Get to Know ALA: Trevor Dawes

Trevor Dawes

Trevor A. Dawes

University of Delaware Library, Museums and Press

Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums and May Morris University Librarian

ALA Executive Board (member)

Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)

2019 Conference Chair

Past President (2014-2015)

Describe how long you have been on these committees and what initially interested you in joining.

I’m going to answer this question a little differently than asked because of the committees about which I am speaking. I’ve been active in ALA in various capacities for many years. The terms of the activities in which I am currently involved are listed above. I first got involved in an LLAMA discussion group because it was directly related to my work (then access services). I volunteered to be the chair of the group, and the rest, as they say, is history. When I attended my first ACRL Conference in 2005, I was so impressed that I said I wanted to be president of ACRL—the organization that could deliver such rich and relevant content. I ran, unsuccessfully, to join the ACRL Board, but volunteered to serve on other committees within ACRL. Several years later I was nominated to stand for election for ACRL president and was successful. Serving on the executive board of ACRL helped to fuel my passion for leadership within the Association and it is for that reason – and to help see the type of organization I believe we can and should be—that I later then ran for election to the ALA Executive Board. Serving as chair of the ACRL 2019 conference is exciting because it evokes that same feeling of going to my first ACRL conference where I felt so energized. Now I hope to lead the efforts of creating a similar experience for those who participate in or attend the ACRL 2019 Conference in Cleveland, OH.

What has been your favorite project to work on during your time with ACRL?

I am absolutely thrilled to be the chair of the ACRL 2019 Conference. I referenced attending my first ACRL Conference in 2005 and what a joy that was. I now have the pleasure of being an integral part of making the 2019 conference a joy for all who attend. There are a lot of moving parts—the programming, the sponsorships and scholarships, the vendors, the locations and the food! I recently went on a site visit to Cleveland (location of the 2019 Conference) and visited some of the locations where we will have events, checked out the hotels and convention center, and also the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where we will have a reception. So in addition to all the learning opportunities, we will definitely have time for social activities and I know the conference will be great. Being a part of that planning process is just an amazing experience!

What recommendations would you have for a new ALA member who is unsure about how to get involved?

I often hear members, especially new members, say how difficult it is to get involved in ALA. We often think of being on a committee as the way to get involved and, for many of us, especially in academic libraries, that is one of the criteria on which we are evaluated for promotion and/or tenure. I got my start by literally raising my hand. There was a discussion group in need of a chair and was the only person to volunteer to be the chair. The rest, as they say, is history. Although it was easy for me to get started I had to prove myself. By that I mean, I had to be an effective chair—setting agendas, managing the meetings and following through on items needing action. As important as committee work is however, it is not the only way to get involved. ACRL has created a list of ways to connect and I often refer people to that list as it describes other ways to get involved. Although the list is created by ACRL, the advice is applicable to all (or most) of ALA.

How do you balance committee work with your current library position?

This is both easy and difficult at the same time. The easy part is that although some committees require work throughout the year, the work of some is concentrated during certain periods, such as just before, or just after the conference. For those committees, it’s easy to plan your time and focus your energy on the work when you need to. For the committees where work is done year round (like being on the ALA Executive Board), then you have to prioritize. The board meets virtually on a monthly basis and so I know that this is something for which I need to plan. There are times—few times—when I have had to miss a board meeting because of some pressing issue at work. Although I take my work on the board (or any of the committees) seriously, my job is my primary responsibility and I have to keep that in mind. And it is great when the work that you do is aligned with the work of the committees that you’re on because there is this symbiotic relationship that makes it easy.

What advice would you give to new librarians from underrepresented groups on becoming involved with committees?

There are two things I would say, and I think they are what I would say to anyone. One I’ve already said in response to an earlier question. Be sure you have the capacity to do what you volunteered for. Follow through on your commitments and understand your limitations. The second thing would be to seek out a mentor or mentors. ALA can be unwieldy at times and one of the things a mentor can do is to help navigate the complexities of the association. course, a mentor is much more than a guide to ALA, but in this context I would certainly seek one out for this purpose.

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Academic Librarianship: Career Information and Advice

Come learn about the different types of jobs and career paths in an academic library, as well as what skills and education are helpful when applying for jobs. This webinar will also offer helpful tips for a successful job application including resume, cover letter and interview tips.

Time: Dec 6, 2018 2:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada)

Speaker: Sharon Holderman

Coordinator of Public Services @Tennessee Tech University

Sharon Holderman is the Coordinator of Public Services at Tennessee Tech University, which includes reference, instruction, tutoring, Supplemental Instruction, testing, circulation, collection development, and marketing. Previously she worked as a library director at a small branch campus and prior to her library life she was an academic advisor. Sharon has served on several search committees and does resume reviews and career coaching for many library organizations.

