Social Media Policy for YALSA Appointees

This policy governs the publication of original messages and commentary on others’ messages via social media by YALSA committee chairs, members, administrative assistants, consultants and liaisons when they are speaking as such.  For the purposes of this document, social media means any tool for online publication and commentary, including, but not limited to blogs, wikis, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Goodreads, Flickr, and YouTube.

Appointees’ posts on social media can help YALSA expand its reach and increase its impact by: helping to raise awareness about the mission and work of YALSA and the committee, building a sense of community among the association, helping to improve the knowledge or skills of librarians and library workers, providing a virtual means to engage the association, and more.

Social media is an effective communication tool but sometimes it can be challenging for members to reconcile their public and private social media activities in terms of their role on a YALSA committee.  Social media is designed for self-expression and encourages conversations.  This policy and accompanying guidelines provides a framework for appointees to engage in these activities effectively and ethically.

Statement of Policy

Permission: While serving on a YALSA committee, appointees are both granted permission to and are encouraged to use social media as a conduit for informing the young adult library community about projects and initiatives of the association and work of the committee. This needs to occur in a professional and ethical manner.

ALA Policy Compliance: YALSA committee appointees must also comply with relevant ALA policies and guidelines, including those that relate to ALA elections and campaigning. ALA guidelines state “appointed committee chairs, or members of committees may endorse candidates, and may use ALA electronic discussion lists to express their support for individual candidate or candidates for ALA offices, as long as they do not use their official titles or create an impression that they are speaking on behalf of an ALA committee or unit of ALA. Candidates can list endorsers by name, but not by ALA title or office. Executive Board members shall not endorse any candidate in any ALA election.”  Visit http://bit.ly/z2qLEX (.pdf) to read the full guidelines.

Federal Law Compliance: In order to protect the 501c3 status of ALA, there are topics that association members are not permitted to publish via any an official ALA or YALSA communication tool, including social media (e.g. YALSA’s Facebook page or the yalsa-bk listserv). When posting on any association resource, individuals cannot call for a boycott of a product or company. In addition, individuals posting via an official association communication tool may not endorse or oppose any federal, state or local candidate running for political office.

Defamatory Speech: Posting of defamatory and/or offensive material is strictly prohibited, including but not limited to hate-speech, name-calling and personal insults.

Copyright: All postings must be free of copyright restrictions that limit distribution. For example, posting a significant amount of a copyrighted work verbatim requires the permission of the copyright holder. To verify that such permission was obtained, all postings of this nature must include a statement that this is the case.

Confidentiality:

  • Using social media to communicate about award committee activities prior, during or after closed award committee meetings, discussions or votes is not permitted. 
  • Personal opinions about other committee appointees, specific committee decisions, etc. are not appropriate to share via social media. 
  • Always ask for permission from the President and Executive Director before identifying a member, partner, or sponsor and never discuss confidential details of any individual’s or organization’s engagement in YALSA.

YALSA Name & Logo: Comply with existing name and logo policies, as outlined in the YALSA Handbook, www.ala.org/yalsa/aboutyalsa/yalsahandbook

Following the Policy

It is best to err on the side of caution. If a member is unsure whether or not something is appropriate to post on social media, he or she should contact their Committee Chair before making the post live.  A Chair who is unsure about policy compliance should contact his or her Board Liaison.  If a member, for whatever reason, takes an action that is in conflict with this policy, he or she will be contacted to resolve the situation and may be asked to withdraw, correct, or revise postings.  If the post is determined to be egregious, or intentionally hurtful, the individual may be asked to resign from his or her position by the YALSA President.

Guidelines

For Every Appointee

Logistics

  • In order to help distinguish when you’re speaking as an individual and when you’re speaking as a YALSA Committee appointee, you may want to consider setting up two accounts for each of the social media tools on which you post. One account would be used for your role on a YALSA Committee and the other account would be used for your personal postings.
  • YALSA believes in transparency and honesty. Use your real name, be clear who you are, identify what capacity you serve in YALSA and do not post anonymously, use pseudonyms or use false screen names.
  • Use tags when posting YALSA content (e.g. #yalsa or @yalsa) to help ensure your message reaches its targeted audience.
    • For selected list committees, always use #bestofyalit
    • For awards committees, always use #yma (if space allows, use #bestofyalit, too)
  • Post frequently and respond to comments and replies from others quickly and accurately.
  • Know and respect your audience at all times, including YALSA and its members
  • Be smart and protect your privacy by taking simple steps such as avoiding posting personal details, like phone numbers; reading web sites’ privacy policies, making use of privacy settings on social media sites, etc.
  • Avoid social media arguments and debates and alert the President and Executive Director if you see a misrepresentation made about YALSA in social media. If you yourself are accused by anyone of posting something improperly, inform the President and Executive Director of the situation promptly in order to determine best next steps and to quickly resolve the situation.

