My first experience with CLA happened years ago when I was asked by a cherished colleague to write a letter of recommendation to accompany her application for CLA’s annual MLS scholarship. I was not a member then. I began my career as a music librarian, so most of my professional activities back then centered on the Music Library Association, of which I was a very active and committed member. When I finally became a CLA member in 2004 following my arrival at CCSU, I joined the Career Recruitment Committee (now called Career Development), whose primary responsibility was administering the scholarship programs. The committee was chaired by my friend and former boss, Randi Ashton-Pritting, and when she moved onto bigger and more exciting things, I happily offered to take her place. Anyone who has ever served on that committee will tell you that giving out scholarships to worthy LIS students is one of the most fulfilling activities you can engage in as a CLA member. Along the way, I was fortunate to meet so many talented, bright, and committed students, and my interactions with them left not a single doubt or worry concerning the future of our profession!
Throughout the 15 years I’ve been a professional librarian, I’ve had the opportunity to devote considerable time outside the scope of my normal duties to the cause of continuing education for library staff. I’m very proud that our Association supports and contributes to our members’ professional development in so many ways– from the scholarships awarded to students and professional development grants (PEG), to the fall programs and the biggest library continuing education event in the state—the Annual Conference! Much of this is due to the generosity of one librarian, Adeline Mix, former Director of the Windsor Public Library, who made the Connecticut Library Association a primary beneficiary of her will. Her gift to CLA has left an enduring legacy to support our continuing education and, ultimately, the advancement of library services in the state.
So, it will come as little surprise that I have decided to make strengthening the PEG and scholarship programs a focus of my presidency, and I hope you will join with me in this worthy effort! Here’s what you can do to help! Looking for a year-end tax deduction? Please consider making a contribution to PEG. Your contributions along with a sound investment strategy will grow the Mix Fund, which will in turn provide professional development grants for our members in the years to come. You can also help by spreading the word! If you happen to know CLA members who would benefit from financial support in the form of scholarships or professional education grants, please encourage them to apply! More often than not, some PEG money available during a given quarter goes unspent. This is something we have to change! Lastly, I hope to see many of you at a “Scholarship Bash” fundraiser that is planned for the annual conference this May in Stamford. Details to follow!
The Mix bequest laid a study foundation; it is up to us to build upon it.