Viewpoint from the Chair - April 2016

The 2016 Amigos Member Conference is just over a month away, on May 11-12. I encourage you to make every effort to participate in this worthwhile annual event.

This year's theme, "Connections, Collections and Communities," is particularly timely. Libraries are natural gathering places in most communities, where community members meet for a variety of purposes seeking the betterment of their towns and cities. Libraries can connect and unite communities like no other institution. Forward-thinking libraries are actively leveraging their collections in a number of ways - some traditional; some not so traditional - to strengthen their community ties. Data shows that assessing their communities can help libraries build better collections, which in turn better connects them with their communities. This should be a priority for all libraries.

I was certainly pleased to see that Andrea Davis with the San Francisco Public Library will open the conference with her keynote address, "Transformative Collections: Building Bridges for Libraries & Communities." Andrea is well known in public library circles. Her work at SFPL involves connecting the rich serials collections to local communities through innovative programming and partnerships. In 2012, the Library Journal named her as one of its Movers & Shakers. Andrea's forte is introducing unconventional approaches into some traditional settings, often with remarkable results.

Jamie Hollier, Co-CEO of the consulting firm Anneal, Inc., and Co-Owner of Commerce Kitchen, a custom software consultancy, has agreed to deliver our closing keynote address. Jamie will present "5 Years Out: Understanding Your Community through Scanning." She is a noted program manager, entrepreneur, and consultant who is passionate about technology and how it can be used to create stronger communities. Jamie has been honored as a White House "Champion of Change" and has been the lead on numerous award winning projects. She has a diverse skill set and brings a breadth of knowledge to her projects. She has worked with diverse clients in both the public and private sectors, and is also a board member for the Digital Public Library of America.

In between, we have put together an impressive lineup of knowledgeable speakers covering a variety of topics related to our theme. I invite you to take a few moments and review the conference schedule posted to our website.

In conjunction with the Member Conference, Amigos will conduct its annual Member Meeting on May 11, the highlight of which is the election of new members to the Amigos Board of Directors. Complete candidate information is posted to the Amigos website and was recently mailed to voting representatives at all Amigos member libraries in the "Call to Meeting." I urge all those designated as voting representatives for their member institutions to study this list and vote for those you feel best qualified to serve on the Board.

I want to thank all Amigos staff for their time and efforts in putting together what promises to be another outstanding, informative Amigos Member Conference, and to all you whose attendance annually makes it such a success.