ALSC’s book award committees are a big deal, and for good reason. There’s nothing quite like attending the annual Youth Media Awards ceremony and getting to hear which new author or illustrator will be honored. The audience goes wild in support–standing, clapping, cheering, and celebrating in the best way possible. I always love seeing the committee members stand and wave to the audience when their award is named. Serving on a book award committee is a ton of work, but also…what a thrill!
What many people may not know, however, is that ALSC’s many (upwards of 60!) process committees and task forces also provide immense satisfaction for those who serve. I was reminded of all the good things that ALSC’s process committees and task forces accomplish while attending the ALSC 101 session at this year’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Part of this session included a panel discussion, featuring a wide range of ALSC members with differing levels of experience in the organization. I was so happy to see that the discussion ended up centering on the panelists’ varied, but uniformly positive, experiences while serving on process committees and task forces. All panelists urged the attendees to check out these committees and volunteer.
Task forces and process committees may not be as high-profile as some of ALSC’s other committees, but the work that they do is powerful, and the relationships that committee members form amongst themselves are incredibly meaningful. These committees and work groups provide invaluable hands-on professional development experience for our members. They offer members an opportunity to get to know other children’s librarians in the field and work together on something meaningful. Committee members are often able to see a project through from start to finish and see the difference that that project makes when introduced to a greater whole. The knowledge and experience gained through these committees helps us to be even better librarians, and can help us gain professional recognition and advancement.
If you’re interested in learning more about ALSC’s process committees and task forces (and I hope that you are!), now’s the time! More information can be found here: http://www.ala.org/alsc/aboutalsc/coms.
Sarah Hashimoto is serving a third year on ALSC’s Membership Committee. She manages Jackson District Library’s Summit Branch in Jackson, Michigan.
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: V. Outreach and Advocacy, VI. Administrative and Management Skills, and VII. Professionalism and Professional Development.