While many of you are getting ready to journey to beautiful San Diego for ALA Midwinter, I will be freezing in the northeast; but don’t feel badly for me because I won’t be left out in the cold. Why not? Because I’m a virtual member of an ALSC committee.
Are you wondering what a virtual member does? I’m sure this varies a great deal for each committee, but I can offer a glimpse of my role on the Children & Libraries Editorial Advisory Committee. Over the past year, I have encouraged colleagues to submit articles, served as a peer referee for a journal article, offered my suggestions for future issues and articles, and written a short piece for the current Winter 2010 edition of Children & Libraries. I’ve made new connections, gained new experiences, and worked with the journal’s talented editor.
Why should you join as a virtual member? There are several reasons that make membership very appealing. Our committee stays in touch via email and ALA Connect, where we can share documents (our chairperson has already posted our Midwinter agenda) and threaded comments. I can check in and offer my assistance or contributions at my own convenience. Time zones and dress codes are no obstacles to the virtual member. Even in the middle of the night, I can count on my profile photo to look bright and cheery! And if family obligations, conflicting commitments, or financial concerns (your own or your library’s!) might keep you from required attendance at Midwinter and Annual, those concerns have virtually disappeared! While virtual members are welcome and encouraged to attend yearly conferences, attendance is not mandatory. Next up: experience -serving on a virtual committee is an opportunity to learn something new, meet colleagues from across the country, and enhance your career. And finally, a sense of duty. Your association is exactly that — your association. Make yourself heard and feel satisfied that you’ve done your share to make ALSC the best that it can be.
How can you volunteer? Check the volunteer form for a list of which committees offer virtual memberships (look for the “v” after the committee’s name). Fill it out, and send it in. It’s a virtual snap!
Senior Librarian, Youth Services
Barnegat Branch, Ocean County Library