The August 1 deadline is quickly approaching for consideration in next year’s group of ALA Emerging Leaders. According to ALA’s website, this program “enables newer library workers from across the country to participate in problem-solving work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and [provides an] opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity.”
The annual program begins each year at ALA Midwinter, to be held in Boston in 2016. Emerging Leaders also present their work at a poster session during ALA Annual Conference, which will take place in Orlando. Additionally, participants may get the chance to participate in an ALA committee or taskforce.
Applications and references must be submitted online no later than August 1, 2015. Applicants may elect to seek sponsorship from a number of ALA divisions in order to help defray the costs of attending the required conferences, although this is not required.
Thanks to its robust reputation, Emerging Leaders is a great opportunity for newer librarians to gain experience within ALA, network, and add to their resumes. As 2015 Emerging Leader Anna Coats, Head of Youth Services at Livingston (NJ) Public Library, states, “The point of Emerging Leaders is to get you more involved and in an upward trajectory in ALA.” Many former participants go on to serve on ALA committees, in addition to securing leadership positions. The program is also a great way to collaborate with people and organizations outside your normal day-to-day work environment. This can be truly inspirational and have a positive effect on your regular work.
To help your application stand out, Coats suggests discussing any leadership experience you may already have, and to be specific while doing so. It doesn’t necessarily have to be running a department or singlehandedly chairing a committee; the little things like volunteering to take on a project that no one else wanted or mentoring a library school student count as well. Additionally, she advises to be clear about your goals and what you hope to get out of the program. Of course, it is also important to thoroughly look over your application before submission in order to make sure it is as clear and succinct as possible.
For more information, including specific selection criteria, visit ALA’s Emerging Leaders website.