Seeking Nominations for the NMRT 2018 Elections

NMRT offers training, opportunities, and a wide variety of programs on the national, state and local levels to assist, encourage, and educate those new to the association and the profession. Now is the opportunity for you or a librarian you know to take a leadership role in that mission!

The NMRT Board seeks nominations for the following open positions for the 2018 election slate:

The terms-of-office, attendance obligations, and responsibilities vary between the positions.

Anyone interested in either nominating someone or nominating themselves should have the Google form completed by Sunday, September 24, 2017.

Questions about the nomination and election process? Please contact Abigail Phillips (nominating committee chair)  at

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Hurricane Harvey: How Can You Help?

By Jennifer Wilhelm, Chair of the NMRT Communications Committee

This week, Hurricane Harvey devastated an enormous swath of Texas, along with parts of Louisiana. Thousands of residents have been displaced, and damage assessment is just beginning. If you would like to get involved in recovery efforts specific to libraries, here are some suggestions and resources.

The Texas Library Association (TLA) is encouraging donations to the TLA Disaster Relief Fund. You can also contribute by purchasing a TLA Coloring Book, which will benefit the Disaster Relief Fund. TLA also maintains a Disaster Recovery Resources page, which offers more ways to help and resources for affected libraries. The American Library Association (ALA) also maintains #LibrariesRespond, which is focused on helping United States libraries after disasters.

The Central Texas Library System (CTLS) is maintaining a page of damage reports. If you are an affected library, you may contact CTLS to report damage.

Although this is by no means an exhaustive list of ways to get involved, I encourage everyone to step up in this time of need so that affected libraries can get back on their feet and  helping their local communities.

As a quick note: I’m sure many of us would happily send books and resources to the affected libraries however, such donations should wait until clean up begins and a needs assessment is complete. Keep checking the resources above and use your professional networks to stay in touch with affected librarians and libraries.

I also want to take the time to remember Kristina Carter and Wanda Walters, librarians in Clovis, New Mexico whose lives were tragically cut short on August 28 by a gunman. Hurricane Harvey is dominating the news this week, for good reason, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the loss these two women.

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Annual NMRT Online Discussion Overview

By: Leigh Milligan

The Online Discussion had a very successful year in terms of discussions. We had many active discussions on the NMRT listserv and Twitter. Here is a very brief overview on the discussions that we had this year and what we learned from them.

In October, we had a discussion on the listserv on Non Traditional Career Paths for librarians. This is always a very popular topic with the competitive traditional LIS field and our current economy. In these discussions, we touched on alternative careers that those with a MLIS can do. This included Library Systems Trainer and Consultant, Digital Collections and Disability and Access Services. SLA was recommended as a resource for those seeking out non-traditional LIS careers.

In December, we had a discussion on the listserv on tips and tricks on becoming a manager. A lot of great management resources were shared in this discussion including YouTube videos being a great source for management advice. Advice shared included that management can be an unexpected addition to current responsibilities as well as to seek out management courses during MLIS.

In January, we had a listserv discussion on mentorships. One big takeaway from this discussion is there are two types of mentorships: formal and informal mentorships. A formal mentorship is something you can usually sign up for as a new librarian, a lot of associations offer these. Informal is seeking out a mentorship via a friend or co-worker. Overall mentorships tend to be positive experiences for all involved. Reasons for participating in mentorships included networking, professional development or experience within an organization. The one big quality that is important in making mentorships successful is communication.

In February, we had a discussion on the listserv on how to pitch ideas to your supervisor. Participants were able to successful pitch ideas which included: De-Stress Fest during Finals, creating an Instagram for the library, department restructuring, and changing material discarding policy. Some tips and advice for pitching ideas to your supervisor included: taking full responsibility, pitch ideas that have not been done before, pitch ideas that are relevant to the mission of your institution, appeal your ideas to your audience, research your ideas, and be open to objections.

