February 2021 | Nic Ashman

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.

Nic Ashman | February 2021

For which library, institution, or organization are you currently employed? If you are retired, what was your former organization?
Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC)

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?
I have always managed to bring back some application piece from each event I have attended. Whether it be a well-timed solution to an issue I was facing or a connection to something new and exciting.  That said I feel I have gained the most personal growth from the leadership opportunities that having been a part of SSCS and now TSS have afforded me.  Being able to facilitate gatherings, discussions, and learn from the collective experience of our state librarians has been fantastic. It has also allowed me to have a meaningful point of connection with folks I may never have otherwise encountered in my professional life.

How has being a member of WLA impacted you or your career?
Being a WLA member has given me opportunities for getting out of my shell, traveling, presenting, engaging with folks at all different points in their librarianship journeys, and sharing my professional story as well as learning from theirs. It has been especially impactful to my confidence in my own professional ability, to have others ask for my take on things, while also having built up a great library of peers that I can reach out to when I may be the one in need of their experience.

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 extremely fortunate to have been surrounded by truly amazing folks throughout my journey as a librarian. I work with great colleagues, in a region filled with a long list of WLA leaders (and members) both past and present. Is there room to write a book? I will share the three who gave me the initial, and much needed boosts of faith in myself that I had found the right career “fit”. Rob Reid, who allowed me to have a human moment at a very critical time in my education and continued to invite me to the local “table” years later. Mary Vernau, who allowed me new challenges, where others were definitely trying to reign me in, during an already extremely challenging point in my journey. Caroline Akervik, who gave me the freedom and resources to figure things out, take initiative, and develop my first technical services skills in a library setting. 

Do you have any advice for new WLA members?
Breathe.  Be forgiving of yourself. Even if you aren’t naturally a front of the room personality, you will find your place and your voice and insight will be valued by others.  Also, librarians host the best social activities at any professional conference– you’ll want to check it out, whether you are more into late night Bingo or Karaoke.