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: Joel Shoemaker, Associate Director of Library Services, Methodist College

How has your experience prepared you to address issues within YALSA related to equity, diversity and inclusion? 
I’ve been working on EDI for awhile within the past two organizations I’ve worked for. In my current position I sit on the EDI Committee and in my last position I gained a DEI in the Workplace Certificate from the University of South Florida. Additionally, as an ex-officio member of the current board, I have worked with the board on the new strategic plan including currently coming up with recommendations on how to make progress on developing initiatives to support library workers of color who specialize in youth services. 

What are your ideas on how YALSA can collaborate with our Affiliate organizations like AILA, APALA, BCALA, REFORMA? 
I think being present at their events would be an easy first step. Showing support by attending and participating in events put on by these organizations wouldn’t take a lot of effort but could go a long way in saying YALSA is invested in the work of each organization and is interested in participating in their success. 

In your opinion, what do you feel is the biggest challenge ahead for YALSA? 
I think the biggest challenge is with retaining members. It sounds like we’ve seen a steady decline and, while I’m sure that has something to do with COVID and is probably a more universal issue, I still think the board should try to do something about keeping the members we have and getting more members. I wonder if some kind of incentive to join such as reduced or waived fees for a period of time. I also wonder if there’s a way to survey members that don’t renew. Sure, many would just not respond but it could be helpful to read responses that do come in. 

How will you make YALSA’s mission, vision, and intended impact meaningful for current and potential members and supporters? 
YALSA’s mission speaks to empowering all in the profession. As Secretary, it would be my personal endeavor to make sure empowerment of our members is kept in mind as we go through the motions of board meetings and making decisions and capturing minutes on a regular basis. I feel that it can be easy to get swept up into those mundanities and fail to remember not only why we’re doing the job but why we’re passionate about our field in the first place. 

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: Colleen Seisser, Collection Services Manager, Aurora (IL) Public Library District

How has your experience prepared you to address issues within YALSA related to equity, diversity and inclusion?
As a previous YALSA Board Member at Large, I worked with the YALSA board to develop the strategic plan always with an eye towards EDI. Specifically, I was on the Strategic Planning committee in 2020-21 that worked directly with the strategic planning consultants to pull the draft plan together for membership

I currently work at a large urban library that serves a diverse community and we are always considering the different access needs and how to widely serve our community with all library services. I believe this mindset of equitable access to services can also applied to the diverse YALSA membership and help grow our members and the resources they have access to with their membership

I have participated in EDI training with the YALSA Board since 2018, my own library just participated in year long EDI training that began in 2020, and I’ve attended many trainings and webinars on the topic, like the Denver Public Library conference on Equity in the Workplace and a Library Journal online course on developing diverse collections

What are your ideas on how YALSA can collaborate with our Affiliate organizations like AILA, APALA, BCALA, REFORMA?
I believe we can work together primarily by sharing resources. We should also identify where the needs of our members overlap to join forces when possible to offer unique learning opportunities or experiences

In addition to the above affiliate organizations, I am also very interested in working with the other youth divisions (ALSC and AASL) to take a good look at how we might be able to sustain our divisions together, working more closely aligned, as ALA as an organization faces larger issues like loss of membership and funding needs

In your opinion, what do you feel is the biggest challenge ahead for YALSA?
Funding and changing leadership

  1. We have to maintain good oversight with our funds, continue to push ALA to get us the accounting information we need and continue to make decisions that account for how funding and partnerships can work to deliver meaningful member benefits
  2. We have to take strong roles as YALSA member volunteers to work to weather the changes in leadership and continue ensure that when there is a change there are contingency plans in place

How will you make YALSA’s mission, vision, and intended impact meaningful for current and potential members and supporters?
I believe that my long history as a YALSA volunteer and my experience as a YALSA Board Member at Large from 2018-2021 has prepared me to stand for the position of President-Elect to support YALSA’s mission, vision, and intended impact statement. I have the necessary experience and historical YALSA and ALA knowledge to be a leader in the division and make an impact for all YALSA members while I serve in the position. I am highly organized and strive to maintain a lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the work that I do and the decisions and planning I participate in. I want to work hard to help ensure YALSA’s vitality in the future as we work with our strategic plan to ensure we are providing the best services and resources to our members so they can provide the best services and expertise to their teen communities

And I can’t say enough great things about Yvette Garcia, running opposite of me this year for the President-Elect position. I encourage you to vote for Yvette! I am a big fan and I know she will do great things and bring impactful ideas as a leader of YALSA! I think YALSA voters have such a fantastic slate this year–please vote!

