News - MLA
Thursday, April 27, 2023 12:00 AM

MLA 2023 Board of Directors Election Results

MLA held elections from April 3 – 24. This year MLA members voted for an MLA President-elect and four Member-at-Large Board positions. The 2023 MLA Board of Directors Election results are in. Meet MLA's new Directors!

One of the benefits and responsibilities of membership is the opportunity to vote for the leadership of the association. For the past two years, we have received more and more participation in the election, we received 319 ballots this year. Thank you to all MLA members who voted.

Many thanks to all the candidates for demonstrating leadership by agreeing to run. Our new Directors will serve for three-year terms beginning July 1, 2023, and ending June 30, 2026. We look forward to a great year. Please feel free to welcome and congratulate our new Directors.


Dillon Geshel

Dillon Geshel
Director, Superiorland Library Cooperative











Mary Higginbottom Johnson

Mary Higginbottom Johnson
Associate Director of Operations, Muskegon Area District Library

Michele Howard

Michele Howard
Director, Traverse Area District Library

Shaunna Martz 
Regional Manager II, Kent District Library

Kate Van Auken

Kate Van Auken 
Director, White Pine Library Cooperative

Lisa Waskin 
Director, Superior District Library






Kristin Shelley

Kristin Shelley
Director, East Lansing Public Library




Dillon GeshelDillon Geshel
Director, Superiorland Library Cooperative

I am running for MLA President-Elect because I want to put my twelve years of library experience to work for Michigan libraries. As a current MLA board member and the chair of MLA's Intellectual Freedom Task Force, my volunteer involvement with the organization has given me a well-rounded understanding of MLA's vision, mission and broad ability to serve libraries across the state. In my role as Director of the Superiorland Library Cooperative, I work closely with multi-type libraries across Michigan's Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Michigan, and I'm eager to bring that collaborative spirit to the MLA President-Elect role. If elected, I will further MLA's mission to lead the advancement of all Michigan libraries by ensuring library workers and advocates have the tools, training and support they need to navigate challenges to intellectual freedom,  uphold diverse collections, and maintain inclusive programs and support for all Michigan libraries.




Mary Higginbottom JohnsonMary Higginbottom Johnson
Associate Director of Operations, Muskegon Area District Library

My name is Mary Higginbottom-Johnson and I am excited to announce my candidacy for the Michigan Library Association Board of Directors. I spent the bulk of my career at Genesee District Library (GDL) and thoroughly enjoyed my tenure there. After 19 years, I retired from GDL and moved to Muskegon. My goal at that time was to enjoy my retirement. However, I was retired for only a short time before I was asked by Kelly Richards, my mentor and former director, to join his team as Branch Operations Manager at the Muskegon Area District Library (MADL). Making the transition from managing nineteen locations at GDL to MADL which has ten branches and a bookmobile was a natural fit. In addition to working in Michigan libraries, I have also served simultaneously on library boards in both Davison and Fenton, Michigan for several years as well as chaired the Genesee District Library Foundation. If I am elected to the board of directors, my major areas of focus would be providing our members with a wide range of professional development opportunities and encouraging libraries to strengthen their diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. I believe my background and my 20+ years of working in Michigan public libraries make me a strong candidate to serve on MLA's Board of Directors. If elected, I would look forward to working with other board members, staff, and volunteers to continue to make the Michigan Library Association a great organization that continues to advocate for Michigan libraries and their employees.



Michele HowardMichele Howard
Director, Traverse Area District Library

As a professional librarian for 28 years, I have worked in many libraries and locations which makes me an excellent candidate for the MLA Board Member At-Large.  I understand how important all of our libraries are to our communities as I have worked in private, higher education, and public libraries in Detroit, East Lansing, and now, Traverse City.  While all those libraries have vastly different user groups, what unites us is a love of information and a desire to serve our patrons. My experience on various Boards includes volunteer experience such as small boards like a school PTO and local event and non-profit boards, all the way to being an elected official as a City Commissioner and Planning Commissioner for the City of Traverse City. I understand the importance of collaborations, negotiations, and when you just have to stand up for what you believe in and not be afraid to do it. My goal if elected to the MLA Board would be to further the already excellent work the current board has done regarding the strategic plan and support the growth and reputation of libraries, librarians, and staff throughout the state. I would do this by furthering my education on EDI best practices, meeting with fellow librarians, being an active leader at MLA, and meeting with elected officials and fellow community leaders.



Kristin ShelleyKristin Shelley
Director, East Lansing Public Library 

I would like to be considered for the Michigan Library Association (MLA) Board because I have experience serving on MLA committees (statewide marketing,  legislative/advocacy, intellectual freedom, MLA Board (past president and current treasurer), and the former PDNC committee).  These experiences have given me an opportunity to see MLA as an organization in action and what it needs to do to successfully advocate, engage and educate libraries and library staff members. As a member of MLA, I have seen it evolve over the past few years to be more proactive on issues such as intellectual freedom,  library privacy and diversity, equity, inclusion., accessibility, and belonging.  I want to work with the MLA organization to meet and exceed these goals. Libraries have continuously retooled themselves to remain relevant and to be essential in their communities, schools, and universities. I will work with the MLA organization to ensure every library is relevant and essential. I have used my voice to encourage more diversity in the MLA organization on all levels and to advocate for the right to read, more library funding, and library privacy. As long as I have a voice, I will continue to promote and work for these values.



Shaunna MartzShaunna Martz
Regional Manager II, Kent District Library 

Growth-oriented, customer-focused Library Management professional with a 17-year career of progressively increasing roles at Kent District Library including 9 years of supervisory experience. Held key roles in opening/re-opening 2 branches. Leads with kindness, authenticity, and integrity.  Curious, innovative, and collaborative in finding solutions, building teams, and improving library operations to meet goals. Advancing Michigan libraries through advocacy, education and engagement on intellectual freedom are among my goals for becoming an MLA Board member. Promoting inclusion and accessibility while enhancing diverse collections are among my greatest passions.




Lisa WaskinLisa Waskin
Director, Superior District Library

Being a part of the Michigan Library Association board is important to me personally because I feel that this organization provides so many good resources and opportunities to learn and grow for its members, and I want to be a part of that vision for Michigan. Not everyone has the ability to be involved, so I feel that my task as a board member is to serve the people at all of the libraries and be their voice at the state level, and also to support my colleagues as much as possible.  As a current board member, I have had the absolute privilege to be able to respond to the needs of the library community, and to educate myself on the important issues. I feel strongly that MLA board members need to understand not just the general role of libraries in today's society, but we need to understand the challenges, needs, goals, and dreams of our members, as well as how to help them deal with the ever-changing library landscape. I also strive to be educated on the issues and cultivate an awareness of how I can help as well as being open to learning from other members. To be a better board member, I am also willing to do the research, follow the policies and bylaws set forth by the board, and support equality and access for all. Finally, I believe that having a good understanding of current trends is important, so taking the time to attend workshops and conferences that help keep me informed on the issues impacting all types of libraries is a priority. Not only is it something I enjoy, but I hope I can make connections with other librarians around Michigan that will benefit us all.



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