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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Why I'm Voting for Gina Millsap

Have you ever met someone and thought they would be a perfect match for a job? Every time I talk with Gina Millsap, I think what a great ALA President she would make. So with elections around the corner I thought I'd share with you why I think that.

I first met Gina years ago at Computers in Libraries. She was bubbling with excitement because her marketing person had introduced her to a new world of demographics and they were building a new system that would allow them to target audiences. The more she spoke, the more I was impressed. Sure I liked the idea that she was going to use marketing the way it needed to be used in a library, but more so because she she had listened to what her marketing person said and then brought together her people to figure out how it would work. This was not a top down, do what I want kind of manager. I liked that.

In that same conversation she spoke about bringing together a team of people and how valuable it was to create a space where all those voices could be heard. She also spoke about how it may be more difficult to come up with solutions that address all the needs, but it was essential for change to be successful. Of course, to her it wasn't a problem because her strength was facilitating diverse ideas. I liked that.

I think ALA needs a president who is a natural facilitator.

To me, it feels as though ALA is all over the place. I have friends that fit into almost every category possible and when I listen them, it's if they are each in a separate organization. ALA needs to find its story. And that story needs to include the voices of everyone. That's a tall order and will require someone who can facilitate solutions.

I know Gina will give marketers a voice in those discussions but I also like that she is addressing the need for ALA to incorporate the voices from our ethnic caucuses. I like that she values the voices of our cutting edge thinkers. I like that she is insisting all of our voices must be incorporated into the direction ALA will take to to move forward.

What you may not know about her is that she still works the floor a couple of days a week and even answers reference questions from her office. I like that.

Coming from the Midwest, she has a down to earth approach to working with people that in my mind translates beautifully no matter what part of the country you come from. She believes most problems can be resolved by getting to know what both sides are thinking. She listens, really listens, to new ideas and is able to help people connect the dots without losing track of where they wanted to go.

Gina is smart, funny and articulate.

She is ready to tackle tough issues. Because her solutions are based on making sure both sides get what they need, I think she'll help solve the struggle libraries are facing with publishers and e-books.

And most of all, she has seen the impact marketing has had on her library and I believe she will be a force that will usher in a new era for all of us who are committed to marketing libraries.

I am voting for Gina because I want her as my president.  -Nancy

The views expressed here are mine alone. I've never taken a public stand for any ALA candidate but I have reached a period in my life when I think it's important to support the people who will take ALA in the direction I think it needs to go. Gina and Barbara are both very well qualified and I will fully support whoever gets into office.

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