Library Advocacy Week 2022

Registration for the Virtual MLA Library Advocacy Week 2022 is now open! 

Please mark your calendars and join us for the Library Advocacy Week starting on February 8, 2022. Like last year, this year’s advocacy event will be completely virtual. Because it is virtual, registration is free. The welcome and orientation will be held via Zoom. By registering for the event you will receive the Zoom meeting invitation information for the event.

Registration for orientation is available here:

The orientation will start at 9:30am and last until about Noon on February 8th. The schedule will be similar to past years: the Secretary of State will speak; we will have comments from our state librarian, Robin Westphal; Randy Scherr will give us a legislative update; and there will be a briefing of the week and what to expect. We will also have handouts, similar to previous years, that we will pass onto membership as a tool to supplement our discussions as soon as those are finalized.

We ask for libraries to schedule visits with their legislators any time after the welcome and orientation virtual event on Tuesday February 8, 2022. Having libraries’ visits during the same week helps unify our efforts and keep libraries on our legislators’ minds as they work on the budget for the next year and other bills. Meetings can be held over the phone though we strongly encourage virtual meetings so that legislators and their staff know the faces of their librarians.

This is a great opportunity to talk with your legislators and share about the amazing work their library does for their community.

The Legislative Committee hopes that, by having a free, virtual advocacy week, this will give opportunities to smaller libraries or libraries that are farther away from Jefferson City. Instead of needing to set aside round trip drive time and having to pay registration, librarians can talk “face-to-face” with their legislators.

If you have any questions, please contact the Legislative Committee Chair, Cody Croan, at ccroanlibrarian@gmail.com.

MLA Featured Library Employee — Scott Villarreal

Scott Villarreal, Christian County Library

Meet our newest Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Scott Villarreal!

What is your name, your library, and your role at the library?

My name is Scott Villarreal. I am a proud member of the Christian County Library District, which houses four different branches—Ozark, Nixa, Clever, and Sparta.

My role in the district is that of Outreach Manager.

The Outreach mission statement reads:

Outreach librarians strive to provide equitable delivery of library services to all people through the development of programs and practices which make the library available to non-traditional patrons.

Services include bookmobile runs to various locations, our Homebound Program, partnerships with school libraries including student card drives, and attendance at numerous community events throughout Christian County.

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

I was a librarian’s aide in high school and found the experience to be extremely enjoyable. This left me with an inclination towards libraries that would not come to fruition until many years later.

I worked in retail for some fifteen years but found myself wanting more than a job where you made a quick buck off the public. I wanted something where the interactions that I had with people would be more meaningful.

What keeps you coming back every day?

Outreach interactions are special. You really get to know the individuals that you bring materials to on a firsthand basis. The stories they tell by sharing their lives makes an impact on you personally. It can leave you feeling enriched and a little closer to humanity.

I would never have stayed 20 years being involved in library services without the people that trained me and gave me my start. It’s also the best assortment of people that I’ve ever been associated with. There is literally not one person that I dislike in the entire library district. I’m convinced that I have the best coworkers and Admin on the planet. How many people are lucky enough to say that?

What’s challenging about your work?

The most challenging aspect of Outreach is making sure you actually reach the people that need your resources the most. We advertise at the library by putting available Outreach resources on our Facebook and Instagram pages, do events to spread the word on a one on one basis, but the best way to promote what we have to offer is the positive word of mouth from the people already receiving Outreach services.

Who are some of your mentors?

Christian County Library veteran of 58 years, Ruth Davis, was instrumental to the development of my early library career. She taught me to respect my patrons and showed me how a library works.

Geri Godber elevated me to the status of Outreach Manager in 2018 and for that I will be eternally indebted. She was a strong leader and taught me about the importance of listening and management in general.

Nicholas Holladay is my current Supervisor. I’m grateful for his guidance in making me a better Manager on a daily basis. His management style is one of intelligence, grace, humor and compassion. Thank God he’s a patient man.

