As I reflect on this past year, one thing that kept me motivated was the routine of meeting with my ALSC committee members. Though we were working on shared interests and committee charges, the act of being a part of a team gave me the self care I needed to survive the pandemic.
Each of us takes care of ourselves in unique ways. There are some days when we just need to survive and do nothing. There are other days when we want to take action and unleash our sense of ambition. I have my share of both of these mental capacities but overall, I know that I thrive knowing that I am a part of something bigger and that I can make a real impact with my work. Working on committees kept me balanced between personal self-care and connecting to the value of Children’s Services. Seeing how our colleagues around the country responded to the pandemic through conversations on ALA Connect helped me not feel so overwhelmed.
Feeling overwhelmed can be amplified when barriers exist in our everyday lives. Serving on committees made me feel joy in the work I can do. So far this past year, the Membership committee has launched an initiative to provide Relief Renewals for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) members who have faced job insecurity, hosted a virtual ALSC 101 to introduce new members to what ALSC has to offer, and host a Midwinter Mixer to learn from past award chairs from the Newbery, Sibert, and Caldecott committees. All this while supporting the ALSC Mentorship Program, continually to connect members with opportunities, and plan new ways to support our members. Our next initiatives on the horizon include expanding our Relief Renewals for more members who have faced job insecurity and creating New Members Funding for BIPOC.
I’m thrilled that I was able to use my time to bring our colleagues together and help create opportunities for all of us in both desperate times and curious times.
If any of this connects with you and your urge to lead with your passions, I highly recommend filling out a volunteer form for our process committees by the end of May. Not sure what each committee is about? Check the ALSC Committees page to read about each committee’s charge and What Does That ALSC Committee Do? You are also welcome to attend an ALSC process committee meeting and experience it first-hand. Most process committee meetings are open for ALSC members to attend year round. Check the ALSC Community Space on ALA Connect for agendas and meeting links. Still not sure which committee(s) to volunteer for? Take the “Find Your ALSC Home” quiz.
Melody Leung is a member of the Membership Committee and the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Committee. She is also a Children’s Librarian with the Whatcom County Library System. For other forms of self care, she enjoys practicing wushu (Chinese Martial Arts), dancing horribly to online videos, paper crafts, and reading on video chat to all the kids in her family.
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: VII. Professionalism and Professional Development.