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NMRT Website Survey – Enter to Win a Prize!

The New Members Roundtable (NMRT) is committed to helping our members build the skills and gain the experience necessary to become leaders in our libraries and ALA. To help us better understand how we can help you reach your goals, the NMRT Website Redesign Task Force is asking members to fill out this survey, which will collect info on how you use our website and your expectations from the website and your NMRT membership. The survey will close on December 21stPlease note: this survey, unlike the one sent out last month, focuses on the NMRT website.

Your responses to this survey will be anonymous, and participants will have the opportunity to enter to win an NMRT t-shirt and a free membership to NMRT. Thank you for your feedback!

NMRT tshirt

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Apply now for the NMRT Shirley Olofson Award

Are you a New Members Round Table member who is looking for funds to help pay for your trip to American Library Association’s 2019 Annual Conference in Washington, DC (June 20-25, 2019)? Consider applying for the NMRT Shirley Olofson Memorial Award. Shirley Olofson passed away while serving her term as NMRT president. The NMRT honors Olofson’s leadership and commitment to the profession with this award given in her memory.

Apply by Thursday, December 13, 2018 for the NMRT Shirley Olofson Memorial Award and you may receive a $1,000 check to help defray the cost of attendance!

Applicants must:

  1.            Be a member of ALA and NMRT
  2.            Be active in the library profession
  3.            Show promise for activity in the area of professional development
  4.            Have a valid financial need
  5.            Have attended no more than five ALA annual conferences

To apply, please visit: Please e-mail Jason Vance ( if you have any additional questions.

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NMRT Twitter Live Chat

What kind of librarian are you

Please join the NMRT Online Discussion Forum Committee on Friday, December 14th at 2:00 pm EST for a live Twitter chat on: What Kind of Librarian Are You?

Whether you are still in library school or a librarian still trying to find their path, join us for a discussion in discovering what type of library you want to work in and what kind of librarian you want to be.

Choosing where you want to work can be tough between all the public, academic, and special libraries around plus all of the possible positions available within each of those types of libraries. Join the Twitter chat to:

  • Share stories of how you found the job you love
  • Share tips for finding where you want to be
  • Share your struggles in the process of finding your place
  • …and more!

It should be a lively discussion filled with experiences and ideas so join us on Twitter using the hashtag #nmrtchat tweeting from @moonphiredesign on Friday, December 14th at 2:00 pm EST!

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Alternative Voices: Jewel Davis

The Alternative Voices Feature is brought to you by the NMRT’s Membership, Diversity, Promotion, and Recruitment committee. It is meant to give a platform to the voices of librarians from underrepresented communities in the library field. The format of the feature is a journalistic question and answer format. It provides information that the librarian wants people to know about them, plus their thoughts on the current state of the field of librarianship.

Jewel Davis

Jewel Davis

Name – Jewel Davis

Contact Information –

City & State – Boone, NC

Position Title – Education Librarian

Length of time in the library field – Five years

Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you attend college? What degrees do you have? What programs (undergraduate or graduate) prepared you for your current position? Tell us about your position and what you do? What is your definition of diversity, or equity or inclusion?

I began my career as a high school English teacher after receiving a Master of Arts in Teaching and a BA in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I later decided to go back to school to become a librarian, and I was supported in that choice through the ACE Scholars program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The program was created to recruit minority librarians, and as part of this cohort of diverse students, I received financial support, participated in internships and professional development, and built relationships with phenomenal future librarians. It was an amazing program that jump-started my path into librarianship and seeing the value of diverse representation in this field.

I currently work as an Education Librarian in a PreK-12 Curriculum Materials Center at Appalachian State University’s Belk Library and Information Commons. I work with pre-service teachers, education faculty, and practicing K-12 teachers on teaching with youth literature, incorporating STEM and emerging technologies into classroom practice, and developing practitioner-based research skills. I love the job because it combines my passion for teaching, utilizing instructional technologies, and advocating for youth.

I define diversity as the wide range of differences that make us individually unique people. Because we are each inherently different as people, diversity is part of our everyday lives. What we do to understand, honor, and act upon it is what matters, and this is where we must engage in inclusive practices. Inclusion is the act of recognizing and supporting the diversity we encounter in people and creating an environment that provides a sense of belonging, value, and respect.

How are you becoming or staying in involved with the wider profession?

When I started my current job, I decided to focus first on building community locally and within my state. I volunteer, help organize, and attend events in our local education community, and over the years I have taken on more active leadership positions in our state library associations. I currently chair the Roundtable for Ethnic Minority Concerns for the North Carolina Library Association, and I am the President of the North Carolina Curriculum Materials Center Association. I am now seeking opportunities in national service organizations, and I feel good about this slow but steady path because I have a supportive network in my local and state community that I can lean on and work with to help make a wider impact.

