At the Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia in January, YALSA leadership met Emerging Leader Sue Yang-Peace and asked her to write about her experiences in the field and as the 2020 YALSA-sponsored Emerging Leader.
First of all, I would like to thank YALSA, Todd, Tammy and Amanda for crashing the Emerging Leaders Social. It was such a pleasure to see them and put a face to such an amazing organization.
I had a bit of an unconventional start into the library world. I began as a patron looking to print coupons since both my husband and I were out of work. Essentially, we had to start over in our careers. The library was, to say the least, a miracle in our lives. I started as a volunteer and now, five years later I am a Youth Services Librarian for the Las Vegas Clark County (NV) Library District, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Every day I come into work absolutely loving what I do.
Receiving the news that I was going to be a part of the 2020 Emerging Leaders brought tears to my eyes, because it further validated my work as a librarian. I have always felt out of sorts, like an outsider coming into this line of work and I was always finding ways to feel validated in the work I do such as becoming a Spectrum Scholar. More importantly, being a part of Emerging Leaders, YALSA, ALSC, APALA, and ALA has connected me with the people that feel as passionately as I do about this field and motivate me to do more.
For the Emerging Leaders Project, I will be working on the 40th Anniversary of APALA along with five other Emerging Leaders. For this project we plan on interviewing library leaders about what APALA and ALA means to them, how APALA and ALA has led the way in various capacities, and their vision of APALA’s future.
Along with my work on Emerging Leaders, I am also on the ALSC Notable Children’s’ Media Committee and work full time as a Youth Services Librarian doing programs for ages 0-18. In the start of my career my strength was in early childhood, but now teens are my passion. On any given day, fifty or so teens walk into the library and say hi and we chat about their day. In order to engage them in the resources of the library, I experiment with all kinds of programs from bullet journals, knitting, lock-ins, painting, and whatever they ask for I try to accommodate and get the resources. It is definitely known throughout my library that I have a connection with the teens. People wonder how I do this and I really don’t do anything special. I see them, they are our patrons after all, and I treat them with the same respect as I would any other patron. I make sure they are seen and heard. I make sure they know that they are wanted at the library by making time to talk to them and listen to whatever it is they have to say. I do not see them as anything other than patrons and they deserve our help just any everyone else.
Thank you to YALSA for your support of my Emerging Leaders Program and I look forward to working more with YALSA in the future.
Thanks, Sue, for sharing your story and inspiring teens and those who work with teens to love every day they walk into their own libraries!
Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl
Photo credit: Tammy Dillard-Steels (l. to r. YALSA President-elect Amanda Barnhart; 2020 YALSA Emerging Leader Sue Yang-Peace; YALSA President Todd Krueger)