May 2019 Newsletter

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Welcome New Members!

Scott Watson
Miller Library at Cornerstone University

Serena Vaquilar
Wayne State University

Tyler Smeltekop
Michigan State University Libraries

Lauren Day
University of Michigan

Diana Perpich

Call for nominations for MiALA leadership now open

Hi MiALA friends,

Spring is here, and so is the time to start thinking about your service in the Michigan Academic Library Association!

Leadership takes many forms within MiALA and this year, we are looking for nominations to Board positions, Committee leadership positions, Interest Group leadership positions, and, new this year, members of the Interest Group Coordinating Council. You probably know several colleagues who could do an excellent job of filling them – and don't be shy, we accept self-nominations too!  If you are new to academic librarianship in Michigan, it's okay. We'd love to have you, and your fresh voice.

Nominations opened on April 15 and will extend through the Annual Conference, followed by elections. Our new leadership will join the team on July 1, 2019.

There is a website with everything you ever wanted to know about MiALA elections at , but here are the basics:

Open positions
  • Vice President/President-Elect,  Secretary, Publicly Funded University Rep,   Private College Rep, Community College Rep
  • Advocacy Committee Chair,   Communications & Marketing Committee Chair,   Membership Committee Chair
  • Interest Group Coordination Council Representatives (1 2-year term and 1 1-year term)
For more information on the positions open for nomination, and/or if you are interested in running, or in nominating a colleague, please find the appropriate form on the Elections website.  

If you have any questions, please contact a member of Nominations/Elections committee
Jessica Sender, Chair -
Elizabeth Webster -
Molly Lederman -
Jeremy Barney -
Sarah Kolk -
Suzanne Bernsten -

President's Message

Paul Gallagher

It’s conference time!  I wanted to share a few “know before you go” details – and relay a few ways where you can get engaged.  (In case you missed it, this year’s conference is being hosted at Saginaw Valley State University on May 13 &14th, and registration is open!)

There is a very strong list of programs, and what promises to be the biggest poster and information fair yet!  Monday has optional dinearounds scheduled, and you can connect with your Interest Group and see if they have planned a meetup.  Our partners in the Mid-Michigan Digital Practitioners are meeting the Wednesday following the conference, and of course – don’t miss this year’s keynote speaker Rebecca Blakiston talking about “A Human-Centered Strategy for Advancing Library Value.”

There is more happening than I can relay here – so look for communications from the conference committee with more details.  And while we’re on the topic – if you see any of the hard working individuals who volunteered their time to organize such an incredible event, please thank them for their service in making this event a reality!

Please don’t miss the Tuesday lunch, which features a brief membership meeting.  This is a great chance to hear highlights from our committees, gain insight into what is happening behind the scenes, and even hear how MiALA is doing financially (spoiler: we’re doing good!).

The board also wants to provide some time to answer your questions.  To help make this manageable – as we’ll have over 200 people in the room – we’re providing question cards at the registration table.  If you have a question for your elected leadership, please fill out a card and hand it back to the good folks at the registration desk.  We will combine questions and answer as many as time allows.

As a final note, I did want to mention this year’s nominations for leadership positions.  Nominations are open now, and will close on May 17th, with elections starting on June 3rd.  I would encourage all of you to share your expertise and think about if you can serve MiALA.  I think I can speak for many individuals by saying it is an incredibly rewarding experience!

Member Spotlight

Katherine Alphenaar

Katie smiling in a garden with flowers behind herKatherine Alphenaar
Grand Valley State University / Wayne State University
Library Specialist (GVSU) / Library Science student (WSU)

What are you currently reading?
1. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
2. Little Nothing by Marisa Silver
3. Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool by Peter Turner

What are your research interests?
I am interested in User Experience research and library design. I love investigating how spaces, furniture and services are used and how they could be improved to fit user needs. I'm particularly interested in the growth and use of virtual services and how signage and social media reach library users.

Do you have hobbies or interests outside of the library?
I'm a causal photographer, bullet journaler, cook and an avid Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. Outside you'll see me kayaking, playing tennis, rollerblading, playing with my two dogs, or eating. I enjoy reading fantasy, poetry, and graphic novels. I prefer to listen to the audio books of thrillers for maximum fright and biographies read by the author.

What drew you to the library profession?
Growing up my mom volunteered at our school library and, before I was old enough to go to school, I would ride on the library cart while my mom picked up books from classrooms. Later, my middle school teachers would look for me in the library after I escaped the rigors of outdoor recess to read or help the librarian shelve books. Summers spent reading in the sun of Loutit District Library's courtyard turned to late nights studying in the stacks and working at the service desk at Grand Valley State University libraries.

Post-graduation found me working part-time at two libraries looking for a job in publishing when it suddenly occurred to me I was searching for jobs in the wrong profession. Looking back, the variety of ways librarianship intersected with my life amazes me and I'm equally surprised how it wasn't until it was staring me in the face that I realized this profession was the perfect combination of my strengths and interests. I love the range of work present in libraries. I enjoy working both with people and independently on research and creative projects. Connecting people to information or services they are looking for energizes me.

What do you value about MiALA?
I value the opportunity to network with other library professionals and grow my understanding of academic library environments while I'm still in graduate school. MiALA has given me the invaluable opportunities of attending conferences and engaging in committee work early in my career.
MiALA Newsletter - May 2019 Newsletter