New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Past Presidents Reflect on their Presidencies

Compiled by Rocco Staino, ALA Chapter Councilor

As part of NYLA's 125th Anniversary we reached out to past presidents and asked for a memory from their presidency and a wish for the future.  This is the final installment of this series.  Please enjoy!

Sandra Miranda - 1994

Though many years have passed, and much has changed since my presidency, I am struck by what has not. It is unlikely that libraries will ever have enough money or respect, or that individuals in our profession will know everything and work best in isolation. There is no end point, no time when anyone could walk away and say, we've achieved everything, there is nothing more to do.

Discovering one another, listening to and learning from one another, coordinating efforts to get closer to common goals, all these remain critical and rewarding. The benefits extend from the personal out to the widest connections we make, the lives we touch with the ideas we bring back home, and those that are touched with the ideas we share.

I am grateful for the experience I had with so many diverse, energetic, caring people, and I am grateful to know that continues. Being president of NYLA was an honor, a great deal of work, and frustrating at times. Being involved in NYLA was stimulating, instructive and worthwhile in more ways than I can describe. My thanks and admiration are with all of you who, through your own involvement in and experience of NYLA, are advancing all that libraries represent and offer.

I have a cliffhanging memory of the ridiculously narrow margin by which I won my election. It was humbling and made me all the more aware of the need to be inclusive. And I have an exhilarating memory of the 1993 conference that Hillary Clinton attended to promote her health plan. With all that excitement, my inauguration on the last day was surely anticlimactic!

Art Friedman - 2004

There are at least two activities that stick in my memory of my presidential year. As I was coming into office, Susan Keitel decided to retire as NYLA Executive Director and with Past-President Diane Courtney chairing the committee, I participated in the search that led to the hiring of Michael Borges as Director. It is interesting to note that Michael stayed in the position until the next Long Islander was elected NYLA President!

One of the additional responsibilities of NYLA President is to attend ALA Conference to participate in the State Chapter meetings. In 2004, a major health "scare" was the SARS outbreak. Many people were avoiding travel to Canada, especially by aircraft, at the time. ALA held a joint meeting with the Canadian Library Association in Toronto that year and I had the honor of attending that meeting. The Conference was not well attended, although Toronto is a beautiful city and site for the event. On the way back, our flight was delayed because the door on the aircraft would not close properly and they had to find a different plane for our trip back to NYC!