“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
from Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (1926)
In looking up the definition to sure, I found these words in the dictionary: steadfast, reliable, trustworthy, indisputable and these phrases marked by or given to feelings of confident certainty and careful to attend to. The dictionary also described steadfast as “a sure hold” just as in the quote above where Piglet is certain of Pooh’s hand.
It has been an honor to serve as your ALSC President this past year and as your ALSC Vice-President/President-elect the year before. When first elected in May 2011, I could never have imagined how quickly the months would go by. And, during these months it has been a challenge to combine the many facets of life and add this layer of ALSC responsibilities to the teaching, research and service roles of a university professor, but it worked because of I was sure of the support of others.
Many people have asked this question…“How do you do it?”
And, my answer is always the same…you can’t hold a leadership role without the support of others—the sureness that others are there for advice, input, ideas, energy and enthusiasm.
Indeed there was sureness of support from the time I was called regarding my name on the ALSC ballot. I spoke with my husband and family first and they were the first to let me know that if elected, I could be sure of them. My KSU-SLIS acting director Don Wicks and college dean Stan Wearden also let me know that I could be sure of their support. After my candidacy was announced, my colleagues at Kent State and professional friends from Ohio and other places here and there let me know that I could be sure of them. All of these close people formed my network of support, the ones who would hold my hand (just like Pooh and Piglet) when I needed to be sure of support during this possible new professional role.
Then after the election, I soon found that there were many other networks of support where I could be sure there was someone to call on…
So, with my last ALSC Blog post as President of ALSC, I thought I would share with you my key sources of support that were and are in place for ALSC Presidents (just in case you decide to run!)
- Sureness of our Membership: At least 98% of the people I called upon to serve ALSC as a Priority Group Chair, committee chair, committee member said yes. It was overwhelming how our members responded when called upon to serve. And, that 2% who declined either had a family concern that was taking precedence (as it should) or had recently had a job change. So thank you all for saying “yes” when called or emailed. And, thanks to all of our 4200 plus members who work every day to create a better future for children through libraries. As one group we have a powerful and well-respected voice in speaking out for the children in our communities, across the country and to other far away locations.
- Sureness of our Board of Directors: From many parts of the country and different walks of life, as ALSC members we are all fortunate that we have such outstanding leaders on our Board of Directors. They have each taken on this professional role in addition to the roles they play in their own communities. Working with them has been a privilege, each and every time they were called upon collectively or individually they have stepped up with a willingness to serve our association and our members.
- Sureness of our Future Leadership: Starr Latronica will begin her term as ALSC President this summer on July 2. During the past-year, Starr and I have had countless conversations about ALSC work and responsibilities. She is indeed ready to begin her year as ALSC President. Best wishes Starr! Following Starr will be our newly elected Vice-President/President-elect Ellen Riordan. Ellen has had a wide variety of ALSC committee experience and recently completed a term on the ALSC Board of Directors. I am sure that Starr and Ellen will lead our association to discover new opportunities while remaining steadfast in our principles.
- Sureness of Past-Presidents: ALSC Past-presidents reached out to me over and over with encouragement and sometimes a shoulder to lean on. It is a small group of leaders from our profession, though small, this group is mighty. You may not know that during every single ALA Midwinter Meeting, our ALSC Past-Presidents meet for breakfast for an opportunity for fellowship and also to share their wisdom with the current leadership of the association. A very special mention here of Past-President, Mary Fellows who has been an invaluable mentor these past two years, having Mary continuing through ALA Annual in Chicago as a part of our ALSC Board exemplifies sureness.
- Sureness of the ALSC Staff: Time and time again I called upon our ALSC Staff and each time I received the information and assistance to perform the task at hand. We have a truly professional, hardworking, energetic and earnest staff. Each one with a unique personality, but each performing a particularly important role for us. Yes, I am most certainly sure of them an even more sure as each day passes.
So in turn, I thank you for the sureness of your professional commitment to ALSC and for the sureness of your work on behalf of children and libraries. And, I hope that you take the opportunity to thank those who you are sure of in your professional and personal life.