Stand for ALSC Election: You Can Do It!

Have you ever considered standing for ALSC election, or do you want to know what people think who have gone through the process themselves? Here’s a chance to be a fly on the wall for a conversation between ALSC Nominating Committee members (and ALSC elections alumni) Joanna Fabicon, Elisa Gall, and Lucia Gonzalez.

Image credit: Patrick Gall

The ALSC Nominating committee will be hosting a Community Forum on Wednesday, June 5, 2024 at Noon CST for members to learn more about ALSC leadership roles and the ALSC elections process. Click here to register.

Even if you can’t make it to the forum, do you know someone who would be great in an ALSC leadership role? Are you interested in standing for election yourself? The committee is encouraging members to fill out this ALSC Informal Nomination Form. You can also read the ALSC Nominating Committee’s April blog post.

Elisa: The Nominating Committee is always looking for engaged members who want to get more involved in ALSC governance. All three of us are here today because we each have stood for ALSC election at some point. How about we start by introducing ourselves and sharing our personal ALSC elections story?

Joanna: I’m Joanna Fabicon and I’ve experienced the ALSC ballot in two different ways- once for the Newbery Committee and VP/President Elect the second time around. [Please note that award committee membership is no longer elected, it is by appointment.]

Lucia: My name is Lucia Gonzalez and I was on the 2020 ALSC Ballot as one of the candidates standing for the Vice-President/President Elect position. It was my first time on the ALSC Ballot. Prior to this experience, I didn’t have a lot of knowledge about how to get on the ALSC ballot, other than by being asked.

Elisa: My name is Elisa Gall. I stood for election in 2017 for the Board of Directors, but it was only after lots of encouragement from colleagues to do it. I am quite shy, and I had to work through the discomfort of putting myself out there. Once I got over the saying YES part and really thought about it, I was excited and honored to have my name on the ballot no matter the outcome. Sometimes people stand for election and get the opportunity to serve, and sometimes people find other ways to share their skills with the association. For me in 2017, the election outcome meant board service (from 2018-2021). But I know that is not everybody’s story. What advice would you give to someone considering whether or not standing for ALSC election is right for them?

Lucia: My advice is: Get to know ALSC from the inside out. There are many ways to obtain this insightful knowledge. One effective way is to take advantage of all the leadership opportunities provided by serving on ALSC’s Process committees. These committees are the “spinal cord” of ALSC. The work of ALSC’s process committees is an invaluable immersive experience. The strength of a candidate is having a balance between experience in the field combined with the experience gained from ALSC committee work. Serving on the ALSC Board, in any capacity, is a huge professional honor and also a great responsibility. This is my order of priority when considering to stand for election:

  • You love ALSC
  • You want to have a voice in shaping the present and future direction of of ALSC
  • You have gained first-hand knowledge of the work of ALSC through committee service
  • You are aware of the time commitment that will be required if elected

Elisa: What would you say you learned from the election experience–and/or whatever happened next? For me, I learned SO MUCH about organizational leadership, Robert’s Rules of Orders, strategic planning, and ALSC processes all-around. My board service changed my brain by giving me new habits of thinking and perspective-taking, and I know I lean on the skills and expertise I gained through that experience daily.

Lucia: The election experience for me was a sudden and revealing immersion into the inner-works of the organization. It was also a humbling experience that allowed me to understand the reason why we use the phrase “standing for election” and not “running for a position.” By being on the slate, I was among a selected group of members who were inspired and committed to further the work of ALSC.

Once elected, I was given a key that gave me access to all the rooms of a big house (ALSC). Prior to my election, I had played in its backyard, eaten in its dining room, and socialized in its living room. But once elected, I had access to the most intimate and complex parts of that house: its many rooms, its attic, and its basement. I am proud that I had the opportunity to be part of the crew that makes decisions about running the house while taking good care of it.

I can’t deny that at first I felt overwhelmed and underprepared for the work. The ALSC staff and the more experienced members of the Board soon made me feel right at home. I appreciate all of their hand-holding and the positive reinforcement. I also appreciate all of the “cheat sheets” that made Robert’s Rules navigable. The knowledge I gained from serving in an ALSC leadership capacity forever enriched me professionally and personally.

Joanna: I’ve learned that every experience has value, even when the outcome is not what you expected it to be. It really is true that when one door closes, another one opens. The time I would have spent as VP/President Elect was then directed towards lecturing at UCLA’s library school, where I could still have an impact on professional development but this time closer to the beginning of someone’s career. All roads lead to ALSC though, and there are always opportunities to be involved.

Elisa: If someone is ready to put their hat in the ring (or recommend a friend or colleague for ALSC governance), what are the next steps that we recommend?

Joanna: In the spirit of learning more, you can attend our virtual Community Forum on Wednesday, June 5 at Noon CST. More Board members, more information, more experiences to help you make that decision. You can register for the 6/5 forum here.

If you already know someone who would be an amazing ALSC leader or are interested in standing for election yourself, you can fill out this ALSC Informal Nomination Form.

Today’s blog post was written by Joanna Fabicon, Senior Librarian Children’s Services, Los Angeles (CA) Public Library, Elisa Gall, Librarian at the University of Chicago (IL) Laboratory Schools and co-chair of the ALSC Nominating committee, and Lucia M. Gonzalez, past ALSC President, Library Consultant, and Former Director at City of North Miami (FL) on behalf of the ALSC Nominating committee. Elisa can be reached at elisamcclain@gmail.com.

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

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