Professional Associations

Two LIS professional associations that fit my particular professional interests and goals are the Michigan Library Association (regional) and the Catholic Library Association (international).

Michigan Library Association (MLA)

Mission: “Helping libraries and library professionals succeed” (MLA, n.d., MLA’s Mission section, para. 1).

Member Benefits: “Among MLA’s many professional development benefits are numerous educational and networking workshops and conferences;  Jobline, which helps libraries with staffing needs; leadership opportunities to serve on boards and committees;  award and recognition programs; and speaking and publishing opportunities” (MLA, n.d., Professional Development Benefits section, para. 1).

MLA’s Membership: “MLA’s membership is comprised of more than 1,500 individual and organizational members from public, academic, private and special libraries.  MLA serves all library professionals and their supporters” (MLA, n.d., MLA’s Membership section, para. 1).

Publications: “MLA Members currently stay connected through three e-newsletters:  MLA Update (general information), “Professional Development Update (MLA workshop, conference and educational information) and “Advocacy Update(state and local legislation that affects the Michigan library community.)” (MLA, n.d., Publications & Directories section, para. 1). MLA also publishes a quarterly newsletter titled “Michigan Libraries,” and published a per-reviewed journal from 2002-2009 titled “MLA Forum.”

Primary Activities: Headquartered in Lansing, MI, the Michigan Library Association (MLA) is a chapter of the American Library Association. MLA was founded in 1890 and since that time has served as an advocate for libraries and librarians. “MLA defends the right to read, advocates for adequate library funding, clarifies library governance issues, promotes librarian education, and works for free access of information to all residents” (MLA, n.d., History section, para. 1).


Catholic Library Association (CLA)

Mission: “Provides leadership for professional development; Coordinates the exchange of ideas; Offers spiritual support; Promotes Catholic and ecumenical literature; Fosters community among those who seek, serve, preserve, and share the word in all its forms” (CLA, n.d., Our Mission section, para. 1).

Member Benefits: CLA lists a variety of membership benefits. They include: A voice in the future of libraries; Information on current library issues and trends; Scholarship opportunities; Continuing education programs and workshops; Discounted registration fees to the annual CLA convention; Subscription to “Catholic Library World”; The online “CLA Handbook and Membership Directory”; Electronic discussion groups. (CLA, n.d., Become a Member section, para. 5). They also claim that membership is an opportunity “To interact with others who are involved in library service; To share ideals of outstanding librarians, authors, and educators; To voice your opinion and share your expertise in areas of interest to the library community” (CLA, n.d., Become a Member section, para. 6).

Membership: “Established in 1921, the Catholic Library Association is an international membership organization, providing its members professional development through educational and networking experiences, publications, scholarships, and other services” (CLA, n.d., About CLA section, para. 1).

Publications: The CLA publishes “Catholic Library World.” It is the official journal of CLA and is published quarterly.

Primary Activities: The following was excerpted from the CLA website as being primary activities of the CLA (n.d., The Catholic Library Association section 2, para. 1):

Holds an annual national convention; Publishes “Catholic Library World”; Honors excellence in children’­s literature with the Regina Medal; Honors outstanding contribution to high school librarianship with the St. Katharine Drexel Award; Honors scholarly contributions in theological and religious studies with the Jerome Award;Honors contributions to the renewal of parish and community life with the Aggiornamento Award; Awards scholarships and grants; Supports interest sections, roundtables and local/regional chapters.



Catholic Library Association. (n.d.). About. Retrieved from


Catholic Library Association. (n.d.). Catholic Library World. Retrieved from


Catholic Library Association. (n.d.). Membership. Retrieved from


Michigan Library Association. (n.d.). About. Retrieved from


Michigan Library Association. (n.d.). Publications & Directories. Retrieved from
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Personal Goals and Objectives

Career Plans
Why am I embarking on this journey to obtain my MLIS? Am I crazy? How am I going to take care of a four-year-old little boy, eight-year-old little girl, and coexist with my husband who is currently earning his master’s in occupational therapy? Again, I ask, am I crazy? I hope not.

As I’ve already mentioned, I am currently employed at Zauel Memorial Library in Saginaw, MI. We are a branch within the Public Libraries of Saginaw (PLOS) system. I really like working in this system and admire the people who direct and run our libraries. My branch head, who has also become a close friend, confidante, and mentor, is encouraging me along this path. My career goal is to move up within the PLOS system in the near future. My overall goal is to fulfill the personal desire I have to obtain a master’s degree. I’ve included an excerpt from my personal statement that I sent to Wayne State University when I decided that I wanted to embark on this journey. I feel that it does a great job of explaining where I’ve come from.

Excerpt from My Personal Statement:
“The time has come. I always knew that the time would come for me to further my education. With a degree in Communication and English, a big part of my career was spