Meet Sheli Pratt-McHugh
3rd Vice President, Membership Committee Chair, PaLA
What was the last five-star book you read?
I recently read Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House and loved it so much! I immediately read her book Commonwealth and also loved that! I love how she weaves family stories together over generations, with insight and care for each character.
What is your preferred caffeinated beverage, and how much of it do you drink each day?
I am a coffee-addict! I had really reduced my intake a few years ago and was only having 2 cups a day...till the pandemic and now I probably have 3 or 4...maybe more! I remember when I was first dating my husband and my BFF told him to give me coffee every two hours to keep me happy. I think I’m getting back to that point.
What activities or hobbies are you enjoying during this time?
I’m keeping up with my running. Though I normally run with a group, I’m venturing out solo and that’s hard. My group shared a schedule, so at least we are doing the same workouts even if we’re not together. Having my running friends to check in with each week really helps to stay motivated!
I’ve also been cooking a lot more! My parents have made some videos for me so I can learn how to make their recipes myself. I made a batch of homemade dough, from that I made spaghetti, fettuccine, manicotti, and farfalle. My family only knows how to cook in bulk, so that’s a useful skill to have right now. My daughter helped make the farfalle (butterfly) pasta. It’s been fun to share new experiences with her!
How did you first get involved in PaLA? Did you receive encouragement from anyone in particular?
My first supervisor at my old library, Scott Thomas at Scranton Public Library, encouraged me to join PaLA. He was supportive with time from my desk to attend chapter events and meetings. I quickly became involved on the chapter level and served with colleagues from SPL and around my region. I then served on the Technical Services Round-Table and made connections in my field of librarianship as well.
How has your PaLA membership helped you?
I was a member of the inaugural PALS cohort where I learned about leadership skills and styles and made connections that I maintain to this day. Shortly after that experience (and partially due to that experience to some extent) I made the switch from public to academic librarianship and PaLA was integral in my success with the tenure and promotion process. I fulfilled service to my profession through serving on PaLA Committees and boards; I shared my research at PaLA workshops and conferences; I learned from my PaLA colleagues improving my knowledge of librarianship, and honing my speaking and writing skills. The impact on my work is truly innumerable!
PaLA has also helped me in dealing with the current state of the world. I have used the resources provided by the association to find out what other libraries are doing to stay healthy, provide services, and share accurate reliable information. I also relied on my PaLA colleagues to provide advice, solace, and laughter during this time. I’m so grateful for the friendships and connections to get through this crisis and I know we are stronger together because of the association.