Last year I had the privilege of joining the 2018 class of ALA Emerging Leaders and was doubly honored to be sponsored by ALCTS. Although I’d previously served on committees and task forces within ALCTS, I didn’t have a strong sense of the larger picture of ALA’s structure and governance, and where I might fit into it. All that changed during the program. Through presentations, speakers, and the ongoing conversations facilitated by the leaders of the program, I gained a keener understanding of some of how ALA functions, both internally, as well as for librarianship, libraries and librarians.
It was also humbling to sit in session with such passionate champions for change as my new colleagues. During one Emerging Leader event, members of my cohort told Jim Neal that it’s not enough to provide scholarships and do outreach to underrepresented folks if we don’t change our culture so that they feel welcome to make librarianship their own. They made it clear that all the equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives in the world won’t work if we aren’t able to retain and support new people in the field.
During one Emerging Leader event, members of my cohort told Jim Neal that it’s not enough to provide scholarships and do outreach to underrepresented folks if we don’t change our culture so that they feel welcome to make librarianship their own.
While the program’s overall focus on leadership and specifically leadership within ALA was of great interest, the best part of my experience was without a doubt my team members. I learned as much from Jay Colbert, Aisha Conner-Gaten, Garrison Libby, and Rhiannon Sorrell as I did from the rest of the program. Go Team B!
With the incredible assistance and guidance from Naomi Bishop and Lillian Chavez, our American Indian Library Association (AILA) liaisons, we worked toward creating a web-based directory of Tribal libraries, archives, and museums (TLAMs). The directory was to include names, contact information, locations, and the Tribes or communities served by the institutions. The directory was to be visualized using a map of North America, divided not by states but by Tribal lands and institutions.
With the incredible assistance and guidance from Naomi Bishop and Lillian Chavez, our American Indian Library Association liaisons, we worked toward creating a web-based directory of Tribal libraries, archives, and museums.
The project wasn’t fully completed to all of our specifications by the time our six months were up and we had to present our poster at the ALA Annual Conference. However, we did make headway at collating disparate print directories of TLAMs into a single cohesive digital document. We’d also begun our work on the visual map interface but had not completed it. We learned by discussions with our liaisons and by reaching out to TLAMs through a survey about some of the myriad challenges faced by TLAMs throughout North America. It was an experience I know we are all taking with us.
The first ALA conference I attended was the 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston. As I added meetings and sessions to my calendar I realized that ALCTS was clearly the division that represented most of my interests in librarianship. Afterward, I knew that ACLTS was more than that—it was my home within ALA. I’m honored that they selected me, and I plan to continue to be an active member. I’m currently serving a one-year term as intern to the ALCTS Board of Directors. As ALCTS continues to design its future, I intend to be there to help shape the home of technical services within ALA.