August 2021 | Joe Hardenbrook

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.

Joe Hardenbrook | August 2021

For which library, institution, or organization are you currently employed? If you are retired, what was your former organization?
Carroll University

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?
The WLA and WAAL conferences are absolutely top notch! And a special shout out to the bite-sized lightning talks...great format! I love learning from my statewide colleagues. Too often, I've been to national conferences where the ROI just isn't there. That's never the case with WLA and WAAL. They are smaller and much more approachable. I always gain new ideas and practical tips for implementing programs and services at my library. I leave with "hey, I could do that too!" and that what I love about the learning experiences with the WLA and WAAL conferences. 

How has being a member of WLA impacted you or your career?
I'm not originally from Wisconsin, nor did I attend library school here. So when I moved here, WLA was essential for meeting other Wisconsin librarians and networking with my peers. And it still is! We have such a talented group of public, school, academic, governmental, and special librarians in Wisconsin to tap into for ideas and collaboration. I've also enjoyed serving two stints on the WAAL Conference Committee. This has let me see up close the wonderful programs and projects my academic library peers are working on!

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.
My Wisconsin library role model is Paula Ganyard who I worked for at UW-Green Bay when I first moved to the state. A leader sets the tone for the organization. I've worked for some good people, but Paula is the best. She cultivated a workplace where risk-tasking was encouraged. Got an interesting idea? Will it work? Well you won't know until you try! We always kept our patrons (in this case, students) in the forefront. What are we doing to meet their needs? Paula was always reminding us of that. She has a knack for tapping into the team's talents and making the library a better place for both patrons and workers. And she has a wicked sense of humor! 

Do you have any advice for new WLA members?
Jump in! WLA is open to all. Don't hesitate to attend a conference, or even better - submit a proposal (we know you have GREAT things to share!). Volunteer on a committee and meet your awesome library colleagues from around the state!