Throughout my almost ten years as an ALA member, I have had the opportunity to be in at least four divisions—sometimes two or, at most, three at a time. Every year that I have to renew, I always keep an eye out for what divisions to drop just because the cost adds up. When I have to choose which division membership to renew or not, ALCTS never makes it to the chopping block, and I know why.
ALCTS has always been my home in ALA, and I owe a great deal to ALCTS. When I was named an ALA Emerging Leader (EL) for 2012–2013, ALCTS was my sponsor. Our EL project involved recommending financial sustainability strategies for Library Resources and Technical Services (LRTS), ALCTS’ flagship journal. The ALCTS Board of Directors considered our recommendations and led the journal’s transition to an electronic-only format that it is today.
After my stint as an emerging leader, or should I say after I “emerged,” I was appointed as an intern to the ALCTS Board of Directors. I have written about my unique experience of being an intern twice in ALCTS News so you can read more about it there. Being an intern was an experience I will never forget. It helped me understand the complex organization of ALA and the decision-making process within ALCTS. I got the chance to meet many long-time members who encouraged and supported me as I was finding my way in getting more involved within the association.
After I left the Board, ALCTS and ALA committee appointments came one after another. Within ALCTS I served on the President’s Program Committee during Mary Page’s presidency, the ALCTS New Members Interest Group (ANMIG), the ALCTS Monographs Editorial Board, and the Leadership Development Committee. At the ALA level I was asked by ALA President Jim Neal to serve on the ALA Nominating Committee.
However, the appointment that has taken most of my time and energy is the Mentoring Program subcommittee of the ALCTS Leadership Development Committee, where I served as chair for the last two years. In this role, I help lead and implement the much-awaited formal mentoring program from ALCTS. It is so gratifying to see how the mentoring program was received by our membership.
In the first cohort (2017–2018), we had 82 participants (41 pairs of mentor and mentees), which I believe is a record for an ALA Division in its inaugural mentoring program. We are now in the second cohort (2018–2019), which started their formal mentoring relationship on June 1. We were able to match 67 mentor and mentees (34 pairs) from all types of libraries. In the assessment survey we conducted with our first cohort of participants, they overwhelmingly rated their experience as excellent and satisfying. Participants also told us that the mentoring program has already made a difference in their professional life and enriched their membership experience in ALCTS.
I’d like to end by encouraging our new members to get involved with ALCTS. There are many opportunities for you to participate and be part of this vibrant professional community. We need to ensure a pipeline for new leaders that will make ALCTS relevant, inclusive, diverse, and—most importantly—welcoming to all.
Regina Gong is Open Educational Resources Project Manager/Manager of Technical Services & Systems at Lansing Community College Library. Follow her on Twitter at @drgong.