Written by Steven K. Bowers, 2017-2018 MLA President   

President's Update - February 8, 2018

Steven Bowers - MLA 2017-18 President

For some of us, it's annual review time. For me, it's good to have a time to think about what I did in the past year and to plan ahead with goals for the coming months. This year at work we were really encouraged to think about our recently identified pillars of focus, and to tie each of our goals to those strategic areas, including: Student Success, Community Engagement, Digital Publishing and Scholarship, and Leadership and Organizational Development. This month I would like to focus on Leadership.

I am currently working with the MLA Executive Committee to complete the annual review of our Executive Director, Gail Madziar. We are fortunate to have a strong association due to the leadership that Gail has provided during her tenure with MLA. I am going to take the time now to publicly thank Gail for her work with MLA and the focus that she provides to the MLA Board. I also want to thank the MLA Board for their work, and let the membership know that they will soon be completing their own annual review as well.

Part of the planning the Board has worked on this past year is to redefine how the association identifies leaders and how we will purposefully reach out to them. MLA currently has a Nominating Committee for identifying candidates to run for the Board but we would like to expand the committee's role to work on leadership development, to bring up leaders within the association. More info will be coming as we work to finalize this planning.

Gail and I were excited to be invited to visit with the new Dean of the Library System and School of Information Sciences at Wayne State University, Jon Cawthorne. Dean Cawthorne's vision for the WSU library system is to become a world leader for research libraries. The Dean has a background in both academic and public libraries and he sees the importance of all libraries working together for the good of our services to our constituents. We are excited that WSU has stepped up to be a leader in MLA and beyond.

We always want to provide lots of leadership opportunities and development at MLA. Our newest effort has been the launch of member Interest Groups this year. So far we have three official groups that have submitted paperwork and been approved by the Board, the first of which was the Youth Services Interest Group, led by Amanda Heidema (Herrick District Library). I am excited to announce that two new interest groups have formally been launched. Monique Oldfield (WSU) and Jill Sodt (Mott Community College) will be leading the new Academic Libraries Interest Group this year. Elizabeth Madson (Chesterfield Township Library) will be leading the Intellectual Freedom Interest Group. Thanks to everyone that is working to take these groups forward. More information will be forthcoming in future MLA member communications.

If you are looking to develop your leadership skills, the MLA Leadership Academy will be starting again soon. Leadership Academy is not only an opportunity to develop, but also a great way to get to know a cohort of colleagues to have as contacts throughout your career. I still really value my time spent in the MLA Leadership Academy, all that I learned, and the connections I made with others who want to lead.

The last shout-out on leadership that I wanted to mention this month is the ALA Advocacy Bootcamp coming up in April. MLA has partnered with the Michigan Cooperative Directors Association to bring the ALA Advocacy Bootcamp to Lansing this spring. This will be a great leadership opportunity for all of us to learn more about developing an advocacy plan to implement in our libraries. We can each be an advocacy leader by learning to tell our stories in our communities. I hope that we will all plan on getting ready for Bootcamp!

Take Me To Your Leader,


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