February 2024 Heather Thompson

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!

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Heather Thompson | February 2024

Photo of Heather ThompsonFor which library, institution, or organization are you currently employed? If you are retired, what was your former organization?

Kenosha Public Library

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

What has been your favorite or most impactful function or event of WLA?
I had the opportunity to participate in the 2018 Leadership Development Institute, which was just before I became a department head. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of my leadership style really helped me learn how to lead a team effectively before I even began managing people. I'm so grateful for that experience.

How has being a member of WLA impacted you or your career?
In addition to the impact of participating in the Leadership Development Institute, I've been able to attend the WLA Annual Conference, which is a great source of continuing education and inspiration for the programs and services we provide at my library.

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. 
When I moved to Kenosha in 2012, I was in the midst of getting my MLIS. For one class, I had to interview someone in a library about their management style. I was fortunate to get connected to Jo Cates, who was the Director of the UW-Parkside Library at that time. That interview opened my eyes to what great leadership looks like. Jo will forever be my role model!

Do you have any advice for new WLA members?
Take advantage of the opportunities where you can learn and stretch yourself professionally.