Your Help is Needed! Volunteer with NMRT!

NMRT is still welcoming volunteers for several committees. Conference attendance is NOT required for most positions!

Spots are still open on:

Annual Conference Local Information Committee

Annual Conference Professional Development Attendance Award

Membership, Promotion, Diversity, & Recruitment

Online Programs


If you have any questions, please contact Jen Wilhelm, NMRT President at You can find more information on these committees at, and the volunteer form at

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WE WANT YOU! – NMRT Mentoring Committee

The Mentoring Committee is now accepting applicants for mentors and mentees!
The application is open until October 18th.

See for more information!

The Mentoring Committee appreciates your consideration!

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NMRT – Call for Nominations/Executive Board Positions

Call for Nominees: NMRT Nominating Committee

The NMRT’s Nominating Committee is calling for nominees to run on the 2021 spring ballot for the following offices:

— Vice-President/President-Elect
— Secretary
— Leadership Development Director
— Member Services Director

For more information on the positions visit

Help lead NMRT into an exciting future! All interested parties wishing to submit names for nomination, please contact the following individuals via e-mail:

Michelle Osborne Nominating Committee Chair

Leslie Winter

Joy DuBose

Brighid Gonzales

Nomination forms open Thursday, September 3 and closes Thursday, December 3, 2020.

For more information on Nominating Committee activities visit

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NMRT – Bulletin 15(1)


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NMRT – Bulletin 14(1)


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NMRT – Bulletin 13(3)


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Alternative Voices – Nichelle Hayes

The Alternative Voices Feature is meant to give a platform to librarians’ voices from underrepresented communities in the library field. The format of the feature is a journalistic question and answer format. It provides information that the librarian wants people to know about them, plus their thoughts on the current state of the field of librarianship. The feature will showcase one interview each quarter. This is on a volunteer basis.

Name – Nichelle M. Hayes 
Contact Information –
City & State – Indianapolis, IN 
Position Title – Director of the Center for Black Literature & Culture
Length of time in the library field – 9 Years

Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you attend college? What degrees do you have? What programs (undergraduate or graduate) prepared you for your current position? Tell us about your position and what you do? What is your definition of diversity or equity or inclusion?

I received my Library Degree from Indiana University – Indianapolis. I have two Masters – Masters of Public Administration & MLS as well as a Bachelors’ both from Valdosta State University. I think my entire life has prepared me for my current position, which includes my love of literature and sharing knowledge in addition to genealogy and family history. The core of my identity is being a Black Woman. I’ve been advocating the advancement of our people for most of my adult life.

My current position – I’m the Founding Director of the Center for Black Literature & Culture (CBLC) ~ Indianapolis Public Library. The CBLC is a fixed and permanent space in a large urban area with a collection and programming focused on the African Diaspora. The CBLC is Black 365 days a year. We are both windows and mirrors for people who are a part of the African Diaspora and those that are not. I am responsible for programming, shaping the collection and promotion of the space. It’s been exciting, rewarding, and challenging! My dream job that I never imagined I would have.

Definition of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity – The librarian profession should reflect the patrons that they serve.

Equity – Black people of color started the race three laps behind and were hobbled. Policies have to be instituted to bring us to the same level as white people in the profession. We have increased needs because of systemic racism and white supremacy for the last 400 years and counting.

Inclusion – Black people should be represented in every area of librarianship, Library School, Management, Librarians, Directors, etc.
DEI should be intentional and sustained. These repairs will not happen overnight.

Before you became a librarian, what were you thinking about doing professionally or academically?

Librarianship is a second career for me. I was previously a Human Resource Professional. I worked as a Generalist and in Recruitment and Selection.

What are some of your hobbies, and are you still finding time for these activities with your busy schedule?

