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Member Services 2.0

Nancy Kirkpatrick reflects on her first year with MCLS, changes you may have seen within Member Services, and her vision for the future of the department.

Hi, Nancy. You’ve been at MCLS for just over a year now. What’s it been like?

Simply put, it’s been a whirlwind! When I was elected to the MCLS board in the fall of 2014, I had no idea it would lead to a position working for the organization. However, it’s been a great experience both personally and professionally. I’m enjoying the opportunity to meet and work with more librarians in both Michigan and Indiana.

You were the library director at Marian University in Indianapolis before coming to MCLS. What are the biggest differences between an academic library and a consortium?

Two of the biggest differences I’ve encountered are scope, and the speed at which things can move. Working in an academic environment sometimes felt like living in an alternate universe, where things moved at varying rates of speed that had nothing to do with urgency or perceived need. I was also very focused on the specific needs of the users in that universe only. Working for a consortium has broadened my focus because we represent all library types, not just academic, and things can and do move much more quickly in many instances. It’s made me realize how all library types work together over the life of our readers, which I probably didn’t fully appreciate before working here.

You’ve been manager of Member Services and responsible for group licensing since July when Diana left. You worked at MCLS for about five months before taking over as manager. What’s your vision for Member Services at MCLS? What changes have you implemented since you became manager?

Diana was an amazing asset to MCLS, and the success of our group licensing is a testament to her hard work and negotiating savvy. I’m thankful I had an opportunity to train with her before her retirement.

My vision for Member Services is to continue to provide excellent customer service to our libraries so that they see the value in being members of MCLS, and to maintain the strong relationships we have with our vendors. Specifically, that means handling requests in a timely fashion, continuing to negotiate favorable terms with vendors for group purchases, and being open to new opportunities for growth. We’ve had some staffing changes, and have restructured our department and processes to ensure that we can provide great service in any circumstance.

I’ve been promoted to the role of Associate Director, and will be working with Randy on direction, strategy, and development of new services. Chrystal Babbitt, who has been with MCLS for almost three years, is taking a more active role in the management of ejournal and database group purchases, working with both members and vendors. Megan Bauerle, who joined us last November, is handling more administrative details including the renewal and quotes processes, and is taking the lead in our marketing efforts.

Any fun facts that you want to let everyone know about you?

People have questioned me about moving north to the land of ice and snow, but I actually grew up in rural Minnesota so blizzards and freezing temperatures are not foreign to me. I have experience riding snowmobiles and ice fishing (both with and without a fish house). And since I’m an avid knitter, I can always make myself some new gear to wear when the temperatures dip!