This spring, the Membership Committee undertook a project to intentionally recruit new ALSC members, specifically those who are paraprofessionals or students 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 one 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. We, as the Membership Committee, know that for many potential members, there’s a lack of institutional support, financial or otherwise. For those new to the profession, they may not be aware of all the amazing opportunities our professional organization provides. We want to seek diverse voices and ensure they have the opportunity to become more involved with…
Beginning this year’s ALA Annual with the Notable Children’s Books Committee discussions was the perfect prelude to a well-rounded conference experience! As the conference continued, I was able to apply the framework used for high-quality children’s book evaluations to view the subsequent sessions through a lens of relevancy to children’s publishing. And it was a delightful highlight for me to recognize authors and illustrators during the conference whose work had been discussed in the Notables!
I know that everyone is always interested in what it’s like to serve on the Newbery or Caldecott or other selection committees. I’ve served on the Newbery Committee and it is certainly an amazing experience. But don’t discount the strong connections you can make serving on process committees.
As I try to write my final blog post as a member of the Membership Committee, I have found myself reflecting quite a bit about my two years with this fun and engaging process committee. I recall getting my committee appointment from past president Cecilia McGowan and the excitement of being appointed to my first ALSC committee. I had been involved in ALSC as part of the Peer Mentoring Program in 2016 and served as an Emerging Leader in 2018 but committee work was different. I also had a vague understanding of what serving on Membership would be like and the reality far exceeded my expectations. Here of some highlights of skills I got to strengthen while being a part of this fantastic committee.
As I reflect on this past year, one thing that kept me motivated was the routine of meeting with my ALSC committee members. Though we were working on shared interests and committee charges, the act of being a part of a team gave me the self care I needed to survive the pandemic. Each of us takes care of ourselves in unique ways. There are some days when we just need to survive and do nothing. There are other days when we want to take action and unleash our sense of ambition. I have my share of both of these mental capacities but overall, I know that I thrive knowing that I am a part of something bigger and that I can make a real impact with my work. Working on committees kept me balanced between personal self-care and connecting to the value of Children’s Services. Seeing how our colleagues…
If you’re reading the ALSC blog, you know that ALSC is an organization that supports professional development of all kinds- this lovely blog, of course, but also an Institute, publications, webinars, conference sessions, and more. Part of the “more” is something you may not have looked at lately: Professional Tools for Librarians Serving Youth. The toolkit is a selection of resources, some of the items are created by ALSC and its members, some by outside organizations. In addition to sharing formal information, there are also several ALSC blog roundups to be found within, allowing readers to find posts related by topic.
The Membership Committee does a lot of interesting work for ALSC in the background – we make sure that we are recruiting new members through diverse channels, that we are supporting existing members with meaningful engagement opportunities like Virtual ALSC 101 or helping members volunteer for the committees that best align with their interests, and that we are retaining members even through times of hardship and uncertainty, by supporting initiatives like the Relief Renewals for BIPOC Members (funded by Friends of ALSC). To meet our goal of supporting members in their meaningful engagement, what I would like to do today is to highlight some other important work being done by member-volunteers of ALSC. Maybe this will inspire you, our reader, to make Getting Involved with ALSC one of your New Year’s Resolutions!
ALA Midwinter Virtual 2021 is just around the corner (January 22-26, 2021)! We hope you’ve already registered or are thinking about it, as it’s a great way to support the conference work of ALA and ALSC. Whether you’re registered or not there are lots of opportunities to engage with ALSC during Midwinter. Please note that this year registration is free to ALA student members and members who have been furloughed, laid off, or are experiencing a reduction in work hours.