Content

  • Regardless of what account you use for posting as a committee appointee, be sure to limit your committee-related posts to sharing information about the work of the committee, news and announcements from the committee, etc. if applicable. The committee chair will handle the official communication for the group, but committee members are sometimes called on to write articles, blogs and Twitter posts.
  • Before posting, ask yourself if the post will improve knowledge or skills of YALSA members, if it contributes directly or indirectly to the improvement of YALSA, if it builds a sense of community or it helps to promote YALSA’s mission.  If the answer is yes, post the content.  If it’s no, then don’t post it.
  • Write about what you know (always verify any facts, dates, etc. before posting anything.)
  • The following are some examples of the kinds of posts a committee member might share via social media:
    • Announcements: “The final list of titles for @YALSA’s 2014 Amazing Audiobooks list has been announced! #yma” or “Current nominations for @YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults list are posted at [insert URL] #bestofyalit”
    • New and ongoing projects: “Did you know that it’s not too late to turn in a committee volunteer form to serve on @YALSA’s 2015 selection committees? Learn more at [insert URL]” or “Submit a field suggestion for @YALSA’s Alex Awards at [insert URL]. #bestofyalit”
    • Marketing: “Congratulations to Angela Carstenson on the new book she edited for @YALSA, ‘Outstanding Books for the College Bound.’ Learn more at [insert URL] #bestofyalit”
    • PR: “Can’t wait to get to the @ALA_Library Midwinter Meeting to find out who will win this year’s Printz Award from @YALSA!”
  • What you publish will be around for a long time so consider the content carefully. Strive to make sure it is accurate and professional.
  • It is good general practice to link to others’ work rather than reproduce it. Adhere to the laws governing copyright and fair use or fair dealing of copyrighted material owned by others, including YALSA’s own trademarks, copyrights and brands.
  • Use your best judgment and be sure to make it clear that any views expressed are yours alone and do not represent the official views of YALSA.
  • Bring out your own personality and share your thoughts in a respectful and professional tone.

For Award Committee Appointees

Members of Awards Committees (Alex, Edwards, Morris, Nonfiction, Odyssey & Printz) must be very aware of how their tenure on this committee may affect their social media interactions during the year.

  • Beginning Feb. 1, 2015, award committee members may not publish reviews of titles that are eligible for their particular award during their term of service in professional journals (print and/or electronic) or other professional and personal outlets. Since YALSA committee rosters are often public information, published reviews attributed to specific committee members can be misconstrued or taken out of context and disseminated.  For more information, please read the FAQ (PDF).
  • Committee appointees must not discuss books on social media that are eligible for their award in any way that could lead to a conflict or lack of confidentiality in regards to their committee. This includes posting personal reviews in spaces such as Goodreads, blogs, or other platforms.  Mentioning the existence of a book is fine. Discussing its merits as pertains to the award criteria is not.
  • Be cautious. If you are unsure of how your social media presence reflects on the committee, contact your committee chair before you post or Tweet.
  • Public relations for the award are nearly always appropriate (e.g. – generating excitement for the announcement date.)
  • Members of confidential committees must refrain from rating books that they are reading for the committee on sites such as Goodreads, and must refrain from participating in online “mock” award discussions.
  • Remember that using social media to share any information about confidential committee meetings, discussions or votes is not permitted.  Therefore, be sure to turn off and store away electronic devices during all meetings of the committee.

For Chairs

  • A role of a committee chair is to be the spokesperson for the committee. Therefore a committee chair can ask that committee members limit their social networking discussions about committee business and allow the chair to be the “one voice” of the committee.  Be sure to make clear to all of your committee members at the start of the committee’s term.
  • Committee chairs need to act as conduits between committee members and their YALSA board liaison and staff liaison if questions arise about social networking activities of committee members.

Additional Information

Related Policies

(all policies are accessible from the YALSA Handbook)

  • Ethical Behavior Policy for Volunteers
  • Use of Division Name
  • Logo Use Policy
  • YALSA Electronic Discussion List Policies & Procedures
  • YALSA Blog Policies
  • Conflict of Interest Policy and Guidelines for Awards & Selection Committees
  • YALSA Board Social Media Policy

Marketing

Social Media

  • YALSA Academy (www.youtube.com/yalsa1957): brief, instructional videos:
    • Getting to Know Facebook Timeline
    • Twitter Basics
    • YALSA Academy How-to Videos

Adopted by YALSA’s Board of Directors, January 2012 and updated June 2014