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Meet Megan Babal, Northwest Chapter Member

Posted By Susan Wertz, Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Updated: Friday, September 4, 2020

Megan Babal,

Public Service and Outreach Librarian, Grove City College


What was the last five-star book you read?

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. It is one of my all-time favorite books and my go-to book recommendation during reader’s advisory. It’s the perfect mix of feel-good, a little sad, and laugh-out-loud funny with such great characters. For audiobook listeners this is a great one to listen to as well. George Newbern as the narrator is great!


Tell us about your journey to working in libraries.

In high school I took a career exploration class and for our final project we had to interview professionals in different fields to get a feel for what we might be interested in. I struggled with picking a field until I interviewed my local librarians. That interaction opened up a career option that I never expected or considered. Four years later after graduating college with a B.A. in History and enrolling in Pitt’s Library Science Program, I knew there was nothing else that I would rather be doing and I still feel that way 7 years later. I have loved all of my library experiences from interning at a busy public library in downtown Pittsburgh to my current position at a small academic library. Every day is different and serving our patrons and communities is so fulfilling.


What advice do you have to give others who may be struggling?

Be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to feel whatever you’re feeling without judgement. For me personally, there are times when I struggle with feeling guilty about the loss of something like a canceled vacation that seems insignificant compared to the suffering of others who have lost so much during this time. If you feel the same way, I've found Brené Brown’s words to be a lifeline right now. Her podcast Unlocking Us includes some great thoughts and conversations including talking about struggle during this time. In one episode, she says “Comparative suffering is dangerous. Empathy is not finite. When we practice empathy, we create more empathy. The exhausted ER doctor doesn’t benefit more if you reserve your empathy only for her and ignore your feelings or withhold empathy from someone lower on the “suffering scale.” Hurt is hurt, and every time we honor our own struggle and the struggles of others by responding with empathy, the healing results affects all of us.” 1


1  Brené Brown, “Brené on Comparative Suffering, the 50/50 Myth, and Settling the Ball,” March 27, 2020 in Unlocking Us, produced by Brené Brown, podcast, mp3 audio,


Do you have a favorite PaLA Annual Conference location or experience? Why is that your favorite?

My first PaLA conference was in Pittsburgh in 2017 and I was attending as a poster presenter. It stands out to me because I hadn’t joined PaLA yet and I wanted to learn about the organization and meet other librarians who belonged to get a feel if it was right for me. Immediately after setting up my poster on our library’s therapy dog program, I was approached and gifted a copy of Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp. I hadn’t been to any PaLA events before and the amount of encouragement and interest in my library’s program was overwhelming and the support from other librarians I had just met blew me away. I left feeling energized and knew that I had found an organization that I wanted to be a part of. This conference location and experience is my favorite because it’s where my journey in this organization started and I couldn’t be more grateful to be involved and be a part of such a professional, supportive and knowledgeable group of people in an organization that offers so many opportunities for programs, professional development, networking and support.

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Meet Sue Williams, West Branch Chapter Membership Representative

Posted By Susan Wertz, Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Updated: Monday, August 31, 2020

Sue Williams
West Branch Chapter Membership Representative



What is your favorite movie?

A long-time favorite has been, “Smokey and the Bandit.” I enjoy Jackie Gleason’s non-scripted humor and love that dog, Fred. Movies from the ’70s, with the hair styles and fashions are fun to watch.


Tell us about your journey to working in libraries.

I came to the profession a bit later in life, after working 20+ years in the book printing industry; I now lend the books I once manufactured. The printing industry has changed drastically over the years, after another plant closing and seeing the competiveness of the printing job market, I decided to return to college for an MLS degree at the age of 44. It was not an easy decision, but looking back now, it was certainly the right decision.

I worked in a public library for 4 years and will soon be celebrating a 4-year anniversary as a Librarian with the PA Department of Corrections. Few Librarians consider this career path, but I would encourage any Librarian to give it some serious consideration. Having the opportunity to help individuals who truly have no one and nowhere else to turn is inspiring. Knowing that the library can change, moods, thoughts, goals and direction, in life is phenomenal.


