News - MLA
Written by Kristin Shelley, 2018-2019 MLA President   
Thursday, August 09, 2018 12:00 AM

President's Update - August 9, 2018

MLA 2018-19 President Kristin Shelley

I am reading, for the third time, "My Beloved World" by Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in preparation for the One Book, One Community event in East Lansing at the end of August. Justice Sotomayor refers to books and libraries throughout her memoir as the place she sought out as a child, and again as a student at Princeton University, as a calming place, a place of refuge, and where she sought knowledge about the broader world and subjects.

Sotomayor writes after the death of her father when she was nine years old, and the period of her mother's devastating grief, "My solace and only distraction that summer was reading. The Parkchester Library was my haven." She again references libraries as a student at Princeton University. "Whenever I felt out of place or homesick, I took refuge at Firestone Library. Books had seen me through an earlier time of trouble, and their presence all around me was both a comfort and an answer to the question of why I had come here."

I have been reflecting on these words and thinking how books and libraries have been my solace, my source for escape and a place to further educate myself. I love that libraries provide so many resources and are places of joy for so many people from celebrities to Supreme Court justices to our neighbors.

I am reflecting, too, on the value and importance of libraries as we look forward to the MLA Annual Conference this October 17-19 in Novi. The conference theme this year is "Check Out & Renew." The program lineup looks great; from the opening keynote with Brenda Viola-Go the Extra Mile (When You're Running on Empty) to the spotlight presentation with Dr. Lee Meadows-The Leader's Role in Building a Team, Thursday's keynote luncheon with Patty Buccellato-Influence Without Words: What You Say Before Opening Your Mouth, to the exhibits, breakout sessions and poster sessions and the closing keynote with Maxine Bleiweis-You Came, You Saw. Now How to Go Out and Conquer. Whew, I am feeling energized just thinking of the sessions and the wonderful networking that will go on during the conference.

Circling back to Justice Sotomayor's sentiments about libraries as a refuge and a safe haven. We do help people check out of their daily lives for bit, and we help them get renewed. I am excited to check out the sessions at the MLA Annual Conference and to get renewed! There is something for everyone at MLA 2018. Please register on the MLA website, and I hope to see everyone in Novi!

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