Why I’m Voting for Gina

I’ve known Gina through ALA since she was a front line librarian in Missouri. She has always been professional, proactive, and productive. I am a school librarian so you might wonder why I am voting for Gina — She’s the image I want projected for ALA! She has energy, she’s lively, she’s interesting! Gina Milsap can think on her feet, something librarians do every day and need to be good at in today’s fast-paced environment. She’s decisive and well-spoken. Gina will represent our association well and be welcomed by press, vendors, and members alike! I urge you to vote for Gina Milsap! Tell your friends!

A Vision for Heartland Visioning in 2012

In November, I began serving as chair of the Heartland Visioning Process for Topeka and Shawnee County. I’ve been working with Heartland Visioning since its beginning in 2008. This new development is a great opportunity to work with my co-chair, Harry Craig, executive director, William Beteta, and the many community leaders who are focused on making Topeka and Shawnee County a prosperous and progressive community.

A lot of important and exciting things have happened since 2008. Like any big project, Heartland Visioning needs consistent review, revision and refocusing. That’s what we’ll be doing in 2012:

  • Looking at our process – determining how we can make it better
  • Reviewing the strategic plan and taking that it back to the community for feedback and approval
  • Building grassroots leadership capacity in our community – to ensure that there is continued energy, expertise and interest focused on important initiatives like downtown revitalization, riverfront development and many other projects that help create an environment that facilitates economic development, education, quality of life and the arts and culture and ensures that our community moves forward because of the strength of our public/private partnerships.

Read more… Heartland Visioning e-newsletter archive

Meeting Nancy Pearl, the 2011 Librarian of the Year

Me and Marie Pyko, adult services manager, hanging out with Nancy Pearl, 2011 Librarian of the YearI met the librarian’s librarian today. Her name is Nancy Pearl, and she is the goddess of what we call readers advisory in library land. I know her books (Book Lust, More Book Lust, Book Lust to Go and of course, Book Crush). Any librarian worth his or her salt is familiar with her philosophy and advice on helping readers find books they will love.

She challenged us with the notion that the phrase we’ve used for decades to describe how librarians serve readers (readers advisory) is perhaps not the right one. We don’t really give advice on what to read. We try to help readers find books that they will enjoy and that facilitates the discovery of something they might not find on their own. Think of a librarian as your own personal reading consultant.

We’re developing relationships with readers, based on knowledge of each other and trust that we don’t judge anyone’s reading tastes or preferences. A “good” book is one the reader likes; a “bad” book is one the reader doesn’t like. It’s that simple.

Nancy Pearl, and some of the Celebrate the Book Reader's Advisory Conference Planning CommitteeNancy’s appearance was for our Celebrate the Book conference at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. Celebrate the Book has become a must-attend for librarians throughout Kansas (and even a few neighbors from other states.) Several members of our adult services staff spend months planning this learning opportunity for their colleagues. They are experts in developing fascinating sessions that celebrate books and reading. This year that includes sessions on can’t-put-them-down reads for teens and tweens, vampire fiction and how to transition to the world of eBooks.

Reading is becoming more convenient and our choices on what we read, how we read, when we read and what form our book will take are expanding. Every time someone who doesn’t use libraries suggests that libraries are becoming irrelevant and that interest in reading books is declining, I smile and politely point out that libraries are more popular and busier than they’ve ever been.

Nancy PearlYou’ll never know where you’ll find that next favorite book. And, your choices can be overwhelming, but feel free to talk to our librarians. Not only will they assist you in finding a book you’ll love or a new author that writes like an old favorite, they’ll make you a personalized reading list just for you. Fill out a simple form on our Digital Branch and our reading experts will create a special list of books just for you. As Nancy Pearl says, “People come into the library and head straight to the section where they have found the most pleasure…. It is our job to take them around to the rest.”