Director’s Desk – Fall 2023
“Gratitude is the most powerful form of magic.”Author Unknown
It is bittersweet to be writing my final submission for the OhioNet Director’s Desk (though I am happy to pop in any time as a guest contributor) because there is so much I want to say, and I know in the end I may not be able to adequately express it all. Here goes nothing.
First, I want to thank the OhioNet Board for offering me this opportunity back in the fall of 2018. I am so glad I said yes! You made it clear from the start that you valued me and my experience, and you continued to demonstrate that value and trust throughout my tenure as we addressed some challenges and explored new opportunities. OhioNet is the first organization where I felt safe enough to be my authentic self at work – and that is directly attributable to the space created by the Board, and to the extraordinary team of people at OhioNet.
Let’s talk about that extraordinary team for just a minute. In case you haven’t had an opportunity to interact with all of them, OhioNet is powered by amazing and knowledgeable people. They are each experts in their particular areas of work and are also too humble to say it out loud, so I’ll say it here. At every level of the organization, every individual cares about you, our members, and keeps your needs top of mind. They provide that same level of care and support to each other in their day-to-day work, which is part of their magic.
As a result of this environment, OhioNet was able to do some wonderful work. If I were creating a highlight reel of our work the past five years, it would include:
- Updating our mission and vision and co-creating a new strategic plan through collaboration and conversations with the Board, staff, and our members.
- Rebranding the organization to more accurately reflect who we are now, and using the knowledge gained during that process to also create a new website that is more engaging and easier to navigate.
- Partnering with library organizations across the state at conferences (OLC, OELMA, ALAO), in conversations and projects (INFOhio, OhioLINK), and in grant-funded initiatives like ILEAD and LLO with the State Library of Ohio.
- Adapting to changes caused by a global pandemic, which forced us to pivot to a remote working model and allowed us to explore the move to a new office space specifically designed to better support our new hybrid work situation.
- Launching appreciative inquiry (AI)-focused Consulting Services and bringing new strategies and tools to our members, including Conversations Worth Having (CWH). I particularly appreciated having an opportunity to learn new skills in AI and CWH and being able to work directly with members as part of this team.
- Having meaningful conversations about the future of librarianship and what OhioNet and OPAL can do to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in our profession, resulting in our issuing and rewarding an RFQ to for further exploration and action. I look forward to seeing where this work leads!
- Addressing the very real burnout felt by our staff (internally) and our members (externally) and delving into what we can do as an organization to support the Wellbeing of our team and librarians across the state. I am excited about OhioNet’s upcoming statewide survey of librarians and their Wellbeing and look forward to reading about what you learn and how you respond to the findings.
- Being asked to share my expertise and experience with others in a variety of ways including as a mentor, on panels, and giving presentations and keynotes. This is unexpected and meaningful work that continues to inspire me.
- And on a very personal level, rediscovering my passion for persuasive writing. While this was initially fueled by my response to the tragic events surrounding the murder of George Floyd in 2020, my Director’s Desk column has grown to be a place where I feel in conversation with members and we talk about hard things in respectful ways, while focusing on the very real actions we can take to address the challenges we collectively face.
Y’all, it has been my honor, truly, to lead and participate in the growth of OhioNet and the library landscape in Ohio and beyond. While I will miss our work together, I can’t wait to see what the future holds!