The first months of 2022 have flown by and registration for ALA’s Annual Conference has begun.  We are still looking for volunteers who live in the DC area to help with Local Arrangements and Marketing.   It’s a short volunteer term so it’s not too lengthy.  Volunteers will assist during the conference and what better way to meet other YALSA members in your area if you don’t know them already!  I know from personal experience its always nice to meet members in their hometowns, since you have the knowledge of the best places to eat and see! 

Here is the description of the task force: 

Annual Conference Marketing & Local Arrangements Taskforce – Washington DC

  • To plan and implement YALSA local arrangements activities in close cooperation with YALSA’s Program Officer for Conferences & Events, including assisting on-site with logistics for YALSA programs.
  • To work with YALSA’s Communications Specialist prior to the conference to create and disseminate online marketing materials that promote YALSA’s presence at the ALA Annual Conference. 

Committee members are expected to attend Annual. 5 – 7 virtual members including the chair. Term: 6 Months, January 1 to June 30 

And it’s March, so it’s really only 3 months now!  

If your interested in volunteering please contact Letitia Smith or myself Franklin Escobedo 

I’ll see you too in DC!

Franklin Escobedo
YALSA President-Elect 2021-2022

We are all different, and that’s okay.  I say this statement out loud at minimum once a month, usually when confronted with the unsavory news about banned and challenged books, book burnings, etc.; activities that are, at best, seriously misguided attempts to protect young minds from being exposed to topics deemed to be above their maturity level. The empath in me is always seeking to fully understand and walk in the proverbial shoes of someone else. However, the more I peruse the list of challenged titles, the more confused I become. Our country is a gumbo of cultures enhanced by the lived experiences and traditions of diverse people whose uniqueness adds flavor to our Americanness.  Just as there is no such thing as a one ingredient recipe, neither should there be the promotion and elevation of one singular story. To say that there is not room for more than one type of story is to belie this country’s composition. Yet, somehow, in an increasingly diverse society, books featuring BIPOC and LBGTQ characters and authors continue to be targeted for such efforts.

Children and teens need to see themselves, their family structure and their communities reflected back to them in books. I won’t belabor the importance of access to materials that are windows, mirrors and/or sliding doors to their worlds and those that are different from them. However, there is an urgency in continuing this charge. To the librarians in school and public libraries, I salute you for your work in standing firm in the face of serious opposition and working to create a more inclusive and just world one book at a time, one child at a time.  Your work is instrumental in normalizing and honoring differences without “othering” and a testament to the ways our differences make for a better collective. 

The AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation has been hard at work on a resource list that will hopefully make our jobs easier in the face of so much uncertainty. Keep an eye out; it should be coming very soon!

Tamela Chambers is a branch manager at the Chicago Public Library and a member of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation.

We’ve begun planning for the next Young Adult Symposium which will be held in Baltimore! We’re nlooking for volunteers who live in the Baltimore area for the YA Symposium Local Arrangements Committee as well as volunteers for the YA Symposium Planning and Marketing Taskforce. Taskforce members can live anywhere in the country.

Here are the details about the committee and taskforce.

YA Symposium Local Arrangements Taskforce:
To work with YALSA’s Program Officer prior to the conference to identify venues for and plan YALSA activities in Baltimore, such as city tours and dine-arounds.  Support the Symposium on-site by introducing speakers, moderating panels, assisting with setting up for special events, welcoming attendees, and more. Committee size: 5 to 7 members including the chair.  Term: January 1 through
November 30.  Size:  5 to 7 members; members conduct planning virtually but are expected to attend the Symposium.

YA Symposium Planning and Marketing Taskforce:
To assist YALSA’s Program Officer with the planning and marketing of the conference, including vetting papers and proposals, vetting scholarship applications, assisting the Program Officer with identifying authors and keynote speakers, and leveraging social media tools to promote the event and scholarship
opportunities, and more. Members will regularly share content via social media and through their state and local networks to build excitement for and share information about the event. Members will work with YALSA’s Communications Specialist to assist with the implementation of a marketing plan. Size: 5 to
7 virtual members, including the chair. Term: January 1 through November 30

To sign up, fill out the volunteer form here: (click on the Committee Volunteer form under sign up). Don’t forget you’ll need to log into the ALA website to complete the form.

If you have questions feel free to email me.

Franklin Escobedo
YALSA President-Elect 2021-2022

Hats. I wear many of them. Literal hats because in New York it gets cold. But other hats too—teen librarian, school librarian, media literacy skills teacher, colleague, friend, relative, potential problem predictor, in-house worrier, tech-trouble-shooter, mask/face covering supplier, hand sanitizer distributor, and so many more.