My experiences during COVID-19.

An unknown author said it well, “We are in the same storm, but we are NOT in the same boat!” 🚣‍ “…..We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different. Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing. We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey.”

I am fortunate, to still be working. My home life, and perception has changed through this experience.  I’ve made over 200 masks.  Given them out at work, to family, friends even hung them up on the front porch for anyone in the community in need. I’ve shipped some to different states and to Italy. Any donations received were used to buy food to feed children in our community. I see and understand the need to give and help, this is one thing I can do, enjoy doing, and will continue.



I quilt and fish.  Both have been an enjoyable past time during this pandemic. Fishing when the weather cooperates and quilt when it does not is how I roll.

PaLA membership.

PaLA helps me realize that as a Librarian; learning, growing, and networking, must continue to be successful. PaLA opens doors and opportunities for all of us. Round tables, conferences, webinars are all tools that have value and are worth making time in my routine to tap into this knowledge when I can.  My schedule is very structured and limited, yet PaLA is always welcoming and beneficial even more now, when this world is going through wild times! Who knows what the, “new normal,” of library services maybe, but I feel confident knowing PALA is there with me every step of the way.

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Meet Jessica Pratt, Northeast Chapter Membership Representative

Posted By Susan Wertz, Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Jessica Pratt 

Northeast Chapter Membership Representative, 2020 PaLA Conference Committee

What activities and hobbies are you enjoying during this time?

I’ve been renovating my bathroom since April. It has turned out to be much more of a challenge than I had anticipated.  As anyone who has ever had to renovate an older home already knows, repairing one thing reveals something else that needs fixing. It’s been quite the learning experience and I can’t wait for it to finally be done!


What is your preferred caffeinated beverage, and how much of it do you drink each day?

Hot tea.  I typically consume 1-2 cups a day at work. Before social distancing, I even started a book club at the library, Novel-Tea, just so that I can get together with patrons to discuss books and drink tea.


Tell us about your journey working in libraries:

I never really considered myself much of a reader growing up although my friends joked that I was a “quiet librarian.” Even in college when I took an internship at an academic library as part of my Museum Studies minor, I still didn’t see myself ever working in libraries. After college, however, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do next so I started applying for jobs in my home town. One place that called me for an interview was my local library. It was a part-time position and I really only saw it as temporary but the library director recognized me from my visits when I was younger (I guess I was more of a reader than I gave myself credit for) and I got the job. Fast forward a few years and I finally admitted to myself that I really like working in libraries. I went for my MLIS and am now an official librarian (although not necessarily a quiet one.)


How did you first get involved in PaLA? Did you receive encouragement from anyone in particular?

In 2012, I put together an altered book exhibit and my director encouraged me to submit the idea as a poster for the annual conference. Even though I did not attend any sessions that year, it introduced me to the great networking opportunities that the conference can provide. I became a member of PaLA a year later and have been fortunate to have the opportunity to attend almost every conference since then in some capacity. I love meeting new people and old friends at the conferences as well as bringing innovative ideas back to my library. In 2016 I had the opportunity to first serve on the committee for the PaLA Annual Conference and then again this year. This is also my first year serving as a PaLA Chapter member and on the Membership Committee.


How has your PaLA membership helped you?

Along with the learning experiences provided by the conferences, the PALS program, and chapter workshops, my membership has greatly expanded my network both professionally and socially. I’m friends with librarians on Facebook that I would never had met if not for attending a PaLA event. Just recently my chapter put together virtual socials for us to just get together and talk about how we’re doing.  (It turns out many of us used to go to the same hair salon!)

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Meet Linda Raub Esposito, Southwest Chapter Membership Chair

Posted By Susan Wertz, Monday, July 27, 2020
Updated: Friday, July 24, 2020

Linda Raub Esposito

Youth Services Librarian,
Peters Township Public Library


Tell us about your journey to working in libraries.

