Thursday, May 24, 2012

WLA's WeLead Applications Now Open

Applications for the next WeLead class (both protégés and mentors) are now available on the WLA website. This WLA initiative pairs veteran librarians/WLA members and and newer librarians in an effort to foster the development of new library leaders. The last class had 6 pairs.  Each protege chosen receives a WLA membership as well as
  • stipends to attend the WLA annual conference for two years
  • a stipend to attend one section conference during the two-year initiative
  • a stipend to attend the Leadership conference
  • an appointment to a WLA committee
  • special leadership programming opportunities
  • and the ability to network with their mentor
 I had the great good fortune not just to be chosen as a mentor but to be paired with Jennie McNaughton, recently of the Greendale Library.  The following is her description of her experience as a WeLead protege:
When I found out about the WeLead initiative, I had recently graduated with my MLIS and had just started my first "official" librarian job. I had worked at several public libraries throughout library school, working hard to gain experience and build my resume. As an emerging library professional who was looking to become active in the Wisconsin Library Association and looking to develop my career, I pursued WeLead hoping to be selected for this wonderful opportunity.

As a part of the 2010-2012 WeLead class, I took part in many leadership developing opportunities - attending the WLA and WAPL conferences, networking with librarians from all over the state (asking lots of questions, sharing ideas), serving on the Burr/Worzalla Children's Book Award Committee (first time ever serving on a committee!), and by far the most influential part of my development in WeLead was working with my mentor, Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator at the LaCrosse Public Library.

With our shared interest in youth services, Marge and I were matched as a mentor-protege team. Marge has been a wonderful mentor. She really reached out to me and has been incredibly supportive. She has helped me anytime I needed advice or had a question. We made an effort to meetup at every conference to touch base and catch-up. We attended the WeLead leadership pre-conferences that were held at WLA, sharing our ideas about what makes a good leader. We traveled from Milwaukee to LaCrosse and back to visit each other's library, to share where we worked, projects we were working on, programming and collection ideas, and lots more. 
With my assignment to the Burr/Worzalla Children's Book Award committee (first time ever serving on a committee and a first time really reviewing children's literature) Marge met with me at the Cooperative Children's Books Center (CCBC) in Madison where we explored the CCBC resources and Marge gave me advice on how to look at children's literature more critically. Throughout the rest of the year when we were both busy working at our libraries, we kept in touch through email checking in with each other to see what was new and how everything was going, and I was often times emailing her for suggestions, advice, ideas, and tapping the bountiful knowledge resource that I was truly grateful to be working with. 

I encourage all emerging librarians to apply for the WeLead program. I have benefited greatly from taking part in the WeLead initiative and couldn't have asked for a better support network that has helped me develop as confident library professional and has contributed greatly to my involvement in the Wisconsin Library Association. I have also recently started serving on the Youth Services Section board. Being a member of WLA and acting upon that membership has really helped me understand and appreciate the worth and importance of our Wisconsin Library Association. I am very grateful for the WeLead initiative, and the great value it is has as a resource for emerging professionals.
(The experience was rewarding for me as well. I encourage everyone to apply as a protege or mentor and become part of the incredible gestalt happening at the association level in WI. The deadline is July 31 but why not get a jump on it!)

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Thank you, Jen, for a great job on sharing the possibilities!