News - MLA
Thursday, May 25, 2023 12:00 AM

Note From Debbie

A new fiscal year, which begins on July 1st, is coming up fast and MLA is again preparing to look over our strategic plan, priorities and direction.  I know you will all agree that our world has changed quite drastically, and the library profession must address challenges that a few short years ago were nowhere on our radar. What was important yesterday, may now be irrelevant. Challenges that once were thought solved…back on the plate.

In 2019, the MLA Board adopted a new mission, and a new vision statement that we continue to believe are relevant, address the needs of the field, and address the achievements of MLA. 

MLA’s mission – The Michigan Library Association will lead the advancement of all libraries through advocacy, education and engagement.

MLA’s vision – The Michigan Library Association is an indispensable resource and valued leader, partner and advocate for Michigan libraries.

These statements guide our work. At the same time, we also took time to develop a robust and deep-rooted set of guiding principles and beliefs  diving deep to find commonly held truths that define our culture and beliefs. Our way of working is equally important as what we do. If we are to be effective, we must protect and advocate for these guiding principles in all that we undertake – and right now, our world demands it of us. 

In our most current strategic plan, we were adamant to set a series of strategic priorities that assume that we will be quick to respond to a dynamic, changing environment, which may require changes in the future. Following an internal assessment of our programming and resources, as well as an assessment of community and stakeholder needs, we determined the following strategic priorities that will enhance and guide our work:

EQUITY, DIVERSITY, ACCESSIBILITY AND BELONGING: Advance, advocate and support a more diverse and inclusive environment within MLA among our Board, staff, and ambassadors. We are committed to ensuring that all individuals who apply to, work with or otherwise interact with MLA are treated with fairness and respect and accorded equal opportunity. As a statewide organization, it is important that our programs and services are inclusive of all library personnel in all cities, townships, and villages, in rural, suburban and urban areas in both the Upper and Lower Peninsula. 

COLLABORATION AND PARTNERSHIPS: We share a deep commitment to strengthening all libraries in the ecosystem – libraries serving residents from cradle to grave – and valuing and promoting how they intersect and contribute to each other’s success. It is our work to build bridges and advance critical conversations with other service partners including the Library of Michigan, MiALA, FOML, MASL, MCLS, regional Co-ops and consortia, and other cultural organizations. We recognize that by working collaboratively among ourselves, and in partnership with those outside, we will be successful in creating a strong, united library field. 

HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MEMBERS: We know that any organization’s health and prosperity are directly influenced by the health, well-being, and safety of its employees. We believe that it is critical for MLA to promote and expand our work to bring focus to a library’s human resources and knowledge which will result in a healthier and more productive workforce. 

MENTORSHIP AND NEW IDEAS: We are ready to let go of outdated or restrictive practices. We are open to innovation from inside and outside of the library field. We are ready to engage and mentor those newer to the field who are shaping it for the future. 

OPPOSITION TO CENSORSHIP: Intellectual freedom is a core value of the library profession and a basic right in our democratic society. We must protect Michiganders’ right to read, oppose attempts to ban books from Michigan libraries, educate the public about the right to read, oppose any legislation that infringes upon First Amendment rights and ensure that librarians across Michigan will be entrusted to continue to do their jobs and serve the needs of ALL individuals and communities. 

Every year, MLA brings together a small group of members to review our plan and address any updates. This year will be no different. As we begin our work to develop a plan for 2023-2025, we want to thank the following Ambassadors for stepping up and making it a priority to revise our plan for the next three years: Scott Duimstra (chair), Dillon Geshel (vice-chair), Kristin Shelley, Eva Davis, Val Meyerson, Michele Howard, Sophia Ward Brewer, Kate Van Auken, John Clexton, Jenny Marr, Lisa Waskin, Jaci Cooper, and Vanessa Verdun-Morris.

How can you get involved? We ask you to look over MLA’s last plan and tell us what is missing, and what you would like to see added. Your input is very important to us as MLA continues to take the next steps in addressing a changing world and profession:

Deborah Mikula signature



Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director


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