November 2020 | Tammy Mays

We are proud to highlight our members who commit their time and resources to helping Wisconsin libraries and librarians thrive through their work with the Wisconsin Library Association. Each month, we will be sharing their stories and hope you will be inspired to learn more about our programs or get involved! 

Fill out the Lead with WLA form and be connected with other change agents, leaders, and committees that can use what you have to offer.

Tammy Mays | November 2020

Headshot of Tammy Mays For which library, institution, or organization are you currently employed? If you are retired, what was your former organization?
Milwaukee Public Library Center Street Branch

How many year(s) have you been a member of Wisconsin Library Association?
1 year (June 2019)

What has been your favorite or most impactful function or event of WLA?
The Leadership Development Institute has been the most impactful event hosted by WLA that has benefitted me both personally and professionally. The Leadership Development Institute (LDI) has exposed me to new concepts, skills, and most importantly, it has provided me with the right mindset for succeeding as a leader in the field. The LDI has shown me the power of relationship building with my cohorts in the program and has provided the necessary competencies for becoming an efficient and effective leader in public librarianship.   

How has being a member of WLA impacted you or your career?
Being a member of WLA has given me an opportunity to co-convene the Urban Libraries Special Interest Group (SIG). The purpose of the Urban Libraries SIG is to enhance services in libraries in urban areas and identify the unique challenges they encounter. The Urban Libraries SIG strives to identify and devise creative new solutions, provide programs to enlighten the community, support and motivate urban library staff, and build community partnerships, and advocate for support in legislation, grants, and collaboration opportunities. Our first meet and greet is scheduled for November 11 during the WLA Virtual 1-Day Conference.

Lastly, being a member of WLA gives me a sense of community. I connect with peers to network and share programming ideas, and more importantly, I am able to access valuable information in newsletters. This genuinely helps me in becoming a more effective Branch Manager by impacting our community with programming.

Do you have a library role model (in Wisconsin or elsewhere) that has provided you with inspiration or guidance? Please share a little bit about it.
I have been fortunate to have multiple role models throughout my career. I was a medical librarian for a decade before transitioning into public librarianship. At the beginning of my career, I completed the Associate Program at the National Library of Medicine from (1997-1998) in Bethesda, Maryland. This highly competitive postgraduate training experience prepares librarians for future leadership roles in health sciences libraries in the United States. My former Associate Advisor, Zoë Stavri, Ph.D. (1996-1998) was instrumental in giving me a worldwide philosophy of librarianship but more importantly, she was a positive influence on my interest in graduating with a doctorate in this field. 

Do you have any advice for new WLA members?
My advice is simple: always network, network, network! Get to know your fellow peers, serve on committees, and get involved in the state and regional associations. If you have an opportunity to complete a poster or paper because of an awesome program you created at your library, take the initiative and submit it to a local conference. Sharing your accomplishments creates a wonderful opportunity to get your face, name, and body of work in front of your peers.

Lastly, don’t become complacent. It is imperative to stay abreast of current and future technologies. As you begin your career, keep in mind, that librarians are lifelong learners whose education does not end with the Master of Library Science or terminal degree. As libraries upgrade their computer hardware and software, staff training is at the forefront, and you want to be a part of that process. I encourage you to attend training workshops and enroll in continuing education courses. Librarians are active learners who thrive on updating their knowledge, skills, and techniques over the course of their careers.