As we prepare for MLA later this month (where has the time gone??), I wanted to remind you of a few things related to the meeting and catch you up on Board activities. First, for this meeting, we are asking members to consider the needs of colleagues who have medical concerns like asthma and migraines that can be triggered by alcohol-born scents and refrain from wearing perfumes, colognes, or strongly scented oils during the annual meeting, if the purpose of the scent is aesthetic only and not part of a cultural or spiritual belief. We are not creating a policy for this now, merely asking folks to think about how personal choices can have a negative effect on our peers and to act thoughtfully.
This is also a good time to remind our members of the Music Library Association Code of Conduct that is designed to create a collegial environment for all attendees. Specifically, harassment is described in the code: Activities that may constitute harassment include, but are not limited to, offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, religion, age, national origin (ancestry), pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, or other group identity, as well as actions such as deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. At the same time, the Code of Conduct does note that, “Discussion or critical examination of viewpoints, as well as the use of sexual imagery or language, may not, by itself, and in the context of professional discourse, constitute harassing or hostile behavior.” If you experience or witness behavior that you think qualifies as harassment during our meeting, please let me or another member of the Board know as soon as possible.
In other news, this meeting will be the first time that our newly appointed Strategic Planning Task Force will be meeting together face-to-face. Holling Smith Borne (our Strategic Planning Task Force chair) and I put out a call for volunteers in the late fall and were excited by the volunteers we received. After recruiting a couple more members to widen representation, we finalized the group with the following membership: Erin Conor, Terry Lewis, Ruthann McTyre, Chuck Peters, Charley Roush, Lisa Shiota, and Matthew Vest. Their charge is as follows: The Strategic Planning Task Force shall create a strategic plan for the organization for 2021- 2030. As part of this process, the Task Force will develop a) four or five main goal areas, and b) two to three measurable and actionable annual objectives for each goal area. All goals and objectives should reflect the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This plan should incorporate input from the membership through several feedback opportunities. Once the plan is drafted and approved, the larger goal areas will be reevaluated every three years by the Planning Committee, incorporating new information from the organization’s regular Climate Surveys and updating and rolling over the goal areas as necessary. The annual objectives will also be evaluated annually by the Planning Committee at each Spring Board Meeting. Please let them or me know if you have any concerns you’d like to see addressed as part of the strategic planning process.
And finally, I wanted to be sure that everyone was aware of a new initiative that the Board voted on last year and that we’ll be implementing this year. We Susannah Cleveland, MLA President From the Board, continued page | 3 have decided to do a pilot to make a place for a student or early-career member on the Board. The intent of this effort is to capture the feedback of those new to and entering into the profession of music librarianship while also helping newer members to gain an early insight into how the organization functions. Because a change to the voting membership of the Board requires a change to the constitution, we’re trying this now with the student serving as a nonvoting member and, if it goes well, put the proposed change to the membership for a vote at the conclusion of a three-year pilot. If it passed as a constitutional amendment, the new Board member would have full voting rights. This will be a one-year appointment to allow for the swift transitions during this part of a person’s career. Candidates for this position must qualify for early-career or student membership status in MLA and be a member in good standing in the relevant category. MLA will cover the usual members-at-large travel for this member for board meetings (Spring/Summer in Middleton; Fall somewhere else; Winter at the annual meeting) as outlined in the Administrative Handbook. The elected member will have regular duties assigned to them and will get to choose between serving on the Board’s Planning Committee or Finance Committee. We’re still finalizing details ahead of our upcoming election this spring/summer, so it’s possible the position might still evolve a bit in the meantime. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Norfolk in a few weeks. Until then, I wish you happy Winters with exactly the amount of snow you prefer.