As a child I used to frequent my school library. Up until 5th grade I went to a very small 2 room school. It was like “Little House on the Prairie”.  There were 2 grades per class room.  The library was a room on that floor that sat in between the 2 classrooms and then of course there were bathrooms and a water fountain. That was it. Funny I have since gone back to see the old school house. It is now a community center and the library remains. Although I recall it being a lot larger when I was a child. And when did they lower the water fountain?? LOL Funny how we perceive things when we are young and “small”.

Well of course those were the days of the card catalog. When the librarian would make new cards and toss out old ones and I would take them. I would go home and play school with my sisters. Of course I was the teacher/librarian. My sisters ought to be thankful that I wasn’t their principal. LOL

Well…I look back on those days and see the irony that I in fact became a librarian. I went off to Penn State and earned my BS in Business. After graduation I moved to Minneapolis and spent 17 ½ years in business.  My husband, at that time, and I owned and managed 2 restaurants, 2 deli’s, 2 takeout & delivery locations, and a commissary. Yes I indeed used my business degree.

As my life began to take a different course I moved back to Pittsburgh to raise my children closer to family. I had always worked and had flexibility to raise my children and wanted somehow to continue to do so. I came up with a music program that I thought would work for children. I approached Mrs. Pier Lee (famous around PaLA) of my local library and asked if I could run the program through her library. She invited me to do a class with children while she and the Children’s Librarian observed. As you could probably guess…I got the job. In 1998 I became an independent contractor of sorts. I worked out a library program that families had to pay for so that I could get paid. My classes were full with waiting lists!!

Shortly after my “joining” the Peters Township Public Library our children’s program assistant had left for another job. I was offered the position. I jumped on it and now it is 2020 and I am still here. I moved up the ladder by doing every aspect of a librarian’s job. I loved it so much, I went on to earn my MLIS. Every day I count my blessings for having this career find me!  I wouldn’t change it for the world.


How have libraries impacted your life?

I remember my first book ever…”Are You’re my Mother” by P.D. Eastman. Even today this is my favorite children’s book. I love giving it as gifts. My first chapter book was “Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock” by Carolyn Keene. I really enjoyed that even more because now…I was really reading.

Libraries expand our world. I may never get to Greece physically, but I feel I have been there. The library took me there.  Wouldn’t it be fun to meet a famous person like Queen Elizabeth? That will probably never happen but in my library I learned about her, Alexander Hamilton, Bill Gates, Roald Dahl etc.  I never want to stop learning and the library affords me so many learning opportunities. How can we not want to shout it from the rooftops? There is this great resource that just cries out to be used and it is ours for the taking.  Sometimes I wonder if it is one of those well kept secrets that needs NOT to be a secret.


How did you first get involved in PaLA? Did you receive encouragement from anyone in particular?

I first got involved with PaLA by going to the conferences. I had a supportive director that made it possible for some of us to attend. Wow…there is so much going on at a conference. You feel the excitement and enthusiasm from other librarians, authors, vendors…you just want to ride the wave.

The person that really pumped me up to get more involved was actually pretty recent. Ed Wolf our Techie guy (great guy) was involved and I would see him and his interactions with other PaLA members. (I don’t think there is a person at PaLA that Ed doesn’t know, or doesn’t know Ed LOL) He would introduce me to people and I found the more people I met the more I learned and the more I wanted to be a part of the inner workings of PaLA.

I am a member of PaLA, ALA, Southwest Chapter Membership Chair, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (EDI) Committee and Candidate for 2020-2021 Vice Chair/Chair Elect for the Southwest Chapter.


What advice would you give to new members, or someone considering membership?

Get involved so that you feel a part of PaLA. This is a sure fire way to meet people, make connections, share professional news and best of all make new friends! Be active and be proud!

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Meet Katie Q. Manwiller, Lehigh Valley Chapter Member

Posted By Susan Wertz, Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Katie Quirin Manwiller
Lehigh Valley Chapter member,
CRD Membership Liaison


Tell us about your journey to working in libraries.

I spent much of my childhood going to public libraries with my grandmother, who volunteered at my local branch – the Mifflin Community Library in Shillington, PA. My first introduction to interlibrary loan came as a tween, requesting books online from the other Berks County branches. I did not, however, know at that point that I wanted to be a librarian.