My colleagues and I recently reviewed our materials challenge policy to bring it into the twenty-first century. I thought our policies were solid and clear, but with so many challenges all around the country, we decided it was a good time to reexamine what we had and how we could improve it for both families and school staff.

I have never had a formal challenge at my school, but have had some questions about books in the collection. I believe that kids are pretty good self-censors and don’t read books they’re not ready for. But I understand that parents may feel like their child has chosen a book that THEY are not ready to talk about with their kids. I get it and I know that can be a scary thought. What I want to avoid as a professional is one parent’s fears affecting another parent’s child. What may not be good for your child may be JUST THE THING for someone else’s. I am glad we looked at our process and appreciate the librarians across the country who shared their policies.

On this issue I think all librarians, public, school, private libraries, adult librarians, children’s librarians, those who serve teens—ALL of us—must work together. One of the tenets of our profession is access to information. Sometimes that information comes in the form of a novel about a teen questioning their gender identity. Sometimes it is a book in prose about how police violence has affected a community. Sometimes it is a picture book about how families can be made from love rather than shared DNA.

I’m lucky to be part of a group of library professionals who support each other and try to take care of one another both personally and professionally. If you don’t have a group like this I encourage you to find or create one. Reach out to your local county organization or your state professional association. Join a committee to meet other people. Reach out to colleagues who live or work near you. Send an email to colleagues in the town next to yours. Join a group on
Facebook you can turn to for advice. Having a group you can turn to BEFORE you need their help is important. Especially now when we are all wearing so many hats. Once you have your group you may be called to wear the cheerleader hat, or an idea-bouncer-off-of hat. Or a friend-who-will-just-listen hat. But in this “unprecedented time” (hear that eyeroll?) it is our fellow professionals who can help us stay the course.

Teka McCabe is a Library Media Specialist at Briarcliff Middle School & Briarcliff High School. Twitter: @bhsbearslibrary

YALSA 2021 in Reno was my first opportunity to attend a professional conference in my career field. I graduated with my MLIS in May of 2021, so needless to say, graduate school didn’t end up being the experience I’d wanted it to be. I had so many plans to attend conferences as a student, and build connections with my cohort at the University of Illinois. I had one semester in person, and then my graduate school experience was drastically modified due to the pandemic.
The opportunity to attend YALSA provided me with the experience I had yearned for in graduate school. I had the chance to meet others in my field who are as passionate about advocating for teens as I am. I loved all of the discussions we had, and each presentation I attended was enlightening and informative. This past year and a half was exhausting and I’ve felt myself getting burned out, but the experience I had at YALSA lit my fire again. All this is to say it’s really hard to narrow down what I learned, because it feels like I learned so much, but I’ll give it a shot.

The presentations that focused on serving teens in poverty were extremely helpful to me. In my new position as a Teen Librarian, I’ve moved to a new community with significant poverty rates. An important aspect of my job includes getting to know this new community and the best ways to serve them. Some of the key takeaways I gained from those presentations included training all staff on issues of poverty, and providing equity boxes with a variety of items including socks, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. I love the idea of an equity box and have been considering ways to propose this idea to my administration. I also plan on contacting the public transit in my area to see if they will provide me with bus passes that I can hand out to anyone that may need one. Some other pieces of advice I found helpful were “you don’t know what you don’t know” and “ask the teens”. These may seem somewhat obvious, but I found it helpful to reconsider these points and remind myself that I should always be consulting my teens and patrons in regards to their needs and wants at the library. I won’t know what barriers my teens face unless I ask them directly.

Something I’ve been personally struggling with at my library is feeling like other staff and patrons discriminate against the teens. From the conference discussions, I received helpful advice on how to manage this issue, including advocating for all staff training. When I asked for advice about this issue at a panel, one of the presenters even suggested bluntly asking staff why they are hesitant about working with teens.

Overall, I learned so much at YALSA this year. Each presentation I attended gave me some bit of advice or understanding that I found helpful for my career as a Teen Librarian. I even gained so many new ideas for programming, books that should be in my collection, and more. I’m really grateful I was able to have the experience to go to YALSA and meet new colleagues. I can’t wait to attend again next year!

Kaileigh Oldham is a recent MLIS graduate from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Originally from Michigan, Kaileigh received her Bachelor’s in Creative Writing and Fine Arts from Western Michigan University. She now resides in Danville, IL with her boyfriend, 2 dogs, and 2 cats. She is currently the Teen Librarian at Danville Public Library. When she is not at work Kaileigh enjoys playing video games, watching anime, and hula hooping.

