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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Volunteer or give up the right to complain

Man! I’m not mincing words here. If you complain that not enough school librarians are represented on big ALA committees, have you completed your volunteer form yet? Better yet, have you personally committed to distributing this information so that you encourage other school librarians to get involved with you? 

If not, you don’t have the right to complain. If you won’t do it yourself or find someone to do it, how can you decry the lack of participation? It’s as if you are saying, "that’s important for someone else to do, not me." 

We are professionals. Being part of a profession means being involved beyond the walls of our daily j-o-b. Sometimes it’s hard. Attending conferences is hard to do for school librarians. I KNOW THAT! Yet there are many ways to overcome these obstacles. Ask me. I have gone to conferences with only $7 cash and survived through friends and vendors.

The first step is caring enough to submit your name or helping someone else to submit theirs. Take that step in faith that you will find a way.

Camila Alire, American Library Association (ALA) president-elect, is seeking member volunteers for the 2009-2010 ALA and Council committees.  NOTE:  Members interested in volunteering to serve on a committee are required to complete the online committee volunteer form available at: http://cs.ala.org/alacommittees/volunteer.htmlThe deadline for completing the form is Dec. 5.

I have personally spoken with Camila about my interest in having more school librarians involved in every committee. She understands and agrees with this. The major obstacle is that you must volunteer first. This year, AASL is extremely fortunate to have Cassandra Barnett, AASL President-Elect and Fran Roscello, ALA Council Member as AASL appointees to assist ALA President-Elect Camila Alire in the selection of volunteers for ALA committees as well as ALA Council committees.

Last year Ann Martin had the opportunity to assist Jim Rettig in appointing volunteers to ALA committees. Ann wrote: "What I found out was that if more AASL members had filled out the ALA volunteer form – then AASL would have been able to put forth more names. As it was just about every ALA committee had an AASL member appointed. AASL needs your help to continue the great work that Jim began in placing AASL members on committees for ALA."

I hope that I am irritating you. I hope that you are defensive. I hope that you react. I want impassioned people who care about our profession to be involved. If you have been feeling a little complacent, I hope I rock your boat. I hope to irritate you so much that you go out and help sign up other volunteers just so I’ll stop needling you and rocking your world. Do I need to personally email every single school librarian in this country with an invitation to a committee for you to understand that you are very qualified and very needed?

Don’t think I’m not watching. I AM. I care deeply about school libraries. I want to make all libraries of all types better. I truly believe you, the people in our profession on the front lines, make the difference. Your voice must be heard. You must be seen. You are needed. Will you respond?