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 — Tracie Gieselman-France

Meet our Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Tracie Gieselman-France!

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

Tracie Gieselman-France, Duane G. Meyer Library at Missouri State University, Archivist

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

I have always loved libraries and reading books (you’d be jealous of all the ice cream cones and personal pizzas I “won” for reading books as a child!) but I hadn’t really thought about working at a library. I originally visited the MSU Archives as a researcher the same semester I was completing an internship at our local history museum and quickly realized that I enjoyed working with archival materials. I jumped at the chance to apply for a position as the Archives Specialist when it became available and have always felt it was pure luck that the Archives are a part of the library on our campus!

What keeps you coming back every day?

It is a combination of my colleagues and the community, the collections, and our researchers. Every day is different and I learn something new every day from my own research, or by assisting a patron. My colleagues and the community are equally important, as we often work together to create exhibits or suggest resources to our researchers, and the collaborations extend out to other libraries and cultural heritage institutions in our region.

What’s challenging about your work?

I think it is important to be creative with how we present research and archival materials to the community and that can be a challenge. COVID has certainly accelerated the need for creative content and different ways to deliver content to our patrons.

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

I’m passionate about sharing the treasures found in archival materials with our researchers, whether they are college aged, elementary students, or seasoned authors.

I also feel very rewarded when a student experiences the magic of carefully turning the pages of a rare book!

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.

Professionally, I have been reading through Ozarks Folklore from authors such as Vance Randolph and Fern Nance Shumate/Nancy Nance. Always interesting and entertaining, especially since I am working with a collection related to both authors!

Personal consumption: We watched it a few weeks back, but I definitely recommend watching The Social Dilemma. This is a documentary on Netflix about social media and how it influences society.

I also look at a lot of cookbooks since we are eating at home more often. I have my own collection and look at a lot of websites, but I encourage everyone to check out the cookbooks at your local library too!

For inspiration, I’ve been reading The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. I haven’t committed to the exercises yet, but I like the techniques!


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!

Together Apart: MLA 2020 Virtual Symposium

Greetings MLA Membership!  We are just a few short weeks away from the inaugural Missouri Library Association Virtual Symposium: Together Apart!   The full schedule is now available, with the full program coming soon!

I am extremely excited about the speaker line-up for the event.  Sessions and topics were recruited for their diverse appeal to all types of library workers, with breakout discussion at the end of the day for affinity groups.

Together Apart: MLA 2020 Symposium, Monday, September 28th Keynote Speaker Announced

Healing Trauma & Creating the Beloved Community

Ingrid Cockhren, M.Ed. specializes in co-creating equitable and inclusive environments within institutions, organizations, collective impacts and grassroot movements.  Utilizing her knowledge of stress, trauma, and human development, Mrs. Cockhren has been able to translate research concerning diversity/equity/inclusion (DEI) and trauma-informed practices into workplace and organizational solutions that can transform culture and heal.

Mrs. Cockhren graduated from Tennessee State University with a B.S. in Psychology and Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College with a M.Ed. in Child Studies.  Her research areas are Adverse Childhood Experiences, race, historical trauma/intergenerational transmission, brain development, developmental psychology and epigenetics.  Mrs. Cockhren’s past career experience ranges from juvenile justice, family counseling, early childhood education, professional development & training and community education.  In addition to consulting, she is currently an adjunct professor specializing in developmental psychology and African American psychology at Tennessee State University and the TN/Midwest Regional Community Facilitator for ACEs Connection, a social network dedicated to raising awareness of adverse childhood experiences, stress & trauma.

Mrs. Cockhren’s clients and affiliates include ACEs Connection, the Mental Health Cooperative, Thistle Farms, Inc., Metro Nashville’s Public Schools, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee State University Foundation, Tennessee’s Dept. of Children’s Services, Tennessee’s Office of Child Safety, Vanderbilt Medical Center, Raphah Institute, Indiana Youth Institute, Indiana University and Tuskegee University among others.