I figured it out (mostly) while in undergrad at Gettysburg College. I so thoroughly enjoyed my time in their Special Collections and working with the librarians that I decided library school at the University of Pittsburgh was my next step. I focused in archives, and worked two years as a lone arranger before realizing instruction and outreach was where I would rather be. I’m now the Evening Public Services and Assessment Librarian at DeSales University and deeply enjoy my work.


How are you staying productive and motivated to work from home?

Lists! I’m generally a list person, but it has been extra helpful now that I’m working from home. I use a paper planner to keep track of daily to-dos and meetings. Being able to physically cross something off a list makes it feel like I’ve accomplished something each day. I also have an on-going Word Doc of what I’ve completed on a daily basis since work from home started. I use this Doc to write a weekly to-do list for myself, deleting tasks as they’re finished. These lists help me stay on track with what I need to get done and acknowledge my contributions to my library, which are sometimes less visible in the virtual environments.


What activities or hobbies are you enjoying during this time?

A bit stereotypical for quarantine, but I’m baking more than usual. I’m learning how to bake macarons though, not bread. They are extremely finicky to get right, but still taste delicious when they aren’t perfect, so it has been fun to try to figure them out. Here’s the basic recipe I’ve been using.


I also finally started reading ebooks, using Hoopla and Libby. I have been using both apps for a while for audiobooks but was an ebook hold-out until the pandemic ended getting print books from my local public library (Lower Macungie Library). I am now ahead of schedule for my reading goal for the year!


How has your PaLA membership helped you?

PaLA has been my home within the professional library community. When I started my current position, I needed to develop my skills as an academic librarian and turned to PaLA’s College and Research Division for help. After slowly building my knowledge through CRD’s Conference programming, workshops, and Virtual Journal Club, I joined the CRD as a Member-at-Large and eventually the Membership Liaison. PaLA has given me a way to gain experience and actively contribute to the profession in a manageable and constructive way. I have found it to have an array of opportunities for involvement and education in an environment that is less overwhelming than national organizations. My PaLA colleagues and experiences have helped me gain confidence as a librarian and give back to our larger library community.

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Meet Rebecca Dzikowski - Northeast Chapter, Pennsylvania Library Association Volunteer

Posted By Susan Wertz, Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, June 17, 2020


Rebecca Dzikowski
Northeast Chapter, Pennsylvania Library Association Volunteer
, Member of both Membership and Mentorship Committees


What was the last five-star book you read?

I’m still in the process of reading Graham Greene’s “The Power and the Glory,” but I think I can safely give it a five-star rating already! I’m mostly listening to it through Audible on my walks around the neighborhood, and it provides plenty of food for thought.

 How have libraries impacted your life?

Libraries, and of course, books, have always been hugely important to me. I started life as a regular story-time attender at my local public library, where I later worked as a page throughout high school. After studying literature in college, it was a natural progression to go to library school for my MLIS. Since then, I’ve loved providing reference services and now, cataloging at the University of Scranton. Libraries are the best!

What activities or hobbies are you enjoying during this time?

As I mentioned, I’ve started taking more walks, even digging out the old pedometer to see if I can make 10,000 steps per day. Sometimes one of my children comes with me, and we’ve had some great conversations while we explore new paths-literally! We just found a path through the woods behind our house that leads to a local park. We’ve lived here for three years and never known it was there!

 We’re also eating scandalous amounts of ice cream. Somehow it has become a routine that, when my husband and I go shopping once per week, we bring back new flavors for the family to try. I can’t imagine what would happen here at home if we forgot the weekly ice cream supply! It’s been a fun distraction.

How did you first get involved in PaLA? Did you receive encouragement from anyone in particular?

I’m a fairly new member. The former Dean of our library, Charles Kratz, encouraged me to join in the fall of 2018 and referred me to Sheli Pratt-McHugh. Sheli walked me through the membership process and recommended that I take advantage of PaLA’s mentorship program. I participated as a mentee last year and had a great experience. This past fall, Sheli invited me to join the mentorship committee (which is a subcommittee of the membership committee). My supervisor, Marleen Cloutier, is the current chair of the Northeast Chapter and encourages me to be as active as possible in PaLA. I am already seeing the ways in which my membership benefits me, as I make connections with other librarians across the state and learn from them. I hope to become more involved as time goes on!

