Leadership Opportunity: ASCLA Nominating Committee seeks candidates, gives you the inside scoop on serving ASCLA

The ASCLA Nominating Committee, chaired by ASCLA member Ray James, seeks applicants for vacant board positions to be elected early in 2014. Read on to learn more about the available positions and what each of them entails. To express interest in a position or ask questions about serving on the ASCLA board,  contact Ray at erayjames@gmail.com.

With apologies to the memory of JFK, “Ask not only what ASCLA can do for you, but also what can you do for ASCLA.”

Each spring, the American Library Association holds elections for various leadership positions throughout the association. ASCLA has five leadership positions available in the next election cycle with service to start after the end of the 2014 Las Vegas Annual Conference. If you are a current member of ASCLA and active with any of the interest groups with open board seats, then you are eligible for leadership roles in one ALA’s fastest growing divisions!

The positions to be filled are:

  • President-Elect 2014-2015 (a 3 year commitment–2014 through 2017–that includes the president-elect year, presidential year, and past president year);
  • Director-at-Large 2014-2016 (2 year term);
  • Designated Director, Cooperatives and Networks 2014-2016 (2 year term);
  • Designated Director, Special Populations 2014-2016 (2 year term);
  • and Designated Director, State Library Agencies 2014-2016 (2 year term).

As a potential candidate, the first two questions that may come to mind are “What do I have to do?” and “Do I have to go to conferences?”

The basic answer to the first question comes from a statement of responsibilities that goes to everyone who expresses an interest in serving of the ASCLA Board of Directors. In a nutshell for the Designated Directors:

  • Serves  on the ASCLA board as a representative of one of the following typesof library organizations, constituencies or agencies: state library agencies, library agencies and individuals which provide library materials and service to populations with special needs, library cooperatives, and library consultants or independent librarians.
  • Serves on the ASCLA Interest Group Coordinating Committee (IGCC)
  • Assumes other responsibilities as assigned by the president.

Directors-at-Large represent ASCLA as a whole rather than a particular interest group and do not serve on the IGCC. Service is for two years which begins at the close of the Annual conference in the year of election and ends at the close of Annual conference two years later. The Vice-President/President-Elect role is more expansive.

What does this all mean? At a bare minimum it means going to board meetings and staying awake. No one ever does just the bare minimum. Until ASCLA implements a virtual meeting standard, directors and other association officers need to attend the Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference during their term of service, though there may be virtual board meetings that take place outside of these twice annual face-to-face meetings.

The prestige of serving on ASCLA board is often impetus from a librarian’s workplace to provide financial support for attending these conferences. Some directors choose to fund the experience themselves. In my opinion, the real pleasure from serving as a director is interacting with other professionals from such diverse areas as correctional librarianship to those who provide service to people with physical or intellectual limitations to consultants to those who work in state libraries. By learning about the issues and solutions in librarianship from this multiplicity of backgrounds, every director expands his or her horizons. Think of it as networking on steroids.

For those in the profession for many years working on the ASCLA Board can be a reward for years of service and a chance to mentor younger members of the profession. For the younger members of the profession taking a leadership role is not just a resume builder but also an opportunity to learn, network, and influence the future of the profession.

For me personally, serving on the ASCLA board meant some of all of above plus travels to Chicago, Anaheim, Dallas, Denver, San Diego, New Orleans, and Seattle. It meant expanding my perceptions far beyond my job. It meant a sense of accomplishment from helping to guide changes in ASCLA, helping introduce new faces and ideas to ASCLA leadership, and taking part in expanding not only the membership numbers but also the perceptions of ALA members and non-ALA folks about ASCLA and its mission “to enhance the effectiveness of library service by advocating for and providing high quality networking, enrichment and educational opportunities for its diverse members, who represent state library agencies, libraries serving special populations, library cooperatives, and library consultants.”

Interested in throwing your hat in the ring, or at least exploring your options? Contact the Nominating Committee via Committee Chair Ray James at erayjames@gmail.com to get the ball rolling!

 

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