ALA Annual 2023

Lessons Learned from the ALSC Board at #alaac23

Every year as part of the Annual Conference, the ALSC Board hosts an orientation for incoming and current Board members. It’s a chance for Board members to review who ALSC is, why we are here, and how we do our work. Admittedly, it’s a lot of information to digest. At the same time, it’s also an opportunity for each year’s Board to come together and begin building their relationships.

This year, incoming president Dr. Jonda McNair offered outgoing Board members the chance to share wisdom with the incoming Board. Whether you’re serving on the Board or not, I think these lessons apply to the work that we all do for children and libraries every day.

Feel confident that you have an important voice.

No matter what work you are doing, you are bringing a voice that has value. Your unique experiences and interpretations mean your voice is important to be heard. Whether you’re just getting started in your first library job, looking to impact change in your library system, or finding your place in ALSC, your full participation and voice are needed.

Don’t listen to the imposter syndrome in your head.

Spoiler alert: We all struggle with imposter syndrome at times, whether we are just getting started in our careers or have been in the field for 20+ years. When you see the experiences and backgrounds of others, it’s easy to believe that your own are lacking. Remember, what you bring to the table is equally important.

Make the most of opportunities to connect.

Annual conference is a great opportunity to connect with other library professionals passionate about working with children. If you’re attending conference in Chicago this year, it’s a great time to get to know people on a more personal level. Make time for conversations that let you get to know interests, passions, and other fun facts. The meaningful work that happens outside of conference often comes from this connection building. If you haven’t had the chance to attend conference, that’s okay, too. Make the most of ice breakers and other opportunities working together online to get to know more about the people in the virtual room with you.

There are no mistakes, just different ways of doing things.

Part of learning is trying different things. Sometimes those thing will work out the way you hope, and sometimes, they won’t. Both are part of the learning process. Rather than thinking about these as mistakes, try to look at them as exploring different ways of doing things. Each offers a unique opportunity to add to your knowledge and grow. You have an entire community of support within ALSC to help you navigate that process. Don’t let your fear of making a mistake keep you from moving forward and doing your best job.

What lessons would you share with your library colleagues?

Today’s guest contributor is Jaime Eastman (she/her/hers). Jaime is a senior Public Services Librarian and Family Place Coordinator at the Harrington Library, one of the Plano (Texas) Public Library locations. She’s currently serving as a member of the ALSC Board of Directors. This will be her second Annual Conference. She is looking forward to many things, including finalizing the strategic plan with the rest of the Board, seeing great educational sessions sponsored by ALSC, and connecting with members both in person and through the blog. Jaime is currently working on at least two ambitious cross stitch projects, dreaming of future travel plans, and reading far too many books at once. As a child, she wanted to grow up to be an author. Writing for the blog and publishing with Children and Libraries feel like a good start, and she regrets nothing about her adult decision to be a librarian doing storytimes who didn’t have to grow up too much.

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