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Meet Allie Genia – ALSC’s 2023 Emerging Leader

Aanii boozhoo kina wiiyaa, mino giizhigat. Allie Genia ndizhinikaaz. Waganakasing Odawak ndadibendaagwaz, mshiiken ndodem. Nkwejanong ndoojibaa, Virginia ndidaa

Hello everyone, it’s a good day. My name is Allie Genia. I belong to the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, my clan is Turtle. I’m from Lansing, Michigan and I currently live in Northern Virginia. I’m a Children’s Librarian for the DC Public Library at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, and I’m ALSC’s 2023 Emerging Leader!

Selfie provided by Allie Genia

You were selected as one of only forty-six people who will be participating in ALA’s 2023 class of Emerging Leaders. CONGRATULATIONS! How do you hope this opportunity will enhance your work as a librarian?

Miigwech, thank you! I’m thrilled to be a part of this cohort. My hope for participating overall is that I’ll be able to build good relationships with other Emerging Leaders and further the profession in a good way. My group’s focus is on the New Members Round Table, so I’m particularly hopeful that our work will be valuable in the NMRT’s efforts to support folks new to the profession. With a major research component to our project, I’m also getting the chance to flex some developmental muscles I don’t normally have in my day-to-day work. It’s a lot of fun!

Tell us a bit about yourself

First off, the language you see at the beginning of this post is Anishinaabemowin! One of my great joys outside of storytimes is learning my tribe’s language. I’m originally from Michigan and I try to visit as often as I can. I’m the oldest of seven siblings, so there are a lot of birthdays to go back and celebrate. 🙂 I got my bachelor’s in history from the University of Michigan (with a minor in the marching band, haha) and more recently achieved my master’s in library science from Drexel University. Doing a master’s program during a pandemic is not the first choice I would have made, but my professors and DCPL were incredibly supportive. When I’m not working I love to spend time with my husband and my cat. You can find me knitting, making music, or watching horror movies in my off time. 

Tell us about the kick-off event for Emerging Leaders at LibLearnX 2023.

It was amazing! I attended the first LibLearnX (LLX) event when it was virtual and was thrilled to attend this first one in person. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities on the planet, so it was a major bonus to listen to music and eat the cuisine while we were there. Getting to spend time with this year’s Emerging Leaders cohort was really great – the program was really helpful and got our project kicked off in a good way. We met on the Friday before the main schedule of LLX for the whole day and worked predominantly on identifying our individual leadership skills with our project groups. These activities along with time to talk to our round table point person was enormously helpful – our project started to take shape before LLX even officially began! 

What leadership skills do you hope to enhance through this program?

I’ve always been a programming person – I love interacting directly with patrons especially because little ones in the library are so much fun. Participating in Emerging Leaders allows me to flex my professional development skills in a different direction. Planning research and developing marketing materials are not things I’m usually doing in a children’s librarian position, so getting to do so with my group is a lot of fun. It’s definitely a learning experience, but it’s been a wonderful one so far.

How will you be learning and networking with your EL colleagues in the coming months?

Zoom is our friend! We’ve been able to schedule our meetings using tools like Doodle and the Google suite to work asynchronously. Even virtually, meeting ‘face to face’ has been enormously helpful in terms of checking in with each other and facilitating communication. We’re aiming to present our findings in a poster format and in a formal write-up – with a team spanning numerous timezones, the asynchronous approach with scheduled check-ins has been great. 

Will you be working on a project between now and ALA Annual? Can you tell us about it?

Yes – my group is working on a project for the New Members Round Table. The goal is to drive engagement between NMRT and its membership. We’ll be doing some research (keep an eye out for a survey link!) and developing strategies and marketing materials based on what we find. My group so far has made excellent progress in this work – we’re all really excited and well-suited to this project, so it’s going to be great. We’ll have a poster session on Friday of ALA as well to talk about what we’ve accomplished!

What have I forgotten to ask that you’d like to share about this EL experience?

Mostly I want to say that if you’re curious or want to know more, definitely check out ALA’s Emerging Leaders site! If you’re an early career professional or know someone who is, I’d highly recommend looking into the program. There’s a variety of projects – there’s something for everyone. It’s a great way to network, develop your skills, and make a major impact on your ALA experience and community. 

Gichi miigwech for giving me space to write about it – I’ll look forward to chatting with y’all at ALA Annual in Chicago this year!

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