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Connect, Cultivate, Collaborate
Dear ILA Members and Friends,
It has been such an honor to serve our members and represent libraries and library workers in the State of Illinois.
Over the past year, we’ve worked together to ensure that Illinois libraries remain accessible, inclusive, and reflect the needs of the communities we serve. We came together to advocate, learn, and make positive changes in ourselves and our communities.
It was a joy to work with the 2022 Conference Program Committee to coordinate and host our first in-person conference in three years! It was a privilege to be “at the heart” of library workers coming together to share how they innovate, support their communities, and support each other. As President, I was also fortunate to be able to continue to learn from presenters and meet with attendees throughout the year at the Illinois Youth Services Institute (IYSI) in Bloomington-Normal in March, at Reaching Forward South in O’Fallon in April, and at Reaching Forward North in Rosemont in May.
I was also grateful to participate in chapter events at LibLearnX in New Orleans in January 2023, and I was so proud to have been invited to represent Illinois Libraries and deliver welcome remarks at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago’s opening session in June. At every event, I learned more about the many ways library workers come together to do great things, and my commitment to advocacy deepened.
More than ever, the events of this past year demonstrated how critical it continues to be to advocate for your library and your community at the state, local, and national level. Your voice really matters! Together we rallied library supporters to submit over 1,100 witness slips in support of HB 2789, which provides that in order to be eligible for state grants, libraries or library systems shall adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, or provide a written statement to prohibit the proactive banning of books within libraries. We worked together with library organizations across the state to advocate for funding statewide access to online resources. We supported the development of equitable access to learning materials in higher education by awarding five $500 awards in support of the adoption of Open Access Educational materials (OERs).
I would also like to highlight that we were able to award three $1,000 travel stipends for Illinois librarians from underrepresented populations to attend their first national conferences, and establish the Peggy Sullivan DEI Fund to continue to honor her legacy.
I truly believe that the more we work together, the more we can do for our libraries and our communities. Libraries connect people and ideas, and the Illinois Library Association helps connect us to each other. Amplify your voice by attending workshops, webinars, or future conferences, volunteering for a committee, or nominating yourself or someone else for the board.
Heather Jagman, DePaul University, Chicago
ILA President, 2022–23