This month, with so many of our eyes glued to the recent summer Olympic Games, I am reminded of how one of the noblest and most joyful moments of every Olympics is the Parade of Nations that takes place during the Opening Ceremony. Athletes from all the nations, from the most minute to the largest, march into the open field waving their country’s flag as they gather to become one world. The athletes in the Opening Ceremony remind me of the members of award selection committees as they march into the ALA Youth Media Award announcements proudly representing the diversity of titles selected by each of their committees.
During the past year, much like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, ALSC and all its committees continued to work against all odds, adapting and transforming amidst the changes and tribulations that came with the year of the Pandemic. It is said that “necessity is the mother of invention.” And indeed, out of necessity we learned new ways to conduct the business of ALSC, and now find ourselves with a renewed impetus for innovation to make member engagement more inclusive and accessible.
This year, 2021-22, will be “the year of member engagement.” Why? Because virtual meetings have made participation in committee work accessible to all. It’s a dream come true! Children’s librarians and library workers without the needed financial backing for travel to conferences are now able to join in the national dialog, to participate in committees, attend seminars, and much more. For example, professional award and process committees now operate in a hybrid manner, meaning committees conduct their work and meetings virtually throughout the service year with conference attendance being optional.
I would like to highlight two opportunities for those interested in learning more about the business of ALSC. One is to attend the monthly ALSC Board Meetings and the other is to participate in the quarterly Community Forums.
Each month the ALSC Board of Directors meets to discuss and make important decisions for the association. The virtual meetings are open, and observers are welcomed to attend. When time allows, guests also have the opportunity to have the floor. Significant decisions are made during these meetings, and more so now as we prepare for LibLearnX 2022 (LLX).
The Community Forum takes place quarterly to discuss pressing topics or a trending issue. These forums are held on Zoom. During the forum, participants can chat live with members of the ALSC Board, ALSC President, fellow ALSC members, and presenters. Members who cannot participate in the live chat can submit questions via email to Elizabeth Serrano or Twitter (use the hashtag #alscforum).
For other opportunities to get involved, visit ALSC Committee Appointments & Volunteer Form, ALSC eLearning: Professional Development Opportunities, ALSC Initiatives and Special Projects, ALSC Mentoring Program, and Engage with ALSC.
I am honored to serve as your 2021-22 ALSC President during this year and look forward to hearing everyone’s voices. I invite you to visit my President’s Page and find out a little about my vision and work.
In the words of John Lennon, sung so beautifully by a chorus of children and international artists at this year’s Opening Ceremony, “you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” I know that I am not the only one with big dreams for the children and communities we serve, and I hope that you will join me in making this the greatest year for member engagement, so we can work together to make those dreams a reality.—Lucia M. Gonzalez, 2021-2022 President, ALSC: Association for Library Service to Children, she/her/hers
Hello, ALSC Peeps! -- Well, we celebrated our second virtual ALA Annual in June, and while there are many things to miss about meeting in person (mainly seeing our friends and colleagues IN PERSON), there is something to be said about conferencing online in comfortable clothes on the deck with a long, tall glass of your favorite adult beverage.
I feel like I am getting the hang of meeting online better. I was able to space out my Council commitments and take advantage of visiting the exhibits and attending sessions much better this time around. It also helped that I actually took conference time off work this year instead of trying to cram everything in around my work schedule. Not quite sure why I did not think of that before…I guess it just feels decadent to take time off work and not actually go anywhere, but there you have it.
January is right around the corner and as we wait for the final, FINAL word on an in-person LibLearnX next year in San Antonio, I am happy to share with you some of the highlights of Council news for ALA Annual.
ALA Executive Director’s Report
As ALA continues to focus on needed changes ahead, ALA membership and growing our organization continues to be important. The Executive Director’s report laid out several updates to be aware of:
• Pivot Strategy Update: A Necessary Focus on Membership
• Financial Update: Navigating Financial Recovery and Business Opportunity
• Contributed Revenue Performance Update and Association Campaign Exploration
• Staffing Update: New Leaders for New Opportunities
• Challenges to Anti-racist Books and Diversity Trainings in Libraries
• Summary of ALA Carbon Offset Current Conference Practices
• ALA Https Update
• Looking Ahead to LibLearnX
• ALA Annual Conference 2021 Highlights and Governance Meetings
• Upcoming Division Conferences
ALA Executive Director Traci Hall’s Executive Report is available online.
