I’m running for the LITA (Library Information Technology Association) board as a Director-at-Large. My official statement and ballot information is available on the LITA website. I thought it would be useful to expand on that official statement and say a little more about why I chose to run.
First, a little history. When I was in library school, I ended up getting involved in three different student chapters: ALA, SLA, and PLG (I was a founding member of the UIUC Progressive Librarian’s Guild Student Chapter). I had leadership roles in all these chapters, whether committee chair, secretary, treasurer, or president (in various combinations for each). In fact, when I think back to almost any volunteer organization I’ve been part of, I usually end up on the board. Why is that?
I really commit to organizations, for one. I am generally careful about how I spend my professional time (though leaving lots of room for experimentation and new ideas), and so when I commit to something it’s because I believe in the mission and aims, and in maintaining and building on those. Another thing is that I understand and enjoy the un-fun but extremely necessary work of governance: paying attention to the procedures, documenting decisions, and following the by-laws– and the laws those by-laws reference. That’s why you’ll often find me in the role of treasurer, and why I was the one to complete and submit the paperwork for the Read/Write Library Chicago to become tax-exempt. In my day job I spend a lot of time thinking about procedures, workflows, and documentation. As LITA Chair Coordinator, I am constantly reminding chairs about where things need to go.
This is not to say that I am a boring person obsessed with following the rules. I’m very interested in pushing things forward and getting rid of outdated policies, but with reference to what makes sense for the organization and its history. For instance, when I chaired the LITA Web Coordinating Committee, I realized that there was a major gap that needed filling for the LITA Blog. It was a platform that lacked direction, and while technically the LITA WCC was supposed to be in charge, this didn’t seem like it was going in the right direction. I read through old meeting minutes and talked to a few people to try to understand what the original intentions were for the blog. Ultimately I realized we needed to add a LITA Blog Editor position, and worked with the committee to solicit and vet candidates. The blog editor has become an officially appointed position now, and the blog is actually a living thing with interesting posts that is good outreach for LITA . I’ve seen the social media stats–I know those posts get a lot of clicks. (The current blog editor, Lindsay Cronk, is also running for the LITA board!)
I’ve been fortunate to work closely with all the LITA presidents as an Emerging Leader and then WCC chair. LITA is a flat hierarchy as ALA divisions go, and I love that about it. But I’m particularly excited about this upcoming year for LITA, because Andromeda Yelton will be president of LITA starting in July. As vice-president she’s been doing a lot of great stuff, and I know she will continue this as president. I’ve been working with Andromeda on LITA projects for years now, and I would love to continue to nerd out on association management philosophy. I just found an email exchange we had 5 years ago almost about deep philosophical and perceptual issues in LITA and Code4Lib, and the themes in that email exchange are things I know we still both bring with us in our daily LITA work.
So while the slate for Director-at-Large is almost impossibly good, I hope you’ll consider voting for me. Either way, I’ll still be there for LITA.