Blogger ALSC Membership Committee

What does it mean to be an ALSC student member?

Being an ALSC student member means embarking on an adventure! Being an ALSC student member means opening unknown doors while holding trustworthy hands! 

I started my library career as a page at the Boise Public Library in 2009. During this time, I convinced myself that I wanted to be a children’s librarian because of the wonderful experiences I had with the children’s department and children’s librarians. But what did I know about being a children’s librarian? English is not my first language. I didn’t grow up in the U.S. with access to classic children’s authors like Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, or even Dr. Seuss. Could I even be a children’s librarian here?  

Despite my lack (I thought) of qualifications, I was determined to pursue librarianship. After taking the TOEFL and GRE twice and then receiving rejection letters from two schools, I was able to start a MLS program in 2015. That same summer, I got a job as an associate librarian at the Salt Lake City Public Library. During that transition, someone told me about ALSC.  

I had no idea what I should expect when I signed up for an ALSC student membership; I hoped the group would provide me with some type of professional guidance. The children’s department at SLCP encouraged me to volunteer for the group, so I served on my first committee as a liaison with the National Organization Committee from 2016-2017.  

In the end, my hope brought me more than just professional guidance. Being an ALSC student member led me to many other experiences, including serving on the 2021 John Newbery Award Committee, a dream of many children’ s librarians. In addition to earning professional achievement, I met people who became my mentors, colleagues, and lifelong friends. That $21 ALSC student membership brought me experiences that I couldn’t have imagined.  

If you are a student pursuing children’s librarianship, it is a perfect time to join ALSC and discover these benefits for yourself! You can find a dedicated mentor through ALSC Mentoring or volunteer for ALSC committees. Serving on committees will give you opportunities to learn national trends, work with people living in various places, and gain leadership experience.  

ALSC members also have access to scholarship opportunities. There are many chances to grow as a librarian while receiving financial support, from MLS program scholarships to conference travel grants. I was a lucky recipient of a scholarship for the ALSC Institute in 2018, a specialized conference for children’s services. I learned a lot at the conference and was nominated to be on the ballot for the John Newbery Award Committee.  

Are you ready for an adventure that gives you the chance to excel in children’s library service? ALSC is the door to open, and we hold your hand along the way! 

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Hyunjin (Jin) Han is a Regional Services Librarian at Statesboro Regional Public Libraries in Georgia.

This blog post relates to ALSC Core Competencies of: VII. Professionalism and Professional Development.

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