletters and email blasts.  It is also important to keep those pathways to communication open and to make sure YALSA’s committee chairs are kept in the loop and are informed about the various work the Affiliate organizations are doing.  There are so many smart and creative library professionals working on our committee and I am sure once those pathways to communication open up we will find lots of different ways to collaborate.

In your opinion, what do you feel is the biggest challenge ahead for YALSA?
Building up our membership and getting new and fresh members to volunteer for committees.  YALSA has created an exciting strategic plan that I am excited to help implement but YALSA is only as strong and diverse as its members.  We need to be better at spreading the word about all the great resources and opportunities YALSA provides and at recruiting and retaining new members.

How will you make YALSA’s mission, vision, and intended impact meaningful for current and potential members and supporters?
I think YALSA’s mission, vision and intended impact is already meaningful to the majority of us who work with teens.  I imagine that the majority of library staff who work with teens want to create inclusive and diverse programs and spaces, be it virtual or in person, and to help set teens up to successfully navigate adulthood.  I think this is something that YALSA’s members are already striving for.  The role of the Board is to help connect the mission, vision and intended impact to all of the work we are doing and to continuously reinforce that messaging.  As someone who has volunteered for many different committees and task forces I know how easy it can be to forget the bigger picture and to just focus on the work in front of you.  This is especially true for supporters who are not actively working on committee’s and taskforce.  We need to be diligent in making sure we connect all of our work back to the mission, vision and intended impact. 

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.  

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: Josie Andrews, Teacher-Librarian, Nevada Union High School

How has your experience prepared you to address issues within YALSA related to equity, diversity and inclusion?
My experience over the last 20 years of library service working with and listening to the voices of diverse youth has informed my perspective on how to address issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Over the last two years, I have worked with my district on an anti-racisct and inclusivity task force, dedicated to revising policy, process, and curriculum to be more inclusive and equitable. I currently serve on the board of the California Heritage Indegenous Research Project, a non-profit organization that supports land rights issues, tribal recognition, and education. I am currently working with students to create a Dismantling Racism Club on campus that will focus on education and programs that promote anti-racist learning school wide. In book club, we are reading and discussing books that focus on traditionally marginalized people and work towards making sure that we have a collection of materials available to students that represent the diverse world that we live in. I have taught classes in social justice, restorative practices, and trauma informed practices. My experience with social justice informs my practice as a youth services librarian and I am dedicated to keeping equity, diversity, and inclusion at the forefront of my profession. 

 What are your ideas on how YALSA can collaborate with our Affiliate organizations like AILA, APALA, BCALA, REFORMA?
Building community with affiliate organizations will be key to successful collaboration. In order to build community, the YALSA board members will need to work on identifying key stakeholders and work together to reach common goals. My priority is working with youth and amplifying youth voice. I think that the board can work together to build relationships with ALA affiliated organizations, as well as local and state organizations in our own communities. I would love to work with folks to develop some cross-organizational training so we can support youth across our organizations. 

In your opinion, what do you feel is the biggest challenge ahead for YALSA?
Currently the biggest challenge that I see is the challenge and removal of materials in libraries. Youth deserve to have access to equitable, diverse, and inclusive collections that provide windows and mirrors, encourage literacy, and amplify student voice. Across the nation, youth library services are under attack by a vocal minority who want to censor what and how kids read. It’s no coincidence that these groups are looking to pull items that represent marginalized groups. It is imperative that YALSA leadership protect the first amendment right of young people to read. I would also like to find ways to support teen library staff that are new to the profession to stand up to intimidation from those who wish to censor library materials.

How will you make YALSA’s mission, vision, and intended impact meaningful for current and potential members and supporters?
I plan to work with my local, state, and national communities to promote YALSA through networking, outreach, promotion, and advocacy. I would love to work on professional development concepts, to bring to youth librarians and organizations, and work directly with youth to make sure that they have a seat at the YALSA table. It is important that the organization work to remove barriers and increase access to library services for youth by creating physical and virtual spaces that focus on meeting the diverse needs of teens through transformative library services.

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: Yvette Garcia, Branch Manager, Chicago Public Library

How has your experience prepared you to address issues within YALSA related to equity, diversity and inclusion
When I was a new librarian, I participated in a recruitment video produced by the Ohio Library Council (Looking for Leaders) and assisted at a Spectrum leadership institute.  Additionally, I presented at the Midwest REFORMA chapter conferences, developed resources, and led as chapter President.

As a seasoned professional, I have taken several leadership roles within YALSA, chairing committees, including the DMP twice. Under my leadership, these committees implemented member surveys and focus groups on topics such as the volunteer experience, member recognition, and reached out to potential members. The combined feedback led to the insight that YALSA serves many audiences with different needs, such as school librarians. DEI is founded in communication; telling and more importantly showing that everyone is welcome, included, and necessary. I am eager to make these recommendations a reality with all membership concerns gathered over the years combined with my personal experience working in an urban library serving a diverse community.