What advice would you give to new librarians from underrepresented groups?

Don’t be afraid to lead in the position that you are currently in. Leadership doesn’t have to be gained through a new title or position. You can make an impact and grow in your career laterally just as well as you can vertically. Hungrily seek the opportunities that speak to your passions, put in the work, and always advocate for yourself and your work.

Now more than ever, it is important for libraries to seek out diverse materials to add to their collection but some may have difficulty locating materials that accurately reflect the voice of a specific community.

What resource would you recommend that librarians use to locate the most up-to-date and relevant sources?

I work with youth advocates specifically on this issue in terms of finding authentic representation in youth literature. Going beyond our traditional collection development practices of primarily using trade reviews and moving more towards seeking out reviews and recommendations from people within underrepresented groups is key in having authentic materials in our collections. The See What We See Coalition ( is comprised of dedicated advocates who critique and provide extensive evaluations on diverse titles in youth literature. In addition, the We Need Diverse Books ( organization provides links to curated title lists and links to other groups who have taken up the call to evaluate and recommend diverse youth literature.

What trends are most impacting the field right now?

In the library circles, I am a part of, I have been hearing more conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion. I hope these conversations build into even more action, training, and difficult conversations that push us into a sustained movement and not a passing moment.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned on the job?

Effective communication is everything. Even when it is difficult and we do not agree, we have to strive to listen better and be more open to having authentic dialogue.

What is your favorite genre?

My favorite genre is speculative fiction. I love that even though we can escape to explore fantastical and futuristic settings in this genre, we can still learn about ourselves. For youth and adults, it can grant us the distance we may need and provide through metaphor a safe way to confront our fears, highlight our issues, and imagine our futures.

Do you have a blog/website?

I am on twitter as @jewel_davis (, and I have a website

Interested in being featured in Alternative Voices? Contact us at .

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Apply for the NMRT Professional Development Grant

Short on cash but want to attend this year’s ALA conference? We’ve got you covered! Apply for the NMRT Professional Development Grant award by December 15th. This is your opportunity to receive $1,000 to offset the costs to attend this year’s Annual conference in Washington D.C. on June 20-25. Read for more information about the grant.

You must be a current NMRT member to apply. To join, visit the ALA website and follow the “Join ALA” link.

For questions, please contact Teresa Schultz, Chair of the NMRT Professional Development Grant Committee, at  Good luck!

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October 2018 NMRT Online Discussion: Creative Programming at the Library

The discussion this October centered around creative programming in libraries. Recent media coverage of Drag Queen Story Hour has generated both negative and positive reactions from the public, and has brought attention to libraries’ efforts to offer inventive programs. Among the experiences and concerns raised by NMRT discussion members were programming idea sources, collaborating outside the library, and adapting to your community’s needs.

Sourcing your Programming Ideas

Discussion members had a variety of sources for their program ideas, though the majority centered around online sources. Among the online resources mentioned were:


Programming Librarian

ACRL Library Marketing and Outreach Facebook Group

ALA ThinkTank Facebook Group

Libraries on Instagram

Members also suggested that networking with other library staff could also prove fruitful. At a national level, this includes taking advantage of ALA resources such as the roundtables and networking at Annual and Midwinter. Robust networks of fellow librarians can act as sources of ideas and sounding boards for new ideas. At the state level, both state libraries and state library associations can also provide resources and contacts for programming ideas, conferences, and support. Some resources could be closer than you know, such as among the paraprofessionals or student workers of your library. Your network of library contacts, both online and in person, is an invaluable source of ideas.

Collaborating Outside the Library

Another valuable source of programming ideas and support comes from partnerships with organizations and groups unaffiliated with the library who share similar goals. Members discussed how in academic settings, they found Residence Life to be critical partners in programming. Other departments can also provide ideas or even put on programming together with the library. Faculty members were also mentioned as sources of both programming ideas and potential speakers at events. Integrating faculty and other departments both helps create collaborative, inventive programming and strengthens interdepartmental relationships. Similarly, public libraries should consider partnering with local businesses and organizations to build ties in the community and cross-promote services.

Adapting to Your Community’s Needs

One of the most important aspect of programming is considering the needs of your community. Academic librarians in the discussion stated that they often try to create programs based on the needs and desires of their students. Programming that centers on active, fun, and experimental events can be better received than programming that centers on the library’s traditional services. Programming that is unexpected and creative can challenge the patron’s stereotypical view of the library and invite them to take a new look at the resources it offers.

