Were you dreaming of attending your first ALA conference while your colleagues were in New Orleans? Not to worry: with a little planning and effort, you could attend next year’s conference in Anaheim as a V.I.P. of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and Penguin Publishers.
If you’ll have one to ten years experience as a children’s librarian by June 2012 and you are a member – or willing to join – ALSC, consider applying for the Penguin Young Readers Group Award. Kristine Casper, who won the Penguin Award and attended her first ALA Conference in Chicago in 2005, says:
Receiving the Penguin Young Readers Group award made attending the ALA Annual conference for the first time so much easier and gave me the opportunity to get involved in other areas of ALSC. It is the people I met that I remember the most. I was in awe of the vast knowledge of other ALSC members who were eager to show us around, and I learned about the publishing industry from the editors and publishing representatives who told us about their books and authors. I was star-struck by the terrific authors we met and dined with at various functions. I recommend applying for this award to any librarian who is interested in broadening their professional experience.
Shortly after attending the Annual Conference as a Penguin Award winner, Kristine was appointed to the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award committee.
Award winners and past award winners are listed on the ALSC website, and many ALSC presidents look to this list of “professionally young” librarians to find upcoming leaders to appoint to ALSC committees and task forces. If that sounds appealing to you, consider applying for the Penguin Award. The deadline is December 1, and the application will be up on the ALSC website shortly. When filling out your application, keep these tips from Tracy Van Dyne, a member of the Penguin Young Reader’s Group Award Committee from 2007 – 2009 and current member of the newly formed Grants Committee, in mind:
- The little things matter: be sure to fill out your application correctly and submit it on time.
- The committee is looking for candidates who are creative and show leadership: go-getters! Include projects that you’ve helped to work on, but if something is your baby or you are a co-chair, spend more time telling the committee about that particular program.
- Be sure to go to the right people for recommendation letters. A great recommendation letter can go a long way. BUT your recommendation letters should not be better than YOUR OWN letter. Be proud of your accomplishments! Flaunt what you’ve done!
ALSC gives away over $82,000 through professional awards and grants every year. The Penguin Award is only one example of the opportunities available. Be sure to explore all the ways you and your library can benefit from the ALSC Professional Awards.