Issue Theme: Endurance

The past two years have been hard.  Teen librarians and teens have been dealing with a worldwide pandemic.  We have been on lockdown, working from home, separated from family and friends.  We have seen video after video of people murdered on the streets and in schools. There have been protests and trials.  And, in the midst of all of this, we have had to continue to function and provide services and resources for our users, often overlooking our own mental and physical health while caring for those we serve in our libraries.

But, here we are.  We made it to the other side. In this issue we’d like you to share your experiences with the hard parts of the last two years..  What were they? Did you overcome them and how? Did you fail? If you failed, what lessons were learned?  How have your teens coped? What success stories do you have? Are there things you started doing during this time that might stick around?

Let’s share our successes and our failures. Below are just a few of the examples of what we are looking for:

  • Serving teens in a work from home situation
  • Finding and keeping employment in bad times (budget, covid, etc.)
  • Keeping teens encouraged
  • Keeping yourself encouraged
  • Trying new methods/approaches to services and/or resources that were successful
  • Trying new methods/approaches to services and/or resources that failed
  • Taking on more responsibility in your library
  • Giving teens more responsibility in your library
  • Handling book challenges and bans
  • What does self care look like for teen librarians? For teens?
  • What was a struggle? What worked?

Please send your proposals to us by January 3, 2022

Are you looking for a way to support others in the field? Donating to the Friends of YALSA during Giving Tuesday is a great option! All of the money raised by the FOY is used to financially support member awards, grants, scholarships, and stipends. 

This year we are also offering a raffle for everyone who donates to FOY on Tuesday, Nov. 30th.  Every donation will be entered into a raffle for one of the following prizes.

  • Virtual Visit for your classroom from author Jennifer Mathieu (there will be a selection of date options). She is the author of Devoted, Afterward, The Liars of Mariposa Island, and The Truth About Alice, the winner of the Children’s Choice Teen Debut Author Award. Her 2017 novel Moxie is being developed into a film by Amy Poehler for Netflix.
  • A set of signed books from author Brenden Kiely which include All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds), Tradition, The Last True Love Story, and The Gospel of Winter. His most recent book is The Other Talk: Reckoning with Our White Privilege.

Individuals can donate to FOY in the following ways:

  • Credit card via the ALA’s secure site. (pre-populated with the default amount, but can be changed)
  • Mail: use the printable form (PDF). Mail it with your donation to – Friends of YALSA, 225 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60601.

Your donation can make all the difference as it can truly impact the lives of library staff and the communities they serve. Please consider donating this Giving Tuesday!


Celeste Swanson
Member- YALSA Financial Advancement Committee

There is an immediate opportunity to lead the Hub advisory board and manage the site.  YALSA seeks a new Hub Manager for a one-year term starting December 1, 2021 with an option to renew based on performance.  Send  your cover letter and resume to Letitia Smith at by  November 15, 2021.

We’d like to thank the Hub’s current member manager, Sara Beth Coffman for extending her term, all the tremendous work and dedication she’s put into the Hub the past year. 

The main responsibilities  of  the Hub Manager include leading an advisory board to provide oversight in creating, soliciting, and managing content for the blog, as well as recruiting bloggers. Additionally, the member manager will help manage the selected lists blogging teams and the dissemination of the selected lists, as well as the promotion and technical maintenance of the blog.

The member manager will receive an honorarium for their one-year term, as well as a small stipend to attend YALSA/ALA conferences. Please note that this is not a salaried staff position, but a member volunteer opportunity. YALSA membership is required.

See the list of qualifications and responsibilities below.  

List of Qualifications:

  1. Strong project management and organizational skills
  2. Ability to delegate work and to manage a variety of contributors and volunteers
  3. Dynamic, self-motivated individual
  4. Excellent verbal and written communications skills, in order to develop content and communicate with potential content providers
  5. Experience in web publishing with responsibilities including but not limited to: utilizing video clips, audio, and social media, maintaining a high standard of writing, and ensuring compliance with policies created for the maintenance of the site
  6. Knowledge of HTML and WordPress, which YALSA uses for administration of blog sites; as well as knowledge of plugins, tagging, categories, and other WordPress tools
  7. PHP knowledge a plus
  8. Ability to set and meet deadlines
  9. Knowledge of best practices and current trends in collection development for and with teens in libraries
  10.  Ability to work well in a team environment
  11. Ability to work well in a mostly virtual setting, including using tools such as Google Drive, Google Calendar, Zoom, etc. to coordinate work and communicate with others
  12.  Personal membership in YALSA
  13. A commitment to advancing the recommendations YALSA outlined in its report, The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: a Call to Action and Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff.
  14. A commitment to advancing and supporting YALSA’s mission and EDI Plan.
  15. High ethical standards and no real or perceived conflict of interest with YALSA or its portfolio of print and web publications

