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!

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 lsmith@ala.org or myself Franklin Escobedo fescobedo@cityoflarkspur.org 

I’ll see you too in DC!

Franklin Escobedo
YALSA President-Elect 2021-2022

This month felt like a shift in many things. Mask mandates across the country which usually follows a change in library services offered, preparations for ALA Annual 2022 with registration starting, an Interim Executive Director appointed to YALSA! And of course some days of warmer weather here and there. As always, we’re grateful for the hard work of the volunteers, particularly the book selection committees who have spent many months and countless hours identifying the top reads. During a time when many titles are a battleground, it’s courageous for folks to promote a diversity of books for every reader.

Here’s some of the work the Board and I have been up to:

  • Welcomed new Interim YALSA ED, LaMoya Burks at the beginning of this month!
  • Hosted the YALSA Candidates Forum along with the Board and YALSA members. ALA Presidential Candidates, Emily Drabinski and Kelvin Watson also participated
  • Appointed Stephanie Johnson as the new Hub Member Manager
  • Participated in a meeting with Teens Top Ten Chair, Shira P., Board Liaison Stacey, Staff Member Michael and former Chair Stephanie C.
  • Gave the introduction at the Morris Award Presentation and the Excellence in Nonfiction for YAs Award. Such amazing panels! Excellent work by the committees!
  • Continued working with Board members on EDI work, Promoting Professional Success for Underrepresented Groups
  • Connected with Chairs and Board liaisons regarding the February Quarterly Chair report
  • Met with YALSA Member Manager, Letitia, and new DMP Chair, Jessica to bring her up to speed
  • Preparing for ALA Annual-just around the corner!
  • Working with YALSA Division Councilor, Liz on resolutions for YALSA members
  • Worked with YALSA staff to set up a joint Connect page for AASL/ALSC/YALSA Executive Committee members
  • Met with President’s Taskforce members. A webinar and snack and chat are headed your way next month on the topic of re-building teen social capital!

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

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.

Friends of YALSA is happy to introduce the 2022 Campaign, With You in 2022 .

 This campaign reflects the growing importance of YALSA’s mission and work in the following areas:

  • Advocacy: educating members, library workers, the general public and policy makers about the importance of providing excellent library services to teens, and the critical role that library workers and libraries play in helping teens develop key literacy skills and a lifelong appreciation of reading.
  • Continuous Learning: creating opportunities for all members and library workers to grow through grants, providing scholarships to those in need and offering distance learning and institutes.
  • Planning for the Future: helping to attract new members and retain existing ones, creating public awareness campaigns, planning and carrying out new initiatives to pursue excellence in library service to young adults, and more.
  • Research: guiding and promoting research in the field of young adult librarianship through grants, publications and other means to ensure that the field of librarianship has the necessary knowledge to meet the needs of teens.
  • Teen Literacies: sponsoring literacy initiatives such as Teen Read Week, YALSA’s booklists and book awards, and guaranteeing YALSA’s place in the forefront of our nation’s adolescent literacy campaigns.

What else does Friends of YALSA support? 100% of your donations fund FOY’s initiatives, which includes YALSA’s Awards and Grants:

  • 2 Spectrum Scholars
  • ALA Liaison
  • Young Adult Services Symposium Stipends
  • 1 Emerging Leader
  • Frances Henne Research Grant
  • Innovation Award
  • MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens
  • Writing Award
  • Collection Development Grant

You may donate by credit card via the ALA Development Office’s secure website, or send a contribution by mail by downloading and completing the paper form. Send your donation to: Friends of YALSA, 225 North Michigan Ave, STE 1300, Chicago, IL 60601.

Thank you in advance for your support, gift, time and generosity.

Sincerely,

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

~Joel Shoemaker, YALSA Financial Advancement Committee Chair on behalf of the Financial Advancement Committee