Transform in 2016!

By Amber Mathewson

Here we are already in full swing for 2016. We all talk about how quickly time flies as the New Year rolls in with all of its glittery excitement, wonder, and challenges. We had a wonderful conference in November at the High Country Conference Center! I cannot thank the conference planning committee enough for their time and talents in making such a memorable event. If you were not able to attend, check in with your colleagues who were there and they will certainly share the excitement and energy that built over the course of the three-day conference. Catch them now while it is still fresh in their minds.

In his keynote address, Patrick “PC” Sweeney challenged conference goers to meet new people, try social media, and then to finally think about how we can advocate for libraries in all of our daily interactions. We were reminded throughout the conference of how we make connections every day with our world, our communities, our networks and ourselves. As I talked with librarians from around our great state I was excited all over again about the work we do in helping people in whatever the next steps in their lives are. I had the opportunity to talk with some attendees about the goals for AzLA in the coming year and in December I met again with the AzLA board to discuss those goals in more detail.

During 2015, AzLA made great progress with the website (including a new tool to inform members of legislative issues), and the Marketing and Advocacy Committee worked to bring in speakers and push AzLA out to the community at the Tucson Festival of Books and with Parent Teacher groups around the state. In addition, a great deal of work went into finding a mechanism to sustain and support regional forms for AzLA. Stay tuned for information on a spring regional forum in Casa Grande! All of those areas will remain priorities this year in addition to creating a mentoring network for current and future librarians, re-engaging retired librarians, and using the Libraries Transform tools to further the understanding of the work that libraries do.

As I was sipping my coffee at a local shop last week, I overheard a group of individuals talking about the inappropriate way that individuals use their cell phones and how much “they” are addicted to social media. As I sat there, I realized that humans are always addicted/interested in knowledge and communication. First it was huddling around a radio, then a TV, and now we can each have our own knowledge/communication device connected to us. Learning to manage the information, and communications tools around us, is ultimately what libraries and librarians have always done.

You will undoubtedly be setting many goals/resolutions for yourself in the coming year. I challenge you to make an AzLA goal as well. It could be renewing your membership if you have let it lapse, it could be joining a committee, chairing a committee or just having a conversation either in person or over social media with someone about the role of libraries in our communities today. Re-engage with the passion that brought you to your profession and then bring that passion to the organization that supports libraries in our great state.

Happy New Year, and may you be transformed in 2016!

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