MLA Featured Library Employee — Peggy Ridlen

Meet our most recent Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Sandy Rodriguez!

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

Peggy Ridlen, Instruction Librarian; Professor Jack C. Taylor Library; Fontbonne University

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

It was my love of reading as a child that initiated my interest in working at a library. I did not learn to read until I was 8 years old. * However, when I did, a whole new world erupted.

What keeps you coming back every day?

I have the best job in the world! Academic librarianship provides a purposeful life suited to my abilities and personality. The mission, values, vision, commitment and students of Fontbonne University foster the opportunity to impart the value of libraries and literacy to the next generation.

What’s challenging about your work?

Ongoing student engagement in raising awareness of intellectual freedom and the importance of information literacy in an increasingly digital world.

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

The short answer to this question is EVERYTHING. Working in a resource rich environment naturally enhances intellectual curiosity. Specifically, my work in higher education has made me realize the importance of MLA advocacy for libraries.

Who is one of your mentors?

My mother who collaborated with my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Stanley to teach me how to read.

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.

My Own Words; Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a great book about a great woman who has done great things! Most people do not realize the influential role this iconic supreme court justice played as a young lawyer to advance equal opportunities for women in the US.

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

*If it weren’t for access to public and school libraries with fantastic librarians, I probably still wouldn’t know how to read!

 

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!

Archived Conference Presentations

Logo: "Stronger Together"

For all who wish to relive the marvelous 2018 MLA Conference, or view the slides to that presentation you had to miss, or look up that reference on a slide that went by too fast…the 2018 conference presentation archive is coming along!

There is still time to send your presentation with posting permission from all presenters to the webmaster, if you don’t see yours on the list. Please convert all PowerPoint files to PDF for compact transfer and archiving.

Experienced Public Librarians: Want to Mentor?

photo of 2 people behind laptops

The Public Libraries Community of Interest is looking for experienced public library employees who are interested in mentoring new librarians. This is a great opportunity to share your knowledge and give back to the library community. Eligible mentors must be members of the Missouri Library Association and have at least 5 years of library experience with at least 3 years in their current field. Mentors must work or have worked in a public library and must be able to commit to at least one meeting per month for up to a year with their mentee. Meetings can be held via phone, e-mail, or in person. Anyone who is interested in being a mentor is encouraged to fill out a mentoring sign-up sheet by using the following link: https://goo.gl/forms/9GeBLPL8hSLrjvJ93

Mentors and mentees willed be paired in Jan 2019.

To find out more about the Public Libraries Community of Interest mentoring program click the following link:

http://molib.org/get-involved/communities-of-interest/public-libraries-community-of-interest-plci/plci-mentoring-program/

2018 MLA Conference – Stronger Together

Thanks to both MLA leadership and membership for making this year’s Annual Conference such a successful event! You’ll find that we have a photo album of conference highlights available via MLA’s Facebook Page. Be sure to also visit the related event page to view the photos others have shared as well as videos from this year’s awards ceremony and closing keynote with ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo.

One final reminder: Please take a moment to complete the conference evaluation: bit.ly/2018mlaevaluation. If you downloaded the EventsXD app, you can complete the evaluation directly from your smartphone or tablet. Your feedback will help us improve your experience next year.

Mark your calendars now for the 2019 MLA Annual Conference which will be held October 2-4 at the KCI Expo Center!

Brandy Sanchez (bsanchez@dbrl.org)
Cindy Dudenhoffer (cmdudenh@centralmethodist.edu)
Emerging Technology Co-chairs
2018 MLA Annual Conference

MLA Featured Library Employee — Sandy Rodriguez

Meet our most recent Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Sandy Rodriguez!

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

Sandy Rodriguez, University of Missouri—Kansas City University Libraries, Head of Digital Archives & Stewardship

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

After earning my music education degree, I wasn’t convinced that teaching music was where my passions were. That summer, I noticed an ad from a library vendor seeking detail-oriented candidates with music subject knowledge. During the interview, I had to count the number of times the letter “f” appeared in a paragraph, and I thought, “What is this job that values both my music subject knowledge and my extreme analytical skills? Sign me up!” I was hired to catalog music sound recordings for public libraries and eventually moved on to become a full-time paraprofessional music cataloger for the University of Kentucky Fine Arts Library while pursuing my graduate degree. It was then that I was exposed to preservation practices and digital libraries, and I made it my goal to work in that space eventually.

