Friday, January 22, 2010
Maine Library Association
Report to Council & Membership
Respectfully submitted by Sonja Plummer-Morgan, President
January 22, 2010
It is my pleasure to report the activity of your Association and as president for activity during December and most of January 2010. The highlight was the ALA Midwinter Conference in Boston that I attended. In addition to learning much, I had many opportunities to network, and returned with many experiences to share. My time was spent at the conference and at the Boston Public Library.
It was a terrific surprise to see Maine librarians attend the exhibits and the presentations. Too many to name, but suffice it to say that Maine was nicely represented! I did have the privilege to work in small groups with ALA Council members working on the Strategic Planning. I loved the idea that strategic planning is a way to focus an organization and give it direction. This is, I believe, one of MLA’s greatest task ahead to wrangle a strategic plan to help us focus.
The photos that you see above were both taken at the Boston Public Library—one is an old vellum book that I found enchanting and then the self check out station that they have started offering their patrons. I spoke with staff about this machine and they said it required very little help from staff and they were pleased with it. Reserves made from home are pulled everyday and placed on a shelf for patrons to pick up.
A common themes at the ALA Midwinter Conference 2010 in Boston was advocacy, preserving our core values as librarians, innovation, and careful strategic planning to keep our libraries sustainable. There is deep concern resonating throughout the country, but I detected optimism as well fueled, I believe, by the realization that we are so very vital to communities, that we can feel professional pride and that we are valued.
Al Gore’s presentation was dynamic and a call to action to reverse or slow environmental damage. It is perhaps important to share that he was complimentary to librarians and libraries and seemed sincerely grateful for what we do and understood that the economy is increasing use.
At the exhibits, I was able to speak with the Massachusetts Library Association officers. Their top priority for 2010 is advocacy. While they are concerned about their numbers of members, they too expressed optimism and it was good to see that they took the time to create a booth. Also met and spoke with ACRL and Public Library Association representatives.
ALA presented their Budget Reduction Strategy. I’m no t sure their strategy would necessarily work for Maine libraries, but I did feel strongly that having such a strategy is something that we all need to be proactive about. Perhaps you could take some time to prepare your own or you have already started to strategize. Would love to hear what you plan to do or may do in response to the current economic state.
Advocacy was a word that frequently was spoken. Both ALA Presidential candidates mentioned its absolute importance to sustainability. Other ideas the candidates, Molly Raphael and Sara Kelly Johns, included several excellent points.
Molly emphasized diversity, core values, working effectively, raise visibility, transformative power of libraries, surge in use mandates innovative and forward thinking, and global coalitions.
Sara emphasized that her grassroot activism equipped her to connect members and resources in a new way, seeks equitable salaries, wants to change perceptions of libraries, transparency, inclusiveness, equal access, and to move fast and expertly toward a sustainable future of libraries.
Some impressive things that I saw at the exhibits…a Book Vending Machine, a Robot, and the Library of Congress Booth, self check out system, and countless persons all talking about libraries, products, and how to do things effectively and efficiently.
Some other items of interest:
· The Boston Public Library was a stunning sight. I spent time observing and using their self check out system and learned that they have 6 million books.
· Met with Alliance Library System Library Consultant in Illinois to discuss how the libraries in the state are coping with budget reductions.
· Coffee Sleeves are featured in this month’s issue of Library Journal, page 19. The Council is currently discussing another order of sleeves. Libraries all over the state have requested the sleeves and we are distributing them as quickly as we are able.
· Member-at-Large Position to be filled and appointed by the Council is soon to be announced. Two very hopeful candidates were found.
· Our Twitter account has exceeded 1,000 followers. We have groups in Facebook, Linkedin, Goodreads, and ALAConnect. This is important networking activity and keeps our association linked with fresh ideas, constituents, and connected globally.
· It’s membership drive time and the Council is considering creating a new Listserv for members only.
