Say YES and Get Involved!

As a member of AASL, are you a do-er or a watcher? If you are a watcher, do you like everything you see? Do you wonder what all those AASL committees do, beyond national conference, Knowledge Quest, and awards?

Do you even wonder if you are a joiner or a committee-member kind of person, or if you have what it takes to be involved at the national level? The great news is that there are opportunities for all kinds of people in our organization. You don’t have to love being on a committee to volunteer for AASL! We’ve got a job for you!

A little more than ten years ago the president-elect of my state association asked me to help on the state conference planning committee. At the time, I didn’t see myself as a joiner. I had no idea that saying “YES” to her question would lead me to the volunteer job I have today.

My first volunteer assignment with AASL was a short-term project on the awards committee. Now, as president-elect, I have the honor and privilege of making committee appointments for 2019–2020. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to match your skills and interests to the association’s needs.

Do you wonder how to get appointed to a committee? Have you put your name forward before, and wondered what happened?

Here’s the process.

YOU: Volunteer using the Get Involved form. Start by indicating an area of interest (committee or short-term task force, writing, etc.). Next, review the commissions (that is, purpose statements) for each of the 25+ committees; these are hyperlinked to the form. Indicate your top two choices. Tell us a little bit about your volunteer history and your interests. List what you have done at the state and/or national level, but don’t be shy if you are just starting out.

Helpful hints:

  1. There are usually only a few spaces available on each committee, and some are in high demand. If you are just getting started, use the short text box to let us know you would be interested in any committee assignment. If your first choice is already filled, this helps me know you are flexible!
  2. Because the “Get Involved” database is refreshed annually, volunteers should fill it out every year. This helps us keep current on your changing needs and interests!
  3. If you plan to be at Midwinter in Seattle (January 25-29, 2019), look for me! Let’s talk about what you’d like to do!

ME: Review the open slots on the 25+ committees and task forces. Re-appoint existing committee members who are interested in and eligible for another term. Fill remaining slots with new volunteers who have filled out the “Get Involved” form.

Important to know:

  1. Most appointments are made before June.
  2. As president, I will also appoint people to task forces for short-term projects throughout the 2019–2020 year.

Several members have written terrific blog posts on why volunteering for AASL was a great move for them. Almost all mention the importance of community and connectedness, and there are other benefits as well. Kelly Hincks said, “Committee work allows me to see many creative approaches to solving problems we all face.” In summarizing the range of volunteer opportunities, Mica Johnson reflected on how much fun she had:  “I really enjoyed reading the proposals and making professional and thoughtful evaluations on the submissions.” Kathryn Roots Lewis hinted at the impact individuals make on the organization when she invited all members to consider filling out the Get Involved form and “[stepping] forward to offer your perspectives and backgrounds to the voice of AASL.”

Committee members are instrumental in moving the strategic priorities of the association forward. Those priorities impact school libraries and school librarians across the nation and make each one of us stronger. The power behind our professional association lies in the hearts and minds of members who say “yes!” to the invitation to volunteer. Please say yes, and fill out the Get Involved form today.

Author: Mary Keeling

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Association News, Blog Topics, News

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