I have a few hobbies. Gardening is something that I’ve picked up during the quarantine. I’m growing flowers and vegetables at my home. I’m enjoying the process of planting, nurturing, and watching things grow. Nature is beautiful and fascinating. I’ve jokingly said that this summer, I’m traveling from my front yard to my backyard. My flowers are primarily in the front with the veggies in the back. I also enjoy genealogy. Although honestly, it’s more than a hobby. As an African American descendant living in America, it’s important to know my history so that I have a firm foundation. I make time for my hobbies because it helps to nurture and restore me. I use it to refill my pitcher. I always try to remember that you can’t draw from an empty pitcher.

What can prospective librarians be doing right now to prepare themselves for a career in this field?

Consider the work you would enjoy doing. Try not to limit yourself to positions with Librarian in the title. Look more at using your skills in different positions. Research organizations that have a culture that meshes with yours. Be a lifelong learner. There’s always a new program or software that needs to be utilized.

Is there anything more that you would like to see NMRT or ALA as a whole do as a method to ensure the promotion of diversity and alternative voices?

I think that ALA should look internally as an organization to see who is in leadership as well as on staff. Does leadership reflect our community? I’m excited that Tracie D. Hall has become Executive Director in addition to Wanda K. Brown as President and Julius Jefferson incoming President. It’s important to have diverse voices in leadership and other positions. ALA needs to take a hard look at diversity, equity, and inclusion in libraries and library schools (students and staff). After taking that hard look, determine why diversity is lacking. I will say that it’s not about getting more Black and Brown students in Library School. It is about having an experience and professors and curriculum that nurture those students. And that also goes for libraries. If you have Black and Brown staff members leaving in droves or not advancing, there is a problem with YOUR institution, not the individual.

When you were growing up, did you feel that the libraries accurately reflected the community you lived in?

Growing up in the Midwest, I was blessed that my neighborhood branch did reflect me. The first Librarian that I can remember was Mrs. Ruby Anderson. Mrs. Anderson was a kind, soft-spoken woman who always seemed to be in the library when I visited. She worked with me to find books and to listen to my book reports for summer reading. Her care and attention were critical to me. It helped to cement my love of libraries.

How do you think the field will change most dramatically in the next several years?

This is an exciting and compelling question. My hope is that the use of technology will allow us to reach more people. I think that it’s important for us to understand that the “digital divide” is real. How do we bridge that divide? Lending more computers, tablets, and or hotspots. Do we make technology as accessible as water or air conditioning? Is that too radical a statement? I hope it won’t be in the future.

If you had to attribute your success to one skill or trait, what would it be?

I would say the primary trait that I attribute to my success is my ability and desire to continue to learn, soak up information, and apply and or share it.

What is your favorite genre?

Mystery & Detective! Love them. One of my favorite authors is Barbara Neely and Walter Mosely. I also really enjoy the late Sue Grafton.

Do you have a blog/website?

Yes, I do I talk about genealogy and keeping families together across space and time.

Is there anything else you might have wanted to mention or something I should have asked? Write it down and answer it!

I am active in BCALA. I’ve found it to be a wonderful organization. I’m excited to start serving as Vice-President at the end of the month. I encourage everyone to join a professional organization for development and support. Also seeking out a mentor and offering to mentor someone else. Mentorship is important.

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Perspectives – Callan Bignoli

Perspectives, an interview series that will highlight the work of librarians in different fields and professional specializations. Our series will focus on the experiences of our participants, what they do, what they have learned, and offer advice to those interested in librarianship and various fields. To our readers, our committee hopes this column will highlight the valuable labor these individuals perform on an everyday basis. Our interviews will provide perspective on what labor in these fields entails and current issues that affect librarianship, employment, etc. On behalf of the Communications Committee, we hope you find this new column illuminating, informative, and inspiring!

Meet Callan Bignoli (@eminencefont)! While you are at it, check out and take part in the #protectlibraryworkers movement!

What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?

I’ve switched back and forth between academic and public libraries throughout my career, and now that I work at a very small school (just 360 undergrads), I’ve had the chance to develop relationships with my patrons in a way that didn’t often happen in the busy urban system I worked at before. I love working with our students, both as their manager in the library and as an educator and leader on campus.

