While I know many of you who have submitted applications to volunteer have been waiting with bated breath. As part of my duties as YALSA President-Elect is to make those appointments. Before I ran for President I had talked to several Past-Presidents about the process, which seemed very overwhelming and very difficult. Having to sort through lots of volunteer applications finding the right fit for each committee. However, the opposite has happened and after talking to the current president Kelly Czarnecki and past-president Amanda Barnhart over the past several years we’ve had fewer and fewer members volunteering. 

We the three Presidents of YALSA have seen that the pandemic has affected membership and staffing in all our libraries making it very difficult.  Since the beginning of the pandemic YALSA membership and ALA membership has declined.  Many libraries suffered budget cuts and we all have friends who lost their jobs or who have left the field all together.  Many of us who remained have had more duties assigned to them to cover the staffing shortages.  I myself found myself taking on another department besides the library when my City began cutting the budget.  Both Amanda and Kelly have had to seek out members to fill in unexpected vacancies on committees, taskforces, and juries due to members having to withdraw from serving because of the pandemic and job stress.

This has also delayed appointments since I’ve been trying to track down volunteers, with the help of the YALSA Office.  The other obstacles have been around for a while, but I feel that they often get forgotten or unless it’s affected you as a member you might know what those are.     

These are three obstacles that have been a challenge for making appointments or for volunteers able to commit:

ALA’s 3 Committee Rule: This rule is in place to ensure that ALA members who are in other Divisions or Roundtables are not over committing themselves. A lot of times members like myself will volunteer with a roundtable or another division, and with YALSA. Whichever group gets you first, once you are on three committees you won’t be able to serve on something else until that appointment ends. While you might be rolling off the committee before the term begins, this sometimes blocks us from appointing someone.  

YALSA’s 3 Year Cooling Off Period for Award Committees: This rule was instituted back in 2014 with the hopes of making the Award committees accessible to more of the membership. This also brought us into line with the other divisions who also have a cooling off period from serving award committees. However, with the lack of volunteers highly qualified members have been turned away from serving when we could use their expertise. I’m currently working on a proposal to shrink this down to two years.  

Conference Attendance: This has been one of the biggest barriers for many members who want to volunteer. The cost of attending a conference is large, especially for librarians who have to foot the bill. A lot of libraries are also still restricting travel for members. This past summer the YALSA Board voted to make the summer attendance virtual for the award committees. Which I had also thought covered the winter conference. There is currently a proposal under discussion by the board to make the winter attendance optional. This would allow members who want to attend the YMAs can go, but other committee members who cannot attend will not be obligated to attend. We’re hoping this will open volunteer opportunities for members who cannot attend the conference but want to lend their expertise. 

This last one is currently holding up the invitation to members who have volunteered for the Award Committees. We’re hoping to change the language of the invitation to reflect the change if passed. ALA considers the invitation a binding contract and we cannot change the language after the appointment has been accepted.  

I’m also still looking for volunteers to serve on the Quick Picks and Amazing Audio blogging teams. For those of you who have volunteered invitations should be going out soon.  

If you’re interested in serving on the blogging teams, please fill out the volunteer form: https://www.ala.org/yalsa/getinvolved/getinvolved .  

If you have questions just send me an email at: fescobedo@cityoflarkspur.org

Thank you again for volunteering. 

Franklin Escobedo
YALSA President-Elect 2021-2022


YALSA’s Board Development Committee has put together the following slate for the 2022 YALSA Election which the current YALSA Executive Board has approved. We’re excited to announce the following candidates:

Yvette Garcia
Colleen Seisser
Joel Shoemaker
Josie Andrews
Matthew Layne
Melissa Malanuk
Carrie Sanders
Melanie Wachsmann
Thank you to the Board Development Committee for their work; Todd Krueger (Chair), Edith Campbell, Dora Ho, Karen Lemmons, and Sarah Sogigian. The election will be held mid-March through mid-April. For more election information, visit the Election FAQ page here. For questions, contact the Board Development Chair here.

I recently read a Tweet about how we went from October 1 to October 30th in three days. Though I could probably say that about most months! Glad to be here! I’m writing this post while the YALSA Symposium is kicking off. YALSA staff are arriving in Reno. I will be attending virtually and can’t wait for the recap from those that went in-person! So much work went into YALSA’s signature event!

