MLA 2019-2020 Committees and Work Groups

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MLA Committees and Work Groups 

Committees and work groups selected during an annual call for volunteers help guide the work of MLA through identifying and developing future leaders, advising on the latest trends, planning educational events such as conferences and workshops, and selecting award winners. The Call for Volunteers is issued each spring. Learn more about participating.

Standing Committees

Advocacy and Legislative Committee

Monitors legislative and policy issues impacting libraries and makes policy recommendations to the board. Informs and educates members about state legislation and policy issues. Contact legislators as needed to educate them about library concerns.

  • Chair: Erin Schmandt, Caro Area District Library
  • Clara Bohrer, West Bloomfield Twp. Public Library
  • Shirley Bruursema, Kent District Library
  • Bryan Cloutier, Oxford Public Library
  • Julia Eisenstein, University of Detroit Mercy
  • Dennis Hillers, University of Detroit Mercy
  • Jessica Keyser, Grosse Pointe Public Library
  • Kathy Lester, Plymouth Canton Community School Library
  • Cindy Mack, Brighton District Library
  • Jenny Marr, Ferndale Area District Library
  • Clare Membiela, Library of Michigan
  • James Pletz, The Library Network
  • Kelly Richards, Muskegon Area District Library
  • Kristin Shelley, East Lansing Public Library
  • Lance Werner, Kent District Library
  • Ryan Wieber, Kalamazoo Public Library

Professional Development and Networking Committee

Anticipates emerging trends and hot topics. Works with staff as a think tank for ideas and insight to help identify the kinds of training our members will need to excel in the libraries of the future as well as today.

  • Chair: Vanessa Verdun-Morris, Taylor Community Library 
  • Mattie Cook, Flat River Community Library
  • John McNaughton, Grand Rapids Public Library
  • Ann Neff-Rohs, Jackson District Library
  • Kip Odell, Kent District Library
  • Lisa Valerio Nowc, Royal Oak Township Library
  • Lisa Waskin, Superior District Library

Nominating and Leadership Development Committee

Cultivates leadership potential within MLA membership to maintain strong and effective governance and solicits and evaluates nominations of candidates for service on the MLA Board of Directors.

  • Chair: Pam Christensen
  • Jennifer Dean, University of Detroit Mercy
  • Julia Eisenstein, University of Detroit Mercy
  • John McNaughton, Grand Rapids Public Library
  • Tashia Munson, Washtenaw Community College
  • Kristin Shelley, East Lansing Public Library
  • Ryan Wieber, Kalamazoo Public Library

Finance Committee

Provides financial oversight for the organization, including budgeting and financial planning, financial reporting, and the creation and monitoring of internal controls and accountability policies in support of the MLA Board of Directors.

  • Chair: Richard Schneider, Consultant
  • Scott Duimstra, Library Director, Capital Area District Library
  • Karen Knox, Library Director, Orion Township Public Library

2019-2020 Professional Development Work Groups

MLA 2019 Annual Conference

Annual Conference is a three-day conference scheduled for October 16-18, 2019 in Novi, Michigan. The work group assists in the planning and execution of this event with up to 600 attendees, guests, speakers and exhibitors.

  • Chair: Juliane Morian, Clinton-Macomb Public Library
  • Kathryn Bergeron, Kalamazoo Public Library
  • Amber Clement, Presque Isle District Library
  • Lindsey Dorfman, Kent District Library
  • Holly Hentz, Hamburg Township Library
  • Claire Lopiccolo, Romeo District Library
  • Linda Lyshol, Branch District Library
  • Janelle Martin, Lapeer District Library
  • Marlena Moore, Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence
  • Lisa Mulvenna, Clinton-Macomb Public Library
  • Karren Reish, Library of Michigan
  • Jennifer Roth, Westland Public Library

MLA 2020 Annual Conference

Annual Conference is a three-day conference scheduled for October 28-30, 2020 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The work group assists in the planning and execution of this event with up to 600 attendees, guests, speakers and exhibitors.

  • Chair: Kevin King, Kalamazoo Public Library
  • Vice Chair: Claire Lopiccolo, Romeo District Library
  • Amber Alexander, Presque Isle District Library
  • Matti Cook, Flat River Community Library
  • Tim Gleisner, Library of Michigan
  • Jill Lansky, Kalamazoo Public Library
  • Bethany Maley, Kalamazoo Public Library
  • Sherri McConnell, Capital Area District Libraries
  • Terri New, Kalamzaoo Public Library
  • James Pugh, Orion Township Public Library
  • Jill Spreitzer, University of Detroit Mercy Libraries
  • Andrea Vernola, Kalamazoo Public Library
  • Jacqueline Wrosch, Eastern Michigan University

Spring Institute 2020

This two-day conference brings together approximately 200 statewide children and teen service librarians to share, learn and experience best practices. Help plan valuable programming that includes national award-winning authors, illustrators and storytellers.

  • Chair: Beth Lowe, Fowlerville District Library
  • Vice-chair: Sara Magnuson, Kent District Library
  • Karen Blackledge, Muskegon Area District Library
  • Amanda Heidema, Herrick District Library
  • Jocelyn Levin, Lyon Township Public Library
  • Emily Marsh, Bay County Library System
  • Dena Moscheck, Lapeer District Library
  • Jessica Parij, Canton Public Library
  • Monica Porter, Ypsilanti District Library
  • Elissa Zimmer, Ferndale Area District Library

Career Advancement 2020

Presenting yourself to others as an accomplished, capable, smart and skilled person can help you advance in your career. Whether that advancement is at your current library or a new one, learn how to use self-awareness and emotional intelligence to promote your authentic self. Learn how to get support from others in your network by showing how you value your relationships and the good work you do.

