Question & Answer with ALA President-Elect & Treasurer Candidates
Compiled by Janel Kinlaw
Even though the official 2012 election season is over, the 2013 ALA Election season is in full swing. At Midwinter, the ALA President-Elect & Treasurer Candidates shared their thoughts on ALA in the Candidate Forum. The candidates also took time to answer a few questions posed by the NMRT Executive Board on the candidates' path to leadership in ALA, their experience as new members, as well as some questions on the lighter side. Elections will be open from March 19 to April 26. Your vote counts, so please vote!
ALA President-Elect Candidate: Barbara Immroth
Barbara, tell us a little about yourself …
I have been a librarian since the year after I graduated from college. I've been a faculty member at University of Texas at Austin, School of Information since I earned a Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh and moved to Austin. My specialization is Youth Services and Materials. I also teach Management and this semester I am working with 32 students graduating in May with their MSIS, who are doing a Professional Experience and Report on a wide variety of projects!
What was your path to leadership within ALA?
I joined ALA several years after I earned the master's degree. I was interested in children's literature and was appointed to the Newbery-Caldecott Committee--a great way to be in a division and work with others in that division. I was also appointed to the Intellectual Freedom Committee and spent many hours in those meetings, revising the Library Bill of Rights, and working on difficult issues. I accepted the appointments that I received and learned about ALA by working in all sorts of areas.
What was it like for you as a new ALA member?
I went from a large public high school in Colorado to a small college in New England, where I didn't know anyone. Being in ALA, where I didn't know many people at first, meant that I needed to work hard and get acquainted with those with similar interests. I was fortunate to find people with similar interests and make friends with them.
What will you do to improve engagement within ALA for new members?
I have been the ALA/TxLA Student Chapter faculty advisor at UT School of Information for a number of years. We always have a social early in the semester and invite everyone to come. People get to know each other and continue to attend meetings and activities. Ten of the current students paid their own way to Seattle for Midwinter and had a blast at the conference. I'd like to get more new people on to committees, as interns and virtual members. Social media provides numerous opportunities for people to engage in ALA from wherever they are, so use more social media.
What advice do you have for new members who want to get involved in ALA?
Find a group that interests you and get involved. Don't be shy. Librarians are usually really pleasant, friendly people who like to help others. Put yourself out there and join in, and you'll be welcomed!
In the information profession world, what is your favorite word or topic?
The new things that are being done on social media -- the new ways to explore, connect and learn.
In the information profession world, what turns you on?
I love story and children's literature - you can find out about everything by reading! I love to share story with others!
What profession other than librarianship would you like to attempt?
I enjoy travel and would try being a tour guide.