News - MLA
Written by Deborah E. Mikula, MLA Executive Director   

Letter From Debbie - A Sneak Peek at THINK SPACE!

August 26, 2021

The world is a complex place, and our workplaces are only getting more complicated and challenging to navigate and manage. Michigan libraries included. For close to 18 months, since the pandemic began, MLA has pivoted, molded, shaped, and continues to spin new ideas based on a new reality. We are planning for our future. We provided rapid answers when they were needed. We incorporated solutions outside of our normal channels. We unleashed an entrepreneurial spirit. And we cultivated a more open, questioning climate. 

We didn’t waste a moment! 

This window of opportunity led us to have more conversations with the leadership of MLA and our library directors. To meet the expressed demand that they shared for higher-level educational content, MLA is excited to add to our professional development plate. Designed by library directors for library directors, it is called THINK SPACE and is an all-inclusive event including sessions, overnights, meals, shuttles, tours, hallways conversations, and the opportunity to build deeper, lasting relationships with other directors and deans of libraries throughout Michigan. 

Over the course of the past year, we have had many directors and deans express that they are eager to meet with peers, in a formal, safe setting, with unstructured times to have the “hallway” conversations which is such an important but often under-recognized component of our gatherings.  Directors and Deans serve in very unique roles within their institutions and need a space where they can converse and exchange openly and honestly about the challenges they face. A time to THINK deeply, and a safe SPACE to do it will allow them to discover alternative responses and experiences to challenges presented by the changing nature of their work. Perhaps even to proactively identify work not yet invented! 

During this inaugural year, we will be focused on Equity, Diversity, Accessibility and Belonging. These sessions, led by noted statewide and national experts, are intended to provide cohesive and interactive sessions that allow for a more focused, in-depth exploration of a subject than is possible in MLA’s normal year-round programming. THINK SPACE will showcase the latest innovations in key areas of library management, leadership, technology including compelling and cutting-edge sessions. 

While this is just a sneak peek at what is in store, you will be hearing more early next week – lots more.  We are putting our final touches on the website, preparing our communication from MLA President Kelly Richards (and subsequently from library directors throughout the state who have already “signed up”). We are making sure that all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed.   

On that note: there is no time like the present to mark your calendars for December 9 and 10, and then again on May 18 and 19. The inaugural cohort group of no more than 75 is sure to set the tone for many years to come. We hope you’ll join us at THINK SPACE. 

Debbie Signatiure

Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director

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