President’s Letter by Kelly L. McCagg
Personally, as an introvert that tends to get hyperfocused, I am always working to improve my communication skills. I think we as an organization need to make enhanced communication a goal in order to grow participation and heighten the level of benefits one reaps from being a member. With that in mind, I would like to take a moment to make you aware of some upcoming opportunities.
There is exciting news from NELLS (New England Library Leadership Symposium)! First, the application period for Tier II: Mid-Career Leadership is now open. This is what was historically known as NELLS, prior to the growth of the program. This year’s retreat is being held in Stowe, Vermont from April 24th through April 27th. The application can be found here, and is due by February 17th. All applicants must be members of NELA (don’t worry, there will be more information about this, just keep reading).
If you don’t qualify for this round, or if you have already graduated from the program, maybe you would be interested in serving as a mentor. Vermont will have the opportunity to send one mentor to participate in the program, with hotel and meals covered by NELA. Per NELA: “Mentors should be comfortable facilitating small group discussions about topics such as conflict management, community building, strategic planning, resilience, diversity, and addressing modern issues in libraries from a leadership perspective. Mentors will help foster an open, safe environment for cohort members to explore ideas and ask questions.” If this sounds like your cup of tea, stay tuned for more information.
I’m so excited that we and the Vermont School Library Association (VSLA) will be cohosting our annual conference this year on April 3rd. “Be the Place: Libraries are for Everyone” guarantees to be a great opportunity for all library workers to get together to learn, share, and grow. In order to make this conference more accessible, the VLA board voted to offer a limited number of stipends for those for whom attending would be an economic hardship, specifically library workers whose annual budget is less than $100,000. When registering please look for the button to apply.
Membership is what makes all these opportunities possible. By being a member of VLA you qualify for a discounted membership to the New England Library Association (NELA). For just $20 (Cedar level members can join for just $15), you will qualify for a deep discount if you ever attend a NELA conference or workshop; and it’s required if you want to attend any of the NELLS programs. Not sure if you are a member? You can check by logging in at https://vermontlibraries.wildapricot.org/, or contact VLA Membership Chair Erica Shott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This letter was first published in the February 2023 VLA News email newsletter, sent quarterly to Vermont Library Association members.)