Can you describe a memorable moment in your career?

I think the most memorable moment in my career was December 2, 2018, the day we cut the ribbon on the branch we renovated at the last public library system I worked for before going to Olin. My boss and I gave our hearts and souls to that project for six months. I learned so much during that time and was so proud of the result when we finally got there. Though I loved that job, it felt like a certain closure came after we reopened the library, and I began to start looking at other opportunities not long after.

What kinds of professional development do you do?

No conference will ever hold a candle to South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive for me. I was really looking forward to going to Detroit for Allied Media Conference (AMC) for the first time this year, but it’s shifted to an online event at the end of July that I think will still be a great experience. These aren’t “traditional” library conferences. SXSW is a massive interdisciplinary event with an emphasis on tech, music, movies, and increasingly the press and public sector. AMC centers the voices of people of color, queer people, young people, and low-income communities that “explores the intersections of media and communications, art, technology, education, and social justice.”

I typically go to the regional and state association conferences and am the chair of the Massachusetts Library Association’s Library Information Technologies Section; though it has been a challenge to build membership in that group, I try to use my position on the MLA’s executive board to affect change as in their recent responses to protecting library workers during the pandemic. This also makes it easier to get support for important initiatives in the state. Most recently, this included speaking out against LinkedIn’s privacy-violating data collection of library patrons, support for legislation attempting to ban facial recognition technology in Massachusetts, and getting the executive board to endorse the Library Freedom Project’s petition for safe library reopening demands. A group of fellow executive board members composed a statement that expresses our belief that black lives matter and that we recognize the role libraries have played in institutional systems of racism.

Is there one piece of advice you have received in your career thus far that stands out the most (that you carry with you in your work)?

There is so much advice I’ve received that as I’m thinking about it now feels like a lot of reinforcement of existing white supremacist structures in our field. For instance, networking has been very helpful to me in advancing my career, something that I’ve had the privilege of being able to do because I’ve had jobs and financial security to be able to jump on planes and go to conferences (see my previous answer). And the first thing I was going to write in response to this was “saying the quiet part out loud,” something previous bosses have encouraged me to do instead of grumbling about things discontentedly under my breath–again, something that is much safer for me to do as a white hetero cis woman in a managerial position. So, I guess my answer to this is, think about what you’re advantaging from in a way that others might not be able to before you just unthinkingly take advantage of it, and think about how you can take your advantages and use them as a way to uplift others who don’t share your privilege.

What are some things you know now about your job/librarianship, that you wish you had known before entering the field?

I’m not sure how to answer this, really! There are so many things I didn’t know before I started working, and so many things that now feel very missing from the MLIS curriculum – cultural humility, group facilitation (vs. group work), budgeting, strategic planning, hiring/personnel management, working with boards like Trustees and Friends groups, working as a department head within a larger structure like a municipality or an academic institution, you name it. There is so much more to librarianship than what is presented in our master’s programs, but I hesitate to frame it as saying I wish I knew about it before I entered the field. With that in mind, I question the need for the MLIS credential itself.

What do you think some misconceptions about librarians/libraries/librarianship are?

I just finished co-writing a book for ALA Editions about change in libraries and one of the misconceptions I certainly had before I started talking to people and doing research for it was that library workers are particularly resistant to change. In working on the book, many people patiently explain to me that what is often coded as resistance is actually the justifiable anger that results from managerial miscommunication, whether that’s not involving people who should be involved in decisions or not being transparent enough about the plans. One librarian said to me, “I resist changes that are done to me, for me, in spite of me. I am usually a reliable booster of change done with me, alongside me.” This really helped me reject the “resistance” narrative and reframed my thinking and approach to introducing changes, especially big ones, to my colleagues.

What are some current professional obstacles in this field that upcoming professionals should know about?

