On February 3, YALSA welcomed LaMoya N Burks, as our new Interim Executive Director. LaMoya N. Burks, is currently the head librarian at Texarkana (Texas) College’s Palmer Memorial Library, a doctoral student at Texas A&M University – Texarkana, and a longtime member leader within YALSA. Dawn Kirkpatrick, Board Director, interviewed her for the YALSA Blog.
Q: You have an extensive background working within ALA and YALSA, can you speak to some of the roles and work that you are most proud of?
I loved the opportunity to team build with Pura Belpre Task Force members even in the turbulent times of lockdown. The work continued with bright smiles on computer screens. The Committee on Legislation and Committee on Literacy moves with urgency. My first opportunity was as an intern for the Chapter Relations Committee where I spent a lot of time exploring and understanding the importance of each state’s role in the association.
Q: What will be the most exciting aspect of your new role? The most challenging?
I am thrilled to work with staff and all of our team members across the nation to spend more time on something so precious -young lives. I am up for the challenge to improve how to invite and provide equitable services for them to inspire ideas and eagerness to explore all things in the library. The pandemic presents both known and unknown areas we can improve and strengthen our profession in an effort to support young adults. It is vital to support YALSA staff and the Board to bridge those gaps and remain abreast of trends.
Q: Tell us a bit about your doctoral research and how you think this will benefit you in your new role.
The role of the librarian to ensure quality services is critical as we advance in society. How we continue to improve services for communities, such as in rural areas, meets economic development efforts by providing equitable access to impacting the livelihood of all people. Skills, tools, and an avenue for creativity are provided by our libraries and are certainly necessary to thrive in society. Our youth depend heavily on being heard-focus groups and design strategies can be used to invite the conversation. My research presents the scope of the librarian professional’s role and futuristic planning and action to address the information-seeking behavior of all patrons.
Q: As Librarians we all have that favorite or most impactful book from our youth, what was this title for you?
So many. Anything by Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Virginia Hamilton, or Mildred Taylor, and definitely the Babysitters Club book series. My favorite thriller was Wait Until Helen Comes. As a very young child all books from the I CAN READ BOOK CLUB such as Arthur’s Tooth because my father’s name is Arthur LOL.
Q: What are you reading? What are you listening to or watching?
I am reading Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Freire again, one of my favorites. It’s just a great motivator for me. Also, What the Fireflies Knew by Harris, and I am anxiously awaiting my copy of The Black Librarian in America by Josey. I am finishing up Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk by McDonald, with my boys,
I make a practice to remain abreast of trends weekly as much as possible with journals, news, and podcasts ranging from school, trade, and higher education, computer automation . . and definitely a browser of all things.
Q: What else would you like us to know about you that you haven’t had the opportunity to share yet?
As I continue in the interim position with YALSA, the growth over the next few months will present my leadership abilities, with the strength of the team and YALSA. ALA is on its way to new horizons. I challenge everyone to synergize alongside us -our association thrives with the assessment of where the profession has taken us, where we are now, and what we expect and project for the future. It begins now.