When I first started at NYLA in April, one of my several hundred questions to Jeremy was, "What have you been wanting to see accomplished within my role that just hasn't come to fruition yet?" After that meeting, I added at least ten dream projects he had onto my Trello card dedicated to these long-term ideas for NYLA. One of those ideas was introducing a new model of The NYLA Voice where we had regular contributors on a myriad of topics so one of our longest running publications as an Association was more interactive for our members. And, that's when developing a cohort-model of The NYLA Voice contributors was born.

Starting in mid-August, we made our first call to our membership to join our first ever The NYLA Voice Contributors Cohort. And, to our surprise, we received over 30 applications from across the state and profession. After sitting down with each application, I started scheduling out interviews to every applicant.

One of the greatest joys of this process was getting to talk to each and every one of our applicants and learn more about them. Sometimes, when I am plugging away preparing for our conference to managing digital advertising to our social media channels – I don't have the opportunity to really get to know the members I am working on behalf of. So, these interviews were sincerely a moment where I was able to stop with the busyness and focus on each of our shining new writers. 

You'll notice in this issue of The NYLA Voice we have nine new columnists and contributors joining our "OG" columnist, Robert Drake. Moving forward, we will have two larger columns, "Pandemic Pandemonium - Librarians To The Rescue!" and "Out-Of-The-Box Programming" that will have rotating contributors each issue. Then, we will have a myriad of new columnists that will either be writing every issue or every other.  Each of our columnists are NYLA members and are autonomous – we encourage them to boldly share their voice as librarians and library advocates but they are each their own person with their own lived experiences.  With this being said, those writing for The NYLA Voice are not endorsed by The New York Library Association as an entity.

In this issue, I am honored to welcome the following columnists and contributors to The NYLA Voice in their first edition ever!

Rajene Hardeman – Columnist of Libraries In Motion

Abby Adams – Columnist of Abby's Angle

Michelle Isopo – Contributor to Pandemic Pandemonium - Librarians To The Rescue!

Peter Ward  – Columnist of Civic Sense @ Your Library

Alicia Abdul – Columnist of Brain Food: Learning Through Reading 

Alana Mutum – Columnist Of Notes From The New Manager

Stephanie Byrne – Columnist of Byrne Out

Elizabeth Malafi – Columnist of Library Business Connection

Danielle Roder – Contributor to Out-Of-The-Box Programming

Each of these new columnists and contributors have curated each of their pieces to be interactive, meaning, they are seeking YOUR input for future columns and for new column ideas. Some of them even have surveys where they are asking for your opinion. The NYLA Voice is where each of our members can come together as a community with each of their authentic voices – so make sure yours is heard!

So, without further ado, please treat yourself with this very special issue of The NYLA Voice. Get your favorite heated blanket, grab a cup of homemade pumpkin spice coffee or a hot apple cider, pop some American Horror Story in the background, and delve into the future of The NYLA Voice.

And, wait, before you enjoy this issue, I have more good news! We have new columnists and contributors coming in December and into 2021. Stay tuned!

Christina Romeo is the Communications and Marketing Manager for the New York Library Association and the editor of The NYLA Voice. When she isn't in the office, you can find her tending to her indoor plant babies, cuddling her cats, updating her Animal Crossing New Horizons Island, and/or volunteering for GLSEN Upstate NY and/or organizing locally in reparations and racial justice-oriented work. Have questions about this issue or future issues of The NYLA Voice? Feel free to email her at marketing@nyla.org  or call her 518-432-6952 x105