Several years ago, in September of 2013, I wrote an article for this column, and I’ve been asked to write an update of my ALCTS experience.
My first ALCTS experience 17 years ago set the tone for every ALCTS interaction since then. I was warmly welcomed into the community and shown the skills I needed to navigate a very large conference. I was given a safe place to learn to grow as a professional and the freedom to ask “dumb” questions while feeling respected at the same time. I have been privileged to be able to represent ALCTS at various levels, from committee intern to Director-At-Large on the ALCTS Board of Directors.
There are so many ways to learn more about librarianship with ALCTS and to become involved in an active and interesting community. I encourage everyone who is interested in finding a community in ALA to become involved with ALCTS. Join discussions on an ALCTS e-forum, volunteer for committees, watch some of the Continuing Education Committee’s webinars!
I am currently participating in one of the newer initiatives for the division, the ALCTS Mentoring Program, which has been a very rewarding experience for me. The program was launched in 2017 and brings together ALCTS members who volunteer to participate. I am mentoring an early-career cataloger from another university who is an ALCTS new member. We have a monthly virtual meeting and talk about many topics, from the hiring process, to research and presentations, and how to navigate ALA conferences. We got together in person at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver.
My ALCTS experience has helped me to lean into goals I didn’t have in mind when I was in library school. Working within ALCTS has helped me to become a leader in my areas of expertise and to grow as a professional. Now I have had the opportunity to give back to ALCTS as a volunteer mentor, too.