President's Update - November 9, 2017

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MLA President Steven Bowers
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Whether you were able to join us for the MLA conference last month, or not, I wanted to note a few things I thought were worth sharing. For those of you that attended conference, I want to thank you for participating in the conversations. I hope you will continue to think on things that you found inspiring and insightful. What did you find to share?
 
Our opening keynote, Manoush Zomorodi, provided a thoughtful presentation on disconnecting from technology in order to get in touch with our default mode, our thinking selves. Zomorodi loves gadgets and information as much as you and I may, but she is making conscious decisions to set her path and not get distracted from her goals. She is working to help others be productive, instead of being overcome or overwhelmed.
 
Libraries help navigate information with technology. Librarians connect with people.
 
Pat Wagoner, library consultant, provided a laid back and humorous presentation, while sharing her message of respectfully treating everyone the same. Not for the sake of equality, but for the realization that everyone is a person. Respect is motivation.
 
Librarians listen. Libraries meet you where you are.  
 
One of the most inspiring sessions I attended was the presentation by Deborah Drennan, from Freedom House Detroit. The work of Drennan and her colleagues goes far beyond providing housing to refugees. As Freedom House Detroit succinctly puts it, "We are a place for new beginnings." I think we all need to be part of the success of humanity. Each of our libraries can be a starting point for someone.  
 
Libraries are access. Libraries provide opportunity.
 
Our closing keynote speaker, Jack Lessenberry, reminded us that in a scary world of misinformation our words matter. A core value of the media and libraries can be to promote dissemination of real information - to be trusted resources for navigating fear. We must continue to provide unbiased access to services and resources.  
 
Librarians are trusted. Librarians lead.
 
I encourage each of us to follow up from conference. Whether looking into the books, podcasts, and websites from the presenters noted above or pursuing something that connects with you. What will you do to make a positive contribution to life through your work at the library?
 
This year I've been to lots of events - conferences for academic and special libraries and more. I hope to make it to the state conferences for school and rural libraries this coming spring. There are so many kinds of libraries serving together - working together.
 
Who are you reaching - a student, a parent, an administrator? What about a child, an adult, a community member? Each individual has something to share and each of them can learn more about what libraries have to offer them. MLA is here to help us show people what we do and as ALA would say "Libraries Transform!"
 
Love, Interact, Work, Progress, Live!
 
Turn This World Around,
 
-Steve
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