Maybe you're in a slump and want to get some inspiration or help from the raddest group of librarians around? Or maybe you're one of those rad librarians who's ready to say goodbye to expensive, lackluster memberships and hello to awesome? Either way, we're the community for you.
We offer a year-round online community of inspiration called the League of Awesome Librarians.
Our virtual community, its conversations, content, and events are designed for members to get at least five key takeaways and benefits:
The League of Awesome Librarians is a 100% librarian-powered organization dedicated to making professional development fun, affordable, and useful!
Ashley Maynor is the founding convener of this community, begun in 2019, as a year-round, vibrant online community for librarians and educators with a sense of curiosity and awe* for the world around them. We have a group of fantastic volunteers who make all the magic happen.
We also offer custom interactive virtual workshops on a wide variety of topics for educators, librarians, administrators, and more. Taught by award-winning librarians, our interactive content will wow you! Contact us for more information.
Learn. Create. Collaborate. Guaranteed. These three words have been a kind of motto or mantra from the very beginning. Our goal is to create low-cost environments for learning, creating, and collaborating more effectively.
Useful, fun, and affordable. We work hard to make every single workshop or event as useful, fun, and affordable as possible.
Events are for use, not filling up CVs. We think Ranganathan would agree: events should be full of hands-on learning, networking, and collaborating, not boring keynotes or "sage-on-a-stage"presentations.
We've got personality. Say goodbye to bland content. From our newsletters to our workshops to our online communities, we deliver content with sass, spunk, and persona that is real and human. We're not perfect (nor do we claim to be!) but we strive for unparalled transparency and authenticity in all we do.
For a fraction of the cost of a typical professional membership, you can join our League of Awesome Librarians and get 24/7 access to an online network of librarians and community members with fresh content and conversations each week.
Enjoy all of the perks above plus a rockin' membership sticker and magnet via snail mail, the opportunity to join a super supportive Mastermind community with monthly virtual meet-ups, and monthly virtual social activities.
If you've got more change to spare, this level includes all of the above plus quarterly interactive virtual workshops a.k.a. webinars-that-don't-suck (4 per year--a $200 value), a rockin' membership pin and more. It's a way to experience awesome programming, no travel required!
If you're a super fan, you'll wanna tack on a donation at the Sustaining Member level to help support our mission!
Is this only for people with the title librarian? No! And we’re so glad you asked. We believe in the “big tent” definition of librarian and we’re not persnickety about degrees. We welcome anyone working in a library, such as staff or para-professionals, or anyone doing library-adjacent work, such as educators, folx working for a non-profit or organization related to libraries, or independent scholars and consultants.
Why did you form the League? We were tired of paying for expensive professional association memberships that didn’t deliver on what we thought was the point: connecting professional librarians to one another to move our profession forward. So, we decided to make our own league and to make it awesome! This is a social network-style community with a monthly subscription/donation required to help us cover the costs of creating a private, ad-free network with fresh content, real connections, and fun surprises and giveaways.
How are you different than a traditional professional association? The typical professional association charges a lot of moo-lah for few perks or tangible benefits. Not to mention you have to pay a lot more for any content, such as webinars, meet-ups, and conference registrations, even when the labor for these offerings comes directly from fellow librarians! So, we're attempting to create the most interactive and useful community at the lowest possible cost. It takes time and resources to do this, so we can't do it for free, but we pledge to make it an incredible value. We’re librarian-run, nimble, agile, and committed to keeping things fun and not boring—we think that makes us very different, indeed! Unlike other organizations, we never sell our mailing list. And we wanted to create a secure, ad-free community for in-depth sharing.
Why does the League cost money to join? Privacy isn’t free and we think our community deserves a privacy-conscious, ad-free place for real connection. Hosting, creating, and maintaining this kind of community has tangible costs, even with many amazing volunteers who give their time in service of the profession. We also believe in honoring librarian labor (i.e. our workshop instructors) with money for their time and expertise. But we’ve made every effort to make our community as affordable and accessible as possible! You can choose to pay yearly or monthly because we know smaller monthly payments might be easier for some in our profession.
What if I can’t afford my membership? While we’ve made every attempt to make our membership affordable, we understand that circumstances, such as job loss/unemployment, family/medical issues, or other factors might make even an $2/month subscription impossible. We offer some temporary fee waivers for short-term situations; for long-term issues, we have work-trade opportunities where professionals may donate their time in exchange for a membership. Contact us so we can assist you with your unique circumstances.
Are you saying all other organizations suck? Nope! We get a bit sassy with our marketing (it gets folks’ attention and starts conversations!) but we want to be clear: we acknowledge and appreciate all the hard work of many librarians on behalf of existing organizations. We are or have been contributing members for many years to ALA, ACRL, and many others…but we’re just looking for something more for our money and decided to build it instead of complaining or wading through years of bureaucracy to make it happen.
We’re hoping that through our efforts we’ll push forward an improved model for community-building across disciplines and library types—it certainly won’t replace all of the components of giant organizations like ALA or ACRL (with so many sections or subgroups for niche content)—but it just might advance a better model for cross-pollination. Our aim is to challenge our existing organizations to do better with the immense resources, financial and otherwise, that they have and we feel there’s plenty of room for improvement in some areas.
*Umm, have you all heard about "vocational awe"? Isn't that a bad thing? Yes, we've heard about "vocational awe" but that's not what we're promoting. In fact, we think that term is a misnomer. The concept behind the term "vocational awe" is not a new one in library literature; it's been talked about since at least 1950 using the term "library faith." Don't misread us: using the values of the profession to escape or bypass critique for underpay, overwork, burnout, or lack of diversity is unconscionable! But this big issue is hardly unique to libraries (c.f. health care workers, emergency workers, teachers, and other service professions.) While we are glad these discussions are happening, we don't like conflating a beautiful concept of awe with a complex, systemic problem.
We think awe is actually a very important human emotion essential to well-being and there's some hardcore scientific research on the topic to back us up on this claim (more studies mentioned here, too). Awe is not responsible the problems of our profession. Systemic injustice and racism, misogyny, societal concepts around capitalism and labor, and many other structures are at work (and we're committed to being part of the solution through positive change). But a sense of wonder and awe at the vast knowledge in the universe and our role in helping to make it available to others? Nope, that's not the problem.
What is a Mastermind group and where did that term come from? Mastermind groups have been around since the turn of the 20th century and are a form of peer-to-peer mentoring. They’re similar to Communities of Practice but more focused on goal setting and support. You can read a little bit about their history on this Wikipedia stub and we have a lot more info inside of the League about our unique take/version of Masterminds, which have been designed with the modern-day librarian/library worker in mind!