At ALA Midwinter 2007 in Seattle...
Friday marked the first meeting of ALA's first class of Emerging Leaders. The Emerging Leaders Program was designed by ALA President Leslie Burger. Its purpose is to foster younger members of ALA, to help them get involved, and become innovators of the organization. I was very lucky to be included in this program and believe that amazing things could happen in the next year.
One thing that makes this group different from any other ALA group I have participated in is the pervasiveness of technology. Though the twenty-three groups will be using different kinds of technologies to manage their projects, everything will be gathered into one, central place—The ALA Emerging Leaders Wiki. This is a space to keep your eyes on!
Each group will be required to condense their progress every month or so and report it to the wiki. All RSS feeds for various tools used will also be put on the wiki. This wiki will be the one stop for anyone interested in any project happening in this very dynamic community.
Individuals in the groups are spread in many parts of the country, but over the course of the next six months, we must research a topic, draft a proposal, and design a poster session on our project. The effective use of collaborative software is going to be the key to the success of the projects. A few of the groups had Basecamp accounts before the afternoon was over. Basecamp is a free project-management software with many built-in tools.
Emerging Leaders will not only foster leadership in ALA but it will also foster the use of technology in ALA. These 100 young librarians will be using many different tools to accomplish the completion of their projects. This is something that many ALA committees do year round, but technology is not yet as pervasive as it could and should be. The stress of committee collaboration could be greatly reduced with the use of some effective project software.
Much time was spent on Friday in a discussion on how to foster innovation in a library when you are a young, upstart librarian. One very astute lady suggested that leading by example was one of the best ways to make a difference in people's attitudes. I believe that is true. If the Emerging Leaders become technology innovators, we can show ALA what committee collaboration could look like in the future. We can be the group that defines a vibrant, growing, productive, and online ALA.
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