Meet the candidates for NMRT Networking Director and Outreach Director

Take a few minutes to get to know the candidates running for NMRT Networking Director and Outreach Director.

Don’t forget to vote for your NMRT Board representation as well as other ALA positions beginning March 9th through April 1st.

Julie Gabb, candidate for Networking Director

Why are you interested in this position?

As an early career librarian, I found it difficult to find my footing in an expansive organization like American Library Association. New Members Round table provided me the opportunity to better understand and navigate ALA as an organization and conference, and to connect with mentors, from whom I learned how to be a better public librarian and advocate. I want to continue this vital mission to support students, paraprofessionals and early-career librarians from around the country, while also expanding its reach within ALA. By seeking partnerships with other round tables and divisions, we can together create meaningful conference experiences for students, early-career librarians, and seasoned NMRT members alike.

What skills and experiences do you bring to the position?

I have chaired two committees under the Networking Director since 2018: the NMRT Orientations Committee and NMRT Local Information Committee. At ALA2019, NMRT had a well-attended orientation of over 100 people. The committee cross-promoted other NMRT conference events, along with hosting a panel discussion with NMRT leadership and other library leaders. In addition to the orientation, we offered an exclusive preview exhibit hall tour in a calm, uncongested space to almost 20 NMRT members, allowing time to ask questions to Exhibitor Round Table members about the conference experience. It was rewarding to see members from around the country (and world!) sharing stories and buddying up with each other during the tours. On the NMRT Local Information Committee, I am working towards increasing the NMRT Field Trip attendance from previous years with considerations about timing and location to the conference center. This is also my second year as an Exhibits Round Table Program Subcommittee member, where I give feedback about vendor-sponsored conference program proposals. I hope that through my relationships with other divisions and round tables, we can continue to create fresh networking opportunities that build lasting relationships among members.

In my public library, I have served on a Harvest for Hunger committee since 2018 to help fundraise throughout the year for the area food bank. One of our most successful staff events is a biannual karaoke fundraiser for employees to give back to the food bank and mingle with staff from other library branches. Beyond ALA, I have several years of management and event-planning experience as a business manager for a college radio station. My team and I planned and hosted annual music events with increases in attendance every year, and fundraised for our operating budget. I am able to work creatively and effectively within financial constraints.

As Networking Director, you will oversee NMRT committees associated with conference attendance. In what ways would you like to see NMRT reach out to those members not able to attend MW or Annual conferences?

Considering ALA’s recent financial concerns, I will work towards increasing networking opportunities throughout the year through online methods. Many members, including student members do not have the funding to attend networking events at conferences. I plan on working with the outgoing Networking Director to increase the number of online programs each year. I applaud the Online Programs Committee for their work on the upcoming webinar and would like to see more opportunities for panel discussions in conjunction with our Outreach Director and student chapter chairs.

I would also like to reexamine conference streaming of orientations at Midwinter and Annual. If livestreaming isn’t feasible, shareable PowerPoint presentations would be my next step to share resources online via the NMRT-Listserv.

If elected, what time management skills will you employ to ensure that your NMRT duties remain a priority?

As a public librarian and graduate student, I make sure I balance my time effectively, while also making time for self-care! I am diligent in checking my email multiple times a day and add all my NMRT tasks to my Outlook calendar with alerts. My Google and Outlook inboxes have a filtering feature turned on to ensure that NMRT e-mails do not get skipped over or end up in the dreaded spam folder. I make a point of returning emails within a day and I utilize to-do lists for keeping track of short term projects.

What is a book that you read recently that you enjoyed? Why did you like it?

Sometimes adult readers underestimate young adult novels, but I would urge all of you to read poet/young adult writer Elizabeth Acevedo’s novel, With The Fire On High. The protagonist teen chef, Emoni, expresses the fervor for cooking that many of my culinary school teen patrons have. Her passion for remixing her abuela’s dishes reminded me fondly of my repeated attempts of replicating grandma’s legendary dishes for relatives. I absolutely love Emoni’s determination to become a next generation, rising chef in Philly without letting her past dictate her future. Acevedo depicts a coming-of-age story that rings true for youth today. What a heartwarming read that celebrates Afro-Latinx teens!

Veronica Leigh Milliner, candidate for Outreach Director

Why are you interested in this position? 

I’m interested in the Outreach Director position because I would love the opportunity to help make NMRT strong through membership recruitment and fostering strong relationships with new and current members. NMRT has been a great support and learning opportunity in my library career and I think having this round table with its unique focus is extremely important to ALA. I’m hoping that by focusing on member recruitment and retention, as well as outreach to LIS students and recent graduates, I can help to support NMRT to strengthen and grow into the future.  

What skills and experiences do you bring to the position?

Professionally, I have worked in a variety of different types of libraries, with much of my work focusing on community outreach, programming, and public libraries as important community spaces for creative and educational services. 

I have a long history of involvement with NMRT. I previously served as the Leadership Development Director for NMRT from 2017 to 2019. In that position I oversaw the following committees: NMRT Professional Development Grant, Annual Conference Professional Development Attendance Award, Online Discussion Forum, Annual Social, and Shirley Olofson Memorial Award committees. I’ve also been a member of the Membership Promotion, Diversity, and Recruitment Committee (2015-2016), Co-Chair of the Orientation Committee (2016-2017), and member of the President’s Program Committee (2016-2017).

I’ve also had committee positions with the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) on the Managing Children’s Services Committee (2016-2018) and the Children and Technology Committee (2018-2019). Regionally, I’ve been a member of the Pennsylvania Library Association and a member of the PaLA’s Equity,

Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force.

Currently I serve on ALA’s Committee on Literacy and NMRT’s President’s Program Committee. Also, a current member of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). 

As Outreach Director, you will oversee several NMRT committees that focus on students. What value do you feel LIS students bring to NMRT?

I feel that the energy, ideas, and perspective of LIS students makes them a vital foundation for NMRT. I think it is important for NMRT to continue to support LIS students, through professional development opportunities, networking, and educational opportunities. Likewise, I also think it’s important for NMRT to listen to the voices of LIS students regarding what the roundtable is doing well and what could be improved to best support their success in ALA as well as in their own careers. NMRT likes to serve as a stepping stone for individuals who are not only new to ALA but new to the LIS field and by continuing to support this community, I think this is what makes us strong. 

If elected, what time management skills will you employ to ensure that your NMRT duties remain a priority?

One of the things that I’ve found beneficial in previously serving on the NMRT Board is following the position’s timetable of milestones. I schedule the known milestones of the committees I will oversee as well as my own position in order to remain on track with my required duties.

I would also arrange regular check-ins with committee chairs and attend committee meetings when possible to remain up-to-speed on committee happenings and where I can best be of assistance. I have found in the past that being proactive like this will help to facilitate faster intervention with committees if needed and will give me more ideas about how I can best support the chairs. In my experience working on and with past committees, I know that folks have great ideas about how to support NMRT and the work that they are doing, so I feel a major part of my role is supporting these ideas through proactive engagement with committee members and chairs.

What is a book that you read recently that you enjoyed?  Why did you like it?

I loved Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder by Reshma Saujani. In it she talks about facing fear, embracing and learning from failure, and how many have built up the false idea of perfection as a goalpost for much of their work. I loved reading this because it really spoke to me about the importance of learning from past experience and to help process our society’s concern with perfection and fear of taking risks. It’s important to look at embracing opportunity (and the possibility of failure that comes with that) towards our personal happiness. 

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