I mentioned a week or so ago that I would have some big news this week. And I don’t like to disappoint, so here it is. I’ve been nominated to be the Vice President of the Maine Library Association (MLA). And when I say “nominated,” I mean “asked.” Apparently the way the organization traditionally runs is to have officers run unopposed. So while there’ll be a vote in June, it’s between me and nobody. (I’m really hoping that’s a vote I can win . . . )
This is an opportunity that kind of came out of the blue for me. I’ve been the Chair of the Central Maine Library District (a regional group that focuses on the needs of all libraries–public, school, academic, and specialty–in the region) for the past year or two, and part of that means I’ve been involved in discussions about the future of Maine libraries. When I go to a meeting, I speak up.
Apparently I spoke up too much. 🙂
So what does this mean? It means that starting in June, I’ll be Vice President of the association, followed by President for the two years after that, and then Past President for the two years after that. It was a six year commitment. MLA focuses on helping libraries and librarians throughout the state of Maine. It’s the Maine chapter of ALA (the American Library Association).
Why me? Well, aside from the fact that I speak my mind (and apparently that’s a good thing in LibraryLand), I’m both young(ish) and an academic librarian. The MLA is making a concerted effort to reach out to all libraries. Having an academic librarian involved in leadership will hopefully help that endeavor.
I have strong feelings about libraries and their perception in today’s society. You’ve got boneheads left and right claiming that libraries are out of date, that books are dinosaurs, that librarians are going the way of the dodo. I personally feel that libraries have never been more important than they are now. There’s so much information out there, and in my ideal world, libraries and librarians are there to guide you through that information.
Maine libraries are in a bit of disarray at the moment. Budget cuts hit us hard, and everyone’s been scrambling to keep things running. With that focus on the individual libraries, the overarching goals of libraries as a whole have slipped to the wayside for the past while. My hope is that MLA can help bring that focus back. That we can get libraries collaborating more extensively with one another. I accepted the nomination with that in mind–that I could somehow contribute to that. (Well, my *first* hope was that it would get me into the Inner Circle of librarians, and I’d be taken to that room in DC where they’re storing the Ark of the Covenant. That has yet to happen. Maybe once I’m actually elected?)
In any case, there you have it. My big news. Because I wasn’t busy enough already, right? I’m excited for the opportunity, and hopeful I can do a good job. Time will tell . . .