Understanding your community is the first step in finding programming that will fit the community’s needs. Academic librarians noted that they try to reach students in locations outside the library, as not all students go to the physical library for their educational resources. Paying close attention to the culture and topics of conversation among your customers may also provide guidance in what programming is desired. Public librarians may find that instead of books, their patrons are searching for a neutral space to discuss community concerns.

Continuing the Discussion

As libraries continue to play many roles in their communities, the demand for creative programming will only increase. Taking advantage of both online and in-person networking resources can help librarians plan and present successful programming, as well as provide support for failures. Partnering with local businesses or other organizations can result in successful collaborative programming and strengthened relationships. Paying close attention to the needs of the community and adapting to those needs is essential to creating successful programming. Librarians who are interested in creative programming should not hesitate to reach out to fellow librarians to discuss ideas, collaborations, failures and successes.

Have you presented creative programming at your library? What valuable lessons did you learn from the process? Do you have a resource not listed above that you utilize for programming ideas?

Submitted by: Katie Wheeler

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Authority File: Interviews with ALA Committee Chairs

This month, the NMRT Communications Committee is thrilled to introduce a new series for your reading pleasure—Authority File: Interviews with ALA Committee Chairs. We will be interviewing the Chairs of different ALA committees throughout the year and sharing their experiences as committee volunteers, their advice to new ALA members, and background about their committees. You may just discover your “next” ALA committee!

“Get involved!”

– Christina Rodriques, Chair of the ALA Membership Committee

To help us launch our new series, Christina Rodriques, Chair of the ALA Membership Committee, graciously agreed to be our first interview. Christina knows ALA extremely well; in addition to her role as a committee chairperson, she is also serving as Outreach Director on NMRT’s Board! The following interview with Christina was conducted through email.

How long have you been an ALA member?

I have been a member of ALA for just over 4 years now. I have served on committees for the International Relations Round Table (IRRT), and I currently serve as Outreach Director on the New Members Round Table (NMRT) board.

How long have you been Chair of the Membership Committee?

I have been Chair of the ALA Membership Committee since July of 2018 and my term will end in June 2019. I also served one year as a member of the committee before being appointed Chair.

Why did you decide to serve on this particular committee?

I chose to serve on the ALA Membership Committee because I believe it is the members of ALA, our fellow librarians, support staff, and LIS professionals that make the organization successful. Without membership we wouldn’t have the power to bring about change, to accomplish goals and to further the future of the profession. I chose to serve on this committee because I want to do my part to ensure that the barriers to entry for ALA remain low and that members see the value in this organization and what it can do.

Tell us about the Membership Committee—what is its reason for being, what are its goals or objectives, what are some of its current initiatives/projects?

The official charge of the ALA Membership Committee is “to establish general policies, programs, and procedures to secure new members; to be responsible for the implementation of these programs; to coordinate membership promotion activities of all units and chapters of the association; to make recommendations concerning membership dues; and to serve the association as a sounding board on membership”. Most recently the committee worked to approve a dues increase for membership that will ensure ALA can continue to fully serve its members while still keeping the cost incurred by them in mind.

How is this committee structured?

The Membership Committee consists of nine (9) members with staggered terms. There is a Chairperson who is appointed annually and one of the members is an ALA Executive Board Representative. There are no subcommittees.

What do you enjoy most about serving on this committee?

I enjoy serving on the Membership committee because I can voice my opinions and the opinions of others like me to ALA and its leaders. I also enjoy hearing the viewpoints and perspectives of others who are not like me. It makes for diverse and engaging discussions and we end up making better decisions because of it.

What would you say is the typical time commitment for serving on this committee?

It is relatively light. Most of our work is done virtually with very few meetings. We do meet in person at both the ALA mid-winter and annual conferences.

What advice would you give to someone considering serving on this committee in the future? Be sure to review the committee charge and activities before you fill out the volunteer form. That way you will know if the committee is something you would like to be a part of.

Do you have any advice for new members of ALA in general?

Get involved! Find a special interest group, round table or division and volunteer. New Members Round Table (NMRT) is a great starting point. I attended one of their meetings at an annual conference and right after that I had joined a committee and was working with my peers. NMRT really helps demystify the larger ALA organization and helps new members learn about all the opportunities and benefits that exist for them.

Submitted by: Alexandra Loewen

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ALA 101 Orientation Survey

Help us make ALA better! 
The ALA New Members Roundtable (NMRT) and ALA Training, Orientation, and Leadership Development (TOLD) Committee are working on building an ALA 101 orientation resource for new ALA members. Whether you are a new ALA member, an NMRT member, or not a member of either, we are interested in your feedback! Please tell us by November 23rd what your preferences and ideas are for an ALA orientation experience, as well as what you don’t know about ALA and wish you did. 
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