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 New to ALSC Board member, Jaime Eastman.
How did you first get involved with ALSC?
I stumbled upon ALSC committee work while looking for options to increase my professional involvement. At the time, I wasn’t eligible for travel or conference attendance, which eliminated most opportunities with my state library association. ASLC offered virtual committee work, plus professionals passionate about serving children and families. I requested virtual only options on my volunteer form and was offered a slot on the Children and Technology Committee. My ALSC journey has grown from that first committee membership.
How has participation in ALSC affected your career?
ALSC has offered me so many unexpected personal and professional growth opportunities. As a new committee member, I learned the importance of finding and sharing my voice and perspective. As a new member leader, tools like bystander intervention training supported inclusivity in my committee work, but also helped me develop training in my own library system. I’ve been able to share experiences and resources, connecting with other members by writing for the blog, working on committees, publishing in Children and Libraries, and even presenting professionally. An article I wrote for the ALSC blog helped me connect with a youth services group in Australia! ALSC has given me foundations to explore new opportunities at all levels, as I’ve seen where I can have impact in this work. I’m so grateful for the opportunities and support I’ve had and look forward to offering the same to others.
What is something you’re looking forward to while serving on the ALSC Board?
Every opportunity with ALSC is a chance for growth. I’m excited to learn more about the organization’s direction and create a meaningful path forward. I hope to be a bridge between member experiences and the Board, ensuring representation by as many voices as possible in our discussions and decisions. Including more members in our work will make us a stronger, more responsive organization, and I’m excited to be part of that. I’m also excited to connect members with opportunities to explore their own involvement and leadership journeys, building lifelong relationships with an amazing group of dedicated professionals.
What is something you have done as a member of ALSC that you’re particularly proud of?
As a new co-chair of the Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee, I worked with Joe Prince to determine our new direction in a period of transition. We embarked on a toolkit project to compile resources (books, program ideas, continuing education, and more) for libraries serving traditionally underserved population. We hoped to create living documents, easily updated and adaptable for changing needs. As we created templates, researched, and collaborated, I connected with amazing staff at libraries across the country. While my time on the committee has ended, the members of LSUCTC are continuing this great work (and recently presented at ALSC Institute!). I’m unbelievably proud of the work we did and having a role in it.
What advice would you give to an ALSC member interested in exploring more leadership or governance roles?
To borrow president Amy Koester’s words, ALSC is here for you when you’re ready. You can start with small opportunities that fit your current reality. Comment on or contribute to blog posts. Attend committee or Board meetings. Participate in online discussions or attend other online events. Ask lots of questions. Even if they feel obvious, you’ll likely find that ALSC members are passionate about what we do and love sharing it with others. If you’re not sure if an opportunity is a good fit, talk with someone doing the work for their perspective and experience. Once you identify your passions and what resonates, look for specific ways to get involved.
I’d also encourage you to let go of the idea that you must be “ready” for leadership or at a certain career milestone. Every leadership opportunity I’ve had has come before I felt ready for it, but I haven’t regretted taking a chance. It can be hard and scary but trust the people advocating for you. Your voice matters. You have something to offer. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten was to ask if I would regret not going for an opportunity later. While I wasn’t sure I was the right person for a leadership role, she asked if looking back in a few months or a year I would regret not taking the chance. If your honest answer is yes, then go for it! Even if you don’t get that specific role, chances are, you’ll find a new and exciting opportunity along the way.
What is your favorite ALSC memory?
I’ll never forget the moment I was notified of my election to the Board. Even though I was standing for election, part of me didn’t believe the opportunity. When I got the call, I was too shocked for intelligent words, so I replied with, “Oh. This is unexpected.” Not exactly the most profound response to such an amazing opportunity! My colleagues pulled my boss out of a meeting just to celebrate with me, while I was basically a puddle. I was so overwhelmed with support in that moment. When I was officially seated at conference, I had chills when Amy asked me to take my seat at the table. For me, it was an acknowledgement that my voice matters and I belong in this organization. Those are feeling I hope to share with future member leaders.
Jaime Eastman, New to ALSC Board Member for 2022-2025, is a senior public services librarian with the Plano (Texas) Public Library. She enjoys travel, almost always has too many books in her TBR pile, and is frequently attempting overly ambitious cross stitch projects.
Interested in standing for election to the ALSC Board? Find out more on the ALSC election information page.
Hooray, Jaime! So thrilled that you’re on the board!