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Meet Dana Barber - Southeast (SEPLA) Chapter, Membership Chair

Posted By Susan Wertz, Monday, June 1, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Dana Barber, Southeast (SEPLA) Chapter, Membership Chair



What are some silver linings you have discovered during this time?

One of my favorite things about being home during the pandemic is having time with my family. In addition to taking walks and bike rides, we have been binge watching The Goldbergs, which is guaranteed to bring us all some much-needed laughter and levity.

How are you staying sane during social distancing?

I think it’s questionable as to whether I am staying sane at this point during the stay-at-home order. It’s definitely been a struggle trying to keep my two school age daughters on point with their schoolwork while simultaneously working with library staff to pivot our services from in-person to virtual. That being said, it’s been rewarding as well. I am more involved with my children’s daily school lessons and it’s great to see them interact with their school mates and teachers during virtual lessons. In addition, I am constantly blown away by the creativity of my coworkers and others in the library field during this time. We have risen to the challenge and I have never been so proud to be part of the library community.

What advice do you have to give others who may be struggling?

Personally, I find staying busy keeps me distracted from the daily pandemic updates. I try to focus on what I can control instead. I think that is key to maintaining your sanity - along with going easy on yourself. Take frequent breaks and practice self-care! Personally, I have found a fun way to de-stress and exercise by having regular dance parties with Ryan Heffington (@ryan.heffington) on Instagram. I highly recommend checking it out!

What activities or hobbies are you enjoying during this time?

I am excited to go back to knitting since I have been home. I never seem to have time during a regular work week and then my family is always so busy with activities on weekends. While home, I have knitted several sweaters for myself and family, taught my oldest to knit, and have even attended weekly virtual knitting and crocheting nights hosted by my library. This creative outlet combined with the social aspect of meetup with other knitters has been a great stress reliever.

How did you first get involved in Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA)? Did you receive encouragement from anyone in particular?

I originally started attending SEPLA (South East Chapter) meetings at the suggestion of the previous Library Director at the Grundy Library. Her mentorship and support throughout the early part of my career helped to solidify my continued involvement in the association at both the chapter and state level

How has your Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA) membership helped you?

My involvement in PaLA has connected me with a variety of opportunities to develop my leadership skills and to build my professional network. As a participant in both the PaLA Academy of Leadership Studies (PALS) as well as the Office of Commonwealth Libraries Director’s Institute and a regular attendee at the PaLA Annual Conference and the SEPLA Annual Conference, I have learned first hand the value of membership. It has not only assisted me in staying current and informed about the latest news and developments in the library field, but it has also helped me foster lasting friendships and professional relationships with colleagues across the state. Such connections have helped guide me through difficult points in my career serving as much needed sounding boards, pillars of support, and fonts of knowledge, and respected advisors. Having this professional network has been a saving grace especially during times of adversity as when dealing with budget cuts or the current pandemic.

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Meet Emily Reed - Mentoring Subcommittee Program Chair

Posted By Susan Wertz, Monday, May 25, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Emily Reed, PaLA Volunteer:

Mentoring Subcommittee Program Chair; Membership Committee Member; College and Research Division Tech Coordinator; Teaching, Learning & Technology Round Table Planning Committee Member

What is your favorite movie or TV show?

My favorite TV show is Survivor on CBS. I absolutely love watching the social dynamics at play while information is the most valuable commodity. Watching how players decide to either be forthcoming with information or hide it is so fascinating to me!

What is your preferred caffeinated beverage, and how much of it do you drink each day?

I start my day with a cup of coffee and lots of water. When I was still commuting to work pre-COVID, I would also bring along a thermos of either Lady Grey tea or Irish Breakfast tea. I’ve been using the time working from home to decrease my caffeine intake and am only drinking one cup of coffee each day.

Tell us about your journey to working in libraries.