The current moment has shown that libraries need to have a reckoning about two very important things. One is the conversation about “neutrality,” which is going to require some serious introspection, learning, and listening from our colleagues who see the ongoing protests and unrest and say they “don’t want to get involved in politics.” I agree with Desmond Tutu’s quote, often cited right now: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” I believe it is imperative for libraries to refuse the side of the oppressor, to acknowledge that we have a history of doing so, and begin focusing on how we might foster an anti-racist culture of learning and mutual respect both within our profession and for the communities we serve.

The other is that there are deeply broken problems of inequality and labor in our libraries, and solidarity between workers is constantly undermined by two-plus union systems (if there even is a union at all) as well as managerial and political pressure to not band together or speak out in one’s own best interests. The #ProtectLibraryWorkers movement has shown that many library leaders and municipal officials are under the impression that we need to get back to physical work as soon as possible, otherwise we cannot prove our value. I am thunderstruck by this obsession with productivity in a field I chose in part because of its anti-capitalist aspects, and how some of our colleagues seem to be taken in by the same pressure that is leading states to reopen their economies right now instead of being concerned about the health and safety impacts we still don’t fully understand but so far have been devastating.

What professional advice would you give to graduate students who are about to enter this line of work?

Given the demographic makeup of our field, many of you are likely white or have other privileged identities. If that’s you, it is your job to use your position and your voice to dismantle systems that have oppressed your colleagues and community members. If the professional organizations or other development opportunities you’re engaging in aren’t challenging and supporting you in this work, find other options or create your own. You don’t have to continue to pay dues to organizations that aren’t meeting your needs as a person who is trying to grow and find a community of practice that reflects urgent priorities in society. I urge you to find advocacy and development opportunities that focus on broad improvements and empowerment throughout society, not just ones that are aimed at libraries. As COVID-19 has shown us, libraries cannot be the one and only source in our cities and towns for internet access, as well as the many other social safety net roles we’ve accumulated over the years. Listen to and find partnerships with people in your communities who are already doing work to make them stronger. And for crying out loud, never host one of these “storytime with a cop” things EVER. AGAIN.

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NMRT’S President Program – June 25th – 1:15 PM CT

2020 ALA NMRT President’s Program


The New Member Round Table President’s Program brings together librarians with a variety of perspectives on sustainability and how it is integrated into library work. Topics of our panel discussion will include initiatives and programming in academic and public libraries, the health impact of the climate crisis, and community engagement.


Raymond Pun is a solo academic/school librarian at the Alder Graduate School of Education where he manages library services and scholarly communications. Most recently he co-edited with Dr. Gary Shaffer, The Sustainable Library’s Cookbook, featuring over 40 case studies on how academic library workers support and foster sustainability practices in their work environments. He is a doctoral candidate in educational leadership and holds an MLS and an MA in East Asian Studies. Ray is an active member of ALA; he currently serves on the ALA Council and is a member of ALA Policy Corps and Sustainability Round Table.

Jodie Borgerding is a Continuing Education Services Manager at Amigos Library Services, one of the largest library service networks in the nation. She possesses wide experience in academic libraries, reference, information and media literacy, and marketing and communications. She is an active member of the Missouri Library Association, American Library Association, and the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Bobbie Newman is the Community Engagement and Outreach Specialist for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), Greater Midwest Region at the University of Iowa. She has co-founded a number of online projects and contributed to multiple print publications. With experience in public, special, and academic libraries, she is active in multiple professional associations including ALA. A frequent speaker at regional and national conferences, she blogs at

The Emerging Leader project group Library Weather Resiliency Clearinghouse that includes Lizzy Boden (NMRT-sponsored participant for 2020), Jennifer Embree, Katherine Dannehl, Kayla Kuni, and Victoria Crim. The clearinghouse will be located at

Register today at
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Perspectives – K.C. Boyd

Perspectives, an interview series that will highlight the work of librarians in different fields and professional specializations. Our series will focus on the experiences of our participants, what they do, what they have learned, and offer advice to those interested in librarianship and various fields. To our readers, our committee hopes this column will highlight the valuable labor these individuals perform on an everyday basis. Our interviews will provide perspective on what labor in these fields entails and current issues that affect librarianship, employment, etc. On behalf of the Communications Committee, we hope you find this new column illuminating, informative, and inspiring!

