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

President's Update - January 11, 2018

MLA 2017-18 President Steven Bowers

If you haven't heard the wonderful news, Lance Werner, Executive Director of Michigan's Kent District Library, and former President of the MLA Board of Directors, has been named Library Journal's 2018 Librarian of the Year! Lance is certainly a change agent, like I was talking about last month. The LJ article on Lance notes that he says he's just a regular guy that cares about his constituents. If you know Lance, beyond his gregariousness he has a greatness for getting the job done. This is all part of why Lance was also named the MLA Librarian of the Year for 2017!

Lance's work inspires me to think about what each of us gets done in the library. Lance has been noticed because he is the Loud Librarian but the problem with a lot of library work is that many people do not even know all that gets done in libraries. A recent widely distributed USA Today article inaccurately stated that library work and libraries are on the decline! The information on libraries was retracted only once libraries supplied them with the real data on our work!

My New Year's challenge to each of us is to let people know what we do in libraries and everything that libraries have to offer. What if we each shared a public note, tweet, or post every week this year that said "Today at the library I . . . " There are all kinds of things we can put in that " . . . " along with our hashtags #atthelibrary #librarywork #librariestransform. Each post will be a story of our great work and the individuals and communities that we serve.

Tell others about the life that you saved. Be vocal about the positive differences you make in tough situations. Talk about the resources you organized and services you supported. If nothing else people may be amazed to see all of the types of things that we do and that it's not all related to books and reading. If the general public gets used to seeing and hearing about all of our work on a regular basis then they will want to be our partners and supporters. If you need some inspiration check out www.ilovelibraries.org. Let me know if you take the challenge of telling others about your library work!

Even if it is contrary to who many of us are we have to be vocal about the work that we do. We can't wait for others to guess what we do or assume that libraries are going away. We have to be our own advocates!

Don't Be Shy,


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