In this monthly feature, we profile ALSC Board members. We hope to offer information about the people who work to guide the organization so that you can feel more comfortable in reaching out to them with your concerns, questions, or comments. To continue this series, we invite you to meet ALSC Board member, Linda Ernst.
Why did you join ALSC? How long have you been a member? Do you belong to any other ALA divisions or roundtables?
“To my favorite librarian” – that’s what my English teacher wrote in my senior yearbook many years ago. I was aghast! No way! So what if I had been working in the school library “forever” and I loved to read. Liking books didn’t mean you were going to end up working with them did it? Fate has a way of twisting & turning and I did find my way into the library field but it wasn’t a direct route. I wanted to focus on school libraries but didn’t have an education degree so I went for college and research libraries. Graduating with my MLS from Rosary College (now Dominican University) my job hunting luckily led me to Oak Lawn Library in Illinois and the position of Children’s Librarian. Looking back 40 years I’m still grateful they gave me the start in a vocation I’ve never been bored with. I’ve been a member of ALA and ALSC for most of those years. In addition, I have been a member of PLA (Public Library Association) and EMIERT (Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table).
What strengths do you bring to the ALSC Board of Directors?
- My enthusiasm – I love sharing ideas, brainstorming and thinking of not only the possibilities but how to make them realities. Being a librarian means the opportunity to learn all kinds of new things and meet all types of interesting people.
- I am not afraid to ask questions. Not just the “why” and “how” questions but “what does that really mean” type of questions and the best one: “what does that acronym/term mean?”
- I like to empower people and help them realize what they are capable of doing. One reason I became a librarian was because I didn’t think I was smart enough to be a teacher. Much to my surprise, I’ve discovered that’s what librarians do all the time and sharing what I’ve learned with others is so energizing!
- Facing the unknown – I never thought I’d write a book let alone four! Sometimes having someone else believe in you before you believe in yourself can make all the difference.
What have you learned while serving on the Board?
I’ve learned that there is still much more I have to learn but all the Board members are working together so the future is bright for the children we serve. I’ve also learned that showing up is only part of our job, we need to put our ideas and goals into action. We have a responsibility to represent all our members, both experienced and new. I’m still the “new kid on the block” and I look forward to sharing what I’m learning with our members and encouraging them to join the fun!
What do you wish ALSC members knew about ALSC or about the ALSC Board of directors?
The Board really does want to know what you are thinking. Talk to us! Let us know the good, the bad and yes, the ugly. If you rely on “I heard…” or “what are they doing!” you may or may not know the whole story so check with us. (You can contact me via email.) We need your enthusiasm and your energy. There are so many different ways to participate now and various levels of participation I’m sure one will fit where you are right now!
ALSC members should reach out to me if…
- If they are interested in getting involved with ALSC (I’ve lots of practical tips!)
- If they have questions about ALSC Board decisions or actions (If I don’t have the answer, I’ll ask till I do)
- If they are curious about what ALSC is and what it can possibly offer them