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Notes from the Executive Director – March 2019

I’m very excited to begin work as Executive Director at the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS) on Monday, March 4. I have a profound appreciation and respect for MCLS as an organization, and the work its dedicated and driven staff do for and with its diverse member libraries, vendors, Board of Directors, and other partners within and beyond Indiana and Michigan. In my first several weeks on the job, I’ll focus on learning about the many people who make MCLS what it is: a responsive, reliable, and open partner that helps libraries of all types achieve more together, through providing services and fostering collaboration, learning, sharing, and innovation.

I’ve begun scheduling visits and meetings in the coming weeks with people representing multiple MCLS constituencies; if you’d like to meet, please contact me directly at I have many questions for members and others I’ll be working with as Executive Director. Some things I’d like to know about include:

  • your relationship with MCLS – what does MCLS help you do?
  • the value MCLS delivers (to your library, company, or organization)
  • any unmet needs your library, company, or organization may have
  • what future roles MCLS might play
  • how you prefer to receive communication from MCLS

I want to hear your stories, your successes, and how MCLS may have helped you along the way, whether through group purchasing, training, consulting, turning outward toward your community, or other means.

Finally, please join me in recognizing and thanking retiring Executive Director Randy Dykhuis for his truly exemplary leadership over his 23 years at MCLS. I’m sure that like me, many in our extended community have learned a great deal from working with him. Randy knows when to listen, and when to speak; when to follow others’ lead, and when to take the lead. He has demonstrated the blend of strategy, stimulation, sustainment, and stewardship, and of risk, reward, relationships, and responsibility required to be an effective Executive Director at MCLS. Randy balances honesty and forthrightness with tact and diplomacy, and passion with a practical nature. He has kept MCLS present at many tables, at many critical junctures, guiding our community forward and helping libraries do so much more together than we could have separately. Succeeding Randy Dykhuis would be a daunting proposition for anyone, but the opportunity to lead the organization he and the staff have built is an amazing one, and a distinct privilege.

I believe deeply in collaboration and building relationships based on trust, shared values, and a focus on the best future libraries can create for themselves and their communities. I look forward to working with a variety of partners to serve the libraries in our region. I look forward to meeting you and learning about your stories, successes, needs, and how MCLS currently serves you and could serve you in the future. As I learn, I invite any questions, input, or feedback you may have. Again, please feel free to contact me at