I currently manage an urban library branch in a diverse community.  I know the struggles of professional staff that don’t speak the language and the challenges of utilizing clerks, pages, and other staff to better serve our patrons.  

What are your ideas on how YALSA can collaborate with our Affiliate organizations like AILA, APALA, BCALA, REFORMA?
There are a few different ways that YALSA and Affiliates can partner together to increase diverse voices.  In a perfect world, our committees can work together towards common goals, such as collaborating on resources and continuing education opportunities for teen-serving staff.  These projects can be as simple as translating library lingo into various languages on a bookmark, having cultural discussions regarding serving teens from diverse backgrounds, creating recommended reading lists, etc.  I believe that the best way forward is to keep things simple and utilize existing activities as opportunities to join forces. 

YALSA and affiliates can also work together to provide the networking and mentorship needed by members of both organizations; members sharing knowledge, experience, and supporting each other, such as hosting a joint Snack & Chat for an open discussion on the difficulties of being a librarian of color. 

Mentorship is important to me; I had one of the best mentors – Colleen Seisser.  She guided me through YALSA teaching me everything, encouraging me.  She has been there helping me navigate processes and I was lucky to serve under her and with her on a few committees. We have shared knowledge and insights.  I strive to live up to her example and pay it forward by encouraging and supporting my committee members so that they may become YALSA’s future leaders.

In your opinion, what do you feel is the biggest challenge ahead for YALSA?
YALSA’s greatest challenge is change.

During the past several years we, as an organization, have experienced the loss of institutional knowledge, change in leadership and internal reorganization.  Additionally, ALA is also undergoing changes that directly impact YALSA at all levels.   As we prepare to implement a new strategic plan with an updated mission and vision, we need to find ways to manage change so that we transition together as a whole with empathy and understanding of the impact on membership.  Change is hard; for some, it will happen too quickly, for others too slowly. This is in a period of transition, reflection, and adaptation.

Recently I have worked in a changing environment; a department that was undergoing staffing changes and an institution undergoing change management complicated by loss of institutional knowledge.  Change represents opportunity and loss at the same time.  In a leadership role, I assisted my staff with new policies as they were being implemented and had an open dialogue concerning changes in philosophy and/or priorities.  Now, in the time of COVID, I have guided my staff through different service structures with empathy, communication, and transparency.  We hold frequent staff Q&A sessions to discuss updates to policies, procedures, evaluate branch layout for social distancing, etc. It was important to have consistent communications for service expectations, but also give an opportunity for everyone to express concerns and to feel heard and safe.

How will you make YALSA’s mission, vision, and intended impact meaningful for current and potential members and supporters?
I’ve learned that one common factor within the membership is “local implementation.”  Teen-serving staff have a need and desire for resources that have a direct impact on services and programming[SN1]  in their community.  YALSA’s aspirational goals for contributing to librarianship need to be complemented with the tools and resources needed today on the frontlines.  This means that we, as an organization, must always ask, “How will our members use this information at the reference desk, in their programs, as part of their practice?”

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: Matthew Layne, Young Adult Librarian, O’Neal Public Library 

How has your experience prepared you to address issues within YALSA related to equity, diversity and inclusion? 
I have been honored to serve on a number of different non-profit boards over the years; some as a board member at large and some in a leadership position. I have worked to ensure that any board I’m associated with is fully representative of the larger community. While serving as the chair of the board which oversees Birmingham, Alabama’s Day of the Dead Festival, I actively recruited board members from across the Latinx community to lead the board into the future. When it comes to questions of equity, diversity and inclusion, my first job is to listen. My second job is to amplify the voices of those around me. My third job is to ensure that they not only have a seat at the table, but they are given opportunities to lead.

What are your ideas on how YALSA can collaborate with our Affiliate organizations like AILA, APALA, BCALA, REFORMA? 
We should invite representatives from each of our affiliate organizations to speak at YALSA meetings and share how YALSA can best serve them. Then, we should do our utmost to meet those needs and requests. 

In your opinion, what do you feel is the biggest challenge ahead for YALSA? 
One of the biggest challenges of YALSA is to meet the wide-ranging needs of YA librarians across the vastness of the United States. I think it’s important that YALSA take an active role in city and statewide library conferences. In this way, we can grow membership while simultaneously learning the needs of our constituents. 

How will you make YALSA’s mission, vision, and intended impact meaningful for current and potential members and supporters?
I want to help make YALSA more relevant on a local basis. I want to increase our presence in local and state conferences and offer our expertise in programming, services, and best practices to librarians and staff who work with teen populations. I also feel it is essential that we get a more direct line to the teen populations which we serve. I would love to institute a national YALSA Teen Advisory Board.