  • One of the highlights for October was attending the ALA Legislative Summit on Saturday, October 16 led by ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF). Check out their site to remind yourself that you’re not alone when difficult situations might come up regarding challenges at your library or community. The YALSA Board Advocate, Stacey Shapiro and I attended this virtual session where we learned about OIF as a supportive and knowledgeable resource. Especially now with coordinated efforts regarding against Critical Race Theory as well as many LGBTQ+ materials. A draft of the Legislative Summit Toolkit-in-Development was shared, and will be disseminated when finished.
  • Met with researchers for an IMLS Grant with Michigan State University partnering with YALSA on AI literacy program in underserved communities. There will be a lot of information coming out for libraries to use! 
  • Appointed Board Secretary -Carrie Kausch. So glad that Carrie accepted the position! (According to the bylaws the President appoints positions in an emergency when they need to be filled). Carrie also serves as Liaison to the Teen Civic Engagement Taskforce and Core YALSA Toolkit Taskforce. 
  • Met with Kevin Strowder, Executive Director of ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS) along with Tammy Dillard-Steels, YALSA Executive Director. Wow-what a resource! Kevin even has a background with youth which is of course a plus! Expect to hear from him at an upcoming YALSA webinar! He is a wealth of information on YALSA continuing to move forward with making EDI part of our culture. 
  • Attended the ALA EDI Assembly along with Kelsey Ford, YALSA’s ALA Liaison. There were breakout rooms where we discussed ideas for key issues such as barriers to advancement/retention in the field for marginalized groups.
  • Put together a timeline for YALSA’s work with EDI based on Board Documents to start.
  • Appointed a YALSA Liaison to the ALA Chapter Relations Committee (CRC). Thank you Dana Fontaine!
  • Co-presented with Marie Harris on our publication with Rowman and Littlefield, Connecting Teens with Technology at the Library. Great representation of LIS Students present!
  • Interviewed a potential candidate for the Hub Manager position.
  • Attended parts of the BARC/F&A meeting (Budget Analysis and review Committee and Finance & Audit) along with Kate Denier, YALSA Fiscal Officer, and Tammy Dillard-Steels, YALSA Executive Director (+ many others!)
  • Connected with Board Liaisons and Chairs of various committees and Task Forces.A whirlwind for sure! Thank you to the members especially for supporting YALSA! Any questions or comments, feel free to post below or email: kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com.




Kelly Czarnecki (she/her)
YALSA President

Photo credit: “fall leaf” by JustyCinMD is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Rolling Stones performed a live concert in my town last month (September). The night before they played, Mick Jagger was captured in a photo standing outside a local (and quirky!) establishment completely unnoticed. The photo actually made national news because he looks so unassuming. Hiding in plain sight.  (Note-the photo in this post is not the photo discussed!) It made me think-if you were hanging out at the park with your pet, shopping for groceries down the street, or out to eat somewhere-which author would cause you to change expression if you saw them and recognized them? Jason Reynolds? Jacqueline Woodson? David Levithan? What about a YALSA member or a potential YALSA member? Those rock stars in their own right who’ve won a scholarship? Put together a program you’ve admired? Presented at a conference in a way that made you feel seen? We never know who we’re crossing paths with all the time but the potential for something-a connection, recognition-is always there.  That’s a bit how I felt with all the great interactions (albeit virtual) I’ve had with members in September. In addition to meeting regularly with the YALSA Executive Director, Board and Executive Board I also:

    • Made an appointment of  YALSA representative to the PLA Committee on Family Engagement
    • Appointed a Director-At-Large position to fill a gap on the YALSA Board
    • Speaking of rock stars – sent a request for a memorial resolution to YALSA’s ALA Liaison for Teri Lesesne
    • Responded to Board Liaisons regarding August Quarterly Chair reports
    • Appointed YALSA Liaison to ALA EDI Assembly
    • Participated with YALSA Staff in the ALA Virtual Volunteer Fair
    • Held first meeting of Implementing the President’s Theme Task Force (still seeking members!)
    • Connected with 2021 YALSA Spectrum Scholar, Cordiah Hayes
    • Along with Tammy Dillard-Steels, YALSA Executive Director, shared the YALSA 2022-2025 Strategic Plan with members and potential members (link coming soon!) in webinar format
    • Issued a statement supporting the selections from YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens list
    • Met with AASL President Jennisen Lucas
    • Appointed a YALSA representative with ALA for USBBY
    • Put a call out to members for participating on the Teen Programming HQ Advisory Board
    • Took a virtual tour of Reno with Carla Jamison, YALSA Program Officer, and representatives from the Nevada area (public, university library, etc.) for the YALSA Symposium (super excited!) in November

Any questions or comments, feel free to post below or email: kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com.


