ALSC Board Member Profile

Meet Your ALSC Board: Meredith Steiner

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, Meredith Steiner.

Hi y’all. I’m a children’s librarian for San Francisco Public Library — this month marks my 9th year at SFPL. I live in San Francisco and have two sons, 17 and 22. I love reading, sharing, as well as writing picture books (my debut picture book Just. Like. You. came out December 2022). I like to bake, mostly bread (new skill acquired during covid) and cakes (been doing it forever). I love tiny things and sometimes, when I have a minute, I make mini books. I know there are other mini book-makers out there, send me your photos!

(Photo credit: Eleanor Louis)

How did you first get involved with ALSC?

I joined while in library school through a free subscription that they gave to students. My work with ALSC started with being on the 2014 ALSC Institute Planning Committee. The Institute was in Oakland, and it was so much fun. I was the 2016 ALSC-sponsored ALA Emerging Leader, then served on the Membership Committee and Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee. I attended the Bill Morris Seminar in February 2020. And now I am in my final month of my three-year term on the ALSC Board.

What excites you about serving on the ALSC Board?

Short answer: the Board members themselves. I have been continually impressed by the dedication, experience, and creativity of the ALSC Board. I learn so much from them. Their thoughtfulness and insights bring so much to our discussions. I appreciate the Board’s commitment to equity and inclusion, which we strive to weave into all the work we do; this priority is essential to create the organization we want to see ALSC grow to be.

How has participation in ALSC affected your career?

My work with ALSC has given me an up-close view into how a very large non-profit organization operates. I still have A LOT to learn, but seeing how things work helps me understand why some things are the way they are. For example, I always thought that initiatives took longer to get moving than my impatient mind thought they should. Through my ALSC work, I see that there are processes that need to be followed and lots of people to consult when decisions are made. This is important because each person brings unique insight and perspective so the Board can collaboratively make the most informed decision that is ultimately best for ALSC members and, thus, the organization itself. And one of the best things about my ALSC work is that I have gotten to know colleagues doing amazing, creative work throughout the country.

What advice would you give to an ALSC member interested in exploring more leadership or
governance roles?

A good way to get your feet wet is to volunteer to be on a process committee. Find two or three that sound interesting, and then submit your volunteer application. If you have the opportunity to be on an ALSC Institute Planning Committee because Institute is going to be local to you, I highly recommend that. It is so much fun working with your local colleagues coming up with the best experience for attendees. The ALSC website has great resources for new members and lots of information about ways to get involved. Don’t hesitate to reach out to ALSC members and leaders who you know or don’t know. We want to talk to you about ALSC and help you be involved.

What is your favorite ALSC memory?

It’s not just one, but one of my favorite things about the Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy banquet is when we view videos of the winners and honorees talk about when they got “the call” about their awards. Sometimes they are in the funniest situations when they answer the phone. More than one has told the story that they were not at all expecting the call and didn’t answer because it was an unknown number. Then when they got the voicemail they frantically and hilariously tried to call the committee back as quickly as possible. The celebrations of those creators is such an honor and so much fun to witness. And, I might add that I love celebrating the wonderful books that aren’t necessarily recognized with awards, as there are so many incredibly talented creators making so many beautiful books for young people. As a Children’s Librarian, I am fortunate to have access to these books and to be able to put them in the hands of young people who will love them as much as I do.

What is your favorite Youth Media Award book?

This is an impossible question to answer because I really have so very many that I love dearly. One of my favorite books of all time for the beauty of the language and the power of the storytelling is Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming. ALSC has awarded it in many areas: it won a Newbery Honor, a Sibert Honor, and it was on the ALSC Notable Children’s Books of 2015 list. It also won the National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and an NAACP Image Award among MANY others.

Interested in standing for election to the ALSC Board? Find out more on the ALSC Election Information Page.

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