I see the ALSC president’s role as one of listener and leader. We have a membership that is infused with ideas, intellect and inspiration. Luckily, we now have the technology for widespread participation by members. Through this expanded engagement the president is in a position to benefit from the expertise of the membership, to invite input, and increase member involvement in the activities of the division.
The ALSC president also serves as the advocate and ambassador for library service to children, the voice and face of the division.
What skills & strengths would you bring to the office?
I work well with others. Networking and partnering have greatly enhanced my work in libraries and in the communities where I have lived. Personally and professionally, I work to make libraries a ubiquitous element in discussions of service to children and families, and likewise, to interject service to children into any conversation about public libraries. I welcome every occasion to talk about libraries and as a result, I have been part of creative collaborations that have been tremendously rewarding for the community and for me as a librarian.
My strengths include optimism and enthusiasm, an openness to new ideas, creative vision, and a fierce commitment to the field of children’s librarianship.
What area of library service to children is your favorite?
What I appreciate most about library work is the variety–starting every morning with a sense of “I wonder what will happen today.” My favorite moments are those individual interactions with children, when you realize that through your service you have made a difference; in the way a child reacts to a story, discovers a new interest, grasps an informational concept and best of all–when a child realizes the full potential afforded by the public library and becomes a habitual user.
Why should someone choose to join ALSC? What services do you feel ALSC provides that are valuable to new members? To long term members? What are your ideas for reaching members? What are your ideas to recruit new members?
ALSC provides incredible camaraderie and support through the relationships and resources it offers for both new and “vintage” members who benefit from mutual mentoring in differing areas of expertise. I was introduced to ALSC by long term members who invited and welcomed me in. Now, in addition to recruiting new members myself, I gain from their technological acumen and their vision for the future.
The path to increasing membership is two-fold: the individual approach of a personal appeal, from colleague to colleague; and the mass approach of increasing the visibility of ALSC through a variety of media to heighten awareness of professional issues and the benefits of membership.
How has ALSC membership impacted your life?
ALSC has made me the librarian I am today. Participation in ALSC has given me a solid foundation for my work with children and families, as well as an opportunity to learn from and mentor others in the profession. Service on committees, as a priority chair, and as a member of the Board of Directors has provided me with an understanding of the process and the purpose behind the organization. The influence by fellow ALSC members has given me the background and the confidence to step forward and advocate on behalf of library services.
Involvement in ALSC has also allowed me to meet the funniest, most interesting group of people that I have the good fortune to see twice annually! In addition to the friendships ALSC has fostered, colleagues met at conference provide support and stimulation through year round contact. When addressing groups I often tell them that being a librarian is quite glamorous, and after regaling them with stories of my experiences in ALSC they are suitably dazzled.
How has your membership in ALSC impacted library service to children?
Knowledge gained through ALSC has enabled me to be on the forefront of service to children and their caregivers, from programs at conferences, through articles in our publications and discussions and forums in the ALSC electronic community. It was through ALSC that I discovered Dia and encountered Every Child Ready to Read and was able to take those initiatives back to share with others. When I interact with fellow ALSC members at conference I am energized by their commitment and creativity and return home with renewed resolve to make the world a better place by bring children and libraries together.
Changes in the economy and advances in technology are dramatically impacting libraries. What are your thoughts on how ALSC can best continue to be a positive force?
As budgets shrink, youth services librarians often find themselves isolated and unable to access continuing education. ALSC is actively developing new ways to serve its members who cannot attend conference via online courses and discussions, virtual committee positions, timely dissemination of information, and regional institutes. Increased promotion of these products will produce increased membership and participation.
ALSC can exploit this same technology to broadly and frequently publicize issues that illustrate the importance of libraries in the educational, cultural and social lives of children.
What else would you like the voting ALSC membership to know about you before they vote?
I have a tendency to say “yes” to things and then figure how to do them, but I have a great time along the way and am always pleased with the result.
I am unabashed in my passion for the profession and am honored to have the opportunity to be considered for this office.
Thanks so much to Starr LaTronica and Maria Salvadore for answering these questions for the ALSC Blog! If you are an ALSC member… don’t forget to vote!
Voting will begin on Monday, March 19, 2012 at 9 AM CT. The polls close on Friday, April 27 at 11:59 PM CT. Voting is an important part of ALSC membership. Please be aware that ALSC has additional information on their website regarding the 2012 candidates.