What book, author, artist, show, or music are you engaging with this week, either personally or professionally? Persuade us in one or two sentences that we should pick this up, too.

Legendary comic book artist/writer George Perez recently told the world that he has inoperable pancreatic cancer and has 6 months to a year to live. Perez was and always will be an integral part of my adolescent years, with his reach extending into my adult life. His expert storytelling magically transported me to the worlds of The New Teen Titans, Wonder Woman, Action Comics, The Fantastic Four, the Avengers and so many more. His work was there for me during my tumultuous youth and he was a great inspiration behind my desire to take Art as my major in college, his work even played a role in comforting me during my personal “coming out story.”

I would encourage anyone that enjoys the comic book medium to check out his spectacular body of work.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

My hobbies include, comic book collecting, music, fantasy, sci-fi, horror and artistic drama movies and of course, reading. I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend Chris, my dear friends and the best mother that I could ever have asked for.

 

Would you like to nominate someone to be our next Featured Library Employee?  Examples could be:

…a new employee you’d like to introduce

…someone with a unique job or on a unique career path

…an employee you find inspirational

…a coworker whose gifts you wish were more widely known

…someone who’s “an institution” full of interesting stories

…a role that has a new focus or is reaching a new audience

…someone you’d like to make more visible to potential employers

Submit name(s) and contact information, along with place of employment, to Shannon Mawhiney at smawhiney@missouristate.edu.  We’ll do all the work of contacting; we just need you to connect us!

MLA Statement on Intellectual Freedom

On behalf of our members, member institutions and professional ethical standards, we at the Missouri Library Association (MLA) stand with librarians, library workers, and other educators in the state of Missouri as they select and provide access to their collections for readers. We further support the processes and procedures our libraries have in place to deal with challenges with concerned parents and community members and are deeply troubled by efforts to circumvent these processes for political gain or as a result of moral panic.

Libraries as public institutions have existed in the United States for over 250 years. Each year, we promote our foundational ideals, provide access for our patrons, and find better and more equitable avenues to improve our institutions. Perhaps our most important guiding principle comes from Ranganathan: “Every reader, their book and every book, its reader.”

The “freedom to read” is more than just a shorthand for encouraging curiosity and inquiry. It is a pillar of our democracy. Intellectual freedom means that all of us have the right to explore and engage with the ideas we choose, and to be informed about the world around us. Adults have intellectual freedom, but so do youth. We support MASL’s statement that says, “Students should have choices in what books they read.”

We librarians are skilled, credentialed and thoughtful professionals who make it our work to champion inquiry, curiosity, democracy and access to information. Librarians support the rights of parents to choose books for their own children, but not the rights of one person to choose what books are right for an entire classroom, school, or public. Through our deep immersion in books and materials, librarians and library workers understand the greater context of knowledge and understanding facilitated through our collections. We reject the claim that removing, labeling, or relocating a title will somehow shield children from the ideas contained within, especially in the context of our connected digital world. We further reject the notion that anyone can perform the work we do without significant engagement with the professional ethics and expertise of librarianship. Public and school libraries are safe places for children to encounter ideas in an environment that nurtures curiosity. Occasionally these encounters will include ideas that might be challenging. We support the right of readers to be challenged, to learn, and to grow.  Librarians and educators are the critical connection between readers and their books. It is our responsibility to champion these rights.

We support the expertise, thoughtfulness, and care exercised by thousands of librarians, library workers, and educators in the state of Missouri to foster the curiosity and inquiry that lives in young people.

Signed,

Cindy Thompson, Missouri Library Association President

Members of the Missouri Library Association Board

Members of the Missouri Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee

 

For further reading:

Ranganathan’s Laws

Freedom to Read Statement

The Library Bill of Rights

Core Values of Librarianship

MLA Featured Library Employee — Mary Kate Gliedt

Mary Kate Gliedt, St. Louis Public Library Manager of Genealogy

Meet this issue’s Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Mary Kate Gliedt!

