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Notes from the Executive Director – August 2019

One thing I really appreciate about the MCLS Board of Directors is their commitment to staying connected with our members and how MCLS serves them, and could serve them in the future. To that end, the Board created a brief survey that we sent out to all MCLS members on July 16. If you haven’t already, please complete the survey today. We want to hear from you! The Board will use the data we gather to continue advancing their vision for our organization. Then, in turn, I will work with our staff to operationalize that vision. Everyone does their part so MCLS can serve our members and the library community.

Clearly, it takes a great deal of hard work and execution to realize any vision. That’s where our amazing MCLS staff come in! I want to say just a few words this month about our staff, and what they do for you. One theme I hope you’ll take away is how each of our staff contributes to managing effective and productive working relationships, which is key to everything we do at MCLS.

Executive Assistant Heather Ladiski handles many details every day (including working with the Board and me to get the survey out.) Heather supports me in meeting the Board’s expectations, and makes sure I get where I need to be. She also ensures that the Board has the meeting and other materials they need, and takes care of many processes, tasks, and arrangements for them. Heather also serves as the Administrative Assistant for the Michigan Academic Library Association (MiALA.)

Our Engagement, Consulting, and Training team, led by Michelle Bradley, works with libraries to advance their community engagement efforts, delivers consulting, including meeting facilitation and strategic planning, and runs our training program (which includes cataloging, soft skills, technology skills for library staff, and much more.) Along with Michelle, Jan Davidson, Gwen Haviland, Pam Seabolt, and David Votta each participate in engaging with libraries in different ways, from facilitating small and large groups, to gathering, managing, and analyzing demographic and other data, to teaching public library staff about technology, to keeping tabs on what’s happening in libraries in each state. Michelle and Pam are both based in the Lafayette, IN area.

Our Group Purchasing team, led by Stephanie Davis, serves as our link between over 70 electronic resource, book, journal, other material, and system vendors and suppliers and hundreds of libraries seeking better deals through group pricing. Alicea Doyle and Chrystal Pickell work with Stephanie to manage product price quotes, renewals, invoicing, and a great deal of communication with, between, and for libraries and vendors. They also educate libraries about products that are available. Having just completed a very busy month of July, the team recently processed 1,200 renewals for our summer 2019 cycle!

Our IT and Accounting team, led by Mark Szidik, ensures that our member information and systems stay up to date, makes sure our finances are in order at all times, takes care of the building we own and occupy in Lansing, and provides fiscal agent services to other organizations (including MiALA and the Michigan Health Sciences Libraries Association). Working with Mark, Cheryl Burley, Nick Carey (our newest employee, as of June), Tessa Genovese, Niki Horner, and Janet LaCross maintain our internal and public-facing technology infrastructure, perform very accurate accounting, and help lower barriers to all of our staff being successful in their work. One recent example of lowering barriers is the office swap project that Tessa coordinated, to arrange our staff office locations in a logical manner that keeps us collaborating.

Our Shared Library Systems team, led by Debbi Schaubman and working closely with several staff at the Library of Michigan, promotes the many rich resources in the Michigan eLibrary, and operates the Michigan eLibrary Catalog (MeLCat), as well as the RIDES delivery service. Along with Debbi, Sue Alt, Sean Cwiek, Megan Dudek, Ann Kaskinen, Jackie Licalzi, and Theresa Runyan work to update libraries on the 83 MeL eResources, make sure the libraries have what they need to participate in MeLCat (including as they migrate between systems), and troubleshoot problems that arise with MeL, MeLCat, and RIDES.

It truly is a privilege to work with our excellent staff, and I could say much more about the great work they do for you. Hopefully this article has given you a bit more insight about us. We are always available if you have any questions or ideas. You can reach me directly at, or (800) 530-9019 ext 119.