New Beginnings – AzLA Conference and Beyond

By Amber Mathewson

As this edition of the AzLA Newsletter is published I will be days away from taking on the role of AzLA President – a new beginning for me for sure! This past year, I have enjoyed so much getting to know more of the librarians and library staff around our state as well as learning the ropes of AzLA. Dan Stanton has done a tremendous job in moving AzLA along this year in our improved website, encouraging and inspiring the leadership, and re-engaging committees and interest groups that had been languishing.

As I write this, I am excited for the changes and opportunities in libraries today. Not too many years ago some among us wondered if there was a time in the not too distant future when libraries would no longer be relevant. The innovation, creativity and passion for service that librarians bring to our profession would never let that happen. Libraries of all types around the nation are taking their place alongside other educational institutions, not as support systems, but as truly educational institutions in and of themselves. Simply changing our language, using words like teacher or instructor instead of presenter, classes instead of programs, and research instead of reference, changes the lens through which libraries are viewed. If you have not done so already, take a look at the Libraries = Education initiative that was started in the Howard County Library System. We know the power of what libraries have to offer, but changing the language we use helps to spread that message to the community and most especially to policy and decision makers.

The ALA Libraries Transform initiative is one that is near and dear to my heart as well. AzLA, in conjunction with the State Library, are embracing this initiative for advocacy as well as focusing our efforts throughout the coming year. It is another opportunity to change the language and the conversation around our library communities. It identifies, describes, and informs on twenty trends that are prevalent in libraries today, from the internet of things, to urbanization, to shifting privacy. The information and toolkits are designed to help you in answering the question of why your library is important by giving because statements such as, “because a quarter of US households do not have an internet connection.”

You have an excellent opportunity this month to fully participate in the AzLA Conference 2015 – Making Connections. The conference committee has put together an exciting array of keynote speakers, conference sessions, and networking opportunities. Embrace the brisk air in Flagstaff and breath in the excitement that the conference brings within each of us. Meet new people, learn new things and think about how you can participate more fully in AzLA in the coming year. Come to the AzLA Business Meeting as well as the President Elect Planning Forum on Thursday from 4:25-4:50 – right before the UA iSchool mixer! Download the Eventbase app on your smart phone or tablet and start planning now!

Let this be a new beginning for you as well.

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