What is your name, your library, and your role at the library?

My name is Mary Kate Gliedt, and I’m the Manager of Genealogy at the St. Louis Public Library.

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

Initially, COVID! I went to graduate school in New York, where I lived for nearly ten years before I came home to St. Louis to wait out a “two week quarantine” that turned into a permanent move and career change! Prior to working for the library, I worked as a senior educator at the Tenement Museum in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, sharing stories of the immigrant communities that made their homes in the neighborhood. Working in the Genealogy department at SLPL is a continuation of the work that I’ve been passionate about for years.

What keeps you coming back every day?

Sometimes, sheer stubbornness…but more frequently, the chances to solve the mysteries our customers bring, and to explore the different ways in which people are connected, keep me coming back.

What’s challenging about your work?

My position is brand new, so finding my place and my role in a long-standing institution can be tricky, and taking the department in new directions is always a scary leap. Thankfully, those risks have been well worth it for the library and for our customers. We have also been living with COVID for my entire tenure at the St. Louis Public Library, and things like not seeing my coworkers’ faces because of our masks, or meeting many of my colleagues on Google Meet, have been particularly challenging as a new hire.

Has your work made you either curious, or passionate, or awestruck about something?

I’ve been working in the immigration and migration history field for years now, and one thing I’m always struck by is how interesting the stories of normal people are. History chooses to uplift certain stories over others, but the stories of presidents and other wealthy, white, cisgender men aren’t the only ones worth telling! In the world of genealogy, most of us aren’t related to George Washington, but we are related to people who worked a job, raised a family, experienced tragedy, and lived their lives in ways that feel almost impossible to us today. I find those stories of normal life much more compelling, and that’s a reason I’m drawn to genealogy – it gives everyone a chance to be placed in the historic narrative.

Who is one of your mentors?

I’ve been incredibly lucky throughout my career to work with talented, smart, engaged women who demonstrate exactly what you can accomplish with enough passion and grit to get the job done. From Nancy Wormington at my first internship in Kansas City to Angie Miraflor and Amanda Bahr-Evola at my current job, I’ve learned an incredible amount from each one, and become the professional I am thanks to their influences.

What book, author, artist, show, or music are you engaging with this week, either personally or professionally? Persuade us in one or two sentences that we should pick this up, too.

Honestly, when the going gets tough, the tough watch Dance Moms. There’s nothing more distracting than a little dance drama when work and pandemic life get to be too much.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

One of my favorite immigration facts – no names were ever changed at Ellis Island- despite what The Godfather II says! Ship manifest documents were created before immigrants boarded ships in Europe, and Ellis Island officials simply made sure the person they were processing was listed on the ship manifest. Additionally, every Ellis Island official was required to be fluent in three or more languages, so every immigrant was able to complete their processing in a language familiar to them. While it’s certainly possible an Ellis Island official struggled to pronounce a name, or to find it on the manifest, they had no more authority to change a name legally than a Starbucks barista who misspells your name on a pumpkin spice latte.

 

Would you like to nominate someone to be our next Featured Library Employee?  Examples could be:

…a new employee you’d like to introduce

…someone with a unique job or on a unique career path

…an employee you find inspirational

…a coworker whose gifts you wish were more widely known

…someone who’s “an institution” full of interesting stories

…a role that has a new focus or is reaching a new audience

…someone you’d like to make more visible to potential employers

Submit name(s) and contact information, along with place of employment, to Shannon Mawhiney at smawhiney@missouristate.edu.  We’ll do all the work of contacting; we just need you to connect us!

MLA Featured Library Employee — Katie Hopkins

Katie Hopkins, Springfield-Greene County Public Library's Adult Programming Coordinator

Meet our Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Katie Hopkins!

What is your name, your library, and your role at the library?