· See our new website for pictures, news, and Association benefits including the conference information...http://www.mainelibraries.org
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Report to MLA Council & Membership
Respectfully submitted by Sonja Plummer-Morgan, President
Once again it is my pleasure to report activity on behalf of the Maine Library Association during the month of November and part of December as your president. It is my hope that this finds you and your families well during this holiday season and your libraries bustling with season’s greetings! Visiting libraries and developing our coffee sleeve project are two primary activities that I’ll mention and then other points are bulleted. The burgeoning website is another that is still underdevelopment, but we expect to unveil it soon.
It was good to visit libraries over the past several weeks. At every traveling opportunity, a few libraries are visited. Some include Rockport Public Library, Camden Public Library, Searsport, Winterport,
It feels important to see, visit, and speak with library staff to understand our profession more deeply and to build upon the good work before us within the Association so that the future of MLA is prefaced upon the people that we serve…our members and our constituents. When I or our officers visit your library, we take photos and promote your library on myriad online social networks. We are proud of
Our new MLA coffee sleeves are promoting Maine Libraries in a new way. Associations from around the Country, within our State, and on various social networks are finding the project intriguing and worthy of consideration for their own Associations. Starbucks of Maine is distributing the sleeves, libraries can request sleeves, and I’ve personally delivered boxes to Bangor Public Library, Camden Public Library, Rockport Public Library, and Waldoboro Public Library. The sleeves promote our new logo, website, and
Our new website will remain www.mainelibraries.org. However, it has an entirely new look. Ben Greeley, web developer from Colby, was chosen to design and build. We’ve worked many hours discussing the Association and I really appreciated Ben’s insights that our Association is about people; the people we serve, the people we work with, and the people who comprise our membership. People are the philosophic foundation for our website. As such, the design incorporates our information on the present site, with our 2.0 social networks, photos offered by our membership, and is both easily navigated and logically arranged to save members’ time. We have guest bloggers lined up, a photo gallery, are updating information, creating new membership invitations, and I believe that this new site will be pleasing to look at and inviting. Now onto the bullet points and additional activities:
- We continue work on a Strategic Plan. Our Strategic Planning Committee reports that the diversity of the types of libraries that we serve creates an enormous barrier to a Plan that represents the entire Association, but offered some solutions to that.
- President and Immediate Past President, Molly attended the Juice 2.0 Conference in
and was honored to be part of a panel that talked about economic development and the future of libraries. Camden
- President will attend Midwinter to represent our Association and will provide membership with a full report of things learned.
- The MLA to Z Newsletter is hot off the press and will be available soon.
- The Nominations Committee is working filling the new Member-at-Large position added at the Annual Meeting. This position is appointed by the Council and they serve until June when we’ll elect a two year position.
- Conference plans continue with a theme, date, place, and some very exciting ideas on keynotes! It’s going to be a terrific conference. Our new website will have information very soon.
- Thank you to everyone who has sent pics for our Flickr account and potentially our new Website.
- The next MLA Council meeting will be held at the Maine State Library on December 18th at 1:00pm. Anastasia Weigle will discuss the long term plans for the MLA archives (it needs a permanent home).
- On Saturday, December 19th, the President of MLA, our VP/Pres Elect Andi Jackson-Darling, and the President of the Maine Association of School Librarians will meet with incoming LIS students in the New England Cohort for the
. Very pleased to welcome these scholars and meet them. Universityof South Carolina
- Membership and new members is the focus for December and January. Please help us by renewing your membership and encouraging your staff, friends, and colleagues to be part of our Association!
- Our newest online social networks are Flickr and LibraryThing. To view our photostream, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/mainelibraryassoc/ for our LibraryThing Group, please go to http://www.librarything.com/groups/mainelibraryassociat
- We are also in LinkedIn, Goodreads, Cafepress, Twitter, Facebook, and in ALA Connect. Trouble finding us? Just email me and we’ll connect virtually.
Sonja Plummer-Morgan, President
Sonja Plummer-Morgan, President