Hello! I am Mary Wilkins Jordan, the new Executive Director of CMLE. This is a quick introduction of myself to you, so I can get started in the work of supporting you guys in your library work! Over the next few months, I hope to meet most of you in person or online; and I want to hear your ideas about support we can provide here at CMLE for you. My plan is to continue and build the tradition of service already existing here, and I will be reaching out to you to find out what you need from your system – but do not be shy about contacting me. My job is to support you, and I am excited to get started!
Some of my earliest memories are of being in libraries, and checking out armloads of books. (This is probably a common theme for all of us!) I have worked in all kinds of libraries, and I have spent the last several years working with libraries around the country to help them with a variety of different kinds of administrative issues. The areas I have worked in with libraries most frequently are library leadership, assessment and evaluation (outcomes!), planning (strategic, project, tactical), community engagement, stress in library work, and human resources issues. I have taught classes and seminars, presented at conferences, and written everything from guest blog posts to scholarly articles on library topics. My work has always been focused on getting down to the practical issue of helping librarians figure out how to make what they do easier, or faster, or whatever else is needed to serve their communities more effectively. If it involves libraries and doing great things – I am interested!
One of the things I like the most about the library profession is that we are constantly changing, so there is a need to constantly be learning new things. While we may not be able to know what our libraries will look like in the future, that flexibility and focus on providing the best service possible will always be the right answer. Continuing education programs will always be important for success in library work; and I will help to bring those to you. Grants are wonderful ways to get the resources to do new and interesting things in your library, and I want to help you to grab these. The applications and processes can be scary, so we will work together to give you the best chance.
Advocacy for libraries and library staff is my first priority. We all need to be more vocal about the immense value libraries provide to their communities – and fortunately it is really easy to do that, as we are great! We will be talking about this frequently, and I will ask you for your stories to share, and encourage you to share them yourselves with your funders, your stakeholders, your community members, and anyone else you can. Libraries enrich the lives of the people we serve, and we improve our communities; we need to be sure they know about it!
Thank you to people who have reached out to welcome me to Minnesota already, and I am looking forward to working with everyone. Look forward to hearing from me pretty frequently, as we work to keep moving forward with our library system success!