2020-2021 YALSA President-Elect Kelly Czarnecki




Kelly Czarnecki (she/her)
YALSA President

Photo credit: “Silhouette at a Sigur Ros Concert” by Tom Olliver

Greetings! We have another great volunteer opportunity for our members with the Chapter Relations Committee (CRC)! The YALSA Liaison would be asked to relay the information to the YALSA Board and members as appropriate. The first meeting is right around the corner-on Tuesday, October 5.

If you’re looking for ways to be more involved with YALSA and want to try something new-this might be just the right fit for you!

In terms of time commitment; the CRC usually meets between 2-4 times per year, depending on the Chair. The Committee always meets in the winter (for the formally Midwinter Meeting) and at the ALA Annual Conference in the summer.  The CRC will continue to meet virtually as long as ALA’s meetings and conferences are virtual. It is not necessarily required for the representative to attend, it is just held for YALSA’s member leaders to be able to relay pertinent information to the CRC.

If you are interested in representing YALSA, you are required to be a YALSA member and abide by the ALA policy of a three committee limit. Contact Letitia Smith, Membership and Marketing Manager, (lsmith@ala.org) if interested.

For additional background information on the purpose of the CRC: it is to develop and recognize Chapters (state library associations) as integral components of ALA; to encourage discussion, activities and programs that support the mutual interests of ALA and the Chapters; to advise when requested on proposals and actions of other ALA units that may affect Chapters; to provide a forum wherein Chapters can share ideas and concerns of common interest and identify common needs and goals; to communicate these Chapter needs and goals to ALA and ALA goals, programs and priorities to the Chapters; to encourage and maintain a cooperative and supportive relationship among ALA, its units, and the Chapters; to formulate and review periodically requirements for Chapter status; and to serve as an advisory committee to the Chapter Relations Office


YALSA President 2021-2022, Kelly Czarnecki, seeks member volunteers to serve on the Presidential Taskforce! This role is for a one-year virtual appointment where the taskforce will focus on developing activities that support the President’s theme; giving library staff tools to re-building youth social capital and honoring collective care to help support the new YALSA Strategic Plan.

Outcomes that will guide the taskforce work include:

    • Work with YALSA staff to develop and provide membership with continuing education in the form of podcast recordings with vetted speakers that align with YALSA’s work with Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
    • Connect with relevant individuals and groups within YALSA to support the creation of theme-related resources.
    • Connect with “non-members” who work with youth in libraries.
    • Develop a President’s Program at ALA Annual 2022 in Washington DC.

Thank you for your interest! This is a great way to develop your network, experience in working with others virtually and nationally, and to continue to move the YALSA organization forward. We all have something to contribute so don’t hesitate to apply! All members-including new and LIS students are welcome.

Interested members should contact Letitia Smith, Membership Marketing Manager, (lsmith@ala.org) by September 24. If you have any questions regarding this taskforce, please reach out to YALSA President, Kelly Czarnecki via email at kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com.

2020-2021 YALSA President-Elect Kelly Czarnecki




Kelly Czarnecki (she/her)
YALSA President

Photo credit: “Approaching White Mill Bridge” by crapatdarts

We love our acronyms-don’t we?! If you’re not familiar-this is another one to know-USBBY. The United States Board on Books for Young People! As their web site states, “it is a nonprofit organization devoted to building bridges of international understanding through children’s and young adult books; it serves as the U.S. national section of the IBBY.” (Check out the site to see what this acronym is if you can’t stand the suspense).

To give a bit more background, ALA is a patron organization with USBBY. They host a meeting at ALA LibLearnX (previously MidWinter) and a program session at the Annual Conference in the summer. Each year the ALA Executive Board approves the selection of the ALA representative to the
USBBY Board (the two terms are staggered, and AASL, ALSC, and YALSA rotate putting a name forward of a member who will well represent ALA).

We are seeking one replacement position to represent YALSA with ALA to serve as a Director on their Board for this one year position. If you are interested, you will need to be a current YALSA member, have volunteer experience, have an interest in Young Adult books and abide by the ALA policy of a three committee limit.

Please send a copy of your resume and why you feel you are qualified to Kelly Czarnecki, YALSA President (kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com) by Friday, September 10.  Thank you!

Tweet Greetings! August was the first month where the new Board met after Annual for our monthly Board Chat! The highlight of the month was rolling out the new YALSA Strategic Plan to YALSA Chairs. Thank you so much all that were able to attend and be part of helping give shape to our new direction. Stay tuned at the end of September for a Snack & Chat (9/30 at 1p CST) where there’s an open discussion for all regarding the Strategic Plan.

