From the Director: My last official CMLE blog post!

In case you haven’t heard, August 31 is my last day with CMLE. If a new Executive Director is hired by August 15th, I will work with them for two weeks to help get them grounded in the culture of our region, and the current work of CMLE. I tend to always look forward, so the person following me need not worry that I am looking over their shoulder. The very cool thing about my job (and CMLE), is that any number of things can and should change, and services can be done differently, or benefit from a new perspective. After all, libraries are in a world of change!

IMG_0553As I review my working career, it is eclectic and  colorful, and I expect retirement will be no different.   In scanning my bucket list recently, I realized that I’ve always wanted to be a children’s librarian, but never was, so recently I created a Children’s Little Free Library at my Alex lake place. I now wear the proud title of the Cottage Grove Resort Children’s Librarian, which satisfies my bucket list!

My 14 years at CMLE is the longest I have ever stayed in a job!  Recently, I did a blog post about taking stock, which seemed like a good idea at this point.
What has been hardest? Funding is number one. The multitypes were created through MN Statute, and there are no provisions for multitype funding increases (even though expenses increase), so funding can stagnate for 15 years. And to get an increase, we need to troop down to the State Capitol and make the case, which is just plain hard and often uncomfortable. Part of the job though.
What has brought me joy? The programming has been the fun part. I am proud to say that I have stayed energized and active right up until the end, which has always been a goal of mine. I know our readers like brief, so here are the items that “hit a 10” on my Joy Meter while the CMLE Executive Director!
  • Favorite! In 2003, I secured 22,000 new, free books from Scholastic Library Publishing for CMLE member libraries, some who had a zero book budget!
  •  In 2008 the MN multitypes launched 23 Things on a Stick, a  self-paced, online learning program. Other iterations of the program followed, but coaching our members through the program was sheer fun and a great relationship builder as we learned together.
  • By investing time in collaborative work with NLLN and Region 1, in  2008, CMLE was able to invite schools to join the North Star Library Consortium.  This important development leveled the playing field for all school media centers in our region, a sweet moment!
  • In 2012, CMLE ended its 30+ year newsletter and began its online publishing and social media work. Needless to say, this decision was an instant success for readers and CMLE staff! The energy involved in reviewing hundreds of news items, then producing 10-15 pieces each week is very satisfying.
  • My work in recent years with hosting social events at the MLA and ITEM Conferences. The first year I took the somber ITEM dinner event and re-created it into a Mexican Cantina, with a festive, fast-paced night of taco bar, and crazy, fun trivia, was a golden moment indeed!
  • Each spring, I hear from people feeling inadequate or unsure of their leadership skills. In 2016, we offered the Supervisor Nuts & Bolts Workshop; a smashing success in helping attendees to be better leaders! Exciting to see the light-bulb moments and renewed energy…
  • And, finally, some CMLE events are focused on enjoyment and networking. Guest authors to our events starting in 2002 have included: Pete Hautman, Faith Sullivan, John Coy, Doug Ohman, Nathan Jorgenson, Will Weaver, Annette Atkins, Julie Kramer, Catherine Friend, Buffy Hamilton, Jonathan Friesen, Paddy O’Brien and Erin Hart, Jess Lourey (I know I have forgotten a few). Food, books, authors and prizes always produce joy in most librarians!

But enough of me….I want to personally thank you for your support and friendship over the years. It has been a privilege to serve you. Best wishes for an amazing future. Keep doing what you do best, know what brings you joy, and find ways to do more of that!

Thanks to social media, I will continue to see many of you online, and of course at library events too! I will always consider you friends. No goodbyes, just later!
This past blog post will get you all caught up with my retirement and the search for a new Executive Director too!