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How to Advocate for Professional Development Support

Professional development is essential for library workers, no matter where we are in our careers. While there are sometimes professional development opportunities through your library, often opportunities must be sought out. Professional development also requires resources including time, space, supervisory support, and money. Some supervisors and libraries have built in systems with dedicated resources, but this is not the case across the board. Additionally, you may find that resources and support may fluctuate because of changes in library leadership, funding, staffing, etc. That’s why it’s important to be your own advocate when it comes to finding professional development opportunities and seeking out resources to support your participation in those opportunities. Here are a few ways you can make your case to your supervisor and library that can be utilized at different times in your career. 

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Connecting (Virtually) during LibLearnX 2022

It’s always challenging to network at conferences. It takes energy and a fair bit of gumption to introduce yourself to folks, especially if you’re new to the library world. When a conference is virtual, that adds another barrier. So much of networking is based on happy accidents: finding yourself in the same session/bus/elevator as someone else and taking the opportunity to strike up a conversation.  For LibLearnX, the ALSC Membership Committee’s goal is to create an intentional space for happy accidents via Zoom. While it’s not the same as the in person conference events we dream about going back to some day (ALSC 101, small group dinners), we hope it can be a time to make new friends and reconnect with old ones too. 

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Getting Published within ALSC

Have you recently run a successful virtual program and are looking for more people to share the idea with? Do you have a research passion on the side related to children’s experiences with bibliotherapy? Are you itching to interview a favorite author or talk about your experiences with library mentorship?  A great way to scratch that itch, and work on growing your professional network through writing, is by getting published within ALSC. ALA in general has a plethora of ways to get published, but ALSC specifically has three pathways to publication to fit your schedule, desires, and the length of your content. 

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Introducing Recipients of the BIPOC New Member Funding Program

This spring, the Membership Committee undertook a project to intentionally recruit new ALSC members, specifically those who are paraprofessionals or students, and who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). In alignment with ALSC’s strategic objective of increasing the intentional recruitment and retention of a diverse membership while reducing barriers to participation, 10 BIPOC library students and 10 paraprofessionals/library support staff members were selected to receive two year ALA and ALSC memberships, along with opportunities for meaningful engagement including: regular virtual meetings with other recipients, activities and discussions, mentorship, shadowing committees, and more.