Ingrid Cockhren is a Clarksville, TN native who currently resides in Nashville, TN with husband Jurnell Cockhren, founder of Civic Hacker, a software development consulting agency.



Together Apart: MLA 2020 Symposium, Friday, October 2nd Keynote Speaker Announced

Missouri Library Association Virtual Symposium:
Together Apart – 9/28, 9/30 and 10/02

“We Got This: Surviving and Thriving
in a Deeply Weird World”

Keynote Speaker Peter Bromberg
for Friday, October 2nd focusing on
Leadership and Organizational Development
Register here for full symposium, $25 for members and
$50 for non members:


Peter Bromberg has served as the Executive Director of the Salt Lake City Public Library in Salt Lake City, Utah since September 2016. In his first year he was able to pass a 23.3% budget increase, creating $1.5 million in new funding for long-term facilities maintenance, while also eliminating all late fees. As a Board Member of EveryLibrary, the first and only national organization dedicated to building voter support for libraries, Peter provides pro bono training and consulting to libraries running ballot measures.

Over his 28 year career, Peter has held numerous leadership roles in regional, state, and national associations, including helping to create and launch ALA’s Emerging Leaders program in 2007, and co-creating and delivering a statewide leadership institute for the Oklahoma Library Association. Peter has written and presented widely on the topics of influence, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, improv, customer experience, and service design. As a personal coach and as a consultant he enjoys helping people and organizations release their potential by making intentional, healthy, and effective choices. Peter can be found online at


Together Apart: MLA 2020 Symposium, Wednesday, September 30th Keynote Speaker Announced

We are so pleased to announce Ayyoub Ajmi, Associate Director of the Leon E. Bloch Law Library at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law, as our keynote speaker for the Wednesday 9/30 portion of our Together Apart Virtual Symposium with the theme of Connecting with Technology.  Ayyoub Ajmi’s keynote, “Stop Chasing the Hype and Connect with Your Community” will focus on using the technologies we already have to connect with our users and our community.

Register for the full symposium here:  Just $25 for MLA members and $50 for non members for three full days of professional development!

Together Apart: MLA 2020 Symposium

September 28 10:30 am – 4:00 pm
Connecting with our Communities

September 30 10:30 am – 4:00 pm
Connecting with Technology

October 2 10:30 am – 4:00 pm
Leadership and Organizational Development

Ayyoub Ajmi serves as the Associate Director of the Leon E. Bloch Law Library at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law where he works closely with the director to oversee the library to ensure its support of the pedagogical, research, and service goals. Ayyoub is a strong advocate of leveraging open and inclusive technologies to support access to justice initiatives. Among the projects Ayyoub champions is the embedded Self-Help Legal Clinic which provides free limited scope legal representation to over 700 litigants every year. In 2020, the clinic was recognized by the AALL for outstanding achievement in public relations activities (Excellence in Community Engagement Award). During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Ayyoub successfully moved the entire operation of the clinic to the cloud allowing hundreds of litigants to access legal help despite the lockdown.

From 2013 to 2018, Ayyoub served as the Digital Communications and Learning Initiatives Librarian at UMKC law. During his tenure, he led the implementation of several innovative projects such as an open source intranet, an electronic payment and event management system, and a video streaming platform. Before joining UMKC, Ayyoub served as Library Technology Manager at Tarrant County Community College in Fort Worth, TX where he initiated numerous projects among them a digital exhibition platforms made out of repurposed laptops.

Before moving to the U.S., Ayyoub worked on various technology companies in his home country Morocco. As a freelance web designer, Ayyoub pioneered several online community platforms promoting culture and democracy. Among the projects that received numerous accolades were Selwane TV, the first online video news platform and a portal dedicated to Folk Music.

Ayyoub received his M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas in Denton and a B.A. in Communication Technologies from the University of Texas at Arlington. He is currently enrolled in a Juris Doctor Program at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law on part-time basis with a target graduation date for 2021.

