September 1, 2017 (Vol. 24, No. 16) ASSOCIATION NEWS

A Changing of the Guard, and Thank You!

Greetings OLA Members!

I wanted to inform you all that the presidency of the Oregon Library Association has officially been transferred. At the executive board meeting on August 25, 2017, at the Crook County Public Library, I had the honor of passing the gavel to our then-vice president Buzzy Nielsen. He is going to be an amazing president, I am certain of that; please join me in welcoming him to this new role!

It is amazing what can happen in a year, both in our personal and professional lives. I see the passing of a year so starkly with my little children, one who was barely crawling when I was handed the OLA gavel is now running around and jabbering. When I look back on the year I spent in service as OLA president, it seems like it went quickly, but time has a way of feeling stretched out too. We did a great deal of work! That is what our association does, there are so many moving parts, and brilliant people working together for the good of Oregon libraries. It’s been a privilege to get to know many of you and seeing what we can accomplish together.

Some of the year’s major events that stick out in my mind:

  • A great turnout at Legislative Day in Salem.
  • Our fantastic conference–and, we added a Saturday–epic!
  • Continuation of our strategic initiatives, such as starting work on the Leadership Institute (coming in May  2018!), upgrading our website, Leadership Scholarships, starting a website task force to continue looking at our web presence, and a task force to look at how we fundraise and how that can be further coordinated and streamlined.
  • Members of our association mobilized in support of Net Neutrality, IMLS funding, LSTA and IAL funding, and our elected representatives heard us!
  • Our units continued work on many big projects, too numerous to list here.
  • The Intellectual Freedom Committee won a national award (Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award) for their “Tuesday Topics.”
  • OLA, OASL, and ACRL worked very hard to get the Oregon Department of Education to include school libraries in their proposal for the statewide “Every Student Succeeds Act” implementation plan.

We also had sorrow in the library community, with the defunding of the Douglas County Library system, and their subsequent closure. We see Wallowa County facing what could be a similar problem. But, as we have seen time and time again, our communities step up and fight for their libraries. Douglas County has most of its branches operating as city libraries or as volunteer-run at the moment, and are looking for sustainable ways forward. Libraries in Josephine County passed their levy and have a source of stable funding after 10 years! Tillamook County and Fern Ridge also passed their library levies!

So you see, there were high points, low points, and a lot of hard work that went on in our association this year. I am impressed and continually inspired to work with you, and feel so fortunate that I get to continue on the board this coming year as “past president.” I’m planning to focus my energy on continuing to assess our web presence with the task force, including how we can use Northwest Central better to share resources and provide more professional development.

Most of all, I want to thank you for allowing me to serve as president of the Oregon Library Association this past year. It expanded my horizons, my community, I learned so much, and I look forward to continuing to work with you!

Elsa Loftis
OLA Immediate Past President 2017-18