It’s hard to believe, but when this newsletter comes out I will be halfway through my year as AzLA President! At the outset, the 3-year AzLA presidency gig (President-elect/VP, Prez, Past-Prez) seemed like a long time. But it’s needed time, because there is a lot to learn. Even if you’ve been fairly active in AzLA, you get a crash course in the big picture of AzLA. Members are the bottom line, and it can be challenging just to acknowledge the needs of over six hundred individual members whose employment, professional needs and interests, and locations are as varied as the great State of Arizona. We fall into categories like degreed/non-degreed, rural/urban, public/school/academic/special, etc., and we’ve all got expectations of what AzLA can and should do for us and our libraries.
In spite of the top billing, the AzLA President can only do so much, and that’s the way it should be! The most important thing I’ve learned in a year and a half at the top is that AzLA needs strong leadership. As I’ve said before, we are an association of volunteers, committing our time and effort for the greater good, on top of everything else – work, family, life! But that commitment is so important! There is always something going on in AzLA (at least, I hope there is!), and having people who are aware of the environment, are responsive to pressing issues, and are willing to initiate action and work with others to make it happen allows things to flow.
What I like best is the opportunity to try things. The idea of an ever-changing group of volunteer library leaders should mean enthusiasm and can-do attitude. While there is a slight hierarchy in responsibilities (the buck stops with me), there are plenty of opportunities to engage our members and meet their needs. You are welcome (and encouraged) to propose new ideas, new services, and new approaches, and collaboration with other AZ library leaders improves the offering and increases the likelihood of approval by the Board (made up of our AZ library leadership colleagues). We have already accomplished a lot, and it’s time to look ahead to what more we can do.
It is in everyone’s best interest to have good people in our leadership. And, speaking from my own experience, there is there is a lot of ambiguity in these leadership roles, and much depends on the initiative of individuals and the makeup of the leadership group as a whole. No one comes in as an expert, but I’ll wager that if you are willing to make an effort, you will gain some valuable experience. So, with that in mind, I’m asking everyone to consider stepping up for a leadership role in AzLA in the coming months. If there is some aspect of AzLA that you are interested in (or that you think you can improve) I invite you to start asking around. Contact the person currently in the position, or someone else on the Committee. You can also get in touch with the Prez Collective – myself, Amber Mathewson (who will be serving as President come November and can select Committee Chairs), or Ann Boles (who will be overseeing the upcoming election). And if the time is not right for you, encourage your colleagues to step up. Surely there is someone you know who would make a good AzLA Leader; talk to them and give them a boost!
We would love to work with you on behalf of AzLA members and AZ libraries!