Important Council Discussions and Business
Newly elected Council Committee on Committees members:
Binh P. Le
2021-2023 Planning and Budget Assembly
Alanna Aiko Moore
Implementation Action Items and Resolutions
CD 37.1 Forward Together Fiscal Analysis Working Group
CD 46.1 Forward Together Resolutions Working Group (FTRWG)
These two documents are tied together as ALA works toward reorganization. The working groups have put in countless hours as they work out future plans, but more time is needed to make thoughtful and meaningful decisions. Since more time is needed to gather input from ALA committees, governing bodies, and finance entities, the committee chairs moved that, with the exceptions of Items #1 (ALA Core Values) and #2 (Round Tables), all remaining items in the FTRWG report (ALA CD 46.1) be referred to a task force. After discussion the resolution passed, which means that for the immediate future, there will be no changes to Council.
ALA CD 46.1 - Item #1 Core Values - In order to clear up confusion over the content and purpose of the ALA Core Values of Librarianship (ALA Policy Manual 8 1.1), the FTRWG moved that ALA establish a task force to review the ALA Core Values; and make recommendations at Annual 2022 for revisions to include, but not be limited to, establishing a regular review process and streamline and reduce the places and documents where the ALA Core Values are listed. After discussion, the motion passed.
CD #40.1 - EBD #10.15 Operating Agreement Work Group Update. This document lays out the relationship between ALA and the divisions. The discussions we are having about reorganization (Pivot Plan, Forward Together, etc.) will have a lasting impact on our operating agreement as well as on our finances. Therefore, this process is also taking time to work out.
Dr. Vartan Gregorian
Dr. Henrietta M. Smith
Dr. Cheryl Ann McCarthy
Eleanor (Penny) Brome
Latanya N. Jenkins
Dr. William C. Robinson
Margaret R. Myers
William G. Asp
Regina U. Minudri
Rita Joyce Williams Jones
John T. Ma
Honor and Tribute Resolutions
Mary Ellen K. Davis
Find copies of Memorial, Honor, and Tribute Resolutions and all Annual Conference Virtual Council Documents on ALA Connect.—Respectively Submitted, Kimberly A. Patton, ALSC Division Councilor
Aimee Strittmatter, executive director of ALSC, recently announced her decision to embark upon a new professional path and will be leaving ALA, effective Aug. 31, 2021.
Strittmatter joined ALSC as deputy executive director in April 2005, bringing to the division extensive experience as a children’s librarian and children’s services supervisor. In 2009, she was named executive director.
In her 16 years, Strittmatter has provided leadership, strategic direction, and management oversight across a wide spectrum of the ALSC’s programs, initiatives, and operations and effectively managed and grown ALSC’s resources and capacity by increasing ALSC’s operational fund balance fourfold.
Among her accomplishments:
Securing critical funding from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the Disney Citizenship Team;
Designing and executive the first Bill Morris Book Evaluation Seminar in 2008, which is now one of ALSC’s most highly rated programs;
Building and maintaining relationships with other national organizations, such as the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), New America, the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), and the United States Board on Books for Youth (USBBY)
Alena Rivers, ALSC deputy director, will serve as association interim executive director. Rivers joined ALA in 2017 as ALSC deputy director. In this role, she works with ALSC staff, board, committees, and partners to support ALSC’s continued growth in member relations, communications, publications, continuing education, projects and grants, and implementation and monitoring of ALSC’s strategic plan.
Prior to joining ALA, Rivers had more than 10 years of experience in non-profit management, serving as the director of operations for the Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention, a non-profit, statewide, membership-based organization that strengthened prevention systems, policies, and programs in underserved communities. She has also worked as associate director of enrollment management for IES Abroad, a non-profit study-abroad program provider, and as corporate communications and foundation assistant for the Montgomery Ward Foundation.
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