Katie Hopkins, Springfield-Greene County Library District, Adult Programming Coordinator.  My job is to oversee and support staff with adult program planning across our district.  I head up our Adult Summer Reading Program, Winter Reading Challenge, and annual One Read events.  I wear many other hats too – I serve on our district’s Inclusion Committee and I recently co-wrote a successful grant to make our programs and buildings more accessible to individuals with sensory processing challenges.  I am also one of the conference coordinators for the MLA 2022 Annual Conference in Springfield.

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

Even though I grew up an avid public library user, library work kind of fell into my lap.  In my early 20s my friend suggested I apply for a part time reference job at the library while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.  I quickly fell in love with the role I was playing in lifelong learning in my own community and 13 years later I’m still at it!

What keeps you coming back every day?

Admittedly, with everything going on in the world this past year and a half, it has been a struggle to come to work every day.  But I consider myself a leader in our district and it is important to me that I keep trying to bring good energy into the workplace because I care about the people I work with.  Programming is a creative outlet for many of our staff and it breaks up the monotony of frontline desk work.  Helping foster staff creativity and energy and reinvigorating their commitment to serving patrons is ultimately what keeps me coming back.

What’s challenging about your work?

Finding a balance between staff ideas, public demand, and administrative concerns is an on-going challenge.  Also, stepping outside of my personal interests and biases to design programming that is relevant to our community is always hard for me.  However, it always pays off when you sense that flow of energy in a program when people are curious and engaged – that moment ultimately drives my work and makes the challenge worth the effort!

Has your work made you either curious, or passionate, or awestruck about something?

Wow, this is a tricky one!  I think something about library work in general that continues to leave me awestruck is the argument that libraries are irrelevant – often from someone standing in front of me IN A LIBRARY.  Anyone who works in a library sees on a daily basis the multitude of ways a library brings value to its community. It’s astounding that people who continue to make this argument think that because a library isn’t useful to them in a particular way, it must not be useful to anyone. It demonstrates to me that while we still have a lot of work to do to combat old stereotypes and spread the word about services, we also have lots of potential to continue finding new and interesting ways to serve our communities.

Who is one of your mentors?

One of my mentors is a photography professor I had in college named Alan Brown.  We still stay in touch through social media. His best piece of advice then, and one I still use today, is “kill your darlings” which means that even if I really feel strongly that a program is a great idea, it has to fit in with the bigger picture.  If not, I have to be willing to let it go for the greater good of my own work and that of the library.  There are always a million great program ideas floating around but it is important to filter your selection down to the ones that are feasible to pull off and will resonate with your patrons.  That can be really tricky but good ideas will still be good ideas further down the road.  A good coordinator keeps track of them and knows when the right time is to bring them to fruition.

What book, author, artist, show, or music are you engaging with this week, either personally or professionally? Persuade us in one or two sentences that we should pick this up, too.

I’ve been watching “The Movies that Made Us” on Netflix this week.  Besides being a comforting dose of nostalgia, these short documentaries demonstrate that the works of art we hold most near and dear to our hearts are frequently a patchwork combination of teamwork, persistence, frustration, seemingly random choices, and a little divine intervention from the universe.  I think there are a lot of lessons to be gleaned from this.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

In the 2005 animated movie Robots there was a character whose motto for running his company was “see a need, fill a need”.  This practice is at the core of my work in designing programming.  Sometimes that need is very specific (like the workshops I designed for parents of children with disabilities) or even a little offbeat (like the program we hosted on cults in America) but if you can pinpoint that need and fill it, your library’s role in your community will be so much richer and the network of patrons you reach will be so much wider.  Don’t neglect your adult programming – it is one of the best ways to demonstrate the library’s value to your community!

 

 

Would you like to nominate someone to be our next Featured Library Employee?  Examples could be:

…a new employee you’d like to introduce

…someone with a unique job or on a unique career path

…an employee you find inspirational

…a coworker whose gifts you wish were more widely known

…someone who’s “an institution” full of interesting stories

…a role that has a new focus or is reaching a new audience

…someone you’d like to make more visible to potential employers

Submit name(s) and contact information, along with place of employment, to Shannon Mawhiney at smawhiney@missouristate.edu.  We’ll do all the work of contacting; we just need you to connect us!