In other highlights:

    • Sent request for memorial resolution to ALA Liaison for members Ann Pechacek and Sandra Payne
    • Shared news and call for volunteers for Social Media Marketing Strategic Committee shift from a Taskforce (based on Board action at Annual)
    • Shared news and call for volunteers for Updating Core YALSA Toolkits Taskforce (based on Board action at Annual)
    • Connected online with 2021 YALSA Spectrum Scholar, Vidhya Jagannathan
    • Read August Chair Quarterly Reports. Working on connecting with liaisons to best support our amazing Chairs 
    • Drafted a job description for Board Fellow Ex Officio position (based on Exec Board discussion prior to Annual)
    • Confirmed appointment for YALSA representation with the Accessibility Assembly with RUSA
    • Updated President’s Theme Taskforce. Called for Board vote. Quorum met and will share more details in September
    • Started a shared sign-up sheet with the Board on how we can be even more transparent with the membership. A look ‘behind the curtain’ on what we’re working on and who we are. So excited to see this roll out!

Stats and Financials (reminders)
YALSA Membership Stats – the Membership Report from Annual has our most recent data

YALSA Fiscal Report – the Fiscal Report from Annual has our most recent information on YALSA’s financial standing.

Thank you all for checking in and being a part of YALSA. With the start of the new school year during the pandemic, and for some of us going back to the office for the first time in awhile- there no doubt continues to be heaviness on our shoulders. Be good to yourself and take a minute to acknowledge the great work you’re doing on a daily basis with the youth you serve in whatever capacity we can do at this time.

Any questions or comments, feel free to post below or email: kellyczarnecki1@gmail.com.

2020-2021 YALSA President-Elect Kelly Czarnecki
Kelly Czarnecki (she/her)
YALSA President

There’s a lot of great opportunities coming up to be more involved with YALSA! We’re currently taking applications for strategic committees. All participation is virtual, so members are asked to be skilled at using online tools such as Google Docs, Google Hangouts, ALA Connect, Zoom, etc. To apply you will access the form here: Committee Volunteer Form .

If you have questions or issues please contact Letitia Smith, YALSA Membership, lsmith@ala.org

Terms begin July 1, 2021 and end June 30, 2022.  For information specific to each committee, visit the link here.

  • AASL/ALSC/YALSA Committee on School & Public Library Cooperation
  • Division & Membership Promotion
  • Editorial Advisory Board (for YALS & the YALSAblog)
  • Education Advisory Board
  • Financial Advancement
  • Hub Advisory Board
  • JRLYA Advisory Board
  • Organization & Bylaws
  • Research
  • Teens’ Top Ten

    Thank you for your interest!
    ~Kelly Czarnecki, YALSA President-Elect

Hello members!

The YALSA/ALA election kicks off Monday, March 8. Over the course of this week, we have published interviews with all of the candidates. Please take a moment to read through these, and most importantly, VOTE when you receive your electronic ballot from ALA.

Enormous thanks goes out to member Sarah Sogigian for conducting these interviews!

The live Candidates’ Forum will take place via Zoom tomorrow, Friday, March 5 at 3pm ET / 2pm CT / noon PT. This event will include all YALSA candidates, along with the three candidates for President-Elect of the American Library Association. Please register to attend the Forum.

The final two candidates are for the role of YALSA Board Director-at-Large. Today we hear from Abigail Phillips and Tess Wilson. Yesterday, we interviewed the other two candidates for this position, Melanie Wachsmann and Traci Glass.

Name and current position:
Dr. Abigail Phillips, assistant professor, School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

What best qualifies you for being on the Board of Directors?
AP: I have a lengthy time of service with YALSA, first as a committee member, then a Board Fellow, and currently as the Division Councilor. I believe my dedication to YALSA is well represented through these positions. I also have a passion for working with youth to learn more about how to improve their lives and the library’s role within it.

How do you envision furthering YALSA’s mission if elected to this position?
AP: I will work hard to continue the research I conduct in my current researcher. My research focuses on ways in which librarians and library workers can support and aiding youth. I focus largely on neurodiverse youth and marginalized youth, who are, in many situations, one in the same. In addition to research, I also teach future librarians through our MLIS program. In my public libraries course, I ensure that youth services, particularly by using YALSA resources, is a feature of overall library services. As a Board Member, I will ensure that the voices of teens are represented through the work I do as a researcher, teacher, and librarian.

What would be the most exciting aspect of this position? The most challenging?
AP: I would be excited to continue my work on the YALSA Board and strive to represent a unique voice. With my previous experiences as a rural public librarian serving teens alongside my ongoing experience as a researcher and instructor, I see myself as a welcome addition to the other voices on the Board. As always, it is an exciting prospect to hold a leadership position in such an established and progressive ALA division and work with membership and others to create the best possible environment our work.

