Emerging Leader Spotlight: Kate Kosturski

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: Kate Kosturski, JSTOR/ITHAKA

Emerging Leader year and project: 2011.  Sponsored by RUSA.  Project with Video Game Collection Development from GameRT

GLBTRT appointment(s)? None at present

Q: How did you first get involved with GLBTRT? What impact has the Round Table had on your life and/or profession?

My involvement with the Roundtable has been driven by personal support and love for the LGBT community.  I wanted to ensure I was carrying through my support in not only my personal life, but my professional life as well.

Q: What opportunities or experiences have you discovered by being in the Emerging Leader program?

I finally learned how ALA works! I had been a member for four years by the time I was an Emerging Leader, and it was in our orientation that I learned the differences between divisions, roundtables, and interest groups. This put me on my path to involvement, starting small with roundtables and working my way up to the divisions.

Q: What advice would you share with new librarians and library students about getting involved in ALA and other professional organizations?

Start with the New Members’ Round Table (NMRT). (Full disclosure:  I’m the current NMRT president.) First, we guarantee you a spot on a committee if you fill out our form – so you get the committee and leadership experience straightaway in ALA.

Second, show up. If you go to the conferences, show up at committee meetings (as long as they are open). You’ll probably leave with an assignment.

Third, don’t be afraid to speak to leadership – either at the division, round table, or executive board level. We were new to librarianship and ALA once in our lives, and you’re bound to find common threads in conversation and shared experiences.

Q: What is your most memorable moment from the Emerging Leaders program?

The time of the EL’s from my cohort and I submitted a three page memo detailing all the things we didn’t like! I know that sounds strange but it has led to some very positive changes in the program – for example, smaller cohorts (down from 75 in 2011 to under 50 today). It was very nice to know that our recommendations were taken very seriously by the program managers.

Q: How has the Emerging Leaders program impacted your career and professional involvement?

I got in the door with an ALA division (RUSA) a lot earlier than I expected! After my EL year was done, RUSA ensured that I was involved in the division as a part of my sponsorship – from monitoring the chat room during their town hall to chairing a committee designed to reform how RUSA is structured. They made me part of their family very early, which gave me confidence to take on one of their awards committees, and eventually run for president of a roundtable! It helped me climb the leadership ladder in many ways.


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