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Notes from Executive Director Scott Garrison – Dec 2021/Jan 2022

This time of year offers many changes, including a change in season, a new year, and a chance for new beginnings. I’ll focus here on some of the changes happening at MCLS, as 2021 ends and 2022 begins.

Two members of the MCLS Board of Directors rotate off of our Board at the end of 2021, after many years of exemplary service and leadership. These two individuals’ dedication to learning, practicing, and keeping other Board members mindful of our Board’s governance system has been critical during a period of larger change for us. I thank outgoing Michigan Public Library Representative Eva Davis (Canton Public Library) and Michigan At Large Representative Paul Gallagher (Western Michigan University) for all they have done as members of our Board. Eva and Paul have each led our Board as president for multiple years. Each of them has emphasized the responsibilities and opportunities our Board members have to stay engaged, serve on Board committees, and hold MCLS’s Executive Director accountable. Eva and Paul have each shown their care and concern for our organization, asking and helping to answer many questions our Board has needed to guide its decisions.

Eva and Paul each leave big shoes to fill. I am heartened that Polly Boruff-Jones (Oakland University), our new Michigan At Large Representative, and Lisa Waskin (Superior District Library), our new Michigan Public Library Representative, begin serving in January. Polly brings previous MCLS Board experience from her time as Indiana Academic Library Representative, and will serve as Board Vice President in 2022. Lisa has built a reputation as a leader before and during her years in Michigan, and is the first person from the Upper Peninsula to serve on the MCLS Board. We will now have Board representation from as far north as Sault Ste. Marie, MI, to as far south as Newburgh, IN.

At their November retreat, the MCLS Board of Directors added language to their Board Policy Manual’s Ends statement, i.e., their vision of why MCLS exists, in section 1.0:

MCLS works to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and accessibility as an organization and in the services and resources it provides.

Our Board refers to diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility by the acronym DEIJA. In previous MCLS newsletters, I’ve written about the need to go beyond words to take action on advancing DEIJA, and look forward to working with the MCLS staff to operationalize this new element of our Board’s vision. In working with our Board this fall, I’m reminded that we are each a work in progress. One Board member kindly reminded me of Maya Angelou’s words, which I consider words to live by: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

MCLS’s single most valuable asset is our staff, some of whom have been with us for many years. In October, we wished our colleague Heather Ladiski only the best as she moved on to a new role elsewhere. Like many, I’ve had the great fortune to have known and worked with Heather in her capacity as an excellent administrator supporting the MCLS Board and the Executive Director, and also as the administrative support to the Michigan Health Sciences Library Association (MHSLA), and the Michigan Academic Library Association (MiALA), which honored her with a named service award in 2021. I will always marvel at Heather’s many contributions over 23 years as a member of the MCLS staff, and consider her a good friend. In wishing her well, I’m also reminded that every ending is a new beginning. Also in October, MCLS had the opportunity to promote Kalyn Huson to the updated role of Association Coordinator and Administrative Specialist. Since Kalyn first joined our staff in 2019, she has become known as a capable colleague on whom we can rely to accomplish multiple types of work across our organization. Kalyn is currently focused on continuing the good work that Heather started with MHSLA and MiALA, and will also begin supporting the MCLS Board in 2022. In November, we also hired Mario Johnson as MCLS’s new Administrative Assistant and Receptionist. I look forward to how Mario settles in as the newest staff member at MCLS, and brings his skills and talents to his new role.

I hope you’re finding ways to pause and recharge while working through your own changes, as 2021 ends and 2022 begins. As always, I encourage you to connect with me anytime, at