Also in February we had a twitter chat on gaining professional development with limited budget and time. Most attendees agreed that funding is the biggest roadblock for professional development. The attendees’ goals for looking for professional development activities included learning new library skills and finding new perspectives and approaches. The attendees’ best sources for professional development included networking at conferences and other professional association events, twitter, listservs, community development opportunities, grants from professional associations and webinars.

In March, we had a discussion on the listserv on saying no and refocusing. All participants had a shared and recognized that is very easy to get involved and take on too much too quickly. The best advice on how to avoid this included finding small volunteer opportunities that you feel passionate about, getting more involved with state organizations, focus your interests on a specific skill set, and attending library system wide trainings that fit with your schedule. It is as much as finding what you want to do as also finding what you do not want.

In April, we had a discussion on the listserv on responding to ageism in the workplace. Participants discussed experiences which included: being mistaken as a volunteer or a student, given the feeling of being too young to be taken seriously on the job, difficulties in finding employment over different age groups and feeling one is disrupting the status quo of the workplace with new ideas. Ideas for combating these experiences included: dressing professionally and wearing a nametag, interacting positively with coworkers and building rapport, being confident in the workplace and attending diversity workshops.

The last discussion this year was in May on the listserv and the topic that was discussed was collaboration in libraries. Topics discussed included: Public and Academic libraries collaborating on programs, utilizing resources of partners including scanning and digitizing, academic libraries working with campus offices and organizations on programs such as mental health screenings, creating depositories on campus like archived materials, and libraries as a space like art displays. A lot of links and resources were shared on the listserv on this topic.

As you can see a lot of great discussions happened this year! Be sure to check the NMRT blog posts for more details on these topics. Another great year of discussions is starting in October! Stay tuned on the NMRT listserv and blog for more information on how you can participate!

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MPDR Survey

NMRT and Membership, Promotion, Diversity, and Recruitment Committee are interesting in knowing how we are doing! We have created a brief survey asking for feedback on our past year’s programs, our communication methods, and the diversity & inclusion initiatives within NMRT. Your information and feedback will be instrumental not only for analytical purposes but will help NMRT to ensure that our roundtable is meeting the needs of its members, and help us identify ways in which we can improve. If you have a few minutes, it would be greatly appreciated if you could please consider taking our survey about your experience with NMRT. The survey is available at

For those of you who have dropped or discontinued your membership with NMRT. We have a separate survey for you, and are interested in why you decided to leave NMRT. Former member feedback will help NMRT progress the quality of our programs, and services for future and current members. This survey can be accessed here

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May NMRT Discussion Summary for Collaboration and Libraries

By: Carrie Fishner

For the May online NMRT discussion, we posed the topic of “Collaboration: how can libraries collaborate or partner with other entities to provide programming and/or services”. The discussion led to many great examples of what different types of libraries have tried, and what worked well. We did not get into what did not work, but that might be a great future discussion topic.

Some of the examples that participants shared were as follows (sorted by public/academic):

  • Mental health screenings with Campus Health Services/Counseling
  • Therapy animal visits in the library with Counseling/Health services and/or Vet Sci programs
  • Creating campus depositories for things such as archiving materials, creating permanent digital links for student work/projects, and IR information
  • Libraries as space – art displays working with art faculty and clubs


  • Working with public and academic libraries to do join programs; working to have similar themes to programs in both locations
  • Digitizing public library resources using the campus resources
  • Libraries as space for programs and meetings with outside constituents of the community

Some of the main takeaways from last month’s discussion were that you have to be open to trying new things. Do not discount an idea just because it has not been done that way before! Reach out and ask if someone is willing to work with you; the worst that can happen is they will say no, the best outcome is that they will be excited to collaborate with you and this will create a stronger relationship going forward. Just by asking, you may find someone who has great ideas, but needed help with the resources to make them happen. Seeing libraries collaborate with other groups and organizations (both academic and public) helps to show how relevant libraries are, and how we are a bridge for ideas across disciplines.

Please, take a look at the NMRT listserv for the full emails which detail some of the examples given above. We hope to hear from you in our next online discussion!

