Your position: Executive Director
Educational Background: B.A., Anthropology from St. John Fisher College, Rochester; M.S. in Library Science from Syracuse University.
What is most interesting about your position? The variety of our programs and services; and especially working with the region's library staff-and colleagues beyond our region-across all types of libraries/systems/cultural organizations. I also love visiting members and continually learning more about them, and conducting focus groups. Focus groups give us a chance to interact with our members' communities-however "community" is defined. And...you never know what a given day will bring!
What has been your biggest professional challenge? Successful advocacy on all levels including helping our members demonstrate value and relevance to their own communities and stakeholders.
What was your background before becoming a librarian? Other than a stint at college working in the VIP lounge at the Rochester American hockey games and for my anthropology profs, I have worked in libraries since age 15. Back in the day a patron knowing my job title was "page" humorously remarked, "who knows…someday you might be a whole book!" With the advent of Human Libraries, that is entirely possible! :D
What would you be doing if you weren't a librarian? An anthropologist specializing in archaeoastronomy or organizational culture, a physical education or aerobics instructor, or a bassist for a progressive rock metal band.
What is the most interesting issue in librarianship today? Just one??? (-: Looking at the big picture pieces happening in our world and the role of libraries of all types in addressing and responding to them (examples are demographic shifts, new technologies--from blockchain to drones and learning platforms--neutrality, inclusivity, climate change, sustainability, open access/OER and their social justice implications, misinformation/"fake news").
What are you most proud of? I'd rather discuss what I am feeling positive about. This includes all that SCRLC has been able to accomplish as a team in partnership with our membership as well as that our programs and services help our members and their communities. The library community outside our region also benefits from our remote CE programs and the digital collections that we help our members avail via New York Heritage. Our IMLS-supported Design for Learning (D4L) project produced modules that are now available through WebJunction for free and are used worldwide. And, D4L contains a diversity module, thanks to Loriene Roy (U of TX @ Austin) who invested so much of her time-way beyond the initial development-as did Marilyn Arnone from Syracuse U with those she created. The entire project team led by Arden Kirkland, our coordinator exemplar, did a fantastic job. Beyond Julia, Jessica, Danna, and Diane here at SCRLC, there was Lori Bell, Helen Linda, Nicolette Warisse Sosulski, Rae Anne Montague, David Lankes, Tom Peters, and our original project coordinator, Diane Kovacs. Thanks to EVERYONE! Visit https://learn.webjunction.org/ and look under D4L! The Council is also taking a greater role in the area of inclusivity/diversity/equity, and inclusion, and examining what that means for us. The membership voted on a diversity statement for the bylaws last October. There is a statement in our Employee Handbook and we'll be including a statement in our job descriptions. There was a solid turnout for last July's Social Justice Summit, which Binghamton University had asked us to co-sponsor. It is fantastic to see how libraries are responding, engaging, and leading--from fine elimination to gender-free restrooms, wide-ranging/inclusive programming, and beyond.
What other organizations are you involved with? ALA, NYLA, the American Association of University Women, the Astronomical League, the Diversity Consortium of Tompkins County, and I am a Hospicare volunteer (I visit patients and make bereavement phone calls).
What advice would you give to a new librarian? Get involved in professional associations and if you are in NYS, with your regional ESLN/3Rs Council, too. www.esln.org. It is a great way to network and to continue to learn. If you are still in library school, all backgrounds and experiences are beneficial to librarianship. A general degree can be important because you do not know where you might end up. If you have experience in an academic library, take an internship in some other type. Stretch yourself and be fearless. When I was a new librarian, I was afraid of public speaking to the point of panic attacks. Thankfully I mostly got over both my fear and the panic attacks. Acknowledge the fear and do it anyway!
What software/web tools do you use regularly? The Microsoft suite, Google Drive/Docs, GoToMeeting, Zoom, Skype.
Favorite social media platform: Second Life. I recently began exploring Linden Lab's new platform, Sansar, which runs on a PC and supports Oculus Rift. SL is still a good place to find people on the bleeding edge of various technologies.
What do you do to relax? Run, spin, NordicTrack, listen to music (often prog--new and old), play bass (like a guitar but better!), dance, meditate, walk the dog, pull weeds, or read. Sometimes several of these things at once.
What is the most daring thing you've ever done? Besides public speaking and moving 1,000 miles away, leaving a job that I loved for the unknown (twice!), it would be hiking Huayna Picchu, the monolithic backdrop in many pictures of Machu Picchu.
What would you like to learn? Outside of continuing aspects of librarianship, eventually I will learn Norwegian and Swedish, the basics of genetic coding (started a MOOC on this and didn't have time to finish), songwriting, mural painting, and will take a deeper dive into bass.
Is there anything about you that others would be surprised to know? For nearly 20 years I've been a co-admin for Mike Oldfield's major English-language forum. We have around 4,000 members worldwide and are approaching 150K on our Facebook page. Some of my favorite holidays have been spent with close friends from the MO community--venturing to Bilbao, Berlin, hiking on the English/Welsh border, and Assateague Island.