I was honored to serve as the first VSLA sponsored ALA Emerging Leader. This program is described as "leadership development program which enables newer library workers from across the country to participate in problem-solving workgroups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity. It puts participants on the fast track to ALA committee volunteerism as well as other professional library-related organizations." (http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/leadership/emergingleaders)
The experience largely involved 2 day long seminars; one at ALA Midwinter in Atlanta and one at ALA Annual in Chicago, virtual work in the months in-between both conferences, and a culminating poster session. We discussed leadership, learned about the inner workings of ALA, met some important folks including ALA President Julie Todaro and President-Elect Jim Neal, ALA Executive Director Keith Fiels, and more! Maureen Sullivan, former ALA President, and Audrey Barbakoff, an EL alum, were wonderful coordinators who guided our seminars. We also had opportunities to work with our group in person.
I was chosen to work on a project for the American Association of School Librarians analyzing the impact of the ESSA workshops held in over 40 different states (and D.C.) on school library advocacy. My wonderful group members and I developed a survey, sent it to state affiliates and asked all those who attended participate. (Vermont had 17 responses-more than any other state-thank you!) Next, we followed up with state affiliate representatives with a series of questions to further our understandings. I was fortunate to speak with representatives from the New England states, and Michigan, where I felt a great camaraderie. Finally, we analyzed our data as a group, and produced an executive summary and infographic which will soon be available on the AASL website. Data showed that the workshops were very helpful in increasing advocacy of the school librarian!
I am grateful to VSLA for sponsoring me and highly encourage other folks to apply to this wonderful program. I made so many new friends and met so many new colleagues. I learned a lot about myself and gained confidence as a leader. I plan on updating my (sparsely updated) blog soon about my conference experiences as a whole: http://noshushingallowed.blogspot.com. Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter: MsD_Reads_vt.