Librarianship is ever changing, and some of the people leading that change are newer members of the profession. They’re the fresh faces greeting patrons at reference desks, helping students with research, and experimenting with new ideas behind the scenes. These are the American Library Association’s (ALA) Emerging Leaders (see slideshow).
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 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 at the Association, participate in planning groups, network, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and serve in a leadership capacity early in their careers.
At the 2019 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Seattle, the new Emerging Leaders were divided into 11 groups to complete projects for their host ALA units and affiliates. The results will be unveiled at the 2019 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C. We joined them in Seattle to ask what the future holds for the profession in this annual feature, sponsored by OCLC.
Team A From left: Matthew King, Corey Hall, Beth Raff, Jhenelle Robinson, Bianca Spurlock Host: American Association of School Librarians Project: Developing Inclusive Learners and Citizens “I think it’s important to reevaluate library education and critically reexamine the curriculum, to acknowledge that there are disparities between what librarians really experience at their desk versus what they learn in the classroom.”—Bianca Spurlock Team B From left: Derek Staloup, Kalan Knudson Davis, Hannah Bowser, Natalie Ornat, Joe Bertelloni Host: Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Project: Resources for Library School Students “I see a profession that mirrors the diversity of patrons we serve, embraces a culture of inclusivity, and creates more pathways for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to enter the profession and stay in it. However, we are only going to achieve this if we take bold and meaningful actions to help encourage diversity and inclusion within librarianship.”—Natalie Ornat Team C From left: Philip Shackleford, Ted Quiballo, Karna Younger, Sabrina Dyck Host: ACRL Instruction Section Project: Early Member Outreach and Engagement Toolkit “Academic librarians know the high costs of information are limiting student and faculty learning and research as well as harming universities’ missions to be more inclusive. By inciting teaching faculty to openly publish their work as well as use and create open educational resources, academic librarians will continue to advocate for learning that is accessible on and off our campuses.”—Karna Younger Team D From left: Kimberley Henze, Sheila Garcia, Cari Didion, Teresa Schultz Host: ACRL Research and Scholarly Environment Committee Project: Promoting the ACRL National Research Agenda on the Research Environment and Scholarly Communication System “The profession has entered an important paradigm shift that reflects not only the overall impact of libraries on our communities but also our approach to teaching information literacy and the systemic barriers to access within the profession itself, especially for individuals from underrepresented populations. I hope librarianship continues this trajectory.”—Sheila Garcia Team E: From left: Megan Hamlin-Black, Shelly Guerrero, Azalea Ebbay, Leslie Purdie Host: Government Documents Round Table Project: Librarian’s Election Reference Toolkit “As the cost of living continues to rise, many people will get left behind. Libraries will work closely with local government agencies and nonprofits to deliver programs, services, and information to people experiencing the homelessness crisis. We will become social service experts and work with community partners to identify multiple solutions to end homelessness.”—Azalea Ebbay Team F From left: Kacy Helwick, Nicola Andrews, Jade Geary, Cyndi Hamann, Jess Newman Host: Intellectual Freedom Round Table Project: Engaging the Nonlibrarian: Intellectual Freedom Is Everyone’s Fight “In the future, librarians will focus more time on their roles as information professionals and community leaders. We will continue to fight against misinformation by instructing on information literacy, curating collections with accurate and representative content, and hosting and creating programs and resources that educate and engage community members on important topics.”—Kacy Helwick Team G From left: Adrienne Keane, Georgina Rivas-Martinez, Stacey Shapiro, Trina Rivera, Kelly Grogg Host: International Relations Round Table Project: International Peer Mentoring: A Pilot Project “The information landscape has changed drastically over the years, and with each change, librarians have helped libraries adapt and grow. We will continue to become digitally literate in whatever technology becomes available and use these skills to teach that technology to others.”—Kelly Grogg Team H From left: Lorisia Macleod, Catherine Manci, Mimosa Shah, Jina Duvernay, Amber Loveless, Robbin Degeratu Host: Learning Round Table Project: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for Staff Development “I see the future of the profession as one in which librarians are community agents. We will continue to help rebuild libraries lost to disasters, fill the gap of available resources for failing school districts and underserved communities, and continue to be advocates for positive change in communities.”—Jina DuVernay Team I From left: Rachel Murdock, Liz Gibbons-camp, Kat Greer, Abigail Sparling Host: Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) Project: LITA Close to Home: Developing Local Support Networks “I think libraries are moving toward the adoption and dissemination of even more technology. In addition to providing more equitable access for our users, we are also moving toward improving our technology infrastructure in order to better provide library services in general. I see the profession employing more technologists and programmers to better serve our users.”—Kat Greer Team J From left: Kaitlyn Hodges, Susen Shi, Suzanne Clerkin, Regina Carter Host: New Members Round Table Project: Mentor Clearinghouse “I imagine the future of the library profession will be empathy-driven. As we continue to build and strengthen relationships with our communities, we will begin to see the library not as a monument but as an instrumental service that can provide a not-yet-realized difference in people’s lives. We are here to stay, here to help, and here to advocate.”—Susen Shi Team K From left: David Basora, Michelle Lee, Kimthu Nguyen, Megan Glidden Host: Public Programs Office Project: Development Research for Library Programming “I see the future of the library profession going in a decidedly service-oriented direction. A larger emphasis is being put on programming and providing services and resources that are relatively new to library work. Outreach outside the library building, supporting local authors and artists by exhibiting their work, and operating a makerspace or café are all features that are now common. I believe that these and other services will become only more prominent.”—David Basora