Welcome from the Chair: Liz M. Johnson

Who am I? What am I going to do as your Chair? Why do I do what I do?  I have tried to summarize the answers to those questions in this attempt-to-be short blog post.  It is my hope that you’ll know a little bit more about me in about T-15 minutes.

I started my career in a private law firm as a reference librarian, but quickly discovered that my calling was for academia.  I took my first academic position with the Charlotte School of Law, and was afforded countless opportunities that truly shaped my professional career. From CharlotteLaw, I moved to Wake Forest University School of Law.  I’m still there, and hope to be for as long as they will have me.  Up to this point, I’ve worked in three distinct professional environments.  Because of that, I think I bring a unique perspective to this position.

So how am I going to draw on my experiences to help Gen X/Y?  Amidst all the hot debate on the name change, I think we are off to a great start.  To me, the name change symbolizes something even greater.  I think it has truly inspired us to revisit what the caucus’ purpose and mission.  From my experience, you can’t grow as a group or organization without first having a firm footing.  I know what our mission says (that “the Gen X / Gen Y Caucus’s mission is to provide a forum for younger AALL members and those AALL members who are young at heart to connect with one another and foster an environment of lifetime learners within the profession. The intentions of the caucus are to be an important additional voice in the AALL organization, increase the knowledge and ability of our members, and to assist them in their continued growth toward a rewarding career”), but to me it means more.

Why do I turn to Gen X/Y?  For me, Gen X/Y means I have a support group when I am faced with generational challenges at work. I have a group of peers I can turn to for advice (both those in my generation and those who are not).  I stand by the saying that “everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact.  Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” Having a conversation with someone not in my generation is a powerful way for me to shift perspectives so I can cull through the information to find the truth versus my perspective in the given situation. For me, as I have grown in my profession, I have used this caucus to understand my supervisors – their intentions and motivations, their prior knowledge, their history – to bridge the gap between us and our generations.

Gen X/Y also provides me an outlet of people who are going through the same professional steps that I am, at around the same time.  To me, we’re all figuring it out together.  If there is one thing that this caucus means to me, is that I am not alone. I think as I go through my profession I often think that I have to go about it alone and figure everything out on my own. Quoting Bill Clinton from last week’s DNC in Charlotte, (but no I’m not bringing politics into this blog) I want the Gen X/Y caucus to be a “we’re-all-in-this-together” organization, so we can all bring value to the AALL association and share responsibility to growing the library profession.  The Gen X/Y caucus provides a place so you don’t have to figure out things by yourself, but you can collaborate with others about similar things. And if you’re not at the same professional stage that I am, but have gotten a few notches in your belt, I’m looking to you for help.  Show me the ropes. Encourage and invite me get involved. Help me learn the profession from the professionals. To me, one role of this caucus is to lend a hand to each other.

Take for example, the Beer and Edits program that Andrea and Jordan coordinated at the last AALL conference. They took a typically stressful topic (scholarship for work and promotion) and revamped it in a creative light (have a drink and talk about your interests with a colleague). Those are the types of programs that this caucus needs more of – those that bridge the gap between generations and provide support to those you are finding our way.

The caucus members have that same programming opportunity this year in Seattle.  Taryn Rucinski is coordinating the Programming Working Group and looks forward to seeing all the new innovative programming ideas that are generated from our caucus members. If you have an idea, great!  Find a buddy.  Watch the webinar on program submission sponsored by the AMPC. Write a program proposal. Submit it. See what happens. Take a chance. Email Taryn.

We’re updating everything this year, including the Gen X/Y Caucus Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/genxyc).  Stay on the look out for social updates and other fun tidbits from the caucus over the course of the year!  We also have a brand new Twitter account, so follow us @genxyc!  If you’re interested in tweeting for us, email Becka.  And of course, our blog (Minding The Gap – http://genxyc.wordpress.com/) got a facelift too. We’re shooting for regular blog posts from your colleagues on issues that are currently trending in the library world. If you’re interested in providing content for any/all of the platforms, just let Becka know (Email Becka).  She has been a lifesaver to getting these initiatives off the ground and up and running.

If there is one thing about me, as your chair, that I think you should know is that I’m fiercely dedicated to this profession.  I love being a librarian.  I love working with librarians. And one day, I hope to be a great librarian.  The only way I can do that is with your personal help, professional guidance, and collegial support.


One comment

  1. I think the relationship between the caucus and its members is symbiotic– Jordan and I could never have gotten B&E off the ground without the GenX/Y folks’ support!


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