News - MLA
Written by Romy Fitschen, MLA Associate Executive Director   
Thursday, May 30, 2019 12:00 AM

From the Associate Director's Desk - May 30, 2019

Romy Fitschen, MLA Associate Executive DirectorAs the school year winds down (depending on how much snow your area got) and before summer reading explodes, 36 library staff will take time to attend MLA's last spring workshop. Executive Summit 2019 takes place tomorrow at the Library of Michigan and focuses on staff transition plans and finding top talent. We are so pleased to end our workshop year with another opportunity for librarians and library staff to engage with one another on important issues that impact the work they do.

Meanwhile, we are busy planning programming for next year. The 2019-2020 committees and work groups are forming and will have their first meetings in June or July. The more than one hundred members that signed up to donate an estimated 4,000 hours to expert programming, literacy and award selection, have received volunteer assignments via email this week. If you or someone you know wants to participate in helping develop programming, while gaining opportunities to exchange ideas with other libraries and library types, develop professionally, add to your resume - you name the reason - it isn't too late. Feel free to email Amber Sheerin at [email protected].

Don't forget the MLA Academic Libraries Interest Group is accepting nominations through May 31 for the 2019-2020 Chair-elect. This position will be the MLA ACRL Chapter Representative while serving as Chair next year and should be able to commit to attending ACRL chapter meetings at ALA Mid-Winter or ALA Annual. Interested candidates are encouraged to submit a nomination via the online form.

While Debbie Mikula hasn't officially started as Executive Director, she made her first visit to the MLA office and staff are enthusiastically collaborating with her on a Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affair operational grant for MLA. During this demanding transition period it was nice to be reminded that our mission matters, as she wrote in the narrative that our libraries are the "cultural institutions in the heart of every community throughout Michigan."

For those of you who can't wait until our Annual Meeting next October, we had another financially successful year. More importantly we continue to be focused on the efficiency of our systems. Last year's database transition certainly had its hiccups, but our new electronic systems have reduced paper waste and increased response and response time.

And as all things do, we have another change on the horizon. Michelle Boisvenue-Fox, MLA's incoming Board President, is leaving Michigan to become the Library Director for the Mesa County Libraries in Colorado. While with us through June, this leaves a board vacancy at the Executive Committee level for next year. The Board, in accordance with the bylaws, determined that filling the vacancy by extending both Kristin Shelley's presidential term and Steven Bower's past-presidential term by one year would be helpful during this transitional period. We wish Michelle the best of luck in her new endeavors and thank Kristin and Steven, as well as the rest of our Board for their leadership and commitment to Michigan libraries and the success of MLA.

MLA 2019 will once again be held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, this October 16-18. The work group did a fabulous job selecting keynote speakers and workshops. With a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion we are excited to welcome our closing keynote Dr. Derrick Gay, an internationally recognized consultant to organizations on issues of diversity and inclusion, cultural competency, and global citizenship. Dr. Gay collaborates with thought leaders to cultivate cultural competency, promote empathy, and deepen inclusion. He will be presenting on the various ways of integrating cultural competency, mirrors and windows, in our libraries and collections in hopes of cultivating a more equitable and democratic society. MLA 2019 registration will open in June, watch your inbox for more information!

Additionally, we are pleased to announce we will be in Kalamazoo for MLA 2020! We are finalizing the conference center contract now and looking forward to exploring this host city and library, as well as to see what this work group comes up with!

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