MLA 2021 Annual Conference

This year’s MLA conference will be held in person at the Doubletree Hilton in Chesterfield (STL metro) from 9/29-9/30. While it has been shortened from to 2 days, we still have all the activities you’ve come to expect and enjoy and truly hope you’ll join us and have a great experience.

Just to get you a little excited:

For those of you who will be in the area on Tuesday night, the Bohley Trivia Night will be held at the hotel.

On Wednesday afternoon Chris Pryor will give the opening Keynote and the exhibits will open at 4pm with a reception followed by the Awards Ceremony to be held this year in the exhibits hall where everyone can stay and celebrate the best of best in Missouri.

On Thursday there will be a Member Meet and Greet followed by the Annual Meeting followed by a closing reception with Keynote speaker Jarret Krosoczka joining us virtually.

We’ve come through a rough year and while it’s not all over yet, we hope this conference can be time to come together, see old friends and colleagues, make new ones and learn from each other.

We look forward to seeing and learning something from each of you. Register today: http://molibconference.org

Conference @ a Glance Schedule: http://mlaweb.net/ConferenceATAGlance.pdf

Vendor Prospectus and Registration

Nominate your colleagues for the MLA Awards!

Do you have a colleague who ran a terrific PR campaign or a peer who’s new to the profession and deserves recognition, or can you think of a library whose service over the past year has been even more outstanding than the rest? Consider nominating them for the 2021 MLA awards. The process is easy; there are links below to each award’s description and application.

Here are the categories:

Missouri Library of the Year
Outstanding Library Employee (non-MLS)
Outstanding Professional Librarian
Outstanding New Librarian
Community Partnership Award
Public Relations Achievement Award
Virginia G. Young Outstanding Service Award (for a library trustee/board member)
Meritorious Achievement Award (for someone retired or outside the profession)
Missouri Author Award (for an author from Missouri)
MLA Literary Award (for a book about Missouri)

Nominations are due by Friday, June 25. Please let one of us know if you have any questions or ideas – we’d love to hear from you.

Daisy Porter-Reynolds, Committee Chair
Diana Platt, Immediate Past Chair
Grace Jackson-Brown
Meagan Parrett

MLA Featured Library Employee — Peter Neely

Peter Neely, Columbia College

Meet this issue’s Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Peter Neely!

What is your name, your library, and your role at the library?

My name is Peter Neely. I work at Columbia College as the Digital Services Librarian.

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

My interest began when I eventually realized at a young age that libraries provided a chance to engage with my community and share new or unfamiliar methods of acquiring information – and that was too appealing to resist.

What keeps you coming back every day?

Mostly the students, so many are passionate and eager to find that perfect article or are seeking to educate themselves outside of the classroom, it’s hard not to admire their diligence!

What’s challenging about your work?

Working with vendors is honestly the most challenging aspect of my job at the moment.

Has your work made you either curious, or passionate, or awestruck about something?

My work has made me realize how important communication is in any field. It’s important to be clear and transparent to your patrons!

Who is one of your mentors?

This is a hard one to answer. I was particularly close to my grandfather, he taught me patience and compassion while showing what you create and put into the world is more important than what you take from it.

 

Would you like to nominate someone to be our next Featured Library Employee?  Examples could be:

…a new employee you’d like to introduce

…someone with a unique job or on a unique career path

…an employee you find inspirational

…a coworker whose gifts you wish were more widely known

…someone who’s “an institution” full of interesting stories

…a role that has a new focus or is reaching a new audience

…someone you’d like to make more visible to potential employers

Submit name(s) and contact information, along with place of employment, to Shannon Mawhiney at smawhiney@missouristate.edu.  We’ll do all the work of contacting; we just need you to connect us!