My experience as a Peer Facilitator for the ALA 175 Leadership Lab began with training. Training was amazing and thoroughly prepared me for what was to come in the lab. Training involved a plethora of learning styles, with each one allowing us to practice a different set of skills. We gave presentations, participated in gallery walks, and even got to work with organizations outside of the BLI. While a lot of it involved practicing facilitation skills, a large part of training involved open discussions. One discussion I found particularly engaging was one around identities. We talked about how different identities we hold are relevant at different times, and how many of the identities we have are not visible to the eye. From both discussions like this and training sessions spent practicing facilitation I was well equipped to go into the lab.

    Being a Peer Facilitator has been an incredible experience so far. Each class is different from the other, with different accomplishments and challenges. This semester was particularly rewarding. My group was hoping to create a project that centered around healthy dieting. When coronavirus caused classes to continue remotely, my group was struggling to figure out what to do with their project. They were toying around with the idea of putting out a weekly newsletter detailing healthy habits. During a meeting with my manager I voiced my worry that them doing a project with this large of a scope may be difficult, given the circumstances. Together, my manager and I put together some options for their project that would make it more manageable. I then sent these ideas to my group, and they responded positively. It felt good being able to help them, especially because in a remote class it may feel like there is no one there to support you. 

    Overall, this semester as a PF with the BLI has been full of growth. I became more comfortable running a class and improvising when unexpected challenges arose. I also learned more about effective leadership. I learned that being a leader is about listening and supporting your team. Oftentimes, your team will have different needs than another, so you have to really learn how they would want to be supported. Some teams will ask for more help than others, and that is okay. I also grew as a public speaker, which has been something I constantly seek practice in. Finally, I learned more about myself. I learned how all of my different identities affect parts of my life, and how they make me who I am. The BLI has given me invaluable skills that I will utilize for the rest of my life. I cannot thank my fellow PF’s and manager enough for always being there for me and helping me grow.