iSchool Alumni, Student Chosen for 2020 ALA Emerging Leaders Program


Two alumni and one student from the San José State University School of Information are among the 50 people selected by the American Library Association to participate in its Emerging Leaders Program in 2020. The leadership development program is designed to offer early career librarians a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience, build their network, and glean an inside look at the structure of the ALA while serving the information profession.

As Emerging Leaders, graduates Lauren Frazier and Jamie Kurumaji, and Master of Library and Information Science student Kelsey Flynn, will join project planning work groups, network with peers, and serve on various committees or groups upon completion of the program.

During the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, the program will begin with a day-long session, including orientation and training, and will be followed by a six month-long online learning and networking environment. The program culminates with a poster session at which the 2020 Emerging Leaders will present the results of their project planning work during the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

Lauren FrazierFrazier, who focused on adult literacy and library instruction in public librarianship while a student, graduated with an MLIS degree in 2018. Frazier will be part of an Emerging Leaders group that will work with the ALA’s International Relations Round Table to present a project about the development of an International Librarians Mentorship Program.

“When I learned I had been chosen to participate in the 2020 Class of Emerging Leaders, I was thrilled for the opportunity to meet and work with other library professionals who are passionate about making a difference in libraries and information organizations,” Frazier said. “I am lucky to be a part of a group of such talented and innovative individuals.”

“My ultimate career goal is to continue and expand the incorporation of the values of diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and sustainability into every choice I make as a public librarian,” said Frazier. “I also hope to continue volunteering for ALA through its Round Tables and Divisions for years to come.” 

Jamie KurumajiKurumaji, who has worked as a children’s librarian for three and a half years, earned her MLIS degree in 2015. At the ALA Annual Conference, she’s planning to present a poster project titled, “Celebrating 40 Years of Library Leadership and Beyond with the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA).”

Kurumaji said she was taken by surprise and is “still in shock” after receiving the email with the news that she’d been selected to participate in the Emerging Leaders program. “It is an honor to be chosen, and I am completely humbled by the support of APALA members, my Fresno County Public Library co-workers, family, and friends,” she said. “I am thrilled to attend ALA Midwinter and meet my fellow Emerging Leaders.”

In her current position with Fresno County Public Library, Kurumaji creates and runs children’s programs for eight different branches within the library system, including a metro branch in the city of Fresno, Calif., and rural branches.

“Each community is unique, and I try to create programs catered to those needs, as well as embed myself as much as possible into the communities I serve,” she said. “I am hoping that by participating in the Emerging Leaders program I will have the fantastic opportunity to just soak everything in and learn from my peers, gain new leadership skills, and get a better understanding of the American Library Association.”

Kelsey FlynnCurrently pursuing her MLIS degree at the iSchool, Flynn’s future plans include becoming more involved in the inner workings of the ALA and its various divisions. “I hope to learn from this amazing experience and grow my professional skill set, so I can become a better asset to my library and community,” she said. “I was very excited and honored to have been chosen for the 2020 Emerging Leaders Class.”

For the first time this year, 100% of the selected Emerging Leaders received sponsorships. Sponsors, including ALA divisions, roundtables, state chapters, and ALA affiliate organizations, commit to financial support of a participant, in order to help defray costs of attending the ALA Midwinter Meeting and ALA Annual Conference. To learn more about the ALA Emerging Leaders and its selection criteria, visit the program’s web page.