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Letter from Debbie

October 24, 2019

“They say that when one door closes, another opens. I believe that is true. And with all new endeavors, it is always exciting to open a door, see what is inside, and let the fresh air in.”  This was the welcome message I wrote for MLA’s 2019 Annual Conference.  It was all about opening doors and acknowledging, accepting and embracing everyone wherever they are in their life’s journey. I think the MLA staff, board and work group did an outstanding job infusing the values of equity, diversity and inclusion in the three days we spent together.

Deborah E. Mikula headshot

These values are central to our work and to the work of our public, academic, school and special libraries. Having varied perspectives helps generate better ideas to solve the complex problems of a changing—and increasingly diverse—world. Dr. Steve Robbins pointed out in his keynote address on the first morning of the conference that “the brain loves our comfort zones,” but he also asked each of us to step up our game and engage in change and become a role model in our work to be more inclusive and connected to others.

With the conference theme, “Open Doors” firmly in place and in anticipation of a new strategic plan, an opportunity for the MLA board to step up their own game was put into motion. At the September MLA board meeting, we discussed the need to solidify our commitment and become more accountable in our work to promote equity, diversity and inclusion. A statement was drafted and approved unanimously by the board with the intent that the MLA members become involved in some way.  

And involved they were!  All members at the annual meeting were invited up onto the stage to sign the MLA statement and asked to hold us accountable. So many wonderful moments were captured in the three days we spent together, but truly the signing of MLA’s equity, diversity and inclusion statement was a highlight. “Open Doors” has officially closed, but we will continue to strengthen the work we do to be inclusive of all.

Debbie Signatiure

Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director

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