“What does our ideal organization do? What does our ideal organization look like? What are three ways we get there?”
ALA President Jim Neal has called on members to consider the 21st century effectiveness and agility of our organization. At our recent ALSC Community Forum, Doing ALA Differently: An ALSC Discussion, on April 12, 2018, ALSC Councilor Jenna Nemec-Loise led members in a discussion and exercise modeled after Council discussions at Midwinter (framed by Council Document 35), asking these questions and culminating in an organizational “Mad Libs.” I encourage you to review the recording of the forum to consider the thoughtful and provocative responses.
Following from Midwinter’s Council discussions, at their recent spring meeting the ALA Executive Board discussed engaging a consultant and steering committee to lead an ALA Governance Review (outlined in the 2018 Annual Conference Board Document 35.1). The process outlined would include involving members at Annual Conference to consider various “what if” scenarios of alternate structures for ALA Governance.
Do you have a vision for ALA? Coming to Annual Conference? Make sure to put the ALSC Membership Meeting in your scheduler now, as we will spend a portion of the meeting asking you, and stay tuned for other ways to engage in the conversation.—Nina Lindsay, ALSC President
April 30th has come and gone. What did your library do for Día? Did you plan an amazing program celebrating cultural diversity and bookjoy? Did you take advantage of the numerous ALSC resources such as the beautiful free program downloads, helpful planning resources, and curated lists of diverse books that promote cultural understanding? If you did, I’m super excited to learn about your programs. The ALSC Public Awareness committee created a blog post Día Celebracións at Your Library where they provide an opportunity for you to leave comments, sharing your success stories. Didn’t have a chance to plan and deliver a Día program? That is okay! Programs like Día do not have to occur only on April 30th. Rather, you can make every day a Día day. We read and share diverse books throughout the year—not just during special heritage months. The same holds true for Día programs. As I mentioned in my last column for ALSC Matters, Día activities lay a foundation for advocacy, providing the framework to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion into collections, programs, and services. Extending Día throughout the year sends a message that your library values cultural diversity every day. Why not celebrate Día in your next storytime, school age program, or book club? There are plenty of resources available for you!
Speaking of honoring our cultural diversity, what’s going on with ALSC in relation to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI)? As ALSC President Nina Lindsay notes, ALA members in all the divisions are discussing how we can do ALA differently. Part of doing ALA differently for ALSC also means thinking of ways that our association can be more inclusive, welcoming, and accessible to all our members and potential members. For over a year through the hard work of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within ALSC Implementation task force and the Diversity within ALSC task force, we’ve been examining unintentional barriers and pitfalls that we’ve created, which prevent certain members from participating in the life and work of the organization. In addition to the work of the task force, ALSC leadership also has been thinking of ways to make ALSC more open to everyone and assessing roadblocks. One of these relates to the ability of all ALSC members to become engaged in leadership roles of the association due to requirements to attend midwinter and annual conferences. Currently, ALSC leaders are considering how we can do ALSC differently to create a structure that would support the work of virtual committee chairs if meeting attendance were not a strict requirement. This would open up leadership opportunities for ALSC members who may have been engaged actively as members in virtual committees but are unable to attend conference twice a year to serve as a committee chair.
Another area of EDI work within ALSC relates to cultural competence training for our members as identified by the previous Diversity within ALSC task force. Currently the Education committee is working on training materials and a webinar related to cultural competency. ALSC’s 2018 Emerging Leader Jacqueline Quinn also is working with her ALA Emerging Leaders – Team C on the project “Cultural Competency in Youth Librarianship” to do background research and groundwork for a training video script for ALSC related to cultural competence and cultural humility. The team will be sharing their findings at the ALA Annual Conference this summer in New Orleans.
Speaking of ALA Annual, ALSC will have several programs and presentations related to diversity and inclusion. Rather than try and list them all (and invariably forget something), I would like to highlight two that I’ve helped to plan. The first is the Leadership and ALSC meeting on Saturday morning beginning at 8:30 a.m. As part of this meeting, we’ll hear from librarians who are creating inclusive programs that celebrate creativity and diversity through Drag Queen Storytimes. While the meeting is for ALSC priority group consultants, committee chairs, and board of directors, anyone can attend. Another program celebrating global diversity is the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) co-sponsored program hosted by ALSC on Saturday afternoon from 4:00-5:00 p.m. The program, “The Four D’s of Translation in Children’s Publishing: Diversity, Drag, Disguise and Delectation,” explores what it takes to create a good translated book for children. It will include an interactive discussion with children’s publishers known for making high-quality books from other countries accessible to children in the United States. Hope to see YOU at these programs!
On a final note, I have mentioned only a few of the strategic actions that ALSC leaders and members are taking in the area of EDI. Many of our committees are working to move the association positively forward in this area. Currently, the ALSC Board of Directors is examining the progress of our Strategic Plan’s three strategic areas, one of which is Diversity & Inclusion. I am in this working group and we’ll be reporting and discussing our findings at the ALSC Board Meeting at ALA Annual and posting materials in our board documents online. Part of the discussion will include what we’ve accomplished and what areas need more work and resources to advance. We still have considerable work to do to ensure that our association becomes a place where all really means all. I am looking forward to engaging with you in this work.—Jamie Campbell Naidoo, ALSC Vice-President/President-Elect
Cecilia P. McGowan (left), children's services coordinator, King County Library System, Issaquah, Washington, was elected ALSC vice president/president-elect in the spring election. McGowan, an ALSC member of 29 years, has been very active with the association. She served on the ALSC Board of Directors (2009-2012), was a Priority Group Consultant for Group III (2014-2016), and has worked on many committees, Children and Libraries Editorial Advisory and Membership, among others. Most recently, McGowan chaired the 2018 Newbery Committee. She also served as a 2017-2018 ALSC Mentor.
Three members were elected to serve on the ALSC Board of Directors: Elisa Gall, Deerfield (Illinois) Public Library, director-at-large; Africa Hands, Louisville, Kentucky, director-at-large; and Sujei Lugo, Boston Public Library, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, director-at-large. Julie Dietzel-Glair, Baltimore, was elected to the position of ALSC division councilor on the ALSC Board of Directors.
The newly elected vice president, division councilor, and board members will be seated to the ALSC Board of Directors in June 2018, at the close of the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.
For a complete list of election results, including award committee members, visit the 2018 election results page.
Many thanks to the following generous contributors to ALSC. To learn how you can support ALSC, visit our website.
Friends of ALSC
Jamie Campbell Naidoo
Susan & Leland Faust