If you have additional questions, please contact Shirley Robinson, TLA Executive Director via email or call 512-328-1518 ext. 151.
Do I have to have an MLS or equivalent degree to be eligible for TALL Texans?
No, Applications from individuals who are degreed and non-degreed are welcomed, as are applications from library supporters.
What does professional-level position mean?
The purpose of this criterion is to ensure that all TALL Texans have a deep understanding of the broader issues, values, and philosophies of the profession, as well as a holistic view of how libraries and other information profession settings function (as opposed to understanding only one function or department well).
The Selection Committee will consider the entirety of your application in attempting to evaluate this criterion. Some applicants may not have a degree and yet may have served as the librarian of a small library, thus becoming quite familiar with these broader issues and functions, while some degreed librarians may not yet have the breadth of understanding and experience sought. Experience shows that those who do not meet this criterion neither gain as much nor are able to contribute as much as is needed to make the program successful for all attendees.
Are non-librarian professionals who work in libraries eligible?
Yes, if they have a legitimate commitment to and involvement with libraries, such that they have the big-picture views discussed above and intend to serve the library community well into the future. An example of such a person might be a human resources director or a development director in a large library who has never worked as a librarian per se but has worked long enough in libraries that she or he understands libraries intimately and who intends to remain in the library environment in the future. That person would need to meet the five-year requirement for eligibility.
What if I don't work in a library, but am an active library supporter?
Library supporters are an extremely important part of the library community, and many of Texas’s most valuable library leaders are not members of library staff. Past TALL Texan “lay” library supporters have both benefited greatly from the TALL Texans experience and enriched the experience for all participants.
Library supporters come in all shapes and sizes. The quality they share is a demonstrated commitment to libraries and the ability to translate that commitment into action by advocating for and speaking out in support of libraries. This quality, along with a deep understanding of the broader issues, values, and philosophies of libraries and a holistic view of how libraries and other information profession settings function, may qualify a lay library supporter for TALL Texans. Note that the minimum requirement for lay TALL Texans is three years of experience in service to the library community.
What does mid-career mean?
Mid-career means that you have enough experience (at least five years) to meet the “professional-level” criterion yet still have several steps to go before reaching the summit of your career. Basically, if you intend to advance further in your library career, you are likely to be considered mid-career. That may mean serving in a mid-level position and intending to “move up the ladder” to a higher level position, serving as head librarian of a small library with the intent to move into larger contexts, or being a school librarian with plans to advance to a larger leadership position. If you can count in three digits the days until you retire, you are not mid-career.
What does community service mean?
The concept of service goes beyond membership in organizations such as civic groups, professional associations, or faith-based institutions. Evidence of leadership, personal initiative, and contributions of time and talent are essential.Community service means the sustained commitment and demonstration of leadership in either of the following two substantive ways:
Service in the professional community – The successful applicant has not only been a reliable and resourceful employee or supporter in the library setting but has also demonstrated an interest in the community of professional librarians who are continuing to hone their skills and exchange best practices. This interest may be manifest in active participation (rather than simple membership) in professional organizations such as TLA or in a local, regional, or national association of librarians. AND/OR
Service in the community of service – The successful applicant demonstrates involvement in the broader community served by the library – academic, public, school, or special. Examples include but are not limited to:
- for an academic librarian, participation and/or leadership on campus or university system committees as well as local civic groups;
- for a public librarian, participation and/or leadership on any number of civic projects or initiatives that require individuals to commit to settings that help them understand and improve their communities (e.g., Rotary, PTA, Meals on Wheels, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, interdepartmental city/county committees, etc.)
- for a school librarian, participation and/or leadership (e.g., PTA, student clubs, school/district committees, and local civic organizations);
- for a special librarian, participation and/or leadership within the environment served by the library or local civic groups and organizations;
- for a library supporter, participation and/or leadership on library committees/boards, fundraising activities, as well as civic groups.
May I apply again if I am not accepted the first time?
Absolutely! Many of the most successful TALL Texans were not accepted the first (or even second or third) time they applied. After completing TALL Texans, several of these individuals have remarked that they realized they were not fully prepared the first time they applied and were glad to have had more time to develop as a potential leader.
What should I expect from TALL Texans?
TALL Texans is very much about working with others, networking, getting out of your comfort zone in a protected and nurturing setting, and getting you thinking in new ways. It is not a traditional classroom experience. It is about helping participants grow as leaders and as people. It is a participatory experience – all attendees must be able to contribute actively (as do the mentors).
What if I'm a quiet person, not really gregarious?
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Participating actively does not mean that you will be expected to make speeches or to share your most intimate life stories with the group. The only expectation is that you think, question, discuss, and challenge yourself.
What are some tips for completing my application?
The committee is looking for individuals who demonstrate a long term commitment to libraries and to community service. Provide examples of leadership form both your personal and professional life. Use different kinds of examples to show that you understand the “big picture.” Emphasize what you can bring to the group, as well as what you seek to gain.
Treat the application like a cover letter for a job interview. Sell yourself! Answer questions clearly and concisely with in the number of words allotted for each. Remember that each question builds up to the final 20-point question.
Who should be my references?
As with an job application, consider previous supervisors, directors, and colleagues, especially those who have demonstrated the professional and community leadership indicated in the questions. At least one of the three references should be your current supervisor or director. Also consider colleagues and friends who have attended TALL Texans. They will be able to directly relate your qualifications to the program.
What is the TLA Event Cancellation Policy?
Cancellations or transfers/substitutes must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org five (5) business days prior to the event. Cancellations will receive a refund, minus a 20% handling fee. If you do not cancel or transfer prior to five (5) business days before the event, the entire fee is non-refundable. Refunds may take up to 30 business days following an event to process.
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