ALSC Board

Robert Bittner: 2023-24 ALSC Vice President/President Elect Candidate

In an effort to help ALSC members make an informed decision before they vote, today’s blog post consists of a statement from the candidate for ALSC’s 2023-24 Vice President/President-Elect, Robert Bittner. The candidate submitted a written statement. Voting begins Monday, March 13th.

When I first became an ALSC member I had no idea where I would be a decade later, which is here, on the ballot for ALSC President. As an educator and consultant who has no institutional affiliation, I have often felt as though I am lacking a sense of consistency or purpose, but ALSC has been the space where I have found community and belonging. I have had the opportunity to meet and work with many folks throughout ALSC over the years, and I hope that I will have the opportunity to work with even more of you in the future.

Photo courtesy of Robert Bittner

Back when I was taking my MA in Children’s Literature at the University of British Columbia’s School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies, one of my thesis supervisors suggested I get involved in ALA. I was new to the world of libraries and children’s literature, but I knew it was where I wanted to continue working and studying, so I took the plunge and became a member of ALSC and YALSA, not knowing where I would end up. Now, after over a decade, I have served on a wide variety of committees and have a much greater understanding of not only the organization but its impact and potential.

Without the connections I have made through ALSC, I would not be where I am today. I would never have learned how to write an educator guide. I would never have had the same opportunities to learn and to share knowledge with others. I would never have had the chance to serve on so many amazing award committees and find so many new colleagues and friends. Without ALSC, I would not have developed the many new skills that are needed to thrive in leadership roles. So many people within ALSC encourage me daily to push forward and try new things. 

Much of what I have learned and put into practice regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion is because of work with ALSC committees and because of the incredible folks who have pointed out ways that I could grow as a person and a professional. And it is because of these folks that I feel the support needed to put myself out there for the role of ALSC President. 

While serving on a number of boards, I have learned that the role of a President/Chair is to collaborate, facilitate, and encourage. Most recently, chairing the Caldecott committee taught me a lot about keeping my own opinions to the side and first allowing others to share their own ideas and opinions. It is not the role of the President to dictate, but rather to hear from the membership and then to come up with goals that best address all of that feedback. I look forward to hearing from the ALSC membership and working toward common goals that will address what children’s librarians need most.

I am honored to be standing for this position and if elected I hope to continue learning from the membership, discovering new ways of approaching this leadership role, and serving children’s librarians to the best of my abilities. 

The 2023 ALA Election opens Monday, March 13th and closes Wednesday April 5th. To learn more, please visit Amy Koester’s blogpost Leadership, the ALSC Governance Slate for 2023, and What Every Member Can Do. And don’t forget to vote!

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