NMRT Election 2021: Membership Services Director

Don’t forget to vote for your NMRT Board representation as well as other ALA positions beginning March 8th through April 7th.

ALA election information can be found here!

Interview with Candidate: Lizzy Boden

What do you hope to accomplish as part of NMRT’s leadership?

As a new librarian, ALA member, and Emerging Leader, I have benefited immensely from the connections I have formed through ALA. These connections have allowed me to learn, grow, and rapidly improve the services I can offer my community. As such, I am excited by the chance to contribute to the librarian community and profession by working to advance opportunities for my fellow early career colleagues through the NMRT.

If I am elected to serve as the NMRT Member Services Director, I hope to assist in finding new ways to offer professional development, networking, and community building opportunities during the pandemic and upcoming pandemic recovery. NMRT has always and continues to offer these highly meaningful services, and the pivot to virtual has changed what is possible. I think it’s exciting to imagine the new possibilities, and I would like to be part of building on and building new NMRT member opportunities.

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

I am the Adult Services Manager at the North Riverside Public Library, and it’s nearly impossible to choose just one thing that I enjoy most about it! I will take a slight cop-out and say that I enjoy every part of the job where I get to connect with people, whether that is my patrons or employees. 2020 has been a tough year for that, but we have been able to pivot to virtual meetings in a way that still allows for relationship building.

I have also enjoyed the opportunity to creatively rethink our partnerships, programs, and services to reach out to traditionally underserved community members. Over the past two years, I have worked with community members and coworkers to begin to build a more welcoming library for our native Spanish-speaking population, and witnessing the success of our work has been extremely rewarding.

What skills and/or experience would you bring to this position that would benefit NMRT and the profession overall?

I think the skills and experience that will serve me best in this role are my ability to manage complex projects and multiple responsibilities, think creatively about services and offerings, and connect people to each other. I currently serve as the Chair of the NMRT Annual Social Committee and am overseeing two large virtual social events for NMRT members. In my role as Adult Services Manager, I have been honing my organizational, team building, and creative thinking skills. I work well with teams and thrive from brainstorming as part of one – and thrive even more from making the best brainstorms reality.

(From the NMRT Membership Page) The New Members Round Table ( NMRT) provides a place for those members of the American Library Association (ALA) who are new to the library profession, new to ALA, or new to both. NMRT brings together people from all types and sizes of libraries and information centers, serving their diverse needs and interests as a gateway to the profession, pathfinder through ALA, and a stepping-stone to higher places. How would you support this in the role you applied for?

The Member Services Director position “oversees NMRT activities designed to inform and serve the membership, supporting member efforts toward professional development.” Taking on this specific role gives me the opportunity to support the NMRT purpose in a meaningful way, because I will be able to work towards initiatives that bring librarians from diverse roles and backgrounds together to build connections, knowledge, and community. In particular, I would like to use my time as Member Services Director to encourage more engagement with NMRT professional development and networking opportunities, both within the NMRT and between NMRT members and long-time ALA members.

What changes if any do you see need to happen for NMRT to make it more welcoming and inclusive to all?

I think many of the problems that exist in the profession and ALA also exist as a microcosm in NMRT. The profession is 85% white and that leads to a monolithic perspective. I know NMRT leaders are already working hard on overcoming this, and I would like to see their efforts continue so that equity, diversity, and inclusion are top of mind in every program, event, and initiative. Specifically, NMRT professional development programs should bring in speakers of color and pay them. I would also like to see NMRT focus on the issue of low retention for librarians of color and explore whether there is some mentoring or advocacy service we can offer to assist in building a better environment for retention.

NMRT can also become more welcoming to new ALA members by focusing programming and advocacy efforts on worker salaries for those starting out in the field and either improving or thinking creatively about the lack of jobs for new librarians in traditional areas.

What changes if any would you like to make for NMRT the next year?

I think these last two questions really go hand in hand! I would like to see NMRT focus it’s professional development and networking events and advocacy efforts on retention of librarians of color and talking about salary and jobs issues. And NMRT leadership is already working on this, but I would like to make sure that EDI continues to be a focus at the beginning of planning every event.

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