Thursday, July 19, 2007

Report on Emerging Leaders participation

Here's a report from Geri Diorio, our Teen Services Librarian and Children's Services head, on an extraodinary opportunity she has had this past year.

For the past 6 months, I have been participating in the first American Library Association (ALA) Emerging Leaders program, created to enable young and new-to-the-profession librarians to get on the fast track to professional leadership. The program accepted only 100 librarians for this first session. Those selected were required to attend two conferences for leadership training, complete a group project, and serve on an ALA committee for two years.

The group met for the first time at the ALA Midwinter conference in Seattle in January 2007, where the focus was on leadership and team dynamics within the association and in the workplace. Presenters and mentors were drawn from the ranks of the profession’s most experienced and inspiring consultants and practitioners.

We were divided into smaller groups of three or four to work on a project for the next six months. Communicating through conference calls and e-mails, my group chose to explore “what technologies will most affect libraries in the next five years?” And instead of making up a static list, we decided to use the more dynamic tool of a wiki, where we’d link to articles on new technologies that are impacting libraries as well as established technologies that are being used in new ways. Our wiki is called “Tech Casting” and can be found at

In June at the ALA Annual conference, the entire group once again took part in leadership seminars, this time on principles and practices in three important areas: collaboration, conflict and ethics. We also presented a “poster session,” attended by hundreds of conference participants, which explained our group work and showed off the wiki in real time on two laptops.

My service portion of the program will be fulfilled by serving for the next two years as the intern for the ALA Awards committee, which is responsible, among others, for the Newbery and Caldecott prizes.

I’d like to express my gratitude to the library staff and the Friends of the Ridgefield Library for their support of my participation in this program.

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