Officially Speaking | February 2024

LibLearnX 2024: Announcing the ALSC Awards


Dear Members: Serving as the ALSC president has been one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks I have undertaken over the course of my career. There are agendas to prepare, board and executive committee meetings to oversee, meetings to attend, board action requests to review, emails to read and write, hundreds of appointments to make, blogs and columns (like this one!) to write, and much more. I knew it would not be an easy task, so I pondered and seriously reflected on whether to accept the invitation to be on the ballot for several months. In the end, I decided to accept because although I knew it would be a challenge, I also knew that the experience would be rewarding and that I would grow and develop in numerous ways as a professional.

One of the things I was most anxious about was the announcement of the 2024 ALSC Awards at LibLearnX 2024. After all, who doesn’t know about the Caldecott and Newbery medals, the oldest ALSC and ALA awards? In fact, the Newbery is the first children’s book award ever created in the world! ALSC presents many other prestigious awards, too, such as the Sibert, Geisel, Batchelder, and Legacy. Announcing the ALSC awards at LibLearnX 2024 was exciting and terrifying at the same time. It was exciting to share such good news and have a sneak peek at the awards the night before everyone else! It was also terrifying because I wanted to do a good job, pronounce names correctly, and well represent all of you. I also wanted to represent the ALSC staff well because they work so doggone hard!

For years, I have wanted to refine my skills as a public speaker. I can get by, as many of us do. I teach courses, present at conferences, and more, but I knew I could do a better job. The 2024 ALSC Awards announcements were the impetus I needed to reach out for support. I googled “public speaking coaches near me” and reached out to someone who it turned out lives in Atlanta, Georgia. I live in Columbus, Ohio, so he is not near me, but he was exactly what I needed. As LibLearnX approached, we met virtually twice a week to prepare me to make the announcements. I videotaped myself reading the script template numerous times, and we watched the recordings together while he gave me advice: “Look to the right, Jonda. You have a tendency to only look to the left.” “Pronounce those d’s and t’s.” “Find a way to connect with your audience.” “If you make a mistake, fix it and just keep going.”

While departing for LibLearnX 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland, I was anxious as I usually am when departing for a conference. I had so many questions! Did I pack everything? Will I be nervous when announcing the winners? Will I bask in the moment and enjoy it? Am I ready? Although I was anxious, I was also looking forward to seeing many of my old friends and colleagues and finding out which books won the most prestigious children’s book awards.

I did it! I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I feel good about my presentation of the ALSC Awards during the ALA Youth Media Awards press conference. My public speaking coach texted me afterward that he was very pleased with my performance. I’m also grateful to those of you who emailed or texted me kind words after the ceremony. I offer my heartfelt thanks to all of the award committees for their hard work this past year! I also thank all of you for your support year-round! It has been such a pleasure to lead this division.

I now have two important things to do (among my other ALSC duties). First, I need to go through my many stacks of books and pull out the 2024 award winners to read. (I bought my own seals at the ALA store in Baltimore so I can put them on my books!) Then, I plan to get back to work with my public speaking coach to prepare for the Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet. I look forward to seeing all of you in San Diego, California!—Jonda C. McNair, Charlotte S. Huck Endowed Professor of Children’s Literature, The Ohio State University, 2023–2024 ALSC President, she/her/hers

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ALSC Councilor's Report - 2024 LibLearnX

What a surprisingly snowy treat it was to attend LibLearnX 2024 in Baltimore representing ALSC as your Division Councilor. Please find the recap of Council actions that took place as follows.

Membership Committee, ALA CD#39
On the recommendation of the ALA Membership Committee, the ALA Council approved the following prices for ALA personal dues effective with Fiscal Year 2025:

  • Individual Type I: $125
  • Individual Type II: $55
  • Supporter: $70
  • Student: $40

International Relations Committee, ALA CD#18
Council approved the International Relations Committee’s Resolution on Damage and Destruction of Libraries and other Cultural Institutions in Gaza, which reads:

Resolved that the American Library Association,

  1. Implores all parties to uphold respect for human rights and dignity in line with international law, ensure access to humanitarian aid, and find a pathway to peace,
  2. Deplores the destruction and damage of the Gaza Municipal Library, the Rashid al-Shawa Cultural Center, and other libraries and cultural institutions in Gaza;
  3. Calls for the protection of libraries, schools, and other cultural institutions in Gaza and Israel and for both sides of the conflict to uphold the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict to take all feasible action to safeguard and respect all cultural property;
  4. Urges the government of the United States, as well as other governments, intergovernmental organizations, and nongovernmental organizations to provide assistance for the reconstruction and restoration of libraries, schools, and other cultural institutions, including networking and other infrastructure, as soon as it is practicable in Gaza.

