And yet, Berry is talking about being joyful in consideration. He is talking about reasons for hope. We and our allies are one of many reasons. Many of the reported challenges have been resolved without the removal of books. School and district administrators and parents are more aware than ever of the important role of school librarians in their communities. MSLA has renewed our collaborative efforts with the MA Library Association, the MA Library System, and the MA Board of Library Commissioners, strengthening partnerships to open doors. We can be joyful for connections, for receiving invitations to training sessions and even for landing meetings with state legislators!
MSLA advocacy efforts are not the only priorities, right now MSLA volunteers are busy working behind the scenes on membership events and a plan for the future. Our first in-person conference since 2019, Gear Up: Moving Forward Together, is rapidly approaching! The Conference Committee’s number one planning goal is to maximize the time and space for face to face gathering and fun— JOY! Our Strategic Planning committee is hard at work conducting focus groups and analyzing data so they can make informed recommendations about the directions that MSLA should be heading in the next five years. Your voice matters, and if you missed your chance to give feedback, there will be a fifth focus group at the conference.
This year more than ever we’ve spent a great deal of time offering specific support to librarians in tough circumstances. We’ve sent letters to districts in support of keeping books and twice offered testimony at school committee meetings. We can support you too— just reach out.
When we work together there is reason for hope. If things are iffy out there in Intellectual Freedom land, librarians are certainly going to “consider all the facts.” But this isn’t the first time we will have these challenges and it won’t be the last. If we lead the way with joy in our considerations and efforts, we will help to frame the possibility of a better future.