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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Are we egocentric?

ALA released their new list of Emerging Leaders today. I immediately did what I believe some of you will do – checked for any ties or connections. I wanted to see if I knew anyone (maybe 3), if anyone on the list was sponsored by AASL (yep!),  if there were any other school librarians on the list (couldn’t tell), if anyone on the list was a member of CALA (yep!) and if anyone was from Tennessee (nope!). 

Do you do the same thing? Go take a look at the list and be cognizant of how you search for connections. Share with us your links. 

This is actually an exciting list because these are people that are being recognized for their leadership and are being mentored into more roles to benefit our profession. In 5 years you could revisit this list and find yourself recognizing and connecting with far more names. 

Oh, look, Carla Land is on the list. She helped create a website Anime for Libraries which is a professional review source for anime. Today when someone on the webcast for "Capturing Reluctant and Struggling Readers" asked how do we choose anime/manga/graphic novels, I went blank. Poof! All thoughts and knowledge gone. I couldn’t even tell you that YALSA has their great list and that Anime for Libraries is another good tool. Sorry listeners, I was stressed.

Now, if only I can overcome my determination to know how many of those names are actually practicing school librarians…. That question constantly drives me. If school librarians are the third largest division in ALA, wouldn’t you think we’d be represented along equitable rates on the list? I doubt that happens for a simple reason – funding. Many of those names on the list are sponsored by organizations. A state level library association could send a school, a public, an academic, or a special librarian. Who did they send? 

State level school library associations are not as actively sponsoring emerging leaders for this program. We could. There’s no rule stopping us. Is it strictly funds or is it our mentality. Many librarians I know focus so intensely on their own school, that they don’t go seek any "rewards or aclamations." 

I wish the pdf press release actually showed us what types of libraries are being represented. Perhaps we school librarians suffer not only from egocentrism but also paranoia that we are unfairly represented. Perhaps I’m wrong. Anyone care to ponder this? I have tried going to the ALA wiki for Emerging Leaders and reading every profile that’s up, but so far no school librarians have added theirs.