This AM when I opened my email I found a message from a student who wondered how I keep up with the world of books and the world of technology.’  This is a question I get asked a lot, but today as I prepare to spend a week in Anaheim for ALA Annual, I realized how much the connections I’ve made through YALSA help me with that keeping up.’  As I’ve served on committees and task forces, I’ve had the chance to get to know a variety of people who I know I can turn to if I have a question or want to brainstorm an idea.

To be honest, when I went to library school I thought I would never want to get involved in local or national organizations. It seemed to me that all I really wanted, and needed, was to serve the community in which I worked. Taking part in outside activities didn’t fit my plans. But, then I started to see that if I participated in local organizations I was even more a part of the community, and I found out things that other people didn’t know. I was in the know.’  I had information that helped me to do my job better. I had information that I could exchange with other people.

The same thing happened when I got involved in a state library organization. Suddenly I knew what was going on locally, regionally, and nationally in libraries in a much more powerful way. Not only did I know what was going on, but I could help guarantee that hi-quality services to young people – children and teens – were available in libraries in the state.

As I’ve become more and more involved in YALSA, I’ve realized even more how much that involvement helps me to keep up and in the know about high-quality service for teens. And, unlike when I first started out, it’s easier to get involved in local and national organizations because at least some of that involvement can take place virtually.’  YALSA makes it possible to be a virtual member of many committees, and the YALSA social networking tools – see the full list of links in the right sidebar – make it possible to connect with colleagues, even if you don’t get to go to conferences and meetings.

As I’m getting ready to leave tomorrow, I’m thinking about the connections I’ve made as a result of my involvement in YALSA. I’m looking forward to seeing people that I don’t get to see more than twice a year at ALA national events.’  However, I’m also realizing that the social networking tools YALSA provides has helped me keep in touch and be in the know better than ever before.

While it will be good to have face-to-face contact with people at Annual, I see that keeping up with people virtually – via Twitter, Facebook, chat, IM, email, and so on – has been incredibly beneficial.’  I now know instantaneously via Twitter what YALSA colleagues are up to in their libraries and with teens. I discover immediately on Good Reads what YALSA colleagues are reading and what they think of each book read.’  Social networking technology has certainly helped us to stay in touch.

I’m always saying to people that I don’t spend time worrying about what I don’t know. Instead, I am confident that what I don’t know someone in my professional network will know and I’ll find out from him or her what knowledge I’m missing.’  If you can’t attend ALA meetings and conferences you might start getting to know people in your local area. Or, since it’s possible to be a virtual member of a YALSA committee, that could be the perfect way to start getting involved in YALSA and getting to know people.’  (If you would like to join a YALSA Committee fill out a volunteer form.) Also, with YALSA’s large array of social networking resources it’s possible to get involved and network via Facebook, Twitter, this blog, and more.

Now’s your chance. Get involved and be in the know!

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.

One Thought on “Getting Involved = Being in the Know

  1. Becky Mazur on June 24, 2008 at 1:37 pm said:

    Great advice. I’m still new to libraries and tech, but being on Twitter, etc, has increased my awareness exponentially.

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