The Importance of Participating

by AnnaLee Dragon

Hi everyone! You may recognize me from this year's NYLA Presidential Campaign! While there are many things I have done unsuccessfully in my life, this was by far my favorite!

I'm writing to thank every one of the excellent NYLA members who participated in the election this year, whoever you chose to vote for. I didn’t win the election, but I won in a million other even more important ways. I won with new experiences, supportive friends and colleagues, an expanded professional network, and stories I can tell for years. It’s always hard and humbling to lose something you are passionate about, but we need to go out on a limb if we want to reach the fruit. Words can’t express my gratitude for all of your kind words and encouragement, because those were the best gifts of all. I’m a lucky librarian!

The other reason I'm writing is to encourage any/everyone who has ever thought about running for NYLA office, or participating in a more meaningful way to DO IT! I know that for many years I waited to be invited to the table, but it doesn't need to work that way. It is much quicker and more efficient if you just step up and put yourself out there. NYLA is first and foremost a membership organization. We need to be the change we want to see in our profession, and that begins with pulling up a seat to the table. I know better than anyone that it can be scary and intimidating, but I'm here to tell you it is also hugely important and so much fun. You will learn a lot about yourself and your peers, you'll meet new people and make new connections, and you'll see how you can make a positive impact on the organization just by showing up.

NYLA has thousands of members, but only 700 or so people voted in this past election. We can do better than that, but we all need to work together to move that needle. There is so much talent and brain-power in our field, stand up and share your talents unapologetically. I promise you that you will be better for it, and so will the association.