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Written by Gail Madziar, MLA Executive Director   

Executive Director's Desk - March 14, 2019

Gail Madziar headshot

The Librarian Mission

Recently, I had the opportunity to address a group of librarians about my experiences over the past six years as your executive director. I mentioned the outstanding grassroots advocacy shown by members. I always said this group answered a call to action more passionately than any I have known. We have teamed up to accomplish legislative initiatives such as tax capture relief, freedom of speech issues and every type of library funding imaginable.

But then I said, here is the most important thing I will take away from my time here: When I first started at MLA I would get phone calls from distraught members. “This is happening; we have to fix this; you need to do something.” They were all legitimate needs but being brand new I was very often at a loss of how best to assist.

Then one day I started to notice that when someone called for help, advice, an update on the latest issue or sometimes just for a compassionate listening ear, I was able to assist them. If I didn’t have the answer at my fingertips I knew where to get it, how to search until I found it, or explain where they needed to go for the information. I learned how to listen past the passionate plea or upset for what they really needed. I found that when I was hanging up the phone, the last thing I most often heard was, thank you, you were so helpful.

After sharing this story, one of my favorite librarians came up to me and said. “Gail, you’re one of us now. Do you realize you just gave the definition of a librarian?” It was both a proud and humbling moment.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you, to work with you, to learn from you, and most importantly to become just a little bit more like you.

You may see me around the office for a few more weeks. Since our Director of Professional Development’s departure, we’ve been seriously short staffed, and I’ve agreed to stick around until after Spring Institute and until a couple legislative issues are complete. It’s my honor to assist your amazing and dedicated MLA staff during this transition.

Again, it has been my pleasure to spend the past six years with you.

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