October 2021 | Melody Clark

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.

Melody Clark  | October 2021

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

How many year(s) have you been a member of Wisconsin Library Association?
About 12 years

What has been your favorite or most impactful function or event of WLA?
I think the most impactful experience I have had related to WLA is having the opportunity to serve on the WLA 2017 Conference Committee. As a co-program chair I had the wonderful occasion to meet many new Wisconsin library community members, but also the unique prospect of helping to shape and select the content and ideas shared that year.

How has being a member of WLA impacted you or your career?
For me there are two significant outcomes from being a member of WLA. 1.) The connections and 2.) The learning opportunities. The WLA annual conference is probably the most accessible state-wide networking and continuing education opportunity for Wisconsin library workers. It gives us the chance to meet with folks outside of our current library types and community. Through the conference we are able to not only meet and connect with others, but also learn, share, and collaborate on new ideas, programs, events and opportunities. I have had the privilege of meeting amazing new colleagues, learning new ideas, and developing relationships and collaborations through 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 privilege of quite a few role models and mentors here in Wisconsin. I had the honor of working for Stef Morrill for five years at WiLS. She helped me to grow into my current role by providing me with guidance, the tools, and resources I needed for that growth. I learned so much from working with and for her in those five years.  She was (and still is!) a great role model and mentor for me. In 2015 I participated in the DPI’s ILEAD initiative. Through that I had a wonderful mentor, Tasha Saecker. Her openness, compassion, and kindness have always had a big impact on me and I will forever be grateful for the support she always so willingly gives. In addition, I was fortunate to work with and for Steven Platteter at the Arrowhead Library System for several years. He provided so much support in my career and was always encouraging and pushing me to try and do new things. He was willing to let me implement almost any new project or idea I had and was endlessly supportive. I remember telling him when I left Arrowhead that it was his fault I was moving onto a new opportunity as he was always encouraging me to engage in new collaborations and ideas! I am so grateful and lucky to have had the guidance of all three of these wonderful individuals. I wish the world was full of more Stefs, Tashas, and Steves.

Do you have any advice for new WLA members?
I think my advice is probably similar to many current WLA members: get involved. Present at conferences and serve on committees. I think so many people choose not to present because they feel they don’t have any new, innovative, or valuable things to share. But you do. So get out of your comfort zone and share that idea or experience. Share that failure. And when we all share those successes and failures, we all learn and grown.