Message from the President - Jeanne Hamilton

December 27, 2021

As 2021 draws to a close, I'd like to thank all of you who read our weekly ILA Alerts, volunteer for ILA committees and forums, attend our events, peruse (or write for!) the ILA Reporter, purchase our publications, and support our association through your dues, your contributions, and in so many other ways. For the second year in a row, ILA membership is higher now than it was at the same time during the prior year, which is something for all of us to be proud of! I am so appreciative of those who renewed their memberships, or joined anew, this past year. We are happy to have you with us during these challenging times.

On November 18, the ILA Executive Board met for the last time in 2021. Action items focused on association business, including accepting the audited financial statement from the 2020-21 fiscal year and in executive session, evaluating the executive director’s performance. Additional discussion items focused on reports from committees and forums regarding the exciting work being done across the association:

  • The Advocacy Committee produced the Ready, Set, Advocate tool kit.
  • The Awards Committee refreshed awards names, terms, and criteria and once again awarded a full slate of honors to dozens of Illinois librarians.
  • The Best Practices Committee developed a land acknowledgement statement; look for an article on the topic in the March 2022 issue of the ILA Reporter.
  • The Conference Planning Committees, two of which are working at any given time, gave us another successful virtual conference in 2021, themed “Breaking Down Barriers, Building Up Communities,” and are working on a (hopefully) in-person one for 2022, themed “At the Heart of It.”
  • The Diversity Committee leads the Sylvia Murphy Williams Scholar program, designed the DiversiTEA program at Annual Conference featuring Twanna Hodge, and began a mentoring program.
  • The Fundraising Committee launched the new Illuminate initiative, including honors for high levels of lifetime giving as well as universal recognition for even the smallest donations.
  • The ILA Reporter Advisory Committee continued driving relevant and timely content for the association’s journal.
  • The Intellectual Freedom Committee focused on programs at Annual Conference and the Noon Network series, and is working on an ILA Reporter article.
  • iREAD 2021, Reading Colors Your World, has wrapped; iREAD 2022, Read Beyond the Beaten Path, has launched; and plans for iREAD 2023, Find Your Voice! and 2024, Read, Renew, Repeat are in the works, thanks to the work of the iREAD Committee.
  • The Nominating Committee presented its slate for the 2022 election.
  • The Public Policy Committee led debate and development of the association’s legislative agenda, including advocating for broadband for public libraries and reasonable e-book pricing for libraries.
  • The IACRL Forum hosted its membership meeting and Unconference during the ILA Annual Conference and is identifying nominees for the newly-created statewide Task Force on Textbook Affordability.
  • The Library Trustees Forum puts out the Trusty Trustee newsletter and is focusing on recruitment and programming for its 2022 Library Trustee Forum Workshops.
  • The Marketing Forum hosted an after-hours session during the ILA Annual Conference and is planning future round table events with content focusing on DEI,  and its spring 2022 mini-conference.
  • The Reaching Forward Forum once again presented Reaching Forward content virtually, combined with Reaching Forward South to create Reaching Forward Illinois, both conferences available for one low registration price.
  • The Resources and Technical Services Forum hosted two programs at the ILA Annual Conference.
  • The Small and Rural Libraries Forum welcomed a new manager: Victoria Blackmer of the Robert R. Jones Public Library District in Coal Valley.
  • The Students and New Professionals Forum is continuing its successful Career Pathways series of Noon Network webinars.
  • The Young Adult Services Forum presented a number of ILA Annual Conference programs, including an Unconference and a breakfast featuring iREAD 2022 illustrator Christina “Steenz” Stewart in cooperation with the Youth Services Forum, and hosts the #WeWereHere Project website.
  • The Youth Services Forum presented a number of ILA Annual Conference programs, including an Unconference and a breakfast featuring iREAD 2022 illustrator Christina “Steenz” Stewart in cooperation with the YA Services Forum.

None of what ILA does would be possible without the hard work, dedication, and thought on the part of our staff, Executive Board, committee members, forum members, and leaders. There is a great deal of work to be done, for sure, to “collaboratively shape a new future for libraries in Illinois,” as our strategic plan states for our vision. But together, we can do it! Here’s to a brighter 2022.

Jeanne Hamilton
ILA President 

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