Organizational Plan FAQ (2016 - 2018)

Where can I find the 2016 - 2018 Organizational Plan?

The plan is online at:


Why did YALSA go through an organizational planning process?

YALSA’s former strategic plan ran through 2015. With the previous plan coming to an end, the YALSA Board started the new strategic planning process in 2014.  However, once that got started, the Board realized that they needed to do more than just update the plan, because of the report “The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action,” which lays out a new vision for teen services. So, they took a step further back to rethink the entire mission, focus and structure of YALSA to make sure that YALSA would well-positioned to help its members adopt the recommendations in the report.

What makes this process and plan different than other processes and plans that YALSA has been through?

In the past YALSA did not have a visioning document that set out a framework for the future of library services for and with teens. This time around, the association did have that document, “The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action.”  When the Board started the strategic planning process they realized that this document did provide a framework for the work to come.

Our new organizational plan is different from the past strategic plan format in a few key ways. First, it is a three year plan, not a five year one. Additionally, the plan has new components including an intended impact statement, a theory of change statement, organizational outcomes, and a learning agenda. Traditional elements, such as goals and objectives and an action plan are also included.  Lastly, this new plan includes new mission and vision statements for YALSA.

What is a theory of change and why is it a part of YALSA’s new organizational plan?

The Bridgespan website describes a theory of change this way: “A theory of change starts with the change in the world you want to see and works backward to lay out everything you think will need to happen to bring it about. It identifies the key players who will need to be involved, what each of those players will have to do, and why they are likely to behave in the way you expect.”

For YALSA’s organizational plan, the theory of change connects to the framework for library services set out by the Futures Report and focuses on a set of goals that the YALSA Board determined are most important to moving the association forward within a futures focused mindset.  The Theory of Change also includes activities and resources that need to be in place in order to succeed with this change over the next three years.  

What is an intended impact statement and why is it a part of YALSA’s new organizational plan?

YALSA’s new plan is outcomes based and the intended impact is the goal that YALSA wants to accomplish through the vision, mission, and priorities of the organizational plan.  The intended impact statement will help us stay more focused on our goals and can be used as a sort of measuring stick when determining whether proposed new activities align with YALSA’s focus.

What is a learning agenda and why is it a part of YALSA’s new organizational plan?

The learning agenda lays out the different areas for which YALSA needs to gather more information in order to achieve what it sets out in the organizational plan.  Some of this learning will be through traditional research and learning methods, some learning will require communicating with a variety of stakeholders, and some will take longer amounts of time than others.

What are the priority areas of the new plan and how were they developed?

There are three broad priority areas of the new YALSA Organizational Plan:

  • Leading the Transformation of Library Teen Services which encompasses supporting library staff in learning and implementing the ideas presented in the YALSA Futures Report.  This will be accomplished through continuing education opportunities, helping library staff who work with teens become leaders in their libraries and communities, working with state associations, focusing on diversity within YALSA, highlighting best practices, and building cultural competency among members and staff.

  • Advocacy with a focus on 1) supporting library staff as they work with teens and others to conduct advocacy in their communities and 2) YALSA advocating for library teen services externally with funders, legislators, partners, and other stakeholders.

  • Funder and Partner Development which is rooted in creating, maintaining, and sustaining partner and funder relationships to support members and ensure YALSA’s sustainability and capacity for the work that’s needed.

The YALSA Board developed these three priority areas through facilitated discussion over a five- month period. The discussions were led by Eric Meade and Les Wallace of the Whole Mind Strategy Group.  The Board considered an environmental scan of the field and the needs of teens, member feedback, and the Futures Report in coming to consensus around these priority areas.

How will YALSA align its current work with the new plan?

With the approval of the full organizational plan, the YALSA Board will begin a months’ long process of reviewing all of YALSA’s programs, services and initiatives while keeping in foremost in mind members’ most critical needs, especially those needs that aren’t being addressed already by YALSA or others. The Board will also work to identify what existing activities best supports the vision, mission, intended impact, and priority areas agreed upon by the Board of Directors.  As a part of that process, Board members will carefully consider the capacity of the association and make sure that activities that the association moves forward with support the current plan and the human and fiscal capacity of the organization.  After the review is complete, various board members will put together some proposals for the board to discuss and vote on to make any recommended changes official.

I have some can I share them/get involved?

The Board is fully committed to engaging members throughout the process of the plan implementation and organizational alignment..  As a first step, please share your thoughts via this short survey. There will also be an open session at the ALA Annual Conference from 8:30-10:00 am on Sat. June 25 called “What's New in YALSA & How You can be a Part of It?”  Beyond that YALSA will be surveying members at various points during the year in order to get feedback to guide the rollout of the plan.

What if I have other questions about the new plan? Who should I contact about them?

If you have questions feel free to get in touch with Candice Mack, YALSA’s 2015 - 2016 President, or Beth Yoke, YALSA’s Executive Director.

I see something in the plan that I want to help with.  How can I volunteer to help out?

Contact Candice Mack, YALSA’s 2015 - 2016 President, or Beth Yoke, YALSA’s Executive Director, or fill out this brief online form.

I want to learn more and I’m going to ALA’s Annual Conference.  Is there anything I can attend while there?
There will be a program all about the new Organizational Plan at Annual and you’ll want to attend that.  The program is titled “What's New in YALSA & How You can be a Part of It” and will be held on Saturday, June 25th from 8:30 to 10:00 AM.  You are also welcome to sit in on all of YALSA’s Board meetings. Learn more on YALSA's wiki.

Why should I care about the new plan?

YALSA’s Board sees this plan as the key to transforming teen services, including providing more support to members in their daily work so that they have the resources they need to provide the best possible services and resources to the teens in their community.  In order to make the lives of the nation’s teens better, and to help you be more successful in your work, YALSA needs your support for the new plan and the activities and initiatives that will go along with it.

What will be different now that YALSA has a new organizational plan?

The Board supports the idea of re-envisioning YALSA so that it can respond more quickly to member needs and provide new ways for members to engage with the association that fit their interests, preferences and schedule.  However, the Board can’t say right away everything will be different, because a first step in implementing the plan will be restructuring the association.  Once a vision for a new structure is laid out, then the Board will begin determining what existing YALSA groups, activities, services and programs need to evolve in some capacity, and work with members to determine what the new structure will look like.   The implementation plan that outlines what activities YALSA will take to fulfill its new goals, does include some new activities for YALSA, such as developing a train the trainer program around cultural competency, as well as developing leadership resources.  The implementation plan is a yearly document, so right now just the first 12 months are mapped out.