Like many of my fellow librarians, I am currently not working. While I am not working by choice to care for my daughter, I know others did not make this choice and were laid off or furloughed. This is a tough time for everyone. So why do I keep my membership up to date? Frankly, ALSC is more important to me now than when I was employed. ALSC provides community, resources, and opportunities. Thus, when I go back on the job market, I know I’ll be competitive.
ALSC provides a community that I can turn to when I’m looking for support and it keeps me connected to the field. I’ve made so many valuable friendships through ALSC and received some great mentorship that I have relied on through all the changes in my career. I found my mentor when serving on a committee. She has improved my booktalking skills and encouraged me to serve on other committees, among other things. If you don’t have someone like her to talk to, then the ALSC Mentoring Program might be for you. One former participant described a mentor as someone who is “a guide and connector.” That’s a great description of what my mentor has meant to me and I’d encourage anyone interested to apply either as a mentor or as a mentee. The applications for the program are open now.
There are many resources available to me as an ALSC member: webinars, book lists, courses, community forums, and so much more. For example, when I start looking for a new job, I know that I will be up to date on virtual storytimes since I can read the Virtual Storytime Services Guide and can look to other resources from ALSC as well. With ALSC, I can still stay up on all the changes happening even if I’m not in the library everyday. Many of these resources are available to non-ALSC members, but it’s ALSC members that created them.
ALSC has provided leadership roles for me when those roles were difficult to find in my workplace. I’ve served on and chaired committees. The leadership and confidence gained from my committee work helps me in all aspects of my professional life, from serving on my local Library Board to running a CaldeNott at a nearby university.
I recognize that I am extremely privileged to be able to renew my membership while unemployed, and that is not the case for everyone. Friends of ALSC will fund 50 ALA and ALSC membership renewals to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or People of Color) ALSC members who have been laid off, furloughed, or otherwise find themselves unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The applications are currently open and will be reviewed by the Membership committee. To apply, submit this application by November 13th, 2020.
I have so much to thank ALSC for. Everything may be different this year, but ALSC is still there for us and I’ll be there for ALSC.
Keary Bramwell is serving her first year of ALSC’s Membership Committee. She is a Trustee at the Forest Park Public Library outside of Chicago and the former Youth Collection Librarian at the Mount Prospect Public Library. When not reading books, you can find her doing crafty projects around the house or running around outside with her daughter. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: VII. Professionalism and Professional Development