Please share a recent example(s) where you made a shift to better focus on the current needs of teens.
AP: Recently, a colleague and I worked on a research project where we focused on teen voices, ensuring that we really heard what teens were saying, not what researchers and other said teens thought or said. So often in youth research, the true voices of these teens are overshadowed by the researcher’s (or researchers’) voice. However, it is critical, to best serve teens, to know what they really want and need in the ever-evolving world surround them. Teens and teen voices first!

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?
AP: I believe the most pressing issue facing YALSA right now is building our membership and maintaining relevancy within the youth services community. Members and potential members should feel represented and included in the work that YALSA, YALSA staff, and the community does on a day-to-day basis. Without the support and interest of members, YALSA would not be able to accomplish the goals and vision, which it has set for itself.

Name and current position:
Tess Wilson
Community Engagement Coordinator, Network of the National Library of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region

What best qualifies you for being on the Board of Directors?
TW: Throughout my life, I have worked with youth in a variety of capacities. I have taught as an arts educator, worked as a youth-serving librarian, presented best practices trainings to mentors and mentees, and even performed with an educational theater group. This wide range of experience allowed me the opportunity to view youth services through many lenses and truly understand the power of a supportive network of advocates. My experience in the field– navigating challenges and learning from others–has given me a perspective necessary to providing for the unique needs of library workers who serve teens. Similarly, my experience serving on a number of advocacy boards in my own community has given me a better idea of how to leverage these positions of power to support those we serve.

How do you envision furthering YALSA’s mission if elected to this position?
TW: The Board is in a unique position to use its platform to advocate for teens and those who serve teens. If elected to this position, I would encourage the Board to consider the following phrase in our mission statement: “especially those with the greatest needs.” I would examine the ways in which we determine the needs of teens, the methods we use to reach these communities, and the strategies we employ to engage communities with limited resources.

What would be the most exciting aspect of this position? The most challenging?
TW: One of the most exciting parts of managing YALSAblog and serving on the editorial advisory team for YALS has been drawing from experiences outside the library world. I would like to spread this interdisciplinary approach to the Board, looking towards trends and challenges in other teen-serving fields and learning from experiences outside our own. This type of broad exploration of teen services can inform the resources we share, the support we offer, and the framework for the future of YALSA. In addition, by leveraging our connections with others within and outside libraries, we can expand the variety of collaborative educational opportunities we can offer our community. I anticipate that, as we transition into whatever our new normal is, we will need to mindfully balance the support we offer. That is to say, we will continue to offer our network what they need to navigate a world impacted by COVID-19–from virtual programming ideas to workplace mental health resources to COVID protocol support. Simultaneously, we must do what we can to consider the larger field of youth services and equip our library workers to remain systems of support for their teens not just in the next year, but the next five years, the next ten years. In other words, I believe we need to think deliberately about both the micro and macro needs of our community at this moment in history. This transition will certainly be a challenge, but we can look to the library staff in our own YALSA community as models of adaptability, creativity, and resilience as we move forward.

Please share a recent example(s) where you made a shift to better focus on the current needs of teens.
TW: When I volunteered to run for 2020 Youth Services Division Chair of the Pennsylvania Library Association, I could have never predicted the kind of term I was in for. Of course, the past year has forced us all to flex–and in some cases, overextend–our adaptability muscles. As a leader within my state’s association, my priorities certainly shifted in order to support my fellow library workers as they moved quickly behind the scenes to provide for their communities. As I worked with my leadership team to plan our monthly meetings, we considered what might be most immediately helpful for those serving teens. We facilitated several highly practical meetings, featuring our own library staff from around the state who offered their ideas for virtual programming, plans for take-and make kits, and reliable mental health resources. We also offered these meetings as a space where our community could voice pressing concerns– for example, how to best track attendance and evaluate impact in a virtual environment–in a receptive and supportive environment.

What is the most pressing issue facing YALSA today?

Recently, I delivered a training to mentors in my community. Within this curriculum, we show a video demonstration of “The Privilege Walk,” an interactive exercise that shines a light on the many dimensions of privilege and inherited social capital. After the video ended, a participant made a point that still echoes in my thoughts. She noted that, while this exercise made a good point, it was made by amplifying the trauma of others. It is essential to consider not just issues facing our community, but the larger context of those issues. If we are to truly offer support to staff who work with youth “from a variety of backgrounds,” we must take on the challenge of continuous education, we must be comfortable being uncomfortable, and we must view our work through a lens of cultural humility. The most pressing issue facing YALSA today is ensuring that inclusivity is a top priority.