Welcome to a new fiscal year with CMLE. Fall signals new beginnings for most people. And whether we work in a K-12 school or college or somewhere else, we are all part of the educational process. The life of library staff varies during the summer. Most K-12 staff are off duty as are some college librarians. In contrast, public libraries are extremely busy with reading programs in the summer. Most special librarians see no change in their work life in summer except often taking a much needed vacation. CMLE staff fit in this last category, and rather than a vacation this year, I had my knee replaced the first week in June. Prior to that, I had my hip replaced in February (yes, the same leg). Not a great summer for me!
We are a small office of two, so if things seemed a bit quiet last year on the CMLE front, you now understand why! The knee produced complications and setbacks that have made this the hardest year of my life. I take comfort in knowing I am almost back to fulltime, and hope to have much of my energy back by the October MEMO and MLA conferences in October.
Last year marked our gradual transition out of the interlibrary loan (ILL) service. Our staff consulted one-on-one with the small remaining group of ILL users who needed new solutions. In all cases, we found ILL alternatives that served their specific needs. Now, we are able to focus on our many other services, some of which are brand new. The question has come up, “If CMLE no longer does ILL, what does it do?” If we had a tagline, it would probably be: Providing support services to library staff in Central Minnesota. The needs for support are defined largely by people like you. Therefore, at any time feel free to communicate with our staff about your needs. Our services change as the needs of our twelve-county region change.
The services of CMLE are planned by the Director, an eleven-member Governing Board, and with member feedback. Four members of the Board are practicing librarians in the Central Minnesota region, and are selected by their representative caucus of academic, public, K-12 or special libraries.
CMLE has three strategic focus areas to guide services in FY13 through FY15
- Refined Focus on K-12 Media Center Needs
- Convening and Bridging Libraries Around Issues (all library types)
- Stretching Dollars: Strategies and Services (all library types)
Some ways in which CMLE currently fulfills these focus areas is by engaging in the following activities;
- Functions as a current awareness service to library professionals for national, statewide, and regional library news: To reach people where they are, CMLE utilizes email, a website, a WordPress blog, Facebook, Twitter and other online collaboration tools or Web 2.0 tools.
- Provides scholarships to attend professional development events.
- Negotiates discounts from various companies for both print and eBooks.
- Maintains a collaborative role in the North Star Library Consortium in order to extend discounts on Follett’s Destiny software and additional library manager subscriptions.
- Facilitates a succession of trainings, workshops, or “convened conversations” as needs dictate, which are typically offered at low or no cost to attendees.
- Conducts various library advocacy activities in the work setting, statewide and national: The CMLE Director serves as a voice for libraries when there is no voice.
- Facilitates regional leadership and consulting services: Providing needed connections and/or resources.
- Manages a library shadowing program: CMLE staff gather and maintain valuable site-specific data to assist them in pairing librarians from the region to experience different library settings.
- Identifies and develops subject guides on professional topics including library best practices.
- Supports, engages, and collaborates with professional library organizations such as MEMO, MLA, ISTE, ALA, AASL: Includes conference support activities (Internet Cafes, networking activities, conference presentations, etc.)
We hope to have a fantastic year building relationships and gathering program ideas from our membership. Please know that your ideas and goals do matter and our staff is here to serve your professional needs. My “door” is always open, so please feel free to make direct contact with me via email or phone when that makes the most sense. Otherwise, I will “see” you online, at the MLA or MEMO conferences, or at one of our events. All the best as you move into a year of making a difference with the important work you do!
Patricia Post, Director
Central MN Libraries Exchange (CMLE)
A Minnesota Multitype Library System
St. Cloud State University, Miller Center 130-D
720 4th Ave. So., St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498
Phone: 320-308-4779 Fax: 320-308-5131