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Endnotes 2017

The 2017 volume of Endnotes: The Journal of the New Members Round Table is now available, featuring peer-reviewed articles and books reviews written by NMRT members like you.

Interested in writing for Endnotes? Our journal guidelines outline what you need to know, and you can always email the editor(s) at with questions and/or article ideas. 
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MPDR Spotlight: Annie Pho

Annie Pho currently works as the Inquiry and Instruction Librarian for Peer Services and Powell Public Programs at UCLA Library. Annie was a managing editor of the Hack Library School Blog, and currently serves as an editor for In the Library With the Lead Pipe team.

What inspired you to be a part of NMRT?

At my very first ALA, I attended a NMRT first time attendee orientation where I met some other library professionals who are now my very good friends. As I was job searching and just starting out in the profession, someone recommended that I join NMRT and sign up for some committees. I liked that it was a round table that was for early-career librarians and had mentoring programs and conference panels geared towards new professionals.

How long were you involved with NMRT?

I was involved with NMRT for about 5 years before I moved into other areas of the professional organization.

How has NMRT helped you grow professionally?

NMRT has quite a bit of conference programming that is geared for new professionals, like networking happy hours, first-time conference attendee orientation, and opportunities to get involved. Through working on NMRT committees and attending NMRT events, I made a lot of friends and got experience working on national level committees. ALA is a pretty large organization, so it’s nice to get started with just one of the smaller subsections of it. As it turns out, a lot of being an academic librarian means working on committees so ALA committee work helped me manage those expectations.

How has your involvement with NMRT impacted your involvement with ALA?

NMRT was really my first experience with working on ALA committees and from there I was able to explore the various divisions to find other organizations that aligned with my interests and my job. When I was earlier in my career, I was really enthusiastic about trying out all the things; but now that I have worked on various committees, I have learned to take it a little easy on the professional service.

What aspects of NMRT would you recommend to our members and why?

If you’re just starting out in the profession and want to meet other library professionals from across the country, I would recommend the NMRT mentoring program. It’s a good way to get good advice on job searching, career stuff, and more. Plus it’s free and doesn’t require any conference attendance. If you end up going to ALA Annual, the new member happy hours are also a fun way to meet other people.

Do you have any additional advice for our members about getting involved with NMRT and ALA?

My advice would be to ask someone who is involved with NMRT about some of the programs that they offer I think there’s actually a few different things that NMRT but no one knows about because the information is buried somewhere in ALA Connect. I hesitate to encourage new professionals (especially those who are job searching) to sign up for committee work because it’s free labor and unpaid; however, NMRT does guarantee committee appointments for anyone who signs up. So if that’s something you are curious about, that’s another option. Many of those committees meet online and don’t require conference attendance.

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2017 Student Chapter of the Year Award Winner

The New Members Round Table (NMRT) and the American Library Association (ALA) Membership Committee wish to congratulate the ALA Student Chapter at Emporia State University as the winner of the 2017 ALA Student Chapter of the Year Award.

2017 Winner

Emporia State University

This year’s Student Chapter of the Year Award goes to Emporia State University. This is the first time Emporia State University has received the award. This year’s Student Chapter of the Year Award Committee praised the chapter’s ability to reach members in person and virtually across wide geographic distances. In addition, the chapter grew in the preceding year and undertook an impressive documentation initiative to build up institutional memory for future years.

2017 Runner Up

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

The runner-up of this year’s award is the ALA Student Chapter at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The committee was especially impressed with the level of student engagement in the chapter’s work, as evidenced by its many sub-committees and volume of on campus events and activities.

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Meet the New NMRT Board Members

July 1, 2017 begins the 2017-2018 NMRT Executive Board Term, including the newly elected officers to the NMRT Executive Board. The newly elected members are…

Vice-President/President-Elect – Nicole Spoor

Nicole Spoor is the Business Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She currently serves as the Leadership Development Director for ALA New Members Round Table and is a doctoral student in educational leadership.

