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Written by Asante Cain, 2014-2015 MLA President   

President's Update - April 9, 2015

"In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move." - Henry Rollins

This past winter has been a season of strategic planning for me. I participated in strategic planning at my home library this winter and for the Michigan Library Association in March. It is interesting see all the different ways strategic planning can be done. No matter how it's completed, it is great to get results that your organization can use as a focal point for guidance. It is reassuring in being able to refer back to a document to help navigate all the opportunities you have in front of you. A quality strategic plan gives organizational focus that can’t be duplicated.

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Written by Asante Cain, 2014-2015 MLA President   

President's Update - March 12, 2015

The Value of Volunteering

As library professionals volunteering is close to our hearts. When you work in a library so much of your work is helping people. As I’ve worked in libraries I’ve found that it makes me feel good to help people with things that I understand how to find, solve, or create. Frequently patrons are overjoyed when I’ve helped them solve an information need or brought them a useful program or service. When I volunteer I get the same feeling. It’s fun to help people and organizations.

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Written by Asante Cain, 2014-2015 MLA President   

President's Update - February 12, 2015

The old idiom, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail” might be trite, but there is no arguing its logic. Lack of planning often yields lack luster results, but has any librarian ever said, “I can’t wait to launch this mediocre program. Our patrons won’t be able to care less about it!” Of course not, but without proper planning, they might as well.

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Written by Asante Cain, 2014-2015 MLA President   

President's Update - January 15, 2015

It is difficult, if not impossible, to enact a new program or service without incorporating some attribute of a previous related effort. It is easy to get inspiration from past successes as you go about a new project. If you know something has worked before why would you not do it again the same way? However, over time, what has worked before becomes stale, ineffective or uninteresting to you and your patrons. Look at your storytimes, circulation policies, adjunct structure, how you liason with other departments or simply how you shelve books. Are you doing things the same way you did them ten years ago? You may have lofty goals to do things better but how do you bridge that gap from where you are to where you want to be? Failure is the key.

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Written by Asante Cain, 2014-2015 MLA President   

President's Update - December 11, 2014

Poet Edith Lovejoy Pierce said, “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” As we look ahead to all that MLA has in store for the New Year – both challenges and prospects - I cannot think of a better phrase to sum up our agenda for 2015.

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Written by Asante Cain, 2014-2015 MLA President   

President's Update - November 13, 2014

We had our annual inservice at the Grand Rapids Public Library this past week. For one session we watched a TED talk by psychologist and author Shawn Anchor. He presents that one strategy to increase your happiness is for 21 days write down three new things that you are grateful for each day. If you do, you’ll be significantly more optimistic at the end of the three weeks. As we enter into the winter months, in spite of the gray skies and oncoming snowstorms, let’s take some time to be thankful for what we have. I’m thankful for my baby. I’m thankful for my wife. And a bit down the ladder, I’m thankful for databases. Databases, why would I be thankful for databases?

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Written by Asante Cain, 2014-2015 MLA President   

President's Update - October 9, 2014

"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible".- Tony Robbins

It’s been approximately 358 days, or for those who prefer smaller increments, 30,931,200 seconds since our last conference. What’s your goal in attending conference? I teach part time at the Grand Rapids Community College as an instructor for CLS 100: First Year Experience. The class is presented as “designed to assist you with the knowledge, skills and abilities you need to be successful in college and life.” A portion of the class deals with setting goals. The text advocates to write goals that fit the S.M.A.R.T acronym. S.M.A.R.T stands for:

S - specific

M - measurable

A - attainable

R - realistic

T - time-based

Before you arrive in Grand Rapids think about what your S.M.A.R.T goal could be. Do you want to meet three new professionals by the end of the first day? Do you want to find five ways to connect at new levels with your patrons? Take some time and write out a S.M.A.R.T goal. Here is one of my S.M.A.R.T goals.

I will attend the conference presentation titled “Taming the Change Monster: Surviving and Thriving Through Change” on Thursday, October 16 at 10:15. By the end of the program I will understand three methods to help my staff deal better with change.

Tangentially, at the end of the conference, I would encourage you to send out an email reporting back to your institution what you learned by attending. At least send something to your supervisors so they can understand how allowing you to go to MLA’s Annual Conference has helped you and in turn will help your library. For those of you who are not able to attend the conference in person, fear not. You can follow along with our MLAgents through social media.

Many positive and productive things have occurred since our last conference. State funding for public libraries is on the rise, resulting in libraries being able to sustain new and exciting initiatives. Libraries will receive full reimbursement of lost revenue from the repeal of PPT. MLA’s new offices reduce costs (saving your dues dollars) while upgrading technology and work spaces. There is even more to share and I am excited for our collective future!

Make it an outstanding day!

Asante

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