Blogger Carolyn Brodie

The Year Begins – Notes from Carolyn Brodie

And, so my year as ALSC President has begun with a month already past, can it really be August?

The weeks of July since ALA Annual Conference were very busy with an abundance of ALSC correspondence, reading post-conference committee reports, working on ALSC committee placements, creating charges for new task forces and for the new ALSC Website Advisory Committee and preparing for this week’s ALSC Community Forums.  (I did manage to squeeze in a few days for Arkansas family to visit here during our Ohio heat wave.  My southern relatives were very disappointed they experienced no relief from their summer heat during their days in Ohio!)

Our very busy and energetic annual conference was filled with a host of events that offered us the opportunities to connect through attending exemplary ALSC programs, meeting up on the exhibit floor and sharing dinner during our glamorous Newbery/Caldecott Banquet with the stellar speeches by Chris Raschka and Jack Gantos.  We made even more connections with each other by attending ALSC 101, participating in committee meetings, chatting at parties or just running into each other on an Anaheim street.

It was indeed a great pleasure to meet with many ALSC members in Anaheim as we work together this next year and focus on this year’s theme of “Connecting Communities” that will focus in part on the goal area of “Advocacy” from our ALSC Strategic Plan. We will work on connecting through our communication and information venues, through our advocacy initiatives and through our programming.

When I had the chance to meet members, many asked great questions about our association’s work and many also expressed an interest in how to get involved in ALSC through committee work.  It was rewarding and heartwarming to feel so much dedication from so many.

So, if you aren’t already serving on a committee — how do you volunteer your service to the ALSC community?   Here is some information on how the ALSC committee appointment process works:

First, where do you find out more about the work and the structure of ALSC committees?  Go to the ALSC Committees page to learn more about the possibilities.  The page includes a link to ALSC Committees:  A Guide to Participation that provides additional information.

The next step is to fill out a volunteer form which is available on the ALSC Website at  You’ll find the form under the “members” tab.  Complete the form and make sure to note your background, note your experience in particular areas such as budget or programming. This extra information certainly helps in making a good committee match. Make sure to mark the appropriate box if you require a virtual assignment.  It is also really important to clearly indicate your preferential choices (as many as you can where you have interest and/or experience) on the form, not just by priority group, but also by committee.  If you’re willing to mark the box that says “I will serve wherever needed!” then that is great too!

Don’t hesitate to send your form in during any time of the year.  There are unexpected vacancies that occur all during the year and new appointments are made when this happens. For example, during this past month, I made several replacement  appointments.  And, if you haven’t been appointed and it has been a while, please send in another form.

A great time to volunteer is February through June for the ALSC process committee appointments.  Starr Latronica, our Vice-President/President-elect will make appointments to process committees (non-award committees) next spring. So certainly after the first of the year or after ALA Midwinter in Seattle, make sure to send your form for a process committee.

Now that the process committee process has been explained, you may think you will wait to send your volunteer form after Annual for possible appointment to an award committee.  And, you can certainly do this, I wouldn’t discourage you.  Just know that the reality is that there are many, many, many more members who ask for award committees than the very few spaces there are to fill.

As president, for award committees, I am particularly interested in appointing volunteers who have previously served on non-award committees and have some experience in working within ALSC through our process committees.  Award committee work is intense and carries a lot of responsibilities.  Successful experience with process committee work shows good carry through with assignments and a commitment to the mission and “big picture” of ALSC. Of course, listing all other relevant experience is important too.

I would ask that you consider volunteering for a variety of committees where you feel your talents are most suited and where you feel you can make a contribution.  Find out more about our association, where you think you will learn the most professionally and where you feel you will be able to make the greatest contribution.  And, I will look forward to receiving your volunteer form!  Thank you!

As a wrap-up, I want to mention that to begin the “Connecting Communities” theme this year, I asked Dr. David Lankes, a Syracuse University Professor to serve as our speaker for the ALSC Division Leadership in Anaheim on Saturday, June 24.  The program was titled “Making a New Promise for Our Communities.” For those of you who couldn’t join us in Anaheim, David has graciously made the audio and slides of his presentation available on his blog. His new book, Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries for Today’s Complex World, was also part of his presentation. Among the many thoughtful and inspirational statements you’ll hear from him in the audio is this one…“Advocacy for libraries and children’s services must move from a focus on community deficiencies to community aspirations.”  More about this to come, but doesn’t that sound possible?  In our advocacy work this year we won’t make the focus on deficiencies—we will make the focus on aspirations!

We have much good work ahead of us as this next year unfolds.  One of the many ways to connect is by joining us in Indianapolis for the ALSC Institute “Libraries Leading the Race” planned for September 20-22, 2012.  To find out more information or if you haven’t registered please go to  Please come by and speak with me when we’re there!

On behalf of ALSC, I will expect more of myself and of you, and of those we serve in our communities so that we may work together to create a better future for children through libraries

And, on we go….


Our guest blogger today is ALSC President, Carolyn Brodie.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at

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