Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Recharge and refocus: WLA President's Message

The summer has flown by and I found myself a bit misty-eyed this morning to find myself the mother of high school sophomore who just passed her driver’s license temps.  Not that I was verklempt that I will have to soon add her to my car insurance policy, but that another summer has passed and I only did about half of the things I wanted to do!  However, the recent holiday weekend made me grateful for an extra day to recharge and refocus.

The WLA board has also taken the opportunity to refocus and begin implementing the Strategic Plan we adopted for the association earlier this year.  Three ad hoc committees were formed to respond to recommendations from participants at last year’s strategic planning retreat and leadership meeting.  The three committees are looking at new ways WLA can address issues in the areas of leadership, professional development, and membership.  The ad hoc committees are currently meeting and will report back to the board next spring with their recommendations.

A small contingent of WLA and WEMTA (Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association) members, including Allison Kaplan, Kathy Sanders and myself, along with WEMTA lobbyist Michael Blumenfeld, met in August with a member of Governor Scott Walker’s staff to discuss the Read to Lead Task Force and the role school and public libraries play in the literacy development of children of all ages.  Allison Kaplan was one of the authors of the memo that was sent to the Read to Lead Task Force members on behalf of WLA and WEMTA.

Our advocacy efforts regarding WiscNet did not go unnoticed, however our work is just beginning to further educate our local and state elected officials about the importance WiscNet’s broadband service plays in almost all of our communities.  Our representatives need to hear from us about the cost-effectiveness this valuable service provides to our schools and public libraries. 

And finally, one of the highlights of the approaching fall (besides football and the best Brewers season since I was an undergraduate) is the WLA Annual Conference!  A huge thank you goes out to the conference planning committee, which has been putting the finishing touches on the programs and activities.  This will be the first time in 8 years that the conference is held in Milwaukee, and the first time since 2007 that it will be held in downtown Milwaukee.  I am particularly looking forward to sharing my “other life” with all of you when my Sweet Adelines chorus, Riverport Chorus, and my daughter’s quartet, Trouble Clef, performs prior to the Awards Banquet! 

And yes, the rumors are true, I will be spending my honeymoon at WLA!   My fiancĂ© is in the Army Reserves and will be deployed to Afghanistan in December, so we decided to get married October 29th instead of waiting till he returns.  We’re taking a real honeymoon when he’s on leave next summer.  J
--Rhonda Puntney, WLA President

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