As an early career librarian, it is important for me to learn leadership and problem solving skills, network with my peers, and be involved with ALA.  ALA’s Emerging Leaders program does just this.  I am honored to be selected to the 2012 Class of Emerging Leaders and to be APALA’s Emerging Leaders sponsorship recipient.

At ALA Midwinter in Dallas, the Emerging Leaders received a daylong leadership orientation and training, as well as an opportunity to meet fellow Emerging Leaders.  My team members include a library assistant at a community college in Florida, a director of a public library in Arkansas, and I (a reference and instruction librarian at a college in upstate New York).  We are a small group compared to others who are in groups of four or five.  Our project is working with REFORMA’s Noche de Cuentos, a family literacy focus program.  The purpose of the project is to create a website to serve as a national clearinghouse for Latino programming resources that will help librarians plan Latino heritage programs for their communities.

After getting to know my team members, we received training on project management and intentional leadership.  Some of the things we learned about intentional leadership are that intentional leaders are self-aware and socially aware and that leaders influence others and are influenced by others.  We then worked on a team exercise, where we were given straws, pins, and thumbtacks.  Our assignment was to connect the straws using the pins and thumbtacks, with the goal of building the straws as high as possible, standing for 30 seconds.  You can imagine the problem solving, creativity, and humor involved.  A picture of our finished product is shown.  My team members and I worked great together as we were open to suggestions and were flexible.  It was a great exercise to demonstrate how we will work together on our Emerging Leaders project.

We also worked on a personal learning plan and a team communication plan.  It was beneficial to outline these in person and in writing before we begin our project.  Additionally, we learned about ALA’s organizational entities as some of ALA’s leaders spoke about the work of their units and how their work fits in the overall ALA structure.

Later that evening, ALA President Molly Raphael and President-elect Maureen Sullivan held a reception to celebrate Emerging Leaders and ALA leadership.  I had the opportunity to meet more Emerging Leaders, ALA leaders, and other library professionals.  I was in the company of good people and good food.

I had a wonderful time at the Emerging Leaders training.  I feel invigorated after meeting everyone, and I look forward to beginning my project with my team members.  I am extremely thankful to APALA for sponsoring me.  It is an honor to be the Emerging Leaders sponsorship recipient.


Tina Chan, 2012 APALA Emerging Leader

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