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
- 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
- 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!