Secretary – Melanie Kowalski

Melanie Kowalski is the Copyright & Scholarly Communications Librarian at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She currently serves as the Chair of the NMRT Communications Committee.

Leadership Development Director – Veronica Leigh Milliner

Veronica Leigh Milliner works as an Outreach Librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the NMRT Orientation Committee.

A warm congratulations and welcome to our new officers!





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Notes from the President: So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

Adieu, Adieu, to you and you and you!

Now that the song is stuck in your head (#sorrynotsorry), it is time for me to say goodbye to you as your NMRT President.   It’s been an interesting and successful year for our roundtable.  We planned many wonderful programs and social events, including what may have been the most successful Annual Conference Orientation in years with nearly 300 attendees, standing room only!   We also put forth a great slate of candidates for election to our NMRT board, recognized some of the next generation of library leadership with our awards, and ensured we met all our committee work goals.  To use a phrase we use at my company, NMRT certainly “executed superbly” this year!

All that success is thanks to all the hard work of our committees. Sometimes our committee work is not all that glamorous or fun, but it is essential.  I would like to personally thank all our committee chairs and committees for their hard work, dedication, and sense of fun that they brought to the roundtable this year.  You are what makes ALA and NMRT work!    If you want to be a part of this grand tradition, please be sure to complete our NMRT Committee Form – Vice President/President-Elect Mandi Goodsett will continue to make appointments throughout the summer. (That goes for committee members from this past year, too – if you want to be re-appointed, you also need to complete the form!)

In addition to our committees, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful board with the same traits – dedication, persistence, intelligence, and passion.  Being President of anything is a tough job, and no one who is successful at it does it alone – it requires a team. First, I would like to thank Kirby McCurtis for being a great consultant in her role as Past President, a role I’m looking forward to having in a few days!  While all of our Board Members hold a special place in my heart, I’d like to particularly acknowledge and thank for their service our Board Members who are stepping down at the end of this year:

  • Kirby McCurtis, Past President
  • Nicole Lamoreaux, Secretary
  • Easter DiGangi, Treasurer
  • Elizabeth A. M. Howard, Parliamentarian

I’m also thrilled to see our new board members in place for 2017-2018, including a board member moving on up to a new role!

  • Nicole Spoor, Vice President/President Elect (our former Leadership Development Director – the same path I took on the NMRT Board!)
  • Veronica Leigh Milliner, Leadership Development Director
  • Melanie Kowalski, Secretary

With Mandi’s leadership, I can and will expect great things from our board for the coming year.   Mandi’s presidential theme is “You Belong Here” and it’s a perfect theme for NMRT, as we are the place to ensure that new members belong in the vast network that is ALA.

As we close out this year, I would like to leave you with two pieces of advice that I received recently from an actor friend of mine that are guiding me forward in all aspects of my life. (If you were at any NMRT event where I spoke, you probably heard these, but they bear repeating):

  • You gotta hustle. (That means you too, introverts.)  You have to put yourself out there, whether it be attending a conference, asking for committee work, or offering to collaborate on a paper/project.   And promote your own work as well!  Nothing comes from standing on the side.  So hustle hard and often – because not everything will stick on the first try.  To use my actor pal as an example, it took him 20+ years of theater and voiceover work to finally land a part of a national TV show this year (incidentally, playing an archivist).  While the show was unfortunately canceled, he got the recognition and the confidence boost to keep going.  Persistence pays off!
  • Put good out into the world, and good will come back to you.  When you speak out against something, do it with kindness and integrity.  (The geeks in the room will probably recognize this as Wheaton’s Law.)  Lift up people along the way – support your colleagues, mentor those below you.

Those who know me know I am a big fan of the musical Hamilton, and had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to finally see it while in Chicago for Annual Conference.   One of the lyrics that has stuck with me since then has been from the song The Room Where It Happens  – “God help and forgive me, I wanna build something that’s gonna outlive me.”  Your contributions to NMRT are what will outlive you.  NMRT is your legacy.

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