I got my start in public libraries at the Simpson Public Library in Mechanicsburg the summer after graduating college with my bachelor’s degree in music education. I absolutely loved my time working at Simpson! I got experience working the front-lines at the main circulation desk and in the children’s library. I also got to be a substitute for leading children’s programs occasionally like various story times and toddler times.

Working at Simpson led to my first full time work in libraries - I was made aware of an opening at a local elementary school library that was looking for a full time library aide. So my first full time job in libraries was working in an elementary school library . . . which I also loved! I learned a lot about collection development, how to process and catalog physical books, and how to work with teachers. What I loved most about this job was that I got to know every student at the school.

At this point, I knew that my future was in libraries, so I began pursuing my MLIS. Once I graduated, I started applying for professional jobs, and ended up transitioning to academic libraries. I now work at Penn State Harrisburg as a reference and instruction librarian and am absolutely loving everything about my job!

How are you staying productive and motivated to work from home?

I’m doing my best to work outside when it’s sunny and warm (it hasn’t been too sunny or warm in the Harrisburg region lately, unfortunately). I also try to make sure I have a quiet work environment so that I can focus on the task at hand and not get distracted.

What activities or hobbies are you enjoying during this time?

I’m actually getting back into reading for fun again! I haven’t done too much reading unrelated to work over the past few years; I’m taking advantage of my Libby account and getting some reading done from home. I’m also part of a couple online book clubs which have provided me with some good reading material. I’m currently reading The Dog Stars by Peter Heller.

What was the first PaLA division, committee, or round table you joined in a leadership capacity?

My first leadership position with PaLA was as a member of the Teaching, Learning & Technology Round Table Planning Committee. I chaired this round table in 2018.

What advice would you give to new members, or someone considering membership?

My advice would be to plan some goals for yourself, and see how membership in PaLA could play into those goals. Goals could include professional service, networking, professional development, seeking employment, gaining access to local library-related information, etc. Membership in PaLA would help with any of those goals!

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Meet Sheli Pratt-McHugh - 3rd VP, Membership Chair

Posted By Christi Buker, Friday, May 8, 2020
Updated: Friday, May 8, 2020


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.


Tags:  Membership  Sheli Pratt-McHugh 

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Meet Aaron Dobbs, PaLA Teaching, Learning & Technology Round Table Chair

Posted By Aaron Dobbs, Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I joined PaLA in 2014 (or was it 2013?), seven or eight years after moving to Pennsylvania for a library job. I had been heavily involved in the Tennessee Library Association and was (still am) crazy-active nationally in ALA. I’m sure there was some lame excuse for not joining when I got here, I have no idea what it was, but now that I am a member (an active member, of course) I really wish I’d joined from day one.

     Why get involved at the state level?

That’s easy: everything is local, results can be seen more quickly, and all politics start at the local level.

     How did I become involved in libraries?

That’s a long convoluted tale: Mom brought me to our excellent town library as a wee bairn… My active involvement starts with receiving help from a girl-friend who worked at Storrs Library in high school, continues with a girlfriend who worked in the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library in college; it dips into improbability when a truck driver & NYC nightclub bouncer (me) gets a job at the NYPL Research Libraries (page in the stacks, library assistant 1 in Manuscripts and Archives, library assistant 3 in the Office of Special Collections), discovered for myself that working in libraries is COOL, and applies (and gets) a teaching assistant position at a library school in Tennessee where I met my wife; and then wends its way through public libraries (Brooklyn NY & Chattanooga TN), special libraries (SunTrust Equitable Securities Investment Banking Group), and into academic libraries (Austin Peay State University (TN) & now Shippensburg University. There are a terrifying number of stories along that path, most many some of which are even believable.

•     What sort of interesting, yet improbable, info is available about me?

Well: [redacted, it’s too soon], [redacted, to protect the identities of the innocent], I’ve served on ALA Council since just after I moved to PA (2007), and I have physically crossed into and out of more than half the counties of the United States at least once – depending on which of my Rand McNally atlases I reference, I have either one or five PA counties to go: Elk, Forest, McKean, Sullivan, & Warren.

Tags:  Aaron Dobbs 

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800-622-3308 (PA Only)