From the President: Because of You – Libraries Transform!

By Sandy Edwards

By the time you read this, we will almost be through the first quarter of 2017, and a lot has been going on in the past couple of months!

At the end of January, I attended the ALA Midwinter 2017 Conference in Atlanta. It was quite a busy downtown area, with 60,000 women marching on Saturday, the 15K/5K Hot Cocoa race on Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons/Green Bay Packers championship game on Sunday, and the ALA Conference Thursday through Tuesday. Most of the time, it was also pouring rain! For those of you who are not familiar with a midwinter conference, it is considered more of a “working” conference, with many committee meetings rather than informative programs. I attended the Chapter Leaders Forum all day on Friday. This is a meeting whereby leaders of the state associations gather and discuss topics of mutual interest. Our ALA Councilor, Aimee Fifarek, attended as well. Two separate presentations were given on the topic of “Reorganizing to create more effective library associations.” There were also presentations on “Tips for a successful library advocacy day” and “We’ve got to stop meeting like this…(making meetings work).” After lunch, there is always open discussion on a number of topics that attendees have suggested. The only disadvantage to having this after lunch is that there’s never enough time to discuss everything!

ALA has created a Chapter Relations Committee, and I attended both of those meetings, as well as the Chapter Councilor’s Forum meeting. These meetings were interesting and provided a good opportunity to get to know chapter leaders and councilors from a number of states.

I no sooner returned home to Arizona than I was on the road again, two days later, headed to Prescott for the YA Summit. However, I first made a stop in Camp Verde to see the new library that opened in November 2016. What a nice library, with a beautiful view of the snow-capped mountains from one of the many balconies! Kathy Hellman, Library Director (and Treasurer of this organization) gave me a great tour of the new facility! I am so glad I made this visit!

At the Prescott Conference Center and Resort, AzLA, in sponsorship with the Library Development Division of the Arizona State Library, had its first 2-1/2 day YA Summit! This was a huge success! Keynote speakers were Maggie Stiefvater, Janette Rallison and Matt De La Pena. They were all very inspiring! There were several break-out sessions with presenters from in-state and out-of-state. The comments on the evaluation forms were wonderful!

On Thursday, February 23, AzLA had its first E-Resources Forum with staff from sixteen different vendors. Each vendor gave a short presentation about their product(s). After all the presentations, they sat on a panel and answered questions from members of the audience. There was a good mix of attendees, including a variety of library types, and many attendees from outside of the Valley. The Forum was sponsored by nine of the participating vendors, and for that AzLA is very appreciative! It was a very successful and informative day!

Conference planning for AzLA 2017 is underway, and a call for program proposals has gone out. So, if you are doing something at your library that you want to share, please submit your proposal. I’ll be keeping you updated on the Conference as we move through the next few months. Remember, it’s October 2527 at the Mesa Convention Center!

Sandy Edwards is AzLA President.

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