Midwinter ALA Meeting


The Midwinter meeting of the American Library Association was held in Atlanta, Ga. In an effort to save association dollars, our Midwinter gatherings are usually held in really cold cities like Boston and Denver. Yes, Atlanta’s warm weather was a real treat. The journey from my hotel to the convention center was exciting also. I shared the journey with Atlanta Falcon and Green Bay Packer fans, Women’s March participants and the Hot Chocolate runners.

Midwinter is mostly for committee meetings. I am the elected Treasurer of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). As such, both Thursday afternoon and most of Friday was devoted to BCALA meetings. As Executive Board members we reviewed strategic directions and drafted action plans.

A BCALA member of 30 plus years, I have held numerous positions within the organization. Our association serves as an advocate for the development, promotion and improvement of library services and resources to the African American community. We also provide leadership for the recruitment and professional development of African American Librarians.

There are many benefits to being professionally active. Your creative thought process is enhanced by attending lectures, participating in group discussions and serving with others on committees working around areas of specific interest. Active participation enhances your ability to work within a team, learning how to strategize, synthesizing data and information; without the confines of employment. You get to self-select; to follow your passion. The ability to network (peer to peer sharing) with others is extremely beneficial. What you learn and experience today will prepare you for what you will possibly face tomorrow. At some point you just may enjoy making a difference in the professional development of others, while you continue to advance professionally.

Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 12.11.31 PM.pngOne program discussed the need for creating transformational leaders to fill new library roles. What is “transformational leadership?” This styled leader has charisma; providing vision and a sense of vision, instilling pride and gaining respect. This leader is inspirational, communicating high expectations, with intellectual stimulation and careful problem solving. Specifically a transformational leader gives personal attention to each employee. This leader strives to create a culture where all are in harmony. The current greatest human resource issue for libraries is the struggle to continuously develop and sustain a workforce that is resilient and flexible. A workforce that will respond to the ever changing demands of our users. One where we facilitate the development of Libraries as cultures of continuous learning. Community responsiveness to learning, change and innovation is essential for the emergence of the next generation of learners. We learn with and from each other.

Coincidentally, one of the other sessions I attended discussed resilience. The traits of resilient staff are listed below. So here I’ll ask; are you resilient?

  • Accepts reality
  • Has a clear sense of purpose and meaning
  • Optimistic
  • Able to improvise
  • Open to learning
  • Curious
  • Growth mindset
  • Self-aware and mindful
  • Adept at solving problems
  • Willing to try new things, take risks
  • Healthy tolerance of failure


Author: Wanda Brown


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