Monthly, we will profile current 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. This month, we invite you to meet ALSC Board member, Tori Ann Ogawa.
Hello! I am so excited to serve on the ALSC Board. A few fun facts about me to get started: I really enjoy baking and eating treats and I love K-Pop and Korean Dramas. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, want to trade recipes, or gush over K-Pop/K-Drama stars.
How did you first get involved with ALSC?
I joined ALSC at the recommendation of my supervisor at my first public library job. I honestly didn’t know much about ALSC and was a little nervous to volunteer for any committees. I first really got involved after being selected as the ALSC sponsored Emerging Leader in 2017. That one opportunity changed
everything for me. I was given an ALSC mentor, got to meet the ALSC Staff and ALSC Leadership, and
was encouraged to attend ALSC events at conferences. Due to the nature of the project I got to interview
ALSC members and hear their stories. I had an incredible introduction to ALSC, and since then the
organization has given me the chance to network, grow, and develop into a better librarian and overall
What excites you about serving on the ALSC Board?
I am so excited to serve on the ALSC Board and be a part of the ALSC process. I enjoy being behind the
scenes and being a part of how something works, so I’m looking forward to being a part of how ALSC
functions and makes decisions. Being a part of how this association will move forward in the future and
how together, our voices can help shape our profession to be more equitable, diverse, and inclusive is
such an incredible opportunity. Also, part of the ALSC process are all the committees and staff that work
hard to keep ALSC running. I am looking forward to continuing to meet and work with our members and
staff, getting to see the awesome work everyone is doing.
What advice would you give to an ALSC member interested in exploring more leadership or governance roles?
- Give it honest thought and research. Look into what that position entails, the time commitment,
and what your responsibilities would be. There are lots of different roles in ALSC, so find one that
you will enjoy doing. Then think about your personal and professional life and determine if you
have the capacity and time. And if you don’t think you have time right now, volunteer for a
committee. Anyone can lead and show leadership, even if they aren’t in a labeled position. Plus, it
is a great step toward taking on a leadership or governance role.
- Ask current and past members about their experiences. When I was asked to stand for election, I
felt overwhelmed by the idea of how much time and work being on the board would require. I was
encouraged to ask questions, especially asking current and past board members about their
experiences. I was able to connect with a couple of past board members and they told me about
their time commitments when serving, what were the most difficult and most rewarding parts, and
more. It was so valuable to hear their experiences when deciding if I wanted to be in a leadership
- Finally, just go for it! If you still feel doubtful, like you are not qualified or do not have enough
experience, give it a try anyway, because your perspective, opinions, and ideas are important to
ALSC. Personally, in the beginning I was afraid to be on the board because I thought I didn’t have
the years of experience in my job as others might. It felt like a role for the end of my library career
when I had more qualification. But many ALSC members told me otherwise and encouraged me
those new ideas and perspectives were so valuable for our organization. So, if you have the time
and interest, go for it!
What is an ALSC opportunity or resource that you wish more members knew about?
We Are ALSC Chats. I didn’t even know about these until recently, but they are virtual informal chats led
by ALSC Committees open to members and non-members. It is such a great opportunity for sharing
resources and having discussion around timely topics in our profession. I was reading back on some of
the past chat recaps and there are so many great ideas and suggestions I’m going to use at my own
library, like how to do a diversity audit of the collection.
What is your favorite Youth Media Award-winning book?
When I was a child one of my all-time favorite picture books was the 1996 Caldecott Medal Winner Officer Buckle and Gloria written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann. I thought Gloria was the funniest, silliest dog ever and I adored her friendship with Officer Buckle. My current favorite Youth Media Award winner is the 2018 John Newbery Medal winner, Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. First, the story was
phenomenal, and second as a Filipino-Japanese American, this is one of the first times I felt represented
and seen in children’s literature.
Tori Ann Ogawa, ALSC Board Member for 2021-2024, is a Youth Services Librarian at the Kitsap
Regional Library (WA).
Interested in standing for election to the ALSC Board? Find out more on the ALSC election information