This year is a time of transition and YALSA staff and the YALSA board have been busy since Annual revamping the organizational structure. We’ve written about what’s going on before, but I wanted to post another update. Check out this PowerPoint slideshow to see how the Board is re-envisioning YALSA to support our new mission. The difference between the current organizational structure on Slide 2 and the future organizational structure on Slide 3 is big!   Would you like to be a part of it? Are you interested in advocacy, cultural competence, diversifying & expanding the membership, fund and partner development, leadership development, leading the transformation of teen services or state level outreach and engagement? If so, complete this short form. After the organizational realignment is complete next year, we’ll be looking for members to participate in short-term opportunities in those categories–if you have an idea, be sure to share it on the form. Look for more information coming soon on this blog!  While the reorganization involves more than just committees, most of the questions I’ve received are about those, so here is some information that may be helpful:

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On April 27, 2016, the YALSA Board adopted a 3-year organization plan for 2016-2018. If you haven’t had a chance to look at this document, I would highly recommend that you take some time to read about the future direction for YALSA as a division. By doing so, you will gain a better understanding of how YALSA is evolving based on its report, the Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call for Action. As part of the organization plan, the Board discussed the Theory of Change and its influence over this plan, an intended impact statement, three major priorities of the plan, and finally, the learning agenda.

In this blog post, I will delve a little bit deeper into the learning agenda and highlight some areas of this section within the organization plan that particularly interested me. The different elements of this plan will involve YALSA researching further into areas that are otherwise unknown or new to the division. In order to achieve the goals of the plan, YALSA board, staff, and volunteers will need to take more time to research the priority areas laid out in the plan. These areas include leading the transformation of teen library services, advocacy, and funder and partner development. Each of these areas is critical for determining the success of the plan.   

Learning is an on-going process that can be approached in many different ways. This learning agenda highlights three: “on the job” learning, using the wealth of existing knowledge of YALSA members and library staff, and continuing education. All three of these approaches help support the learning that is necessary for the three priority areas of the organization plan. The learning agenda is an impressive step in the right direction for YALSA. A plan of this magnitude cannot succeed with constant learning and research by the division. By incorporating a learning agenda into the organization plan, YALSA is demonstrating the importance of education and research to the division.

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If you haven’t heard, the YALSA Board just approved the association’s new 3-year organizational plan. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re seriously missing out on some exciting news, not to mention a great advocacy piece. It’ll invigorate you to take action and empower change in teen services nationally and in your community.

Read it here:

During the planning sessions for the Board, YALSA’s top priorities were structured into three categories:  (1) Leading the Transformation of Teen Services, (2) Advocacy, and (3) Funder and Partner Development.

When reading the new plan, you’ll notice an emphasis placed on leveraging relationships and building a field of knowledge.  A strategy of “Leading the Transformation” is to leverage relationships with state and regional associations to promote the transformation of teen library services. Part of this member engagement strategy is to take a look at YALSA’s presence at state and regional conferences.  This is not to say that YALSA will be confined to only state conferences (or conferences for that matter), but other related associations and local library group meetups as well. The purpose of this strategy is to engage teen library leaders at the local level so that we can not only learn what members and potential members want and need from YALSA, but to better help carry out the work of the association.  

While YALSA currently exhibits at some conferences other than ALA, there hasn’t been an official plan to connect with state and regional associations.  These are essential assets and gateways to member engagement. State and regional associations are other avenues to engage with members outside of ALA sponsored events and rally together on issues relating to teen services.  Through this, we’ll hopefully answer the question, “What do state associations want, and how can YALSA help?”

Apart from being physically present at state conferences, YALSA is also looking for ways to highlight the great work being done locally. This could be something shared through YALSA communications (such as a publication or a virtual honoring), or at local events where attendees may personally recognize teen service leaders and staff from those highlighted libraries. One of the ways we’ll try to approach this is to develop a 50-state engagement strategy, with specific offerings and focus on specific leaders at the state level, including but not limited to state library association leaders and state library agency youth services consultants.

Of course, we’ll also consider YALSA’s capacity. We will seek ways to identify state and local library leaders and leverage existing member resources to state and regional associations. These strategies will help engage members, spread the word about YALSA’s resources, encourage local conversations and sharing of resources, and increase member growth. If this plan is successful, by the year 2018, we estimate there would be YALSA presence at a minimum of 10 state or regional conferences per year and YALSA membership will grow by at least 15%.

Why is this important?  

Membership growth + capacity & knowledge growth = achieve more things for teens!

To view a full list of YALSA’s presence at State and Regional Conferences, see

If you would like to get involved or have questions about the plan implementation, please share your thoughts via this short survey

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Jane Gov is a Youth Services Librarian at Pasadena Public Library, California. She is currently Financial Advancement Committee Chair and serving on the YALSA Board. You can tweet her @missjanegov.

