Home > Professional Organizations > Thing 7 of 23–Professional Organizations

Thing 7 of 23–Professional Organizations

My experiences with professional organizations have been uniformly positive.  I began my career in the library field by seeking out a position at the American Library Association.  I started in an administrative assistant’s position with the Association of College and Research Libraries, while I worked on my MLS part-time at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science in River Forest, Illinois (USA).  I completed the degree 3.5 years later, along with the certification to be a school library media specialist.  During that time, I also was promoted to managing the publications programs of two of ALA’s youth services divisions, the American Association of School Librarians, and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).  While in library school, I joined ALA and also joined the Illinois Library Association, which at the time had an excellent mentoring program.  Jack Hurwitz, who was then the director of the Hinsdale, Illinois Public Library, was my mentor and taught me a great deal about public library directorship.  I wanted to try school librarianship for a while, though, and worked for two years as a high school librarian in the Chicago Public Schools.  I then moved to California and for a year worked at Stanford University, organizing a department library for the Biochemistry Department.  For the four years following that, I worked in educational software companies and did not maintain my ALA membership.

However, when I returned to Illinois and accepted a position as youth services consultant with one of the regional library systems, I rejoined ALA and ILA.  I’m now the youth services consultant for the State Library of Iowa and am a member of ALA and two of its youth services divisions, YALSA and the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC), as well as the Iowa Library Association.

These organizations’ conferences, regular communications, and other continuing education opportunities (both face-to-face and online) have been and continue to be invaluable.  They have enabled me to advance professionally, to continue to be a lifelong learner, and to better serve youth services and school librarians with whom I’ve worked in both Illinois and Iowa.  Additionally, they have given me networks of friends with whom I share professional and personal interests.

I’ve recently begun serving on two committees, one in YALSA and one in ALSC, and I work with the Youth Services Section of the Iowa Library Association.  I hope to give something back to the organizations that give so much to me.

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