Two years ago, then-president Kirby McCurtis noted in her first president’s column that all signs pointed toward “a year of adjustment ahead.” While the ongoing pandemic means that now, at the time of my first president’s column, we still find ourselves in a state of perpetual adjustment and change, I am heartened by all of the ways I have seen ALSC members and other library folks serving children—doing their best to support children, their communities, and one another throughout challenging circumstances. I hope, as your president for this service year, I can be a bolster and a booster to ALSC members, leaders, and staff as we do the important work of this association. I invite each of you to get involved in whatever capacity makes sense for you now—there’s something in ALSC for everyone!
Committees and Appointments. July 1 marked the official start of the committee year for ALSC’s process committees—those are the many committees whose work in advocacy, professional awards and scholarships, organizational support, and professional development make up the beating heart of ALSC. Every process committee began their year with a full roster of members from across the continent who were ready to dive into ALSC work. While all of these committees currently have all member slots filled, it is inevitable over the course of the year that mid-term vacancies will appear—which is to say, if you’re most interested in ALSC’s process work, it’s never a bad time to submit a volunteer form, as we have rolling need for volunteers!
For award and notables committees, however, now is the exact right time to submit a volunteer form to be considered for the appointments happening this autumn. As the ALSC appointing officer, I am working with a team of ALSC members with broad experience with ALSC’s award and notables programs to make the appointments for these committees. Together, this working group will be reviewing volunteer forms from members who have expressed interest in the 2024 award and notables committees, advising the appointments process. This awards and notables appointments advisory working group is a newly-established practice to ensure checks and balances in the appointments process following the member vote this past spring to remove the awards positions from the annual ALSC ballot.
Strategic Planning. This fall, the ALSC Board will begin the process of updating our current plan. ALSC’s strategic plan is incredibly important as one of the core guiding documents of our work. It is imperative that we hear from members of ALSC and libraries serving children as we embark on this strategic plan update. While anyone is welcome to share their thoughts with me at any time, you can also look for information about some strategic planning community conversations this autumn to share your input. I’m joined by other ALSC member leaders to facilitate and synthesize notes from these upcoming conversations, with the intention to ensure that a diversity of member voices is at the heart of our strategic plan.
ALSC National Institute. I hope others are as excited as I am for the 2022 ALSC National Institute that will take place in Kansas City, Missouri, from September 29 to October 1! I’m so grateful to the task force members who have been hard at work planning the Institute—it’s going to be a meaningful and engaging in-person learning experience for attendees, and I cannot wait to learn alongside so many of you. For the first time, the Institute will be preceded by the Bill Morris Seminar: Book Evaluation Training. Throughout this year, ALSC was able to extend the invitation to affiliates and round tables who confer youth media awards to have some of their members join our seminars. Members from the Coretta Scott King Book Awards participated in the virtual cohort last February, and members from the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), American Indian Library Association (AILA), Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL), and Rainbow Round Table were all invited to join in Kansas City.
For ALSC members who are trying to decide between attending ALSC National Institute and the National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, which begins October 5, please know that we support you in attending whichever conference is best aligned to your work, goals, and schedule. Library workers are fortunate to have so many opportunities to learn together and from one another, even though we’re not able to attend every convening.
Upholding Intellectual Freedom. Unfortunately, many libraries and communities have been affected by the recent increases in calls for censorship and challenges to reading materials for children. Whether you’re currently experiencing challenges or looking to make sure you and your colleagues know what to do should one arise, the Unite Against Book Bans initiative is a great resource and support. Several ALSC and interdivisional committees continue to do important work around intellectual freedom as well, with more resources and supports forthcoming.
Looking Ahead. This information is just the tip of the iceberg of all that is happening now and upcoming with ALSC, as well as what is in store for the year ahead. If you’d like to see more about me and my approach to my term as president, you can peruse my president’s page. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to connect with, learn from, and support so many ALSC members from my current vantage–it is an honor and a privilege to get to serve alongside you as we work together to build healthy, successful futures for all children. Cheers to the months ahead!—Amy Koester, ALSC President, 2022-23
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