It’s not easy being a librarian these days. There’s the general state of the economy and the idea that everything is on Google. But maybe it’s never been easy, and that’s why we do it. In this past year as president of the Illinois Library Association(ILA), I’ve been able to see the work that goes into making libraries matter to politicians in Springfield and to everyone else who benefits from the amazing network of people and places that make up Illinois’ libraries.
In all my years as both a school and public librarian, and eventually as a library director, I never truly realized what went on behind the scenes at ILA. I knew they hosted conferences and produced publications, hosted workshops and gave awards, helped me meet some of my colleagues around the state. I was always a member and happy to be part of things. What I didn’t realize was that the work they do — to help make sure that the right laws pass, and the wrong ones don’t — is what makes it possible for me to do my job. It’s that simple.
ILA is a practical and proactive organization, just like libraries themselves. Things are always changing, and we adapt or become irrelevant. ILA has moved much of its communication from print to online and found new ways to augment revenue through earned-income projects like iREAD and now through some new affinity programs that could produce both savings for libraries and benefits for the association down the line.
Just as many library patrons have had to figure out how to adapt to the new economy if they want to work, libraries and ILA have had to do the same thing. I couldn’t be prouder of the way I’ve spent the past year, working with all of you to make sure libraries still work for all the people who use them and value them. I know you’ll keep up the good work in the years to come!
Pamela Van Kirk
Past Annual Reports