What keeps you coming back every day?

I’m a very purpose-driven person so it’s important for me understand where my work is situated within a broader historical, societal, and cultural context. What keeps me coming back is realizing the impacts and outcomes of engaging in work that supports reflection, learning, and growth. I’ve gained a deeper understanding of how digital archives and preservation contribute to shaping a system of cultural memory and how that relates to societal issues, specifically exploring the need to recognize the value of the often invisible labor of digital work and how we engage directly with the humanistic pursuit of equity and justice, particularly for minoritized communities. Being supported to learn from and contribute to the profession in this way has transformed my approach to this work and has ultimately made me a better librarian.

What’s challenging about your work?

Preserving and providing access to digital content is full of challenges, but what I am most challenged by is the level of advocacy needed to support digital archives and preservation, especially at a time when our role as a public good is being challenged and undermined as a political issue. Libraries continue to struggle to be responsive to changes in our users’ behaviors and expectations, particularly around their engagement in digital scholarship, while also navigating the fiscal realities that incentivize us to downsize or leverage efficiencies. Communicating needs on effective support of preservation and access to digital content and centering the value of doing that work is made even more challenging when much of digital labor is not visible or easily understood. So yes, I find it challenging the amount of advocacy I have to do for something that is part of our unique identity as libraries, archives, and museums, and I find it frustrating that while I am having to do this advocacy, I could be preserving digital content.

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

I am fascinated by the intersection of identity, social justice, and archival labor. Because of this interest, I’ve been reading quite a bit on systems and systemic issues, trying to understand how systems are designed, the rules, the feedback loops, the leverage points, etc. Applying these concepts to our social and political systems has been eye-opening, but even more enlightening has been making connections between these systems and digital archives; for instance, understanding how the choices we make when processing, describing, and presenting our content can unintentionally contribute to reinforcing harmful narratives that uphold systems of oppression. These realizations have changed my priorities and I’m passionate about advocating that all library workers locate their responsibility in the systemic issues that impact our communities’ lives, and to make conscious choices that work toward social justice for those communities. If we don’t do this individually and collectively, I’d argue that we are not fully committed to serving all of our users.

Who is one of your mentors?

People of color are not well-represented in libraries, and even less so in library leadership so access to mentors who understand the barriers and challenges we face navigating this predominantly white profession, are few and far between. That said, I’ve had plenty of mentors, but I want to take this space to recognize the community of mentors I have in the group, we here, a community of library workers of color. This community serves an important purpose that gives me hope about the future of our profession.

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 just started reading Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, and in it, she breaks down how we continue to reinforce racial hierarchy by simply redesigning it; in modern times, taking the form of mass incarceration which disproportionately affects black and brown communities. If you’re interested in broadening your perspective to understand how systems work, how they insidiously develop and persist, how they shape our culture, and how they impact many of the communities we serve and represent, then I’d recommend this book.

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

Please take some time to consider and appreciate the often unacknowledged emotional labor that your colleagues from underrepresented and marginalized communities confront on a daily basis, not only in their interactions with patrons and with colleagues, but also with what is happening in our country, where our entire communities are being dehumanized. Take some time to respect the strength it takes for them to keep showing up to work, to gracefully confront microaggressions, and to be vulnerable and generous in doing the work of social justice in our workplaces, even when this work is often devalued. And then, take some time to self-reflect on what choices you are making, how you are showing support and empathy, and how you are challenging yourself to understand different experiences from your own.

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’s 5-year strategic plan

Last year , 2017 MLA President Vicky Baker formed a committee to create a five-year strategic plan. The committee gathered feedback from the MLA Board and Members, and the Board did a SOAR analysis of the organization. This year as Past-President, Vicky has helped the Board use this information to create a viable and exciting strategic plan for 2019-23.

On October 11th at our Annual Business Meeting that is held in conjunction with our Annual Conference, MLA members will vote on this strategic plan. As MLA President April Roy said in her email of September 12:

I hope you will join us at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia, Missouri on Thursday, October 11th from 4:00-5:00 in the Windsor IV room. Your vote is important to us! We will also have some amazing door prizes!”

Members were sent a copy of the draft strategic plan in the September 12 email. Once approved, the plan will be posted on the website.

MLA Featured Library Employee — Julia Wilbers

Meet our most recent Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Julia Wilbers!

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

My name is Julia Wilbers and I’m a Reference Librarian at St. Charles Community College.

  • What originally got you interested in working at a library?

