PLCI Mentoring Program: Calling all want to be mentors and mentees

In May 2018, the Public Libraries Community of Interest (PLCI) initiated a program to encourage mentoring relationships between public library employees and new librarians.  We are ready to form new mentor and mentee groups for 2022. Mentors and mentees will be paired early next month, and this first mentoring period will run from mid-February through June. See these guidelines ( and deadlines for this first session below.


PLCI 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 during the mentoring period.  Meetings may be held via Zoom or a similar platform, phone, e-mail, or in person.

If you are interested in being a mentor, please fill out this Google Form by Monday, February 7, 2022.


PLCI is looking for new public librarians who are looking to learn the ropes of the public library profession and learn from an experienced professional. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the public library profession and have a seasoned library professional available to answer questions and give you insight. We will do our best to match you with someone who will help you to achieve your professional goals. Meetings may be held via Zoom or a similar platform, phone, e-mail, or in person.

If you are interested in being a mentee, please fill out this Google Form by Monday, February 7, 2022.

If you have additional questions, please email us at

Thank you!

The Public Library Community of Interest

Library Advocacy Week 2022

Registration for the Virtual MLA Library Advocacy Week 2022 closes Sunday 2/6!

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

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  We’ll do all the work of contacting; we just need you to connect us!