The GLBTRT is proud to highlight some of our past Emerging Leaders (ELs). Including people who are members of and/or sponsored by our round table, these spotlights will let you get to know some of the incredible people in our field and learn about the work that they’ve accomplished through the EL Program. Donate today to the GLBTRT’s Emerging Leader fund and continue supporting amazing new librarians!
Name, Organization: Fobazi M. Ettarh, Temple University
Emerging Leader Year and Project: 2017 GLBTRT 50th Anniversary Archival Project
Q: How did you first get involved with GLBTRT? What impact has the Round Table had on your life and/or profession?
I first heard about the GLBTRT at ALA Annual 2013 in Chicago. It was my first professional conference on a national scale. I went to the GLBTRT social to learn more about the group. The biggest impact that the GLBTRT has had on my life was definitely their sponsorship for the ALA Emerging Leaders program. Their sponsorship not only helped me be a part of the program, but also work on creating their professional archive.
Q: What opportunities or experiences have you discovered by being in the Emerging Leader program?
The Emerging Leaders program has helped me [build] a broader network of young professionals who are interested in being leaders in the field of librarianship. As someone who is interested in becoming a head of instruction in the future and getting more involved in ALA, working with the people in my team, and connecting with other Emerging Leaders in my cohort has been beneficial. The network of Emerged Leaders have also connected me to opportunities to speak and collaborate which I find extremely valuable.
Q: What advice would you share with new librarians and library students about getting involved in ALA and other professional organizations?
I would say that my advice to other new professionals is to start small. My very first speaking engagement in the profession was a lightning talk at ALA annual during my time as a grad student. It was a lower pressure speaking engagement, but it helped put my foot in the door for other opportunities to present. Another tip, especially for other librarians of color, is to be bold. For many reasons, it is hard to put one’s self out there in librarianship, but the support networks for librarians of color is big, and everyone is willing to help. Heck! If you’re a librarian of color who is currently reading this, feel free to contact me directly. We are here to bring each other up.
Q: What is your most memorable story from attending an ALA conference?
My most memorable story from attending an ALA conference would definitely be my experience at this past ALA Midwinter in Atlanta. Going to the poster making session for the Women’s March and seeing all the camaraderie was amazing. People were helping librarians they had never met, by punching holes in posters, cutting twine, handing out pins all to show solidarity for this major national event. As someone who believes that librarianship is an inherently political profession, and that there is no such thing as neutrality, it was amazing to see all these people come together as librarians to be political and show solidarity to a worthy cause. I hope to see more like it in the future.