Open the complete report and resolution.

Committee on Organization, ALA CD#27
ALA Council approved The Committee on Appointments' proposed change to the composition of Committee on Appointments. The Committee on Appointments will now include four elected members of the Committee on Committees to serve as additional ex-officio, voting members in addition to the current composition of the ALA president-elect (chair) and a president-elect from each of the eight ALA divisions.

Bylaws Committee, ALA CD#25
Council approved amending Article VI of the ALA Bylaws by adding a new Section 6 (and renumbering subsequent Sections of the Article) as follows: “Section 6. Council Virtual Participation and Observation. Meetings of the Council shall be conducted in such a manner as to allow for virtual participation by Councilors.”

Core Values Task Force, ALA CD#34
The ALA Council approved five new Core Values focusing on access, equity, intellectual freedom and privacy, the public good, and sustainability. The Core Values Task Force (CVTF) was charged with creating a more concise, streamlined, and memorable set of values from the previous 12. The CVTF has worked for more than two years to create this new framework.

Council also voted to create working groups to develop interpretations for each Core Value. ALA members interested in working on these should complete the Core Values Working Group Volunteer Interest Form by February 29. The ALA Executive Board will appoint members to these working groups.

Memorial Resolutions

Tribute Resolutions:

A complete list of Council Documents for LibLearnX 2024 in on the ALA website. Please feel free to contact me if I can answer any questions.—Julie Roach, ALSC Division Councilor

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Election Opens March 11

The 2024 election will run March 11 through April 3 and determine four key leadership positions within ALSC: vice president and three board members. For more general information about the election, please see the ALSC 2024 election page. The full slate is also on the website.

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Honoring Our Silver Anniversary Members

Congratulations to the following individuals who have celebrated 25 years of ALSC membership this past year. We appreciate your commitment to the association and profession!

Tali Balas
Margaret J. Bollar
Dr. Christina H. Dorr
Lisa C. Dennis
Loretta Dowell
Jennifer M. Duffy
Oralia Garza De Cortes
Anne Heidemann
Dr. Janet W. Hilbun
Elizabeth W. Jackson
Nancy J. Johnson
Janine Langston
Elizabeth Mahoney
Dr. Claudette S. McLinn
Maryann H. Owen
Dr. Linda M. Pavonetti
Alison O'Reilly Poage
Lynda Salem Poling
Elizabeth D. Rosania
Danielle A. Shapiro
Ed A. Spicer
Dr. Sylvia M. Vardell
Beatriz Pascual Wallace
Sandy Wee
Rose Marie P. Zaharek

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Thank You to Our Friends

Many thanks to the following generous contributors to Friends of ALSC. To learn how you can support ALSC, visit our website.

President’s Circle - $1,000 and up

Christopher Biss-Brown

Gold Circle - $500 to $999

Ed Spicer

Silver Circle - $250 to $499

Mary Fellows
Nina Lindsay
Linda Perkins
Judy Zuckerman

Notables Circle - $100 to $249

Cindy Boatfield
Christine Caputo
Stephanie Charlefour
Bruce Farrar
Amy Koester
Cecilia McGowan
Kathleen Odean
Tori Ann Ogawa
Linda Pavonetti
Beatriz Wallace

Friends Circle - up to $99

Marilyn Ackerman
M. Rose “Shoshanna” Anthony
Aryssa Damron
Jennifer Duffy
Linda Ernst
Melissa Freed
Robbin Friedman
Jean Gaffney
Joan Gagan
E. Gall
Erin Downey Howerton
Karen MacPherson
Dr. Jonda C. McNair
Sue McCleaf Nespeca
Linda Plevak
April Roy
Michael Santangelo
Laura Schulte-Cooper
Cheryl Shrake
Stan Steiner
Kimberly White
Gretchen Wronka

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