Ayyoub’s areas of expertise include emerging education technologies, open source web development, and legal tech. Ayyoub speaks regularly on these topics at national and regional conferences. His personal interests focus on the intersection of law and technology to advance access to justice and to promote privacy and online data protection.

A Message for our Membership on Black Lives Matter

Greetings Membership,

The Missouri Library Association stands with library workers, with library users, and with members of the communities we serve and support who are susceptible to acts of prejudice, threats of violence, and discrimination based solely on their race or ethnicity. The pervasive racism present in our nation denies its residents equal rights and equal access and as such is a barrier to the goals of this association and to everything that libraries stand for. 

Often, we hear that libraries should be neutral organizations, that taking a stand is not appropriate.  There is no neutral here.  Hatred, violence, prejudice, or exclusion of people because of their appearance is not a political argument; there are no sides to this debate.  Freedom from oppression is a human right.   Representation is important.

I am proud of Missouri Libraries as we serve our communities through these difficult times.  The anti-racist actions of the last few days are commendable. We are providing resources, creating booklists, providing safe spaces, and supporting those who depend on us. I urge all MO libraries to curate book lists and provide resources for those who wish to educate themselves.  Let us stand together and support those who need it most.

Cynthia Dudenhoffer
Missouri Library Association President, 2020
#blacklivesmatter #blackstoriesmatter

MLA 2020 Conference Proposals – DUE By June 1, 2020

This year your Missouri Library Association conference is focused on the future. We want you to envision what’s next for your library, engage your staff and empower your users.  We are committed to providing attendees the opportunity to make new connections, experience new ideas, and innovate together for better libraries.

Please use this form to submit your proposal for the 2020 Missouri Library Association Conference, MLA 20/20: Envision, Engage, Empower September 30 – October 2 in Springfield, MO. We are accepting submissions for pre-conference sessions, breakout sessions, poster sessions, and table talks.  ALL PROPOSALS ARE DUE BY JUNE 1, 2020.

This is a great opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with your fellow library folks in Missouri!  Others may find new and fascinating something that seems commonplace for you.  Showcase an event or program your library is doing, illustrate a problem your institution faced and how you solved it, do a genre presentation, talk about your favorite technology for particular library tasks, highlight the awesome leadership training program you attended…the possibilities are endless!

Your conference coordinators will distribute these proposals to MLA Communities of Interest (CIs) as appropriate for sponsorship or co-sponsorship. Based on physical space and available rooms at the conference site, the conference coordinators will recommend the slate of selected programs.

PLEASE NOTE: Presenters are required to register for the conference. Vendors who would like to present at conference must partner with a library/librarian and must register for the conference under the full conference, single day or single session guest presenter pass.

Questions? Send them to

MLA Featured Library Employee — Liz Prewitt

Liz Prewitt

Meet our most recent Featured Library Employee for the Missouri Library Association, Liz Prewitt!

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

I’m Liz and I work at the lovely Prairie Commons Branch. I’m shocked I was nominated because I am just a clerk. Someone once told me to never say you are “just” something. So with that being said, I am a clerk at the library!

What originally got you interested in working at a library?

I’ve been going to Prairie Commons with my mom since I was a baby. However, I wasn’t that kid who loved reading. I did however, love books. I loved the art on all of them. I was drawn to how cozy and quiet the library is. So when I was in high school and decided to apply for my first job, I thought, what could be better than the library! The summer I turned 18, I started working here. Fast forward 13 years later and I’m still surrounded by all these beautiful books.

What’s challenging about your work?

Working at the library has a lot of great perks. First of all, I have worked and work with some incredible people. It makes me the happiest when I can find that book a parent can’t wait to show their child or when I got to go to school assemblies for Summer Reading Club. It’s so sweet when a child runs up afterwards telling the YS and I how much they read and they got a joke for us. I remember this one little boy who always came in the library and I would just help him find material or give him a library sticker and one time he told his grown up that I was the coolest person here. Stuff like that makes my day. Lastly, I am really blessed that I get to work at a place where I can use my artistic skills. I have made some really fun interactive displays for all ages. I like to be able to make the library look welcoming and fun for all. I want books to stay cool!

