NMRT Election 2021: Secretary Candidates

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: Cathy Dunn

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

I hope to contribute to the goals and mission of NMRT and ALA overall, by assisting with the nomination and election process as well as the candidate forum to ensure the best candidates are selected for offices within the NMRT. I hope to also form new professional connections and network with other librarians who are experienced as well as those who are new to the profession.

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

My current position is Acquisitions Coordinator at Mississippi State University Libraries, and I enjoy navigating the changing landscape of library acquisitions. I enjoy always learning and finding ways to improve and innovate, and there are new purchasing options, formats, and tools to be learned constantly, as well as new challenges to overcome.

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

In this position as Secretary, I would bring my experience serving on other committees and roundtables at the local and state level, including most recently serving as Secretary (and currently Vice Chair) for the Technical Services Round Table in the Mississippi Library Association. I would also bring my skills in the area of technical services, which involves detailed work and communicating well with other librarians to accomplish goals and meet deadlines. I also bring my desire to help NMRT be successful by fulfilling my duties as Nominating Committee Secretary to the best of my ability, and to assist with ensuring that NMRT is a useful resource for those new to the profession.

(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?

I have worked in a few types of libraries in a variety of roles; circulation and reference at a public library, cataloging at an art museum library, and technical services in academic libraries, while also being a student and finishing my MLIS along the way. Therefore, I understand the importance of a resource like NMRT in helping those new to the profession connect with mentors, ask questions, discover new information, and find their niche in the profession, so they can have the best chance at success. As secretary, I would encourage participation, feedback, discussion and new ideas, as well as work to find the right answers for anyone in NMRT who has questions.

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

I believe there is always room for improvement in the area of inclusivity. I think NMRT’s annual programming and activities should continue working to be inclusive to a diverse range of librarians working in a variety of libraries. The New Members Round Table is often the first place where new librarians and members of ALA get involved, and should be as welcoming as possible by being non-judgmental and willing to answer any and all questions, encouraging participation and discussion of a wide range of topic and issues.

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

Since I am relatively new to NMRT, I would want to become more familiar with the processes and procedures of NMRT and its committees before suggesting specific changes, but I believe there is always a need for NMRT to be as welcoming and inclusive as possible, and diverse in its offerings each year.

Interview with Candidate: Abby Sumner

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

I hope to grow NMRT’s mission of service and dedication to professional development during a time of great change, providing adaptability and organization during an uncertain moment.

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

In my current position as Chair for the NMRT Resume Review Service I enjoy keeping detailed records of the resume matching process. This helps ensure that we are pairing the best reviewers with our members to provide real mentorship and guidance. In my current position as an assistant access librarian at The New School I most enjoy mentoring the student staff. I am responsible for training development and implementation for nearly 100 students workers in an academic year. I believe in working collaboratively with the students to help them on their professional paths and building skills that they can take with them outside of the library.

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

I am detail-oriented, organized, and passionate about libraries. I also bring five years of business advertising experience where I specialized in account management. This required clear and organized communication between all parties.

(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?

Consistent and clear communication is key again here. This is particularly true now that we rely on digital communication so heavily. It’s easy to feel disconnected during this time, and it is my goal to find ways to help members effectively navigate our vast resources through effective digital communication.

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

Early professional development was a topic that came up in our committee, and I was curious if there is anything NMRT as part of ALA can do in working with high school counselors and job fairs to encourage young people from all background to join the profession. I mention this specifically because each member of the committee noted how we wished that librarianship was introduced as a career path earlier on. Perhaps this has changed since my high school years, but I do think that getting younger people involved is significant to developing a more diverse profession.

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

I hope to see a more hybrid approach to services and events, combining virtual and in-person options. Even though many of us are eager to get back to in-person events once it is determined safe to do so, I foresee a more hybrid approach continuing to grow in popularity for its accessibility. I hope to collaborate with other committees to develop unique programming that is effective and accessible for all.

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