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#TeamALA Staff Profiles

Meet John Amundsen, Program Officer for Communications and Outreach, Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS)

What do you do at ALA?

My official title is Membership Specialist and I most of my work is with membership engagement projects. If ALA has a booth at a conference, it’s likely I helped to put it together. I also am the co-lead on ALA’s social media team, I organize the ALA Lounge and the Networking Uncommons at ALA Annual and Midwinter, and I’m the staff liaison to the Gaming Round Table, the Graphic Novels & Comics in Libraries Member Interest Group, and the Virtual Communities and Libraries Member Interest Group.

Why do you think libraries / librarians are important?

I think libraries are important because they offer a space for everyone with no questions asked. Libraries provide materials for study, entertainment, and enrichment no matter what your interest is. Librarians are important because it’s hard to navigate the vast landscape of available information on your own. Having a guide that is trained in how to evaluate information is vital in the modern world.

What do you love about your job?

I absolutely love the librarians I get to work with every day. To see and hear about the passion and creativity they bring to their work is humbling. I feel very lucky to be able to learn so much from our community.

What is something cool you’ve accomplished lately at ALA?

I have a couple of things I’m pretty proud of lately. One is these staff profiles. J Having the chance to highlight the wide range of smart and creative people that I work with is pretty amazing.

Working with the Graphic Novel MIG I’ve also helped to build a presence for libraries and librarians at some of the biggest comic conventions in the country. We’ve had programs and booths and events at New York Comic Con, C2E2, Denver Comic Con, San Diego Comic Con, and this year we’re working on some things for Emerald City Comic Con. This is something I’ve worked on for more than five years, so to see it grow and take off has been a lot of fun.

What do you like to do outside of ALA?

I’m pretty crafty, so I like to make things. I sew, and embroider, and I love photography. I really like to make art.

ALA Pro Tip?

If you want to get involved in the Association, find your niche and dig in. It’s not always so easy you might need to try out a few things before deciding what you want to work on. Ultimately, though, it your voice – YES YOU – that makes the wheels move.

What are you reading?

I usually do audiobooks, so I can absorb books on the go. I’m re-listening to the Harry Potter books and I’m about a quarter of the way through Order of the Phoenix. It’s so good!

What are you watching?

At the moment I’m re-watching Smallville. It was easy to do during the holiday season while I was too busy to focus fully on something new. I’m just over halfway through the run already. It’s still one of the best retellings of Superboy ever done!

I did go see a lot of movies recently, though so shout out to Hidden Figures and Rogue One and Moana!

What are you listening to?

At this very minute it’s Los Lobos “I Got Loaded” but I’ve also been jamming to the Hamilton cast album, Frank Tuner, and a bunch of francophone bands from Quebec – karkwa, Malajube, Les Trois Accords.

During the work week I try to post a song of the day outside my office :-P

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And while he recounted once more the events of his time in the shadows he took his Rose from its holster and began grafting the bone to its steel frame — just another trophy, from another battle won.
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In his first moments as a new being, he looked down at his Rose and realized for the first time that it held no petals: only the jagged purpose of angry thorns.