A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be. —Rosalynn Carter
Next Tuesday, April 14 you will be asked to elect your MLA Directors. Each of the candidates has been selected by the nominating committee and are presented as capable nominees to serve as your MLA leadership. These directors set the strategic direction for the association, provide guidance to me as executive director and make sure MLA adheres to its core mission and values. These leaders are tasked with looking within as well as outside their library experience to set the course for their association. We appreciate their willingness to serve.
An effective board member must be able to work for the greater good which may mean supporting decisions and viewpoints that differ from their own. That can be a challenge. As an association, MLA has its own distinct mission to serve a variety of libraries and library professionals. It’s a wise and broad minded individual who can look across all types and sizes of libraries and all geographic areas and decide on the right course of action to help the library community as a whole succeed. Functioning as a team, the board has to use critical thinking to recognize opportunities as well as threats to the library community and work together effectively and professionally to address them within a limited time frame. The experience is a chance to grow as a leader and improve teamwork skills.
While these leaders work hard to understand all points of view and try to envision the future, it is inevitable that some will not agree with their decisions. Often times the incongruity can be attributed to a lack of communication or lack of understanding. Perhaps changes are happening too fast or not fast enough. Or there may not be an understanding of why change is needed at all. Attempting to be all things to all people results in a lack of focus and it is up to these individuals to guide MLA in alignment with its core mission.
This year’s candidates have chosen to give back to their library community by serving as a leader. Trust they will do what their experience, their heart and their intellect tell them is right. Please support your leadership and then consider becoming a leader yourself. When the call for nominees comes out next year, give it some thought. You might think that you don’t have time to volunteer. Most of us already have a full plate trying to balance career and home. However, we should each reflect on how fortunate we are to have fulfilling careers and take some time to give back to the community for the sake of future generations of library professionals.
Thank you to all MLA volunteers for their service to their association and their library community.