Why you should vote for me for PLA President

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Ok, folks, here’s the deal. You can go to my resume if length of tenure in libraries is important to you (it’s 21, by the way) or articles written, panels presented on, or awards won.

But if I had to guess, I think you care less about that stuff and more about PLA as an institution and a lot more about the work the PLA President will do to support that mission. That’s what I care about, as well.

Riverside Branch of the Fort Worth Public Library. An original 1960s building.

So here’s why I have supported PLA for many years, including serving as a board member:

  • I believe in individual membership organizations because they give a voice to anyone interested in being involved. Unlike an institutional membership organization, PLA is of the people, by the people, for the people.
  • Their commitment to the institution of public libraries
  • Their support of the library employee, including offering excellent leadership and development trainings that help make us all better at serving our communities
  • Dedication to partnerships that help position libraries to be essential to their communities. Examples include working with the International City County Management Association (because, after all, who do you think gives most of us our budgets?) and recently being named the legacy grant recipient for the Bill & Melinda Gates Global Libraries project
Fort Worth Public Library senior staff visiting every branch for National Library Worker’s Day

Here’s why you should vote for me for PLA President:

  • All the things I believe about PLA (listed above)
  • I believe in the enduring power of the public library. As I say often, we have always been the ultimate civic gathering place for our communities.
  • Working in a public library is rewarding, wonderful, hard, and exhausting. Library employees deserve a professional organization that supports them, as well as challenging them to think deeply about their role
  • I am committed to PLA representing all sizes of libraries. While on the PLA board, I advocated for more representation by staff from small/rural libraries. PLA now has a board seat reserved for this purpose.
  • I am committed to PLA listening to staff from all levels of our organizations. I have continually recommended non-directors to serve on the PLA board. It’s important for PLA staff to hear from those working directly with the public.
  • I will support the work of the PLA staff, my predecessors on the board, and lay a ground work for future leaders of the organization
There is little I won’t do to support library staff. Short of jumping out of an airplane. I won’t do that.
  • I am an honest broker and will bring that to my work as PLA President. I will hold the board, the staff, and the membership accountable
  • I believe that commitment to public libraries means dedicating personal time to this effort. Put up or shut up, in other words. This is why I teach library school classes, mentor library staff across the country, and serve on PLA committees.
  • No matter what, I always have the best interest of public libraries and public library employees in mind.
Jennie Scott Scheuber, the founder of the Fort Worth Public Library

Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve spent 21 years working in public libraries. I want you to know that I haven’t rocketed to the top…it took me 19 years to become a director. 19 years of working almost every single job in a public library. I was even a shelver for my first job at 16. This should mean something to you. It means I know what your job is like, I understand the implications of my decisions, and that I will represent you as the PLA President.

In other words, you should vote for me!