January 2021 | Marla Sepnafski

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.

Marla Sepnafski | January 2021

For which library, institution, or organization are you currently employed? If you are retired, what was your former organization?
Wisconsin Valley Library Service

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

What has been your favorite or most impactful function or event of WLA?
That is a hard one! The work of WLA’s Library Development and Legislation Committee to bring awareness of political issues of importance to libraries and systems, and to guide advocacy and relationship-building efforts have been indispensable. Regarding the conferences, I always look forward especially to the social and fundraising events. They offer opportunities to forge relationships and engage with colleagues in a non-work, casual atmosphere – something that is very rare and that I treasure.  

How has being a member of WLA impacted you or your career?
Learning from the experiences of others is so powerful! As one who values lifelong learning and cherishes my professional and personal relationships with library colleagues across the state, attending WLA conferences is the premier experience to network with and learn from others. I have been privileged to be able to attend a great many WAPL and WLA Conferences throughout my career, and fully support opportunities for WVLS staff and board of trustees, and area colleagues, to attend conferences and to seek leadership roles within WLA.

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 had the good fortune to learn from so many across the library community throughout my 38-year career that it would be nigh impossible to select just one. I continue to learn from the kindness, grace, professionalism, and talents of others – whether from WVLS staff and trustees or from public library system, DPI, or member library colleagues. 2020 has been a challenging year for so many who work in libraries. The library community’s passion to serve others – with courage, compassion, and humility – has been even more apparent during this time of unprecedented adversity. The leadership and thoughtfulness demonstrated in so many large and small ways have been profound, and I could not be more grateful and inspired to work in this profession.

Do you have any advice for new WLA members?
Invest the time to attend WLA conferences or by getting involved in the association. If there is one thing I have learned during my 38-year career, learning from others in these ways will be time well spent.