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: Ana Elisa de Campos Salles, Senior Librarian, Palo Alto Public Library, CA
Emerging Leader year and project: 2013, Emerging Leaders: What Difference Does It Make?
- Executive Board, 2014-2018
- Representative to YALSA, 2013-2015
Q: How did you first get involved with GLBTRT? What impact has the Round Table had on your life and/or profession?
I first got involved with the GLBTRT by volunteering to be the liaison for YALSA. Liaison positions are very low-key and don’t require attendance at conferences so I thought it would be a good way to dip my toe into the volunteering pool.
Personally, I’ve made some very good friends through the GLBTRT. It’s only been at the last three or so annual conferences and midwinter meetings that I’ve been making an effort to take a break and actually sit down for a meal or two, as opposed to a packed sandwich and ordering in, and these are the people I always seek out. I’ve learned so much from them and enjoy their company so much! I look forward to seeing them every six months or whenever they can make a conference or midwinter meeting – which is why I always try to make sure they’re volunteering for something!
Professionally, I’ve benefited a lot by being involved in the GLBTRT. I’ve made excellent connections with library and information professionals from all types of libraries and organizations in North America, not just the US. Volunteering on the executive board in particular has allowed me to gain invaluable knowledge and insight into most aspects of how the GLBTRT works, and how round tables work with ALA offices, divisions, affiliates, other round tables, committees, and “big ALA”. Working with my colleagues on the executive board, in GLBTRT committees, and with these other groups and entities is very rewarding – and a clear indicator to anyone who reads my CV or resume that I care about getting involved and giving back, can manage work and volunteering responsibilities, can work across various levels of organization, etc. All excellent desirable and translatable skills.
Q: What opportunities or experiences have you discovered by being in the Emerging Leaders program?
I was really fortunate to be part of a great Emerging Leaders team. The four of us were from very different backgrounds professionally, but we were all super enthusiastic about our work and about producing quality results. Becoming an “Emerged Leader” is also another great resume booster; even if people aren’t familiar with the program, they can at least surmise I’m interested in professional development, in pursuing professional opportunities, and in being involved in professional organizations.
Q: What advice would you share with new librarians and library students about getting involved in ALA and other professional organizations?
Getting involved in ALA, the GLBTRT, and other professional organizations is an incredibly rewarding experience. It’s a great way to get to know colleagues in your field, to get fresh ideas to bring back to your place of work, to meet and get to know new potential programming or other work partners. Speaking professionally, and as mentioned above, these volunteer experiences are wonderful indicators to potential employers of your commitment to the field, drive, and translatable skills. Keep in mind, if you intend to stay in this field, a lot of people on your interview panels will be very familiar with or even also involved in ALA, too!
I know it can be very intimidating and uncomfortable to walk into a room where a meeting you’re interested in observing is happening and you don’t know anyone, but it’s only the first couple of times that it’s weird! I also understand that it can be equally awkward to email someone out of the blue to ask them questions about a certain committee, or how one is selected to be on a committee, or even what the differences are between an awards committee and a book list committee or a round table and an affiliate. But if you really want to get involved, go for it. Use your conference badge to sit in on everything that sounds interesting (only sessions marked closed are actually closed to people not in that committee or group). Listen. Come back and sit in another day. Ask all the questions. Not everyone will greet you warmly the first time you walk in the room, and that’s normal because, after all, they don’t know you. But you’ll definitely get noticed the second time. And if you keep showing up, you might not even have to look hard for an opportunity to volunteer — you might get asked! Because the thing about volunteering for ALA, the GLBTRT, or any other professional organization is: everyone does it because they want to, not because they have to. So if you keep showing up and later, if you keep doing what you say you’re going to do when volunteering, you’ll soon have to learn how to say no because you will quickly be in demand! And if you see me in one of those rooms you walked into for the first time, come sit by me! And please feel free to email me about anything.
Q: What is your most memorable moment from the Emerging Leaders program?
The poster session at the annual conference. First, it was nice to see my team again in person after six months of working online together. It was also really rewarding to see and present on what we had been working on. It went by really quickly.
Q: How has the Emerging Leaders program impacted your career and professional involvement?
To be brutally honest, I applied to be an Emerging Leader in order to be funded for the following ALA midwinter meeting and annual conference! It’s a great professional development program and I knew being selected would be prestigious for my library. So thanks to the program, I was able to attend the midwinter meeting and annual conference in 2013.