Sunday, September 1, 2013

Focus on Trustees: Bonita Gilliam at the ALA Convention

Bonita Gilliam is one of our newly elected library trustees, and like all of the other new trustees supported by the Support the Library organization, she brings a professional approach and a clear dedication to her position that makes her a valued and respected member of the Carol Stream Library Board. As evidence of that spirit of dedication and commitment, Dr. Gilliam took time out of her busy schedule this summer to attend the 2013 American Library Association Conference held at McCormick Place in Chicago. She did this so that she could stay current with the main issues facing public libraries in the 21st Century and to become familiar with new library materials and resources that our trustees may want to consider as they plan the future of our library.

Here are some notes and observations that she submitted to document the sessions that she attended during the ALA conference:

I attended “Nuts & Bolts for Trustees, Friends and Foundations” workshop all day on 6/28/13-- sponsored by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association (ALA).  A total of six panelists made informative presentations. Moderators were Trustees Shirley Bruursema , Kent District Library and Dora Sims, Birmingham Public Library and Trustee-at-Large, United For Libraries Board.

I also attended a session titled "Discussion on Fiduciary Responsibilities of Boards" that was led by Ruth Newell.  This segment was one of the main topics specifically designed for all Trustees present and I summarize here some of the main suggestions that Ms. Newell made during her presentation:
- Be Alert and Aware
- Be Knowledgeable
- New Trustees: Select an approved purchase and follow the $$$ from beginning to end
- Caution do not micro-manage

Another breakout session that I attended was an “Emergency Readiness” presentation for libraries. The presentation was timely and interesting but primarily targeted a public school setting.

As a sidebar, I met people from around the world: Canada, Nigeria, Alabama, England, Ohio,  France…and a former Carol Stream Friends member named Connie Messner. I invited her and all others to visit the library if they ever happen to visit Carol Stream. The total conference attendance was 26,000+ with over 780 venders gathered in the Exhibits Hall. As a first time attendee, I got caught up in collecting as many “badges” as I could.  I collected five before it dawned on me that I was overdoing it a bit!  Battling Blackhawks fans intent on partying at the downtown parade was an unexpected challenge in Chicago during both days I attended.

On June 29, I attended the “Soaring Higher: United for Libraries Leaders in Action” session. I enjoyed the presentations from seasoned members of group. The group is very dedicated. The take-away for me was--I am not ready to participate at this level…yet  Later that day, I attended a session titled, “How to Be an Effective Library Advocate”. I will share the handout on request.

During the conference, I visited the Exhibits Hall and wore myself out trying to “see it all” while collecting conference “swag” from vendors. I did get a few good books. I plan to donate a book on bullying to Cloverdale School. A couple of other advanced reader copies I acquired may prove suitable for the library shelves.

I was exhausted by the end and I had a great time at the ALA Conference. As a result of my experience, I feel more committed and better prepared to serve the Carol Stream Library.

The STL Committee is extremely proud of Bonita Gilliam and we are grateful for her dedication to our library and our community. Along with all of the other newly elected trustees, she brings a new sense of hope and optimism to our library.