With the support of our executive board and the membership, the REFORMA Northeast chapter had a productive year. Before establishing the goals for the year, I searched through other chapters’ websites and/or blogs to benchmark best practices.
Presidential initiatives 2011-2012
Revitalize the chapter’s organization and institutional memory: have a conversation about supplementing the budget through fundraising, membership drive, events; centralize archives via DropBox, set-up chapter SKYPE, Google’s Gmail, Docs, Sites pages, and Facebook accounts, established a separate committee devoted to bolstering the budget.
Focus on membership: increase membership, reach out to colleagues whose membership lapsed, connect with library schools , survey our membership
Support our community via social media: build and support the RNE community by setting up virtual participation in meetings; encourage the sharing of video, pictures through social media
Share our stories with each other, to other caucuses and to our elected officials: encourage participation and celebration of Dia in our libraries; hold networking socials; facilitate dialog with caucuses via the unconference, support ALA’s advocacy efforts locally and nationally, selected theme for the year: “Building Communities – One World, Many Stories”
Of particular note
Radames Suarez headed the membership committee and spearheaded an effort to create a master list of member’s emails.He took the outdated roster and emailed each contact about their membership status. He culled down the roster by eliminating those who no longer wanted to be members and those who had changed their email. The new, condensed, accurate and updated list resides now in the Dropbox folder and includes the expiration dates of our Northeast members. The chapter would benefit from a monthly report from National since when we finally received the report, there were many members from our area that we did not know about.
Lisa Melendez was instrumental in gathering documents and archiving them within our Dropbox folder. Radames Suarez archived vendor lists and scanned receipts from the mini-conference.
Millie Gonzalez surveyed the membership in the fall of 2011 to inform and shape the presidential initiatives for the year. The survey results were summarized as:
Chapter Meetings and Mini-conference
The chapter hosted four chapter meetings and one mini-conference for the year.
October – South Norwalk Public Library, Norwalk, Connecticut
January – Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos at CUNY, New York, New York
April – Newark Public Library, Newark, New Jersey
May – Mini-conference, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, New York
June – Lillian Marrero Branch at Philadelphia Free Library, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Joint Mini-Conference
REFORMA Northeast chapter was proud to partner with our sister ethnic caucuses: CALA, BCALA, AILA, APALA to host the 2012 Joint Mini-Conference. The theme for the conference was “Staying Connected: Building Communities and Embracing Diversity.” Co-chairs Roxana Benavides and Millie Gonzalez changed the format from previous mini-conferences. The first part of the morning was a vendor meet and greet and library tour. After a delicious lunch, the President-elect of REFORMA National, Isabel Espinal, presented a wonderful keynote address. The final half of the day was scheduled as a un-conference consisting of themed breakout sessions, where attendees spoke informally about topics of their choosing and as a result, they were actively engaged in discussions .
I created a wiki to provide information about the conference, to host the link to the conference breakout session notes, and to offer the post conference survey - . The chapter’s Facebook account has pictures of the event as well as the link a video of Isabel Espinal’s keynote address -
The members of the Mini-conference planning committee (Maria Cotto, Louis Munoz, Manny Figueroa, Lisa Melendez, Radames Suarez, Libbhy Romero, Roxana Benavides and Millie Gonzalez) planned the program virtually over five months. Radames Suarez secured sponsorships and donations from the vendors to cover the cost of the conference.
The post survey results were overwhelmingly positive summarized in this attendee’s comment, “I really did enjoy the conference. I met a lot of interesting people who gave me lots of advice on professional development and landing a library position. I was impressed with the un-conference concept and the way the afternoon sessions progressed.” We had planned to have library school students host poster sessions in the first half of the morning. Two Simmons College students initially expressed interest but were unable to attend. As a result, we had one hour where our attendees waited. The survey comments reflected that there needed to be something to fill-in that gap/down time.
The chapter was proud to award awards to three chapter members at this year’s mini-conference.
Notable Events and Activities
Recommendations for Next Year
As I reflect back on the year, I would like to recommend for next year the following:
REFORMA Northeast chapter President 2011-2012