iSchool Alumni and a Student Named ALA 2023 Emerging Leaders


The 2023 Class of Emerging Leaders from the American Library Association has been announced. Out of the 46 chosen to participate in this prestigious leadership program for new library professionals, four are from the San José State University School of Information. Congratulations to Jennifer Castle, ’18 MLIS; Cybele Kohel, current student; Jennifer Powell, ’21 MLIS; and Brandi Veal, ’20 MLIS.

The Emerging Leaders program is meant to “enable library staff and information workers to participate in project planning work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity early in their careers.” Each Emerging Leader was chosen through an application process, where applicants showed their dedication working in an “online learning and networking environment for six months.”

Jennifer CastleCastle mentions that being part of the Society of American Archivists and Special Libraries Association student chapters at the SJSU School of Information has helped her develop leadership skills. “I take them with me as I form relationships with my fellow Emerging Leaders, and when I begin studies for a Doctor of Education in Leadership at Trevecca-Nazarene University in February,” she states. Castle will be working with the Government Documents Round Table during her time in the Emerging Leaders program. Her advice to current students is to take a government documents class and to submit to the Documents to the People student issue, where she is the lead editor.

Cybele KohelKohel, who is currently enrolled in the ALA-accredited Master of Library and Information Science program, believes it is a “critical time” in the library profession. She is “excited” to start working on the project for the ALA Emerging Leaders with her group. “It means seeing how other amazing librarians across the U.S. are turning those challenges into opportunities. It will be fun and rewarding to roll up our sleeves and work on a project together for ALA.”

Jennifer PowellWorking with librarians on a global scale was one of the highlights for Powell when studying for her MLIS degree. “This is one of the main reasons that I applied to the ALA Emerging Leaders program,” she says. Powell looks forward to “getting to know, learn from, and work with librarians from all over the country, in order to build leadership skills and assist ALA in their work for libraries throughout the U.S.”

The 2023 Emerging Leaders program participants will commence their work during the ALA LibLearnX event in January. The program runs for six months with the results of their work presented in a culminating poster session at the ALA 2023 Annual Conference scheduled for June.