Executive Director's Desk - July 12, 2018

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Are We Doing the Best We Can?

I am a fan of Brene Brown books and every one I read leaves me with something to think about. My summer reading included her bestseller Rising Strong; How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live. In her books Brene takes the time to explain how she does her research and how it often impacts her in unexpected ways. One takeaway was her conclusion that often people are doing the best they can. While we know that is not necessarily true in all cases, it is probably true more often than we are willing to acknowledge. We all have our own opinions about what is the right thing to do as well as the right way to do it.

I have tried to apply Brene's conclusion to friends and acquaintances who seem to be making mistakes in their day to day lives or causing themselves problems through their own efforts. We all know someone who continues to choose the wrong significant other, wrong job, wrong living arrangements, etc. Or maybe it's someone you work with who annoys you or never measures up to your standards. Instead of judging them from our own point of view, perhaps we should try to assume best intentions and conclude they are doing the best they can. Brene came to this conclusion when one of her research subjects made her feel ashamed for being unable to stand up to that person's measure of ideal. In this case Brene knew she was doing the best she could and realized she often criticized others in the same way.

We are all born with individual talents, abilities, IQs and economic means and this impacts who we are and the decisions we make. So, I've tried to step back from my immediate conclusions and snap judgements about the people I see as I go about my business and stop to ask if maybe they aren't already doing the best they can.

This goes hand in hand with what I learned from Brene's book Daring Greatly. It is her reference to the quote from Theodore Roosevelt's The Man in the Arena speech that hit home. "It's not the critic who counts;...The credit belongs to the man or woman who is actually in the arena, ... who strives valiantly;... and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly." This is about the people who are out there every day trying to make a difference. This could refer to every librarian I know but I also shared it with the MLA Board of Directors at their recent board development meeting. It was meant to bring home the knowledge that if they are criticized for a decision or action taken as an MLA director they should take pride in the fact that they are in the arena and are daring greatly. They are leading their profession and their association and they should encourage others to do the same. They are doing the very best they can to further the library mission.

New Library Director Training

We are in the process of finalizing a 2019 new library director training that will consist of a full day of in person training, three webinars, a one-hour individual session with the trainer and a follow up networking meeting at the MLA office. We are excited to offer this much needed program to our many new library directors. The trainer Maxine Bleiweis is speaking at MLA Annual Conference and has very successfully offered this program to librarians in Florida.

MLA 2018 Annual Conference Registration is now open. Click here to register today! 

October 17-19, 2018Suburban Collection ShowplaceDiamond Banquet Center Novi, Michigan

MLA 2018 Keynote Speakers

Opening Keynote with Brenda Viola: Go the Extra Mile (When You're Running on Empty)

Dedicated librarians are the wind beneath EVERYONE'S wings - from staff to volunteers to the community at large. No one asks you to go the extra mile - you just DO, because that's what you're known for - passion, dedication and unwavering resolve to set the standard of excellence in your organization. But what if you're close to running on empty? Even superstars have battle scars and need to re-charge their batteries. Learn the six secrets to getting your mojo back in this inspirational keynote. 

The goal is to take a moment for self-reflection; a "report card" accompanies the presentation so that participants can grade themselves on six key areas that can cause burnout. Being aware of areas in need of improvement will empower you to take action that will enable you to Go the Extra Mile (when you feel like you're "running on empty.")

Brenda Viola has worked in the field of Communications for over 30 years as a journalist, news anchor and as an award-winning Public Information Officer for a first-ring suburb of Philadelphia. She has coached thousands of professionals to "Master the Media" and effectively speak - whether at a podium, in a meeting, or in front of the TV cameras. In recent years, her training has evolved to include motivational speaking, with a special emphasis on the challenges faced by government employees, and how to reconnect with the joy of public service.

Thursday Keynote Lunch with Patty Buccellato: Influence Without Words: What You Say Before Opening Your Mouth

You uphold an unwavering commitment to excellence. You're uber-competent, and you maintain high standards of leadership and in serving patrons. But are you at the top of your game in the nonverbal skill set? Human beings speak at an average rate of 125 words per minute, yet it's been documented that our brains process at 400-800 words per minute. What are your listeners hearing during the gap?

Nonverbal cues speak volumes. Though we're not all born gifted communicators, the traits of the masters can be acquired. Infuse new energy into your messages with the Three Secrets of Stellar Communicators. Learn how you and your staff can master the messages sent between your words for impactful outcomes in every interaction! 

As an all-around teacher of style and wardrobe mastery, Patty's specialty is bringing her clients out of the closet with a personal style that suits their body, psyche, and circumstances.

Closing Keynote with Maxine Bleiweis: You Came, You Saw. Now How to Go Out and Conquer

Following a full conference schedule, it would be good to kick back and relax, right? Not after you listen to Maxine Bleiweis spur us on to take what we've heard and experienced over the conference and put in into practice. Listen and be inspired to turn your notes and conversations into action as you hear how someone with seemingly little chance for success looked at the world with a different lens after being challenged by her circumstances.

When Maxine Bleiweis decided to become a librarian-more specifically, a reference librarian in a college library-she never expected what would happen next. From her small-town upbringing to becoming the public library director serving such noted people as James Comey and Paul Newman, Maxine had to quickly rise to the occasion and take on new challenges.

During her years as a library director, she pioneered the concept of economic development and public libraries, reimagined the rules of customer service and organizational assessment, and created the first large public library makerspace for experiential learning.

In her new chapter as consultant, coach, and speaker, she challenges librarians to be their best, to bring the library message to the entire community, and to shed any and all barriers to service.

MLA Legislative Update

Plan to join our GCSI lobbyist Gary Owen on Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 2:15 for an update on the latest legislation impacting libraries. Register here.

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