I resisted the call for a long time! My exposure to libraries came from having a mother who was a Children’s Librarian. I volunteered at the public library in high school, worked at the science library all four years as an undergraduate at Miami University… I just couldn’t get away. After a brief stint in book publishing it finally hit me that what I was most passionate about was promoting literacy and encouraging people to see how fun it is do research. Libraries were where I belonged.

  • What keeps you coming back every day?

The first thing I’d have to say is my co-workers, I work with some amazing people in my library. The very close second would be the fact that I get to spend my time helping students. I loved being in school but I didn’t really appreciate all that the library had to offer until long after my undergraduate career was over. I want to help our students avoid that delay in appreciation so I go out of my way to engage with them and try to alleviate any library anxiety. Plus, I love doing collection development.

  • What’s challenging about your work?

I think what’s most challenging about my work is needing to regularly remind myself that the stress a lot of students bring to reference interactions isn’t directed toward me. It’s easy to internalize stressful interactions because all you want to do is help. If the student is working on a tight deadline and it just seems like things aren’t working for them they can easily (and understandably) get frustrated and occasionally that frustration ends up coming your way. As a librarian my focus is helping the patron in front of me and it’s hard to feel like you can’t meet them at their point of need because of things beyond your control.

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

There are so many things! I’m all about encouraging students to embrace leisure reading. When someone comes in and asks for a book recommendation I think my heart grows three sizes. Any Readers Advisory service I can offer gets me incredibly excited. Since I work at a community college our student population is a diverse one with people from many walks of life. I’m in awe of those students I see balancing work, family, and school with such focus and dedication. I’m also fortunate enough to be the library liaison for our Education department and that gives me the opportunity to stay on top of picture books and children’s publishing. I’m so in love with the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement and I appreciate children’s literature in a way I didn’t before starting this job. I could go on and on…

  • Who is one of your mentors?

This is a hard one to answer because I feel like there are so many people who have influenced the way I approach librarianship. She might not realize she’s been a mentor to me but I’d say Carol Tilley, one of my professors from the iSchool at Illinois. She is so passionate about her work and she is so intelligent, friendly, and supportive… The way Carol approaches librarianship helped show me how to curate my interests within my profession. Just because my job title says one thing doesn’t mean I’m limited to that. Pursuing what I’m passionate about through the lens of librarianship  only serves to make me a better resource to my patrons.

And I have to add my cohort of reference librarians at SCC. I work with some amazing women, all of whom have helped me grow as a librarian. Seeing the way Ying Li, Theresa Flett, and Kelly Mitchell interact with patrons, prepare for classes, work with faculty, consistently stay student-focused… it motivates me to do the best I can so I can live up to their standards.

  • 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 just finished Anne Fadiman’s memoir, The Wine Lover’s Daughter, and it was amazing! Her father, Clifton Fadiman, was an intellectual virtuoso who undoubtedly had an influence on your life you just might not be aware of (Cricket magazine, anyone?). Her memoir was so beautifully done and it has led me to explore her father’s work… what better testament to a book than the fact that it makes you excited to learn more?!

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

Just the fact that I’m honored to have been chosen as this month’s featured library employee! It was such a pleasant surprise! AND that I’d highly recommend Alexandra Gallin-Parisi’s article, “An Academic Librarian-Mother in Six Stories,” in In the Library with the Lead Pipe. I met her at The Collective conference, fell in love with her personality, and then saw my friend-crush grow after reading this piece. Anyone can appreciate it, but librarian-mothers (especially of young children) will find themselves especially engrossed.

 

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!

Public Librarians and Aspiring Librarians: Need a Mentor? We’ve Got You Covered!

Are you a new or newish public librarian?  Are you experienced but starting a new position? Are you a student who wants to learn more about being a public librarian?  It sounds like you could really use a mentor!

Fortunately, the Public Library Community of Interest is forming a mentoring program just for you!  This is a great opportunity to learn more about your special area of public library interest from an experienced professional and to form a bond of friendship with another librarian from our state.

Eligible mentees must be members of the Missouri Library Association and must be able to commit to at least one meeting per month for up to a year with your mentor.  Meetings can be held via phone, email, or in person.  Anyone interested in having a mentor is encouraged to use this sign up sheet: https://goo.gl/forms/bu2VW0fENqq4Ju8L2.

To find out more about the Public Libraries Community of Interest mentoring program, go to the PLCI info page.