Guest Author: NMRT President Megan Hodge on How to Make Your Mark

Have you ever wished that libraryland offered something it didn’t? For example, a group for YA librarians who run robot teams to share ideas, or a writing circle to give you the motivation and support to write your first peer-reviewed article. If you’re a library school student or new librarian, you may have lots of ideas, but not know who to talk to about them. You might have an audience in mind, but think that you don’t have enough power or authority to bring them to fruition. Or you may have been a librarian for a while now, and are looking for a way to make your mark on the profession or your library.

I’ve got a crazy idea for you: take a deep breath, and “be the change you want to see in the world,” as Gandhi said. New to your job? Take advantage of the fact that you can get away with things now because “you don’t know how things work” at your workplace yet. In library school? You’re unbound by employer restrictions. Don’t let these kinds of things stop you. Think about what needs to happen to make your ideas a reality, and start hustling. If you’ve got a band of people who feel just as passionate about your idea as you, even better; you’ll be able to divide and conquer, and keep each other motivated. What’s the worst case scenario, after all?: someone says no, and your idea gets put on hold for a while.

Here are some examples to get you motivated: current NMRT Networking Director Tinamarie Vella wanted opportunities for folks to meet and network and get to know each other in person between conferences, so she’s set up networking socials for new librarians and library school students around the country. At ALA 2014, several library school students were talking about how great it would be if there were a roommate-matching service to help conference attendees find roommates to split the cost of a hotel with, and they’ve worked with an NMRT committee to create one going forward, starting with Midwinter 2015. And when Rebecca Miller and I were brand-new to working in Virginia libraries several years ago, we wished there were a group like NMRT but for Virginians, so new librarians could get to know each other and have programs devoted to our interests at the annual state conference. We successfully petitioned the state library association to form a Virginia New Members Round Table.

So #makeithappen in 2015, regardless of where you fall in the library hierarchy. (Pro tip: using the proposal template in step 8 here will go a long way towards getting administrative buy-in for your idea.) And if you think your idea would be a good fit for the NMRT, I want to know about it! Come find me at Midwinter, or shoot me an email at mlhodge @ gmail dot com.

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