Meet K.C. Boyd, Library Media Specialist! Find out more about K.C. here:

What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?

There are countless things that I enjoy about my job. Connecting kids to books that they will enjoy or assisting them with the use of any form of technology bring me joy. The celebration of reading is what keeps me fueled up to face each day working in this field that I love. Seeing that lightbulb appear over their heads or the spark in their eyes once they have enjoyed a book or gotten the hang of an app, for example, is a precious moment for me. It’s also obvious that I love being surrounded by books. Having access to a wealth of books that represent various views, opinions, experiences, and stories is also one of the things that make my job fun and has driven me in over 20 years of service.

Can you describe a memorable moment in your career?

The most memorable moment in my career was when I served on the 2020 Newbery Awards Selection Committee.  It was a privilege to be on this prestigious committee, and I was so proud to have served with such a distinguished, insightful, experienced, and a professional group of librarians.  Unfortunately, the committee will not be able to meet the authors face-to-face at ALA Annual in Chicago.   My hope is that there will be an opportunity to celebrate all of the authors in person and the near future.

What kinds of professional development do you do?

For students/teachers/parents

Encouragement of leisure reading, enjoyment of literature, use of digital application and tools, digital literacy, digital citizenship, Makerspace activities, and of course advocating for the use of the school library program.


Library program administration, connecting digital literacy to the K-12 curriculum,  advocacy/marketing/branding your library media center program, leadership, use of social media for the library program, digital Makerspace programming and ideas, and so much more!

Is there one piece of advice you have received in your career thus far that stands out the most (that you carry with you in your work)?

This bit of advice was given to me from my late father when I first began teaching.  

  1. Have knowledge of your subject matter (school libraries)
  2. Patience
  3. A sense of humor

This advice has sustained me for over 20 years while working in this wonderful field.

What are some things you know now about your job/librarianship, that you wish you had known before entering the field?

The main thing that I wish I would have known before entering the field is how much of an advocate I would have to be for my program with my peers.  I automatically thought that educators would ‘understand’ libraries, and I learned quickly that some have a somewhat archaic view of the profession and the program.  Because of this, I’ve learned quickly that how much of an advocate I had to become for my own program.  This advocacy has had many benefits, I’ve learned how to become more strategic, plan my actions with purpose and has driven me out of an introverted/shy state to a more outspoken and vocal person.

What do you think some misconceptions about librarians/libraries/librarianship are?

In terms of school libraries, some educators/administrators mistakenly believe that we read not only the books in our collection but also policy and procedure that school districts are mandated to follow at the local, state, and national levels.  When our rights are violated, school librarians are known for serving on the front line of fighting for justice for our programs and our positions within the school/district.

What are some current professional obstacles in this field that upcoming professionals should know about?

In some school districts, there is a disconnect from the Superintendent down to the classroom teacher about the importance, role, and skill base of the school librarian and the impact this literacy/technology specialist has on the learning community.   In my opinion, as special education is emphasized during the training of our superintendents and principals, the school library program/librarians need to be inserted into that same instruction so that these new leaders will be knowledgeable and seek to hire the best-trained library media specialists for their districts/schools.

What professional advice would you give to graduate students who are about to enter this line of work?

Serving as a school library media specialist the best job on the planet!  Remain positive, up to date on best practices and always keep service to students, teachers, and the community as the forefront for all decisions and actions that you perform day-to-day in your library media program.  Lastly, just have fun….it’s exciting to engage in books and technology.  Learn from your students as they will learn from you.

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