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Notes from Executive Director Scott Garrison – November 2023

Conferences and other events are a good means for building collaboration, engagement, and relationships, seeking innovative ideas, listening, and learning. Fall is a busy conference season for many, including us at MCLS. This month, I’ll touch on some conferences and events where I and other MCLS staff have been/will be this fall, and some of what we’re learning and sharing. As always, my goal here is to seek opportunities to engage with and hear from you. I hope you’ll look for the MCLS staff at an upcoming conference or other event. 

I’ll begin with conferences and events since September: 

  • At Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Region of Library Cooperation (UPRLC) conference Sept. 13-14, I presented a workshop on developing positive workplace relationships and participated in a panel discussion on Michigan organizations that support libraries with moderator Dillon Geshel and fellow panelists Kristin Fontichiaro (UM-Ann Arbor School of Information), Clare Membiela (Library of Michigan), and Amber Sheerin (Michigan Library Association). MCLS staff Chelsea Denault and Laura Warren-Gross also presented on digital preservation and MeL eResources, respectively. 
  • At the Indiana State Library’s Discovery to Delivery conference on Oct. 13, I gave a keynote about the current and potential future state of resource sharing (including in both Indiana and Michigan), and spent time with over 50 Indiana academic, public, and state library resource sharing and other staff. As part of my keynote, conference attendees participated in small group discussion about what to bring from past practice to create a desired future for Indiana resource sharing. 
  • At the Michigan Library Association (MLA) conference Oct. 18-20, I helped welcome new conference attendees and offered information about some of the many things we do at MCLS. I also participated in a Think Space cohort conversation catching up on freedom to read and other issues. My big MLA takeaways included new ideas on evaluation and evaluative thinking, intellectual freedom and the freedom to read and related legislation and advocacy, and restorative practices. I was especially struck by Ellen Hopkins’ keynote based on her experience as an author of banned books including Crank, which has received many letters of appreciation from readers. My colleagues Chelsea Denault, Jenny Kobiela-Mondor, Mary Ruthko, Pam Seabolt, and Laura Warren-Gross each presented on their areas of expertise (including marketing, strategic planning, and more), and our colleague Jan Davidson also gave her first MLA presentation, on gathering with intentionality and purpose. Jan’s presentation was one of two at MLA that highlighted points from Priya Parker’s influential book The Art of Gathering 
  • At the International Coalition of Library Consortia Europe/Middle East/Asia (ICOLC EMEA) meeting Oct. 25-28, I gave a brief overview of what we do at MCLS as part of a panel discussion with consortium representatives from Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, and the UK. I learned about current developments in copyright, Open Access (including transformative agreements) and open science, and other library consortia work in Europe and Asia. I also participated in a discussion about how other consortia use the ConsortiaManager system to handle eResource orders for libraries. 

Turning to upcoming conferences and meetings: 

  • The MCLS Board of Directors’ annual retreat will be Nov. 3-4 in New Buffalo, MI. The retreat will be facilitated by MCLS strategic planning consultant Spartina Consulting, oriented toward MCLS’s emerging strategic planning process, and will include the MCLS management team and several other staff. Our goal for this year’s retreat is to connect the Board’s and staff’s member engagement work and co-create an inclusive strategic planning process. 
  • At the Charleston Conference Nov. 7-10, I will speak as part of a panel on academic and intellectual freedom. I’ll also engage with ConsortiaManager staff and other consortia that use the system on ways to improve the software. I will learn about the current state of academic publishing, impacts of artificial intelligence (AI), progress toward various Open Access initiatives, eResource licensing and usage, DEIJA and collections, Controlled Digital Lending, the future of library consortia, and more. 
  • At the Indiana Library Federation conference Nov. 13-14, I’ll share information with Indiana library colleagues about what we do at MCLS, and learn about advocacy, intellectual freedom/freedom to read, DEIJA work, wellbeing, and more. My colleagues Stephanie Davis, Jenny Kobiela-Mondor, Lissa Krull, Mary Ruthko, and Pam Seabolt will present at ILF on a variety of topics. I encourage you to go see them speak, and engage with us at our exhibit booth. 

Please mark your calendar for the MCLS Annual Meeting Nov. 28 at 10 a.m.-noon Eastern (9-11 a.m. Central).  We will review some highlights from the past year, offer some updates, and engage with you about MCLS’s upcoming strategic planning process with our partners at Spartina Consulting.

Somewhere in all of that fall activity, I’ll look forward to a nice Thanksgiving weekend, which hopefully will include wins by the Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, and your favorite team(s)! 

Building relationships and engaging with members, partners, vendors, and others is really important to us at MCLS. We want to build and promote collaboration, innovation, and learning in and between the libraries we serve, and part of how we do that is attending, presenting at, and sponsoring conferences and events. 

What have you learned recently, and what are you looking forward to at upcoming conferences and events? Let me know at I hope to see you this fall!