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Oversight & Coordination

  • Communicate with the Advisory Board, Selected List Blogging Team Leaders, and YALSA’s Communications Specialist on a regular basis to generate ideas for content, assign tasks, discuss marketing strategies, and discuss site management
  • Work with the YALS and JRLYA editors and YALSAblog and Teen Programming HQ managers as appropriate to coordinate dissemination of information to members and the library community.
  • Maintain communication with YALSA member groups whose work relates to collection development and content curation
  • Oversee and help manage the posting and promotion of the selected lists
  • Follow all established and relevant ALA and YALSA policies and guidelines, enforce them as necessary and periodically conduct a review of them to ensure relevancy and currency
  • Direct questions about sponsorships, advertising, etc. to YALSA’s Executive Director
  • Develop a calendar for content, based on YALSA events and activities as well as those going on in the larger community related to collecting and curating library materials for and with teens
  • Write reports prior to the Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting for submission to the YALSA Board of Directors

Seek Out & Manage Content & Contributors

  • With the Advisory Board, review and edit content submitted to the site to make sure the quality is acceptable, that it is aligned with YALSA principles, and that it includes YALSA branding prior to posting, when appropriate
  • With the Advisory Board, manage postings regularly to guarantee quality of content and appropriate tagging and category identification
  • With the Advisory Board, recruit a diverse group of contributors on a regular basis, which may include but is not limited to: YALSA members, authors and teens
  • Communicate regularly with bloggers to solicit content, share news, motivate bloggers, develop a blogging schedule, etc.
  • Interact with and provide any necessary training to contributors as needed at ALA’s Annual Conference, Midwinter Meeting, or YALSA’s Symposium and via virtual means
  • Effectively motivate, support and manage a large and fluctuating group of contributors and volunteers
  • Work with the Advisory Board to manage comments and spam daily to guarantee that the blog content is appropriate


  • Attend ALA and YALSA events to recruit contributors and inform member groups about the site
  • Answer questions and inquiries about the site in a timely fashion
  • Work with YALSAblog Member Manager to cross-promote the blogs and collaborate on projects that advance YALSA’s Organizational Plan
  • Utilize social media to increase awareness of the Hub and its content

Technical Maintenance

  • Work with YALSA’s Communications Specialist as appropriate to update and manage blog software
  • Monitor new technologies as they impact the site: add-ons and plug-ins to blog software, widgets or applications for hand-held devices, etc.

Selected Lists and Bloggers

  • Select bloggers and team leads for YALSA’s book lists: Amazing Audiobooks, Quick Picks, Best Fiction, and Great Graphic Novels for the Hub from volunteer applications with support from YALSA staff
  • Review applications for Selected List Teams and build a balanced roster for each team in terms of:
    • A balanced geographic distribution of members on the team
    • Representation of all library types (school, public, academic)
    • Inclusion of both younger and older adolescent focus of committee members
    • Representation of a variety of experience levels of team members
    • Diversity of team members in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, etc. 
  • With Coordinators, facilitate the work of these blogging teams on The Hub by communicating with bloggers about editing and scheduling of reviews
  • Support the dissemination and promotion of final lists
  • Work with the Advisory and the Award and Selected List Oversight Committee to oversee training for Selected List Teams and leverage existing YALSA resources to do so, and develop new as needed
  • Provide a template and sample posts for the blogging teams, and other resources as called for.
  • Communicate regularly with Selected List Team Leads
  • Work with the Advisory Board to update and/or create guidelines for the Hub, including public comment guidelines, so that they accommodate selected list efforts
  • Sit in on virtual meetings of Selected List Teams, as needed
  • Offer guidance, support, and expertise for Team Leads throughout term as needed
  • Communicates with YALSA Board and staff regarding the possible need to expand into a co-manager format, and/or increase the size or change the make-up of the Advisory Board
  • Communicates with YALSA staff regarding any possible back-end improvements needed to the site to accommodate the selected list effort

Interested individuals should send a cover letter and resume that includes management, writing, and web publishing experience. Familiarity with PHP, WordPress, HTML, and social media preferred, but not required. Send cover letters and resumes to Letitia Smith at by  November 15, 2021.