Whew! I’m just back from ALA Annual Conference and taking office as your new ALSC president. There were many great things about this conference – the location (chargrilled oysters, anyone?), the exhibits, and the stellar programs presented or planned by ALSC members. But best for me were the ALSC members I met, at ALSC 101, at a party, or in a committee meeting. So many of you asked questions and expressed interest in getting involved in ALSC committees. So here’s the scoop on how to get appointed:
Fill out a volunteer form – on the ALSC website under Members.
Fill it out completely. Note your background. Note if you require a virtual assignment. Note which committees you prefer, but if at all possible, check “I will serve wherever needed!”
Fill it out at any time of year, and send it in. A great time to send in your form is in March. But there is no bad time to send in your form. We have unexpected vacancies occurring on committees throughout the year, and we make new appointments to these. If you haven’t been appointed and it has been a while, send in another form. It never hurts.
The Vice-President makes appointments to process committees (non-award committees) in the spring (March, April, May, into June.)
After that Vice-President becomes president, he or she makes award committee appointments in late summer/early fall.
So you may be saying – aha, I’ll time it and send in a volunteer form after Annual so that I can get appointed to an award committee.
But here’s the deal: literally dozens more applicants ask for award committees than there are spaces. As president, I am particularly interested in appointing volunteers who have previously served on non-award committees.
Why? First, award committee service carries a lot of responsibility. A track record of excellent service on process (non-award) committees demonstrates that you will be a diligent and trustworthy award committee member. Secondly, while process committees are also fun and a great learning experience, they are considered less glamorous. Yet their work is essential to ALSC’s mission. I appreciate members who have recognized this and spent time contributing, even if their skills or preferences are more suited to awards committees.
My best advice is to volunteer for a variety of committees, accept the assignments you’re offered, and enjoy the learning! Hope to see your volunteer form very soon!