Last month, your YALSA Executive Committee moved forward with budgeting plans for the next fiscal year and in setting a priority to fund strategic planning activities. We’ve also been keyed into finding solutions for the programs and activities that were scheduled for the 2020 ALA Annual conference. In doing so, your YALSA Board is moving these pieces along with special attention to our fiduciary obligations given the current ALA financial environment.
During fiscal year 2020, YALSA’s budget plans were substantially impacted as current funds were utilized to cover ALA expenses. Furthermore, not just YALSA funds, but all other ALA division budgets were also impacted. The utilization of division funds is fully within ALA authority and is a strategy all divisions agreed upon, as is stated in the ALA operating agreement. With these current financial challenges in mind, your YALSA board is planning the next fiscal year’s activities from the seat of a zero-based budget to address our overall YALSA financial health. Perhaps you may wonder “but what does that really mean?” In a nutshell, this means:
- The YALSA Board continues to fully support that we are ALL ALA and maintains shared ALA values.
- The YALSA Board values the flexibility of the ALA operating agreement that provides us the opportunity to achieve our mission: to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens – especially those with the greatest need – on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.
- The YALSA Board is interested in addressing solutions for improving the operating agreement’s policy strategies. One such strategy may be supporting a more efficient and targeted communication within the internal ALA structure on such matters. In other words, the YALSA Board is more interested in moving forward together, rather than dwelling on any errors of yesterday.
This also means that, as we move through these opportunities and challenges, we welcome your questions, comments, or concerns you may have regarding our financial situation. While we may have our own perspectives, your voice is vitally important in guiding the YALSA Board and focusing our efforts in better collaboration with our ALA Executive Board on YALSA members’ priorities.
We appreciate your time in sharing your thoughts regarding the future of YALSA’s financial health and, in doing so, the financial health of ALA.
Todd Krueger, YALSA President, and Amanda Barnhart, YALSA President-Elect