Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The 2018 ALA Emerging Leaders Project with the IRRT

International Leads, Volume 33, Issue 2, June 2018
By Lindsay Taylor Inge,

If you attend ALA Annual 2018, please stop by our poster to learn more about our work! We are so excited about this project, and look forward to sharing it with you all. The Emerging Leaders Poster Session is held on Friday, June 22nd from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in MCC –Rm 345.

The American Libraries Association (ALA) Emerging Leaders (EL) Program is a long-running initiative to introduce new library professionals to the structure of ALA, while also providing networking and service opportunities at the national level. ALA members with 5 years of experience or less are invited to apply to the program, which is capped at 50 participants. Upon acceptance, ELs commit to attending the ALA Midwinter Meeting and ALA Annual Conference, where they have opportunities to met fellow leaders, participate in leadership workshops, and learn more about how ALA functions. ELs also commit to completing a group project over the duration of the 6-month program.

ALA divisions, units, round tables, committees, task forces, and working groups are invited to submit project proposals for consideration. ELs review project proposals, rank their top 5 choices, and are paired with other ELs who share their interests. The 2018 cohort of ELs include a group working on an International Relations Round Table project proposed by Loida Garcia-Febo, Chair of IRRT. The group is composed of 5 ELs: Twanna Hodge, Lindsay Inge Carpenter, Joi Jackson, Gina Kromhout, and Grace Liu.

The group is charged with identifying new emerging international leaders, building a model for ongoing international engagement in ALA, and developing recommendations for policy that encourage participation of international librarians in ALA. To address these questions, the group was asked to design, distribute, and analyze a survey of current IRRT members, with the goal of creating a database of responses for IRRT to consult when identifying new emerging international leaders. To respond to the second two charges, the group will write a white paper summarizing their recommendations for engagement and policy. These recommendations are based on survey responses as well as best practices gleaned from other ALA committees.

While working collaboratively in a virtual environment can be a challenge, our group has embraced this opportunity to contribute to IRRT’s work in a meaningful way. We began our work during ALA Midwinter, the very same weekend we first met and learned more about the charge. We developed a workplan, communication plan, and assigned group members to lead different aspects of the project. In the time since then, we have already completed stage one of the project, having distributed and analyzed a survey of current IRRT members. Under Grace’s leadership, the group developed a list of survey questions and solicited feedback from IRRT executive board members, resulting in a strong, detailed survey. We received about an 11% response rate, which is within the typical range for surveys of this kind. Once we finished collecting the data, Joi and Gina took the lead on analyzing the results, combing through qualitative responses and quantitative data to identify themes.

Twanna and Lindsay will take the lead on the project’s next two stages, which includes drafting a white paper report and a poster to share at ALA Annual. The white paper will summarize the survey results, and will include recommendations for encouraging engagement and out-reach to international members of IRRT.

The group thanks Loida Garcia-Febo and Delin Guerra for their support and encouragement throughout this project, without which our work would not have been possible. It has been a wonderful opportunity to learn more about ALA, IRRT, and the type of work that goes in to making an organization of this size run effectively.

For more on the American Library Association Emerging Leaders program, visit the website

Read more in the June 2018 International Leads at

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