Candidate for 2022-2024 Director: Ty Webb
SLA has played an important role in my career, providing professional development opportunities at every step on my career path. Along the way, I have tried to give back to the association that gave me so much. I have served on the SLA Board of Directors, been the president of three chapters and the chair of a division, chaired an annual conference, and been a frequent presenter/panelist/moderator.
Of course, there have been numerous committee leadership roles and memberships, too. During my career, I have managed libraries for large multinational companies and worked with small organizations to start their own libraries. My favorite job was as strategic information manager and principal librarian with a dynamic, entrepreneurial biotech company where each person shared the vision of where we were going, but each group was autonomous and did what they needed to do to get there. On Sundays, I actually looked forward to going to work on Monday mornings.
For more information about my career, education, awards etc., please click here: Ty Webb – Profile | SLA Connect. (Oh, and I always balanced my budget.)
Question #1: Why are you a member of SLA? What has kept you a member throughout the years?
I was working at a public library when a chemical company recruited me to run their library. I said no, that I had no interest in working in the private sector. I had grown up in Washington, D.C., where my father and every other adult I knew was working for the government or a nonprofit. But the company made me a financial offer I couldn’t refuse, so I took the job with the thought that I would find out what the business world was all about and then return to public libraries.
Long story short, I stayed. It was a challenge at first. SLA was my saving grace. I found mentors and professional development opportunities that inspired me and created a lifelong passion for my work. As my responsibilities grew and I changed positions, SLA continued to provide me with the professional growth that I needed at every step along my career path.
Question #2: Why are you running for the SLA Board of Directors? What do you bring to the table? How do you plan to help support other SLA members, if elected?
I’m a gray-haired grandma on oxygen, so I was surprised when colleagues I have admired approached me about putting my name on the ballot. I was hesitant, but I’ve always been a change agent and SLA is facing challenges that necessitate change. It is an honor that esteemed leaders of the association feel that I should serve another term on the board. They think I’ve got what is needed and I’ve always valued their opinion, so I’ll take their word for it.
As I mentioned, I enjoy change. Not for the sake of change itself, but to improve the status quo. There is always room for improvement. I enjoy finding those opportunities, designing solutions, and implementing them. Enjoying challenges means finding ways to adapt, and, if necessary, to compensate. When funding was cut, my budgets were always balanced. When new technologies appeared, my staff was always pushed toward professional development. When the company merged, our new users received services tailored to fit.
As for the third part of the question—supporting SLA members—part of my responsibilities as a director will be to work with community leaders, addressing their concerns and issues. In addition, I would like to find ways to improve the collaboration among members and possibly readjust the communication pathways that at times can seem bureaucratic.
Question #3: SLA is a leader in its commitment to diversity and inclusion and the importance of civil discourse. Share how you have demonstrated leadership or action in these areas, and how your own experiences will inform your contribution as an SLA board member.
Diversity and inclusion are important issues that need to be addressed within every aspect of our lives. The work of the DICE Community is impressive. It’s important for SLA to propose activities and implement guidelines, and it’s more important for us to live and breathe it. That should already be happening, but it will depend on each of us to make that become our reality. DICE is a way of life.
In my professional life, I have been congratulated more than once by company executives for having the most diverse team within the organization. Each time, I was surprised by their comments. There was not a conscious effort on my part. As far as I was concerned, I had merely sought out those people who were best qualified for the job.