They’re the new faces greeting patrons and students at the reference desk, recommending books in the stacks, and experimenting with fresh ideas behind the scenes. These are the library world’s rising stars, the generation that will move, shape, and influence the present and future of the Association and the library profession. These are the American Library Association’s (ALA) Emerging Leaders of 2018.
Initiated in 1997 as a one-year program under former ALA President Mary R. Somerville and revived in 2006 under former ALA President Leslie Burger, Emerging Leaders recognizes the best and brightest new leaders in our profession. It’s open to librarians of any age who are new to the library profession and who have fewer than five years of experience working at a professional or paraprofessional level.
The program allows participants to get on the fast track to ALA, participate in project-planning groups, network, gain an inside look into the Association’s structure, and serve the profession in a leadership capacity early in their careers.
At the 2018 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Denver, the new Emerging Leaders were divided into groups to complete projects for ALA units and affiliates. The results will be unveiled at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans. We joined them in Denver and asked them what the future holds for the library profession.
Team A From left: Katie Greenleaf Martin, Kaitlin Frick, Angela Ocana, Juan Rivera, Allie Stevens, Julie Stivers Sponsor American Association of School Librarians Project Defending Intellectual Freedom: LGBTQ Materials in School Libraries “As librarians we must adapt to a world where books are no longer the main gateway to knowledge, while preserving our rich heritage bound in paper and ink. Most important, we must continue to provide access to information in all its forms to all who seek it.” —Katie Greenleaf Martin Team B From left: Netanel Ganin, Garrison Libby, Rhiannon Sorrell, Jessica Colbert, Aisha Conner-Gaten Sponsor: American Indian Library Association Project: Tribal Libraries, Museums, and Archives of United States Directory and Interactive Map “The future of librarianship presents ample opportunities for engagement and collaboration, particularly in support of communities at risk. There will be a need for the library as a study space, meeting place, and training center, and we need to be the advocates and activists that sustain these spaces.” —Aisha Conner-Gaten Team C From left: Stephanie Anderson, Nicole Husbands, Tasha Nins, Jacqueline Quinn, Raina Tuakoi Sponsor: Association for Library Service to Children Project: Cultural Competency in Youth Librarianship “Librarians will serve as agents of change and curators of truth, as we strive to offer access to our patrons and guide them to valid and accurate information, especially in an era of political tension and as net neutrality ceases to be supported federally.” —Jacqueline Quinn Team D From left: Brittany Fiedler, Michelle McCarthy-Behler, Ashlyn Velte, Jenny Yap Sponsor: Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Instruction Section Project: Strategic Member Engagement for the ACRL Instruction Section’s Next Five Years “There are still so many barriers to students being able to afford an education, and we need to step up our game to ensure that communities that have been historically disenfranchised do not continue to be shut out. We need to ask ourselves: How do we reinforce and how can we resist systemic racism? We cannot be and are not neutral.” —Jenny Yap Team E From left: Kenya Flash, Ashleigh Coren, Joanna Chen Cham, Hailley Fargo, Ashley Howell Sponsor: ACRL Residency Interest Group Project: Hearing Voices: Collecting Residents’ Oral Histories “In the Parable of the Sower, Octavia E. Butler describes God as change, which was perceived as the only constant. The library profession is entering a similar stage. In spite of holding on to many values, we will need to embrace change in the profession, in the ways in which we advocate and promote ourselves, and in how we preserve and provide access.”—Kenya Flash Team F From left: Allison DeVito, Javier Garibay, Stephen G. Krueger, Jessica Thorlakson, Katherine Van Arsdale Sponsor: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table Project: The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table Archive “Successful librarianship can be defined as providing information and support to all, especially where it is most needed. Our best future is one where libraries adapt those ideals to fit their own context, focusing on what works rather than clinging to a traditional definition of what a library or librarian should look like.” —Stephen G. Krueger Team G From left: Lindsay Inge Carpenter, Twanna Hodge, Joi Jackson, Gina Kromhout, Grace Yan Liu Sponsor: International Relations Round Table Project: Toward Increasing Engagement of International New Professional Leaders in ALA Activities “Libraries need to go beyond traditional expectations and change how people perceive them—and how librarians perceive their communities. We need to learn more about biases and how they may affect our practice and profession.” —Twanna Hodge Team H From left: Phillip Carter II, Adam Chang, Jewel Davis, Elspeth Olson, Samantha Quiñon, Mea Warren Sponsor: New Members Round Table Project: Professional Development Programming Kits for ALA Student Chapters “As a member of the special collections community, we need to persist in our efforts to make collections more accessible and approachable. The future must include steady progress in addressing the public’s fundamental misunderstandings of the care, use, and value of special libraries, archives, and rare book collections.” —Elspeth Olson Team I From left: Crystal Chen, Tracy Drake, Aurelia Mandani, A. J. Muhammad, Claire Nickerson Sponsor: Public Library Association Project: Creating Data-Driven Professional Development Pathways for Public Library Staff “The future will consist of delivering services outside library walls. Successfully connecting with the community hinges on understanding its value system, needs, and vision. This will help establish the library as an anchor institution and partner with a vested interest in the community’s success.” —Tracy Drake Team J From left: Kathy Kosinski, Tess Wilson, Madeline Jarvis, Lina Bertinelli Sponsor: United for Libraries Project: Beyond Using the Library: Engaging Millennials as Advocates and Civic Library Leaders “Given the increasingly divided and harsh world in which we live, the role of librarians will be one of compassion. We will be the institutional voice in our users’ lives reminding them that they are heard, they are worthy, and we are here for them.” —Kathy Kosinski