Message from ILA President Amy Byers

July 1, 2024

Dear ILA members and friends,

I am truly humbled and honored to serve as ILA President for the 2024-2025 year. Thank you for placing your trust in me. I am eager to work alongside our outstanding ILA staff, members of the executive board, committees and forums, and all of our 2,500+ members. Over the past year as President-Elect, I’ve met so many remarkable people that are incredibly passionate about libraries and serving their communities.  As I consider the year to come, I am overwhelmed with excitement for our future plans and what can be accomplished when we all work together.

This May, the ILA Executive Board approved our latest strategic plan.  This document, along with our mission, vision and core strategic values, are at the heart of what ILA is and continues to strive for. The three strategic focuses of the plan lie within advocacy, organizational health, and member engagement.

ILA and advocacy go hand-in-hand.  All library workers have the power to advocate, but collectively through ILA, our voices are stronger.  Through training more library workers via a session of the Advocacy committee’s Ready, Set, Advocate, or talking with legislators during a Legislative Meetup, there are so many ways that our connected voices can make a difference for our libraries and communities that we serve.

In order to do all that ILA does for all libraries and library workers across the state, another key component of our strategic plan is organizational health. There are multiple financial channels that serve ILA, and it’s important to continue to seek additional revenue streams for future success. However, as someone who is always ready to celebrate remarkable people, my favorite program is the Illinois Luminary program. This program serves the dual purpose of recognizing outstanding voices in the library community, while creating a legacy through the ILA Endowment to continue their important work.  In 2023, we welcomed two new members: Dr. Emily Knox and Jill Donovan.  I look forward to celebrating more Illinois library visionaries and leaders throughout the coming year.

One of my favorite ways that ILA engages with its membership is at the ILA Annual Conference.  This year’s theme is Libraries are Lit: Sparking Innovation and Imagination. I hope to see you in Peoria, where we will feel sparks when we hear from headliners, social media-librarian maven, Mychal Threets, as well as acclaimed actor/writer/woodworker, Nick Offerman. The conference committee has thought of everything, from outstanding speakers, to so many ways to connect with and learn from your fellow Illinois library colleagues. You won’t want to miss it. Registration opens on July 22nd.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your President for this year. My personal goal for this year is exemplified by the message from our President’s Program Speaker for the 2024 ILA Conference this October. Much like Mychal Threets, I want to share and amplify library joy.  

As your ILA President, I am thrilled to connect and share library joy with you! Let’s do the hard things, work together, and celebrate our successes.

All the best,

Amy Byers
Illinois Library Association

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