NMRT Candidate Q & A – Annice Sevett
Question 1: Why are you interested in this position?
NMRT presents a wonderful opportunity for new ALA members and those new to the profession to get involved in the organization. One of the many beneficial aspects of NMRT that I found invaluable when I was entering the profession was the opportunities for professional leadership, especially through committee work. As the Leadership Development Director, I will work to make sure these opportunities are available and communicated to members. I want to help members understand the value of professional leadership and encourage them to take on positions and opportunities for professional development and leadership. After being on many NMRT and PLA committees and enjoying the work I have done, I would like to continue my involvement with NMRT by serving our members on the board.
Question 2: What skills and experiences do you bring to the position?
I have served on numerous NMRT committees since 2013, including the Annual Conference Professional Development Award Committee and the Online Discussion Forum Committee, two committees that the Leadership Development Director oversees. Currently, I am a co-chair of the Student and Student Chapter Outreach Committee and serve on a PLA committee. The variety of committees I have served on and chaired has given me experience working within NMRT and other divisions within ALA. The experience of serving on a variety of committees will be very beneficial for serving on the NMRT board as I understand the duties, benefits, and challenges of serving on and chairing committees. The skills I have gained throughout my time on committees translate well into being successful in a board position.
I am currently the Assistant Library Director for a small public library, focusing on overall operations and adult services. Previously, I worked at two different public libraries as a reference librarian. The experience working within three different library systems has provided me insight into professional development and skills in working with all types of professionals. As a supervisor in libraries, I have always encouraged my employees to seek professional leadership opportunities and have given them the time to do so. Through my professional work, I have learned time management and communication skills that will benefit NMRT.
Question 3: As Leadership Development Director (more information), you will oversee the activities of committees that support & encourage professional leadership in NMRT members. What do you believe are three biggest challenges that new librarians face when taking on a leadership role, and why? How will you work to develop leadership skills of NMRT members?
I believe that the three biggest challenges that new librarians face when taking on a leadership role are communication, lack of experience (perceived and/or actual), and organizational structure.
- Communication – Communication starts with the knowledge of opportunities. This is something I believe NMRT can be better at, and something I hope to highlight as the Leadership Development Director. Many members are unaware of the opportunities that NMRT presents. Once in a leadership role, communication with the board can be intimidating. When I first began chairing committees, I was afraid to ask questions and highlight the work we were doing. As the Leadership Development Director, I will work with my committee chairs and other leaders to encourage communication from all members and value the openness and feedback that is being given.
- Lack of Experience – Lack of experience is something that holds back many individuals from applying for leadership positions and, once in a position, can limit one’s confidence to speak out for fear of not being heard. I hope to address this by creating a culture of openness and encouraging everyone to get involved and start their professional leadership journey, wherever they see themselves fitting in. I will encourage participation in NMRT discussions, NMRT committee work, and other avenues NMRT provides to give a voice to all our members.
- Organizational Structure – New leaders are often confused about the organizational structure and where they fit in NMRT. This often holds individuals back from really excelling in their positions and can be an intimidating factor in applying for positions. As Leadership Development Director, I will work to make the NMRT structure more transparent and available to all members, so that if and when they choose to get more involved, they are familiar with the way the organization works. Since NMRT works very similar to ALA and other ALA divisions, this knowledge will serve members as they move on from NMRT.
I hope to use my experience and skills in this position to address these three issues, as well as others that may come up during my term.
Question 4: What do you hope to learn if elected?
I hope to learn from the NMRT members I will interact with as the Leadership Development Director. Members provide important information about the roundtable and help shape the priorities of the board. I also hope to learn more about the workings of NMRT and how I can best serve our members in this role.
Question 5: If elected, what time management skills will you employ to ensure that your NMRT duties remain a priority?
I plan to use a few different time management skills to ensure that my NMRT duties will be a priority. I will set deadlines for important work, and ensure that these deadlines are met. I am known to be a maker of lists, and I will use lists for my NMRT work. This will help me keep up with my responsibilities and ensure they remain a priority. I will also maintain communication with the committees I oversee and the other NMRT board members to make myself available and able to help if needed.This communication will make me aware of any questions or concerns and I will be able to address them in a timely manner. I will set aside specific time in my schedule to work on NMRT responsibilities when needed, understanding that I may need to rearrange a few priorities to ensure the duties are complete.