Interest groups

MLA Interest Groups

The MLA Board of Directors is spearheading the formation of informal Interest Groups to foster member engagement in addition to the current MLA professional development opportunities offered. By participating in an Interest Group, you can:

  • explore networking opportunities with colleagues
  • engage with others to discuss problems and find solutions
  • keep current on trending topics
  • share resources and materials with colleagues 
  • develop leadership skills,
  • create knowledge resources,
  • lead MLA into the future.

In addition, it is possible that these informal Interest Groups could host “unconferences,” or informal settings to exchange ideas and information, at Annual Conference and throughout the State in addition to online discussions.

Where did the need for interest groups come from?

Last year the MLA Board of Directors authorized a Member Engagement Task Group headed by MLA Past President Leslie Warren to investigate the need for additional opportunities for engagement for MLA members. The task group was charged with investigating ways to improve member engagement and leadership.  As part of the review, a “Potential Members Survey for Michigan Library Association” was conducted.  The task group also reviewed data from the most recent MLA Membership Satisfaction Survey and MLA Communities of Practice (CoPs).  In addition to looking at survey information, a compilation of information was made on what types of groups the American Library Association (ALA) has for its members and what other state library associations offer.

Task Group Members

Leslie Warren, Northern Michigan University, Chair

Steven K. Bowers, Detroit Area Library Network  

Pam Christensen, Peter White Public Library

Cathy Lancaster, Traverse Area District Library

Gail Madziar, Michigan Library Association

Stephanie Matheson, Central Michigan University

Terry New, Kalamazoo Public Library

Kate Pohjola Andrade, Woodlands Library Cooperative

Mary Rzepczynski, Delta Township District Library

Upon recommendation by the Membership Engagement task group the MLA Board of Directors authorized the following steps to be taken.

  • MLA establish information interest Groups to foster member engagement outside of current professional development opportunities offered.  MLA Interest Groups should have a specified purpose and format, including specific guidelines for how they come into existence and how they continue to exist or how they formally come to an end.
  • MLA empower informal Interest Groups to host “unconferences,” or informal settings to exchange ideas and information, throughout the State.
  • Established MLA Interest Groups be supported with existing tools available to the organization, such as MLA listservs, newsletters, and the website, and MLA Interest Groups also be given a space and time for meeting at Annual Conference, but receive no other specified financial support from the association.
  • MLA continue existing opportunities for leadership, professional development, and volunteering within the association.  New opportunities for leadership may also arise from the new MLA Interest Groups.

How is an MLA Interest Group established?

Procedures for establishing an interest group will include identifying leadership and ten or more individuals with a common interest within the scope of MLA’s Interest Group Guidelines who are willing to complete the online form with approval of the MLA Board of Directors. 

Call for Interest Group Leadership Task Force

The call for interest group leadership will identify those individuals looking for new leadership opportunities who are vested in the success of these new communication vehicles.

Watch for more information about how to establish an MLA Interest Group soon.