New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Leadership and Management Section (LAMS) Update

Submitted by Barbara Madonna, LAMS President

The LAMS board met in December 2016.  The two main focuses of the meeting were programs for the 2017 conference and a discussion about President Barbara Stripling’s proposed task force on equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Our board is blessed to have representation from around the state, but we are still predominately white and female.  We see this reflected in the leadership throughout NYLA too.  And while our upstate libraries may have pockets of diversity within our communities, conversations with our Board member from Queens illustrated a striking difference in not only the people we serve, but the composition of our staffs.

We see this demographic reflected in the leadership throughout NYLA and know it has been a topic of discussion during the development of the newest strategic Plan.  As a result, the Board has decided to focus this year on diversity within our professional field as a first step and, hopefully, an example.

We came up with the following action items:

  1. While we brainstormed enough program ideas to fill all of our slots, we will leave 1 slot open for a suggestion from the NYLA-wide survey.  We cannot ask the wider community for input and ideas and then ignore them.
  2. We would like to dedicate another program slot to discussing the very diversity concerns addressed in the task force set up by Barbara Stripling. The panel would consist of a diverse group of librarians discussing the very nature of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the libraries and how that reflects upon the communities they serve.
  3. We have three openings on our board and we hope to bring on more diversity with the new appointments.
  4. We will be examining our By-laws and board composition with regard to terms and transitions.  As highlighted with the retirement of our dedicated Treasurer after 24 years of service to LAMS and the previous RoundTable, though we have had some turnover of late, there is no mechanism within our structure for it.  We recognize that leaders need to be cultivated and given an opportunity to gain experience. Therefore we want to establish a system that provides opportunities for new people to join and participate.
  5. We want to create some sort of welcome package for new LAMS members. We want to reach out to them before conference. Say hello, put faces to names, invite them to join us at the booth, at programs, at our board meeting at conference.
  6. We are looking to redesign our booth for conference to make it a more welcoming place where people can hang out and have a conversation rather than a table between the LAMS volunteers and attendees. It will also help us break out of our own introverted shells.
  7. We will also be talking to our JLAMS’ editor to see if this topic is appropriate and viable for an issue.