New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

From the President

by Barbara Stripling, NYLA President

As a NYLA member, you have expectations for the role of NYLA in the New York library ecosphere and your own professional life.  Maybe you expect NYLA to function as a hub, connecting you to a network of colleagues who will enable you to improve your own practice.  Perhaps you rely on NYLA to act as an advocate for public and legislative support for libraries.  You probably depend on NYLA and its sections and roundtables to be providers of myriad professional development opportunities.

NYLA is stepping up to redefine a role that you may not have even considered – that of convener.  The standard definition of convene is to “come together,” but in today’s complex world, coming together is only part of what creates change and moves ideas forward.  In its convening role, NYLA is actually following the model of success described by Henry Ford: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

Convening as Coming Together
Conferences and institutes represent critical moments of coming together for NYLA members and library supporters.  I hope you have made plans to attend the NYLA Annual Conference on November 9-11 in Saratoga Springs.  With the conference theme of “Choose Your Own Adventure,” you can be assured of countless opportunities to network with and learn from your colleagues.  If you are a school librarian, you are hopefully planning to attend the NYLA/SSL Summer Leadership Institute on August 3-4 at Cornell, where the attendees will learn to be future-ready librarians.  Library systems and regional affiliates are offering numerous and diverse learning opportunities across the state throughout the summer and fall.

In addition to the normal coming-together events, NYLA has stepped up to the convener role for New York’s academic and special libraries by hosting an Academic Library Summit on June 9 in Albany.  Representatives from academic and special library organizations will assemble to identify the complex issues facing these libraries and envision strategies to address those issues as a library community.

Convening as Keeping Together
You might have had the same experience as I have after gaining terrific new ideas at an exciting library event – I get back to my normal world of pressures and responsibilities and just cannot start to implement new ideas on my own.  NYLA offers us ways to keep together, to maintain our momentum and spirit even as we are working separately in our own libraries and communities.  NYLA is replete with volunteer opportunities, from elected offices to service in committees, task forces, and roundtables.  Many of the current NYLA initiatives were started by one or two people with an interest and a passion.  Propose an idea and let NYLA help you figure out how to get it done.

The idea of keeping together is actually what propelled me to start the Everyday Advocacy initiative and ask Ron Kirsop to lead it.  I see advocacy as a continuing effort of conversation, affirmation, and connection, not a once- or twice-a-year event.  By enabling every library supporter, whether a library employee or an interested member of the community, to recognize and speak up about the impact and value of libraries of all types, this initiative has the potential to build sustained relationships with our communities.  Everyday Advocacy will keep us together.

Convening as Working Together
By helping us to come together and to build a fabric of sustained connections, NYLA has prepared us for the long run – working together to create change.  The outcome from the Academic Library Summit will be proposed actions that we can take together to change the landscape and address the complex issues faced by academic and special libraries (and, to some degree, by libraries of all types).  

The actions embedded in the NYLA Strategic Plan are being carried by units across the association.  You can, in fact, read about the good work of your NYLA colleagues in this eBulletin.

This summer, I hope to be an ambassador of NYLA’s convening role by visiting libraries and library systems across the state and meeting with local librarians and library supporters.  Please invite me to come when it is convenient; I would love to build a schedule that enables us to work together to strengthen libraries across the state of New York.