My Priorities - Make Membership a Benefit
Jerry Perry, MLA President, asks us “to step up and become the agents of the change we wish to see – to become gamechangers. “
I have chosen for my theme “Make Membership a Benefit”. I selected 3 goals that I think fall into line with Jerry’s goals for MLA. These goals are:
- Collaboration for Best Practices
- Financial Viability
Preparing the association for “succession planning” in light of the long-anticipated demographic changes to our profession, recognizing the impact that the “Great Recession” is having on our members. ~ Jerry Perry
What impact has the recession had on our members? We have seen librarians asked to downsize their collections, services, or staffs. We have witnessed the closing or consolidation of libraries in our region, whether by layoffs or by attrition as more and more members of our profession reach retirement age.
We must continue our efforts to recruit members and to follow-up with members who do not renew their memberships. We must remember that there is an untapped resource of public librarians who are asked to provide an increasing amount of health information to consumers. We should reach out and offer the benefit of our expertise to them. They could be potential members.
We have increased our recruiting efforts at our regional library schools. We should keep those channels open and encourage the offering of health sciences courses at the schools. Perhaps some of us have an inner teacher waiting to get out?
My first priority is Advocacy. We must open the channels of communication with our administrations BEFORE decisions are made regarding librarians and library services. We must use the tools currently available to us such as our ROI calculator and MLA salary survey data to impress upon administrators the importance of library services to their institutions. This contact should be made through channels of communication used by administrators. We must publish information in the journals and newsletters that THEY read, join THEIR listservs, send letters, flyers, dashboards to THEIR office addresses.
We must publicize awards and honors given to our members by sending notification to their administrators of their achievements.
While it is supportive to send a strongly worded letter of protest once the decision has been made to close or downsize a library, the time to advocate is BEFORE the decision has been made.
Articulating and promoting best practices for our effectively engaging in health information services and practices supporting clinical translational sciences initiatives. ~ Jerry Perry
We do a pretty good job of promoting best practices in our region. The question is, is pretty good, good enough? How can we do a better job?
One avenue for research is to survey the hospitals in our region. Do they have a library? Do they have a professional librarian? Where do they get their health information? How does this affect neighboring hospital libraries?
To promote best practices and innovations, I encourage everyone who is doing something innovative to submit an article to our newsletter.
Another means of communication that MCMLA has is our listserv. This is a wonderful communication tool that lends itself beautifully to collaboration. I encourage everyone to make more use of it. Ask one another for ideas, share your successes, offer suggestions. The listserv isn’t just for meeting announcements and job openings.
Last year, the Wichita planners introduced the Symposium of Sages CE and the Technology Sherpas. That great tradition carried forward to this year’s conference. I encourage future conference planners to consider continuing the tradition.
If you have done something noteworthy, consider presenting a poster or a paper. Contact the education committee and ask about hosting a webinar. Collectively, we know a lot. We need to continue to share our knowledge.
Become Game Changers
We have been approached by the South Central Chapter to consider a joint meeting. The first year available for both chapters is 2014. We should consider this option for future meetings so as to share the planning and the costs while hopefully attracting a larger audience.
We must experiment with the virtual meeting format as we move forward. Meetings can be blended, with an onsite as well as a virtual component. Travel money is depleting as is the availability of time off to attend out-of-town meetings. The virtual format could allow more members to participate in our annual meetings.
Researching the mechanisms for virtual attendance will be a big part of making this successful. We need to find possible formats & discuss whether this is something the chapter wants to invest in so that we don’t exchange one financial burden for another.
As we have heard for years, tuition alone does not support the operations of a school. Neither can dues alone support the activities of an organization. We have relied on our annual meetings to generate additional revenue for our operations, but with the economy the way it is, we cannot expect to continue to gain the same large returns on our meetings. We must strive to find ways to continue the financial stability of the organization, as well as to offer help to our members so they can take advantage of continuing education opportunities. We have begun to research the viability of an endowment fund and will continue to report on our progress.
I have published the new list of officers, committee chairs, and committee members on our website. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who said “yes” when I called. If you would like to volunteer for a committee or task force, please contact me or the chair of the committee you wish to join.
Together, through advocacy, collaboration, and continued financial viability, we can continue to “make membership a benefit.”