ALA’s Emerging Leaders program

by Caitlin Moen, Head Editor, INALJ Louisiana

ALA’s Emerging Leaders program

caitlin3In 2007, American Library Association president Leslie Burger established the Emerging Leaders program, where librarians new to the profession could apply to participate in networking, problem solving and project completion, and ultimately work toward leadership positions within ALA.  Each year there are about 50 applicants chosen to participate.  These candidates are split into groups to work on different projects for different divisions or individuals within ALA and participants are sponsored by divisions and round tables to help defray the costs of attending the conference.

Applications are accepted each summer and individuals are inducted into the program and divided into groups in the fall.  I was inducted this year and our group meetings started at Midwinter.  I was lucky enough to be assigned a project working directly with ALA President Maureen Sullivan and the ALA Membership Committee to work to investigate member retention and how to turn people who leave ALA into people who retain membership.

Our group of 4 first met at Midwinter, where we started talking over our project as a group, then talked with representatives for the president and for the Membership Committee. We sketched out a rough timeline for our project and started establishing responsibilities within the group for different tasks and duties.

After Midwinter we started working to develop the project.  We have talked via email and chat and have had Google Hangout sessions to flesh things out.  It’s been exciting to help develop a bare idea into a more finished and coherent whole.

The final result of this Emerging Leaders project will be a poster session held at Annual on Friday, June 28th.  We will have workshops and a social hour before and after the poster session.  I hope plenty of people come on by the poster session tables to check out all of the Emerging Leader projects

Overall, this has been a great experience, although it’s a time commitment. Networking opportunities have abounded, both with ALA higher-ups and with peers in the library industry.  If you are interested in the Emerging Leaders program check out for all the info – applications are accepted through August 2nd!  And also feel free to hit me up on LinkedIn and send me any questions you may have – my link is

Emerging Leaders has been pretty awesome thus far, although I am hoping some of the benefits are yet to come.  I will tell you that in a time of job uncertainty or unfulfilling positions, working on your professional credentials can really make you feel like you are working toward something.  And here’s hoping the bumps to my CV help in future job hunting endeavors! Stay tuned in the next several months for a rundown of what it is like to present a poster session at Annual 🙂

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