I’ve been avidly following the 30 Days of Innovation series, and throughout the discussion I’ve been thinking about how keeping YALSA as an organization on the cutting edge is a continual process. I was reminded of the conversations the Board of Directors had when developing the Strategic Plan. With limited time, staff, and funds, the Board recognizes the challenge of developing innovation, and in response, created the Capacity Building goal in the plan. The key question is how can YALSA increase capacity so as to devote energy to innovation and the development of ideas that support members and the mission?
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One of YALSA’s greatest strengths is the talent and expertise of its members, and here’s a chance for YOU to be a spark that helps YALSA complete its goals. YALSA’s Strategic Planning Committee is pleased to announce the 2012 Great Ideas Contest in conjunction with the new Strategic Plan.

The contest is now open to all YALSA members with applications due no later than March 16, 2011. The winner will receive $250 and will be announced the week of April 23, 2011. The winning idea will address at least one of the Strategic Plan goals:

  • Advocacy & Activism
  • Research & Documentation of Best Practice
  • Continuous Learning & Professional Development
  • Member Recruitment & Engagement
  • Capacity Building & Organizational Development

During the month of February, look for a blog post by a member of the Strategic Planning Committee highlighting each goal, and see for the contest application and guidelines. ‘ We’re looking forward to hearing about your latest inspiration!

The process for developing YALSA’s new strategic plan is approaching the finish line, and now is the time to make sure your priorities as a member are reflected. ‘ Until September 30, the draft is posted on the YALSA website‘ along with an online comment form. ‘ The Strategic Planning Committee and YALSA Board are eager to hear your take. ‘ As you look it over, focus on the content and ask yourself: ‘ Are the goal areas and objectives clear and ‘ understandable? ‘ Do they reflect YALSA’s mission? Is there anything missing? ‘ Of course keep in mind that the action plan is yet to be developed and will go into more detail with very specific activities that fit under each goal area and objective.

The strategic plan is an overview of where YALSA is heading in the next few years. ‘ Don’t forget to take this opportunity to share your opinion!

Attending Annual?’  Whether you are a new member or a veteran of YALSA, you won’t want to miss an important opportunity to have your voice be’ heard.

Every member is’ encouraged to attend the Strategic Planning Session taking the place of the All Committee meeting, Saturday, June 25, 10:00-12:00 in room 352 of the convention center. (Light refreshments will be available at 10:00.)

All committees, interest and discussion groups, Board actions, initiatives, resources–really everything that makes up YALSA–must fit under the umbrella of the Strategic Plan.’  The current plan was established in 2008, and a new plan should be in place by Midwinter 2012.’  The Board is seeking your input in order to ensure that the new plan is relevant,’ meets your needs as a’ member, and addresses your priorities and concerns in the profession.

The March survey provided some’ information, but more is needed.’  Grab a friend or two and plan on attending this facilitated session.’  Here’s your chance to make a valuable contribution with a lasting impact.

Thank you to everyone who completed the Strategic Plan survey in March.’  The complete results can be found here:

During Annual Conference, a special Strategic Planning Session will be held Saturday, June 25 from 10:00-12:00 in the convention center, room 352. All members are encouraged to attend and participate by discussing the issues and trends in the field important to them.

Because the plan drives all YALSA’ activities and initiatives for the next 3-5 years, it’s vital that members share their opinions on what direction the new plan should take.’ ‘  You won’t want to miss this opportunity to be involved in the future of YALSA! (Check the wiki for more details about this and other YALSA events at Annual.)


‘ Whether you are currently a member of YALSA, a past member, or just hovering on the edges of membership, you have one more day to participate in this brief (but important!) survey. The deadline is tomorrow, March 31.

‘ YALSA will be developing a new Strategic Plan. This is a dynamic plan that is fueled by input from the greater YALSA community. For example, since the implementation of the 2008 Strategic Plan, YALSA has responded to the need to increase member participation by creating more opportunities for virtual participation. There is now a YALSA Mentoring program that pairs new teen librarians with experienced librarian mentors, and’ YALSA provides many opportunities to get involved, share ideas and network with other professionals.

So what will it be next? What can YALSA do to help you better serve the teens in your library? Take15 minutes now to complete the survey’ and contribute to the future of YALSA.

See the words “Strategic Plan” and your first reaction might be to let your eyes glaze over, but truthfully, YALSA couldn’t be the dynamic association it is without this driving document. The current Strategic Plan was established in 2008 and it’s time to embark on the revision process.

The first step is to gather input from members and those interested in teens and libraries. Take a few minutes to participate in the survey and share your vision of the future of YALSA. (We want to hear from nonmembers too.) Your priorities, interests, and concerns must be reflected in the new plan, to be in place by Midwinter 2012.’  Why is this so important?’  Because every activity, initiative, resource, and service that YALSA develops is determined by the goals and objectives of the Plan.’  Look at just a few things that the current goals of Advocacy and Marketing have generated in the past year:’ 

‘ Doing your part in determining the direction YALSA takes over the next few years is crucial. The survey period ends March 31, but why not take a few moments now and let your voice be heard?