President's Update -March 9, 2017

MLA President Kathleen Zaenger

As I enter the final quarter of my term as president of MLA, I reflect on the opportunities I have had to see up front and personal how much goes on behind the scenes at the MLA office. Whether that is preparing for an event such as annual conference or working a piece of legislation through the process, many hours and often months of sincere effort goes into each success. When it comes to connecting with speakers, venues and entertainers for conferences and workshops, the expertise and experience of the MLA staff see that we get the most for our money. Conversations about legislation and funding by the MLA staff with dozens of legislators, staffers and the administration happen over the twelve months each year to ensure libraries are supported and can continue to serve our patrons in ways that add value to our communities. These efforts enhance the value that MLA brings to our own personal and professional lives as well as our communities.

While there are many professional organizations, MLA is at the top in providing resources for libraries and library professionals in our state. Have you taken the opportunity to network with professionals from across all spectrums of library careers? Mentoring both formally with the MLA mentoring program or informally as you work in committees and workgroups or volunteer at a conference all provide a chance to meet with potential colleagues or future bosses. You can work with someone from a different library type, size or geographic area. You can experience leadership opportunities that might not be available in your current position.

Professional development via conferences, workshops and webinars keeps us up to date on library trends and it also provides a chance to hone presentation skills on a statewide stage. Our events include current topics such as social justice. We bring in speakers like renowned author Cory Doctorow. Our most recent webinar helped librarians understand the Headlee amendment and what it means to their millage revenue. Enough cannot be said about networking. While webinars have their place, I believe I can often learn as much valuable information from talking with colleagues in the hallway as I do at a breakout session. It also offers the chance to mix and mingle with others in our field in both professional and leisure settings. Even better, scholarships are available for every MLA professional development event.

I support and encourage the staff here at our library to take advantage of all that MLA can offer because it makes our staff and our library that much stronger.

MLA continues diligently to protect library services and funding while providing library staff the professional development they need. This is all made possible by member support which is essential to the success of MLA's unwavering commitment to library advocacy efforts. I appreciate your participation because there is such power in working together cooperatively. The more member participation we have, the more we can help libraries and librarians to thrive and keep Michigan growing.

I feel so fortunate to be in a position that allows me to give back to an organization and a profession that has given so much to me. I am grateful to my staff and my library's board of trustees for their support while I volunteer.

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