  • Chair: Kristen Valyi-Hax, Harper Woods Public Library
  • Natalya Anton, Fowlerville District Library
  • Dennis Kreps, Richland Community Library

Community Collaborations 2020

The Library as a Social Service Nexus: Homelessness, addiction, housing, domestic violence all require resources. How can your librarians learn about the agencies and services available to provide the best resources to your patrons?

  • Chair: Bridget Ward, Grand Rapids Public Library
  • Emanuela DeCenso, Farmington Community Library
  • Jasmine Parker, Ferndale Public Library

Executive Summit 2020

The most inexpensive way to make your library a success is to have a strong and positive organizational culture. The key is knowing what good organizational health is and how it plays a crucial role in shaping behavior in the library. How can leaders identify and transform their organizational culture?

  • Chair: Dale Parus, Ionia Community Library
  • Julia Meredith, Clarkston Independence District Library
  • Karren Reish, Library of Michigan

Human Resources 2020

Are you prepared to manage? This workshop is about setting expectations and working with employees to bring out the best of their abilities. It will also cover how to develop and administer a clear evaluation process.

  • Michael Postula, Ann Arbor District Library
  • Jeanette Smith, Romeo District Library
  • Jill Sodt, Mott Community College

Michigan Library Awards Gala

MLA Annual Awards Committee

Reviews and updates award guidelines, encourages nominations, reviews nominees and selects the winners for our MLA professional recognition awards including the Librarian of the Year, Heart of a Champion, Rising Star, Frances H. Pletz Award for Excellence in Service to Youth and Legislator of the Year. The Awards Committee also works closely with the annual conference work group that is planning the annual awards gala.

  • Lauren Arnsman, Comstock Township Library
  • Danielle DiAmico, Bay County Library System
  • Jolee Hamlin, Capital Area District Libraries
  • Karen Knox, Orion Township Public Library
  • Cathleen Russ, Troy Public Library
  • Sonya Schryer Norris, Library of Michigan

Library Awards Gala Work Group

Work closely with the Annual Conference work group and is responsible for planning entertainment and securing sponsorships.

2019-2020 Literary Award Work Groups

Michigan Author Award

Coordinate the application, nomination, selection and promotional process to recognize an outstanding body of work by a current Michigan resident or author whose works are identified with Michigan because of subject. Read more about the Michigan Author Award here.

  • Chair: Eric Stanton, Capital Area District Libraries
  • Jennifer Hassell
  • Holly Hentz, Hamburg Township Library
  • Korinna Kasara, Canton Public Library
  • Jennifer Noble, Adrian District Library
  • Christopher Potts, Capital Area District Libraries

Mitten Award

Recognizes and promotes quality literature for youth in picture book format. Read more about the Mitten Award here.

  • Chair: Amy Young, Clinton-Macomb Public Library
  • Vice-chair: Michael Golczynski, Ionia Community Library
  • Kimberlee Gardner, Rochester Hills Public Library
  • Laura Grant, Herrick District Library
  • Kristen Jayska, Livonia Public Library
  • Ashlee McClaughry, Bloomfield Township Library
  • Kathleen Merucci, Salem-South Lyon District Library
  • Kathleen Mitchell, Kent District Library
  • Jennifer Ryan, Howell Carnegie District Library
  • Ashten Wilkey, Kent District Library

YouPer (Young Person) Award

Recognizes and promotes quality literature for youth in chapter book format. Read more about the YouPer Award here.

  • Chair: Killian Weston, Bloomfield Township Public Library
  • Vice-chair: Brittany Wesner, Clinton-Macomb Public Library
  • Lisa Boyd, Canton Publlic Library
  • Robert Chartrand, Capital Area District Libraries
  • Heather Draft, Cromaine District Library
  • Whitney Hagen, Paw Paw District Library
  • Jessica Keeler, Wayne State University
  • Jamie Klos, Clarkston Independence District Library
  • Nakenya Lewis-Yarbrough, Belleville Area District Library
  • Lynn Pearce, Clinton-Macomb Public Library
  • Andrea Smalley, Portage District Library

Thumbs Up! Award

Recognizes an outstanding contribution to teen literature that has both literary quality and teen appeal for those 13 to 18 years of age. Read more about the Thumbs Up! Award here.

  • Chair: Cristen Jackson, Genesee District Library
  • Vice-chair: Tracy Bedford, Clarkston Independence District Library
  • Maeve Devlin, Cromaine District Library
  • Kayla Dies, Paw Paw District Library
  • Kelly Dykwell, Marshall District Library
  • Sarah Eisele, Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library
  • Shanni Kerr, Ionia Community Library
  • Elizabeth Kish, Genesee District Library
  • Alexa Lalejini, Swan Valley High School
  • Tina Rossow, Clarkston Independence District Library
  • Sarah Swiderski, Salem-South Lyon District Library
  • Sarah Welch, Newaygo Area District Library
  • Patricia White, Sterling Heights Public Library

Uniting the Michigan Library Community

MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.