YALSA members-you showed up! Attending conference during a pandemic and for me-as President-you definitely feel all the things! It is the members though that showed up for the YALSA Mixer at
Busboys and Poets (thank you YOUmedia and Learning Times), the small group conversations we held at YALSA 301 to talk about the possibilities of involvement in governance, the thoughtful and provoking educational presentations by members and the well-attended Coffee Klatch on early Sunday morning that brought the energy to such an enormous event!

It’s a lot to process and for the nervous system in general when many of us may have been taking a pause from large scale events for a bit. But before we put our nose to the grind again or sit behind that reference desk or whatever shape our job may take us in this week I’d also encourage you not to hesitate. Did you exchange cards with someone that you made a connection with in YALSA? Did Franklin Escobedo, incoming YALSA President, share some volunteer opportunities that you are thinking about? Are you scrolling through photos and remember how they made you feel -like you might want to do it all again (hello upcoming Symposium in Baltimore!). Don’t hesitate-just do it. Get your morning coffee (if that’s your habit) and register, sign up, send that email! If you didn’t go to conference. . . maybe you’re still curious! Like us on socials, check out our site, and reach out!

As the last blog post as your President, I also wanted to share some of the items the Board discussed at meetings this conference. Thank you to the Evaluating Volunteer Resources Task Force for your recommendations on helping YALSA align with our EDI Plan. For Board members who brought forth a document on making the member grant and scholarship applications a more fair and equitable process. This input was directly from members which shapes YALSA and in turn give us resources to better serve teens. A comprehensive agenda and documents can be found here. Minutes will be posted soon.

A huge thank you to YALSA staff as well for continuing to support our work and ‘make the magic happen.’ The information that is put online, the sponsors at our conference sessions, the membership process, the swag, the budget. . . . .all YALSA staff. Thank you LaMoya, Letitia, Carla, Ninah and Rachel!

I look forward to continuing to serve members as Immediate Past President and the incoming Board and President Escobedo where I’m needed!

What a wild and wonderful year!

Thank you,

Kelly

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

2020-2021 YALSA President-Elect Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki (she/her)
YALSA President
2021-2022
Photo credit: Taken by Kelly Czarnecki

It’s been a tough month for many reasons. I hope you’re taking care of yourself and able to find some time to rest and recharge if that is what is calling for you.

Here are some of the highlights from May:

-May has been a busy month for YALSA. We’re planning for Annual of course; working with the Board Development and Division of Membership Promotion to create YALSA 301 and 101 where you’ll learn more how to get involved. I’ve been meeting with my Presidential TaskForce all year to prepare for our program on Monday of conference. For more information on YALSA at ALA Annual, visit here.

-We also held our first YALSA Membership Forum since sharing the Strategic Plan with members earlier this year. We anticipate having the forums on a more regular basis. Thank you for all that were able to attend. The meeting was recorded, so if you were unable to make it, you’ll get to watch the replay.

-Membership has steadily increased each month! We are currently around 3400 of total members! Welcome everyone-we’re so glad you’re here!

-Met with ALA Continuing Education and YALSA ED to continue planning future YALSA CE offerings

-Appointed a Board rep for the ALA EDI Assembly for next term (Thank you Liz!)

-I worked with our YALSA Spectrum Scholars to include a quote from their experiences and will include in my end of year report.

-Connected those YALSA members that have stipend positions with the Executive Director so they’re ready for attending Annual.

-I shared applications for the YALSA ALA Liaison with the YALSA President-Elect and Immediate Past President.

-Attended a meeting with other Division leads (ED and President) to be informed of the recommendations TAG (Transforming ALA Governance) is presenting to Council at Annual.

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

2020-2021 YALSA President-Elect Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki (she/her)
YALSA President
2021-2022

Photo credit: spring by promanex is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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.

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!