Committee Spotlight - ILA Reporter Advisory Committee

ILA Reporter Advisory Committee

May 14, 2021

Obstacles always present opportunities. The 2020/21 ILA Reporter Advisory Committee members had the pleasure of serving in a year when many unique opportunities presented themselves.

To begin, all ILA committees and forums were invited to the first Virtual Orientation Meeting in July. There sure were a lot of librarians in that room! Staff were still learning the ins and outs of giant zoom meetings with multiple breakout sessions and the possibility of having to enter and exit several virtual rooms in a limited period of time. However, it made it clear that the Advisory Committee could meet via Zoom with relative ease. The committee met monthly to keep abreast of how articles were coming along, to evaluate articles submitted to the committee, to offer suggestions where guidance or help were needed, and to get to know each other better despite the distance between us.

That distance was not only geographic, but also social. Even back in July of 2020, the committee realized that the COVID pandemic would direct several articles in the coming year. At that first virtual meeting, the committee planned articles about libraries emerging from COVID-19, libraries supporting schools during the pandemic at every level and especially homeschool parents, motivation for managers for remote working, reflective practices for self-care, outreach beyond the building, and where are libraries a year into COVID?

But COVID wasn’t the only event to influence articles this calendar year. The nation was still reeling from the impact of George Floyd’s death at the knee of a Minneapolis police officer and the Black Lives Matter protests that followed. A couple committee members had begun programming in support of social justice and anti-racism and were determined to share such programs from across the state. It has been ten months of working on this article and it has been much more difficult than anticipated. A survey was sent out among Illinois libraries and there were more questions than answers! So even as this year’s committee’s service comes to a close, we will continue to work on this topic until it comes to fruition in a future issue. It is better to do things right than quickly.

The ILA Reporter Advisory Committee works with the ILA Executive Director to help ensure quality content in the ILA Reporter. The committee is tasked with providing at least two articles for each of four issues within the committee year. The authors, viewpoints and information published should reflect the diversity of our Illinois libraries as well as highlighting the diverse voices and geography.

This year’s committee consists of Alissa T. Henkel, Decatur Public Library (Chair); Tana Petrov, Fountaindale Public Library District; Sarah Rice, Forefront; Jennifer Robertson, Carbondale Public Library; Pamela J. Thomas, IHLS; Kim Tipton, McHenry County College Library; and Diana Brawley Sussman, Carbondale Public Library (Board Liaison).

This spotlight was written by Alissa T. Henkel. Alissa is Head of Programs, Resources & Services at the Decatur Public Library.

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