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I’ve been going back and forth on whether to post about this for some time. The only arguments against it are really my own internal neuroses saying HIDE HIDE HIDE HIDE. So I’m going to try and ignore them and engage in a little shameless self-promotion. Well, myself and two others. I’m part of a team, after all.

I have posted about attending American Library Association conferences, and I think I even posted once or twice about my more specific association involvement. I am a member of a division of ALA known as LLAMA, an amusing metaphor which stands for Library Leadership and Management Association. Initially, I hesitated to join LLAMA because I thought it was only for established professionals already in management positions, which I am not.

The LLAMA llama finger puppet. Because we're whimsical like that.

The LLAMA llama finger puppet. Because we’re whimsical like that.

But at Midwinter 2014 in Philadelphia, I went to the initial public meeting of a brand-new section of LLAMA called the New Professionals Section. And that’s when I realized that LLAMA could have a place for me – specifically in the idea that they’re nurturing future managers and leaders. I’m not in management yet, but I hope I will get there someday. And working on leadership is not a bad thing. It’s pushing my comfort zone, but in a good way. As I recently described myself, I’m not the kid who sits in the front row of the class, and I’m not the one who sits in back – I’m the one who sits in the second row: willing, even eager to participate, but not one to lead the charge.


So I’m pushing myself a bit, which leads me back to the shameless self-promotion. I’ll get there in a minute.

LLAMA and ALA in general seem to have a lot of conversations at conferences that focus on attracting new membership, and getting new blood into active committee involvement/leadership. At one conference, I heard a person describe her committee as being a bit like the Mad Tea Party in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – every year, everyone stands up and moves one seat to the left, cycling through the same positions over and over.

I’ve been turning this over in my mind since joining NPS. At first I tried focusing on outreach to library schools, trying to help students bridge the gap between student chapter and larger association involvement. I got frustrated with that, though, and started looking at other ideas.

ALA and LLAMA love webinars, but there’s a problem with those – they’re preaching to the choir. You only hear about them if you’re already involved, and you only take part in them if you a) hear about them and b) have the money and c) have the time. This does not seem to me to be a good way to get new blood.

So this year at Midwinter in Chicago, I started agitating for a podcast. It’s free, it’s accessible outside of the ALA website labyrinth, and you can listen any time. And thus I find myself at the head of a three-person team.

I am happy to announce that Break Room Chats, the podcast of the NewLLAMA_NPS_Logo Professionals Section, is up and running. We have two episodes up – it’s a monthly thing at the moment – and don’t be scared, episode two is abnormally long (but it’s FUN, if I do say so myself.)

Please check it out. I think there are insights and tips relevant to all careers, not just librarianship. We talk about what we like in our supervisors and mentors and how we try to apply those things in our management/leadership styles. We talk about the things that are frightening and exciting about starting something new or taking on new responsibilities.

And I’m pushing myself WAY outside my comfort zone in doing this. Yes, I’ve been a blogger for years, but this is my actual voice going out there. It’s scary, but it feels like the good kind of scary. I have to say, even as my stomach registers the stress-butterflies, I’m very proud of myself for doing this, and I am so proud of and grateful to my two colleagues, Elizabeth Davidson and Heather James. And I’m also deeply indebted for Tyler Dzuba, our initial and outgoing NPS Chair, for being endlessly supportive and encouraging of this idea.

We can be found on iTunes (search Break Room Chats) and on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/llama_nps.