ALA Annual 2016

Orsburn in Orlando & OZ

How was your conference?  It was transformative for me, and I would like to share some of the quieter moments with you.

Orlando began early for the ALSC Board with a trip down the Yellow Brick Road looking into the future of our organization and searching for our Emerald City, where dreams come true.   President Andrew Medlar as the Wizard of OZ welcomed us to the Land of OZ and Executive Director Aimee Strittmatter as Glinda the Good Witch provided magical support as the current and in-coming Board members gathered for a full-day meeting on Friday to start our strategic planning process.

ALSC Executive Board
ALSC Executive Board on the way to the Emerald City

By examining the strengths and assets of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), then analyzing the opportunities in the external world around children’s librarianship, we were able to match them as we envisioned a vivid future for our association.   Many thanks to Kathryn Deiss, our Organizational and Leadership Consultant, who was and still is our Dorothy, helping us see the future and avoid the poppy fields of indecision and uncertainty.   Supporting roles were also well played by Jenna Nemec-Loise as Toto, Ellen Riordan as the Scarecrow, Diane Foote as the Courageous Lion, and yours truly as the Tin Man.   The 2015-2016 ALSC Executive Committee members were great sports to dress-up and share their passionate, yet playful commitment to guiding our association’s path forward.

Anyone who joined us on Saturday morning for the Leadership & ALSC meeting participated in this program’s highlight  – the strategic planning discussions held at small tables around the room.  Our time flew by, as the Priority Group Chairs, Committee Chairs, Board members, and interested ALSC members engaged in spirited conversations and could hardly contain themselves to the question of how the field of library and information science is evolving and the second inquiry on our vision and aspirations.   These were stimulating discussions that spilled out of our meeting rooms and continued around Orlando.    Two focus groups were also conducted for ALSC by our consultant in Orlando, and members’ voices were heard.    Advance registration for these focus groups filled them within three days of their announcement, plus a waiting list of eager participants.   ALSC needs the input of as many of our members as possible.  Together we will shape our organization’s future, 2017 to 2020, which is right around the corner

We do want to hear your voices too.  An ALSC Community Forum will be scheduled later this month, and we also plan to host a second Community Forum on this topic in the fall.   Kathryn Deiss, our able consultant, will again be present to guide us in our future forecasting in both online sessions.  Look for the announcement of the July Community Forum coming soon.

Thank you to all the members who spoke to me about volunteering for ALSC committees, for asking how you can participate, for sharing your passion for our association and the work we do together, and for your many well wishes.   I began the Orlando conference as your Vice President/ President-Elect 2015-2016 and I left as your ALSC President for 2016-2017.    My apprenticeship is over, the transformation is complete, and so we begin together!


betsyFormer Children’s Librarian and Public Library Administrator, and current ALSC President, Elizabeth “Betsy” Orsburn now has her dream job – teaching Children’s Literature at her alma mater, Drexel University.   Her two biggest accomplishments are successfully chairing the 2014 Newbery Committee and parenting a daughter into an amazing adult.

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