Candidate for NYLA President-Elect (Representing a Public Library) (2023-24)
Director of the Lindenhurst Memorial Library
I still have a copy of my very first library paycheck. I was 14 years old and a library page at the Farmingdale Public Library. The $15 check (minimum wage was $3.35 back then!) represented to me new possibilities and was the start of a lifetime spent learning. Barring a brief diversion outside of libraries (where I worked in a mom-and-pop small video store for two years), my entire working career has taken place in a variety of library settings: seven public libraries, one public library system, and a K-6 school library. At 51 years of age, I have spent 37 of those years learning, sometimes making mistakes, learning some more, growing, and evolving as a library worker, a library leader, and an active member of NYLA.
I decided to run for NYLA President because I want the organization that I care deeply about to thrive and bounce back from recent disruptions. I respect that there are always going to be differences in opinions and thoughts, especially in a group with membership numbers in the thousands. Those differences are one of the key strengths of NYLA because an organization that is 132 years old is the very definition of resiliency and strength.
I want to extend olive branches, increase membership across all areas to help stabilize our finances, and increase membership engagement. I want to listen to your stories, and your ideas, on ways that NYLA can grow and strengthen itself from a financial perspective, a membership perspective, and a strategic perspective.
Collectively, we need to develop a realistic long-range plan that will give NYLA and its membership the necessary tools to bounce back from an international pandemic that is turning into an endemic, an economic recession that has affected our financials as an organization, and staff turnover that has left our organization vulnerable.
From intellectual freedom challenges, climate change damage, shrinking budgets, and a weary workforce who have been asked to do extraordinary things over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am here to listen, grow, and make sure that the thousands of unique voices that make up the notes of NYLA are heard. Thank you for your consideration of my candidacy.
Lisa Kropp is the Director of the Lindenhurst Memorial Library, which became the third library in the country to achieve Sustainable Libraries Certification from the Sustainable Libraries Initiative, in 2019. She is currently overseeing a 10 million dollar expansion and renovation of the Library.
She played an active role in re-establishing the Library as a vital piece of the local community through innovative partnerships with local businesses and organizations, which included the successful launch of a community events calendar hosted and maintained by the Library, along with an annual Community Directory. She has been actively involved in NYLA for many years, serving on the board of both the Youth Services Section and the Leadership and Management Section. She was the secretary for the Sustainable Thinking and Action (START) roundtable for NYLA. Lisa serves as Chair of the NYLA Council Sustainability Committee. She is an NYLA Councilor-at-Large representing public libraries, on NYLA Council.
In addition to her volunteer commitment to NYLA, she is active in the American Library Association, where she currently serves as the Coordinator of ALA’s Sustainability roundtable, SustainRT. She was recently appointed to the ALA Council Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship. Lisa is the co-author of a book chapter on the Sustainable Library Certification Program in the recently published Libraries and Sustainability: Programs and Practices for Community Impact. She was the early learning columnist for School Library Journal for 4.5 years.
A frequent presenter both regionally and nationally on the topics of sustainability, early learning practices, and customer service engagement allows her the ability to connect across a wide range of library types with different service models. She teaches at St. John’s University as an Adjunct Assistant Professor, with coursework focused on early learning best practices and information services, and customer service.
Lisa has experience working in public libraries, public library systems, and school libraries. She was the Youth Services Coordinator for the Suffolk Cooperative Library System for three years, where she helped oversee countywide programs such as The Great Play Date, Battle of the Books, and Author’s Unlimited. She worked closely with the children and young adult department heads of the 56 member libraries, sharing best practices in programming, staff management, and evaluation, collection development and weeding, and policy development related to youth services.
In her role as a school media specialist, for the Port Washington School District, she launched a successful summer reading campaign called “Sousa Summer Suitcases”. Selected students could take 12-18 titles home from the school library for the summer to ensure they had quality reading materials to help prevent summer slide. Teachers identified these students as needing additional learning support, or under socio-economic stressors.
When she is not advocating for libraries, Lisa is most likely trying to tire her puppy Willow out with a long hike, gardening in her backyard, or enjoying a beach and the salt air with her family.