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

I have grown up at the library. When I started here I was just 18 and naive about a lot. I still can be at times. I think the past few years especially I have been awestruck just to see all the programs we offer and materials we offer now. Like, want to see the moon? We have a telescope you can check out. Have a child with sensory needs? We have a sensory storytime. I am just so proud of the workers here who make so many things possible for everyone. I think we really impact some people’s lives in such a great way and that’s what makes me passionate about my job.

Who is one of your mentors?

I feel like thinking of a mentor is always a hard question. For instance, my go to answer would be my mom. But so many people have shaped the way I have grown in my life. I have had and have some incredible bosses and co-workers that have shaped me and taught me so much. Whether it was to help me through hard situations, show me how to have thicker skin, helped me artistically, or just remind me that I got this! With that being said, I have to mention my 4 nieces. They are my little mentors that remind me to always just live in the moment and all the bad things will pass.

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.

One day I was at a bookstore and came across the book, Notes to Myself, by Hugh Prather. It just explores his daily life thoughts and really hit so many parts of my heart. Anyway, St Louis County Library didn’t have any of his other books. But now that we have access to Mobius, I requested many of his other works from various libraries all over. I am super excited for them to come in. If you want to sit by the window this winter and sip a drink while getting into your feelings about life, this is the book.

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

I feel really humbled and honored that I was nominated for this. I love my library and I hope you come out to Prairie Commons and come see some of our unique, crafty displays and grab some materials while your here!


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!

Library Advocacy Day Registration is officially open today!

Missouri Librarians:

Registration for Library Advocacy Day is officially open today! This unique day gives you the opportunity to join fellow librarians from across the state to speak with and educate our state legislators about the fantastic things happening in Missouri libraries.

Save the date for Wednesday, March 11th, 2020. The day will last from 9:30am to 5:00pm in Jefferson City. Registration will be $30.00 and includes lunch.

Are you ready to share your story with legislators? Register here:

What is Library Advocacy Day?

Library Advocacy Day (LAD) is a day that the Missouri Library Association sets aside each year for library representatives to speak with their respective State Representatives and Senators to discuss the importance of all libraries. The day is open to library staff, trustees, and friends across the state of Missouri. The event occurs in Jefferson City, starting at the Interpretative Center in the Secretary of State’s office and continuing to the capitol building where face-to-face meetings occur.

The face-to-face meetings is where the magic happens. It is our opportunity to brag about how important libraries are in our communities. It is also our opportunity to advocate for continued library funding. If you are at a larger library, funding may not seem as important to you as it is for smaller libraries. However, larger libraries have a unique position in that you may be able to provide more extensive services to individuals in your communities who need our services the most. Those individuals are also important to our legislators. They need to improve job skills, continue their education, build early literacy skills in preparation for school, register to vote, become citizens, and contribute to the economy. Of course, this list goes on and on, but these results/goals are impactful to legislators.

Why Library Advocacy Day?

Through meetings with elected officials, we raise awareness of the importance of State Aid to Public Libraries and the services of the Missouri State Library.

By coming together in Jefferson City on Missouri Library Advocacy Day, we promote libraries in a visible way, and, by our numbers, show the importance of libraries state-wide. Face-to-face discussion is the most effective means of communication and is essential to the establishment of a solid working relationship.

Ongoing Library Advocacy

While this event is important, it is only one communication with your legislators. Your meeting with your legislator should make it easier to contact him/her during the session as issues arise and we ask for your support. Building long term relationships with your legislators is the key to effective communication. This event is a great opportunity to begin building relationships with your elected officials. If you would like help making those first contacts or tips on nurturing your new relationships with legislators, please contact me. The legislative committee is happy to help.

Dan Brower
Legislative Committee Chair
Missouri Library Association