Guest Blogger

Challenges and Joys of Serving in Rural Kentucky

Twelve months ago, I entered the library world as a Children & Youth Services Coordinator in rural Bath County, KY and both the struggles and the joys that come with serving this community continue to surprise me. To give you an idea of my county, you need to know exactly what I mean by rural. approximately 1000 people in town 12,000 people in the county 80% of the population live in poverty Transportation is a major concern few people having the means to purchase gas for a car no forms of public transportation – no shuttles, buses, or taxis; no Uber or Lyft. Aging community Few local businesses No major industry Illiteracy is high Public education is poorly funded All of this means that the library is very necessary and yet viewed as an unnecessary relic. Many people continue to believe that the library is for people with money who…

ALA Annual 2018

All about the mentors…#alaac18

ALA Annual is many things to me. The best time of year? yes! Librarian Christmas (or huge celebration?) Yes! Professional development? yes! Networking? Yes! Lots of decked out librarians in their finest cat or mermaid creations? Yes and yes and yes and yes! lol! But one thing that ALA Annual means to me is mentorship. When I was a wee librarian at my first ALA- now 5 years ago- I immediately signed up for a conference mentor through NMRT and I have been lucky enough to keep meeting with her years later! ALA is overwhelming… conferences are gigantic and jam-packed and even when you are not #alaleftbehind you can develop serious #FOMO when you are there! It is impossible to do everything, and you may or may not luck into doing just some of the things you wanted to do! So search out what interests you in the organization and…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

2018 And Life to Go: Resolutions Anyone?!

Not Another New Year’s Resolution Article I promise.  No eye candy.  No videos strung by html with care.  But it is Elf themed, which you need to watch if you haven’t already. You’ve got just six weeks and four days before the new year makes you keep writing 2017 for a few weeks.  Resolution lists anyone?  Please tell me you aren’t recycling last years, or even lamely “upcycling” them, just to sound trendy or get your friends off your back.  Let’s get real, and let’s apply it to our professional world.  Here we go… Mentoring For the love of candy canes, you have a story to tell, and believe it or not, you could totally help out an up and coming mentee.  No, really.  And it’s easy to get matched. For example, Florida Library Association has a mentoring program every year, that officially only runs one year at a time,…

Blogger Elizabeth Serrano

Fall Mentoring Program: Become an ALSC Mentor

mentoring program

Last week, ALSC opened its applications for the Fall 2017 Mentoring Program. As expressed in my previous post regarding mentoring, we understand that this program, and more opportunities to help develop and empower librarians, are increasingly becoming more necessary and important with the times. This has already proven to be true because in just its few days of being open, we have received over 25 mentee applicants!  Change.  ALSC is hoping to implement some changes in the program this year, beginning with the application itself. We’ve added sections to both mentee and mentor applications: Gender, Geographic Region, and Race/Ethnicity. We are hoping that by the addition of these sections, we’re demonstrating our commitment to our strategic plan objectives, while demonstrating our commitment to smarten the way we match. These additions, along with other changes in support, will help us improve communication between matches, which will ultimately lead to a more…

Blogger Elizabeth Serrano

Become an ALSC Mentor!

Call for Mentors! During alaac17, I was particularly surprised at how much the term “mentorship” came about in conversation. From Board meetings, to our Emerging Leaders discussions, there was a lot of importance stressed on the development and improvement of mentorship opportunities.  Throughout the past few rounds of our mentoring program, there has usually been a trend of getting more mentee applications than mentor applications. I am hoping that this changes once we open applications later this month for Fall 2017. We’re hoping to get as many matches as we can. Applications… Applications will open later this month, but if you are interested in becoming a mentor or have any suggestions, please contact me, eserrano@ala.org! There has been some great blog posts by mentors and mentees, and I would love to see more of them. As a new employee, I am very eager to flesh out this program and see…

ALA Annual 2017

ALSC Mentor Program #alaac17

As a new youth librarian, I was very excited by the opportunity to participate in the ALSC Mentoring Program. This is a free program open to anyone (you don’t have to be an ALSC or ALA member to participate as a mentee). I wrapped up my program by meeting my mentor in person at ALA Annual! As a mentee, I talked with my awesome mentor, Megan Egbert, once a month about our libraries and the various challenges we were facing. We set goals for our program, including: Reviewing what each ALSC committee does and submitting a volunteer application. (This resulted in me getting appointed to the Notable Children’s Recordings committee.) Sharing useful resources in a Google document and discussing our favorites each month. Interviewing a different youth librarian each month. This led to some awesome conversations with Mel Depper, Carissa Christner, Amy Koester, Claudia Haines, and more amazing youth library leaders. It…

Blogger Ericka Chilcoat

A Reminder to Support Our Colleagues

Many years ago, I was scheduled to attend a library workshop about an hour away and I was running late. I knew that the library where the meeting was being held was closed that day, and the attendees had received instructions to ring the doorbell at the back door to be let in. I got there and rang the bell, but ten minutes later, I was still waiting.  I texted a co-worker who was also attending the workshop and she got the word to one of the facilitators who came and opened the door for me. No one wants to be the one catching the cow by the tail, not knowing what you’ve missed and having all eyes on you,  but soon I settled into my seat, and the discussion and had a question for the instructor. The administrator responsible for handling the housekeeping portion of the workshop announced to everyone that…