SILS Alumna, Sojourna Cunningham, selected as Emerging Leader

Release date: 

March 19, 2014

Sojourna CunninghamAmerican Libraries, a magazine of the American Library Association (ALA), has named Sojourna Cunningham (MSLS ‘10), an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science (SILS) as one of its 2014 Emerging Leaders (EL).

Cunningham was selected as one of an elite group of 56 new library professionals to be given the Emerging Leader honor. She will participate in the EL program, which takes place between the ALA Midwinter Meeting in January and the ALA Annual Conference in July and includes some online as well as face-to-face components.

“I think ALA’s Emerging Leaders is an absolutely wonderful program and I am so happy to be a part of it,” said Cunningham. “It provides a leg up in understanding how ALA works and gives me an opportunity to make a lasting impact with my particular projects with the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS).  More importantly it has surrounded me with fun and passionate people who are really trying to make a difference and be leaders in the profession.”

Cunningham, and others selected for the program, will participate in a poster session at the Annual Conference.”

The Emerging Leaders one-year program was started in 1997 to “recognize the best and brightest new leaders in our industry.” Those selected are “stars” with fewer than five years of experience working as professionals or paraprofessionals in the field.

Cunningham is currently a Diversity Resident librarian and research assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her leadership experiences include being elected Member-at-Large to the Library Leadership and Management Association Executive Committee; serving as secretary of the Library Information Technology Association Instructional Technology Interest Group; and participating on the Association of College and Research Libraries Residency Interest Group Programs Subcommittee. She has participated in several presentations and poster sessions and served as an invited panelist at the 2013 North Carolina Library Association Conference and the 2014 Tennessee Library Annual Conference.

Cunningham says that SILS is the place she was allowed the freedom to pursue her intellectual thoughts and ideas.

“SILS provided the framework as to who I am as a librarian,” said Cunningham. “To me, SILS was a place where curiosity and professional excitement was always rewarded. I am grateful to the CALA program and to the people who run and support it. I am also especially grateful for Tiffany Allen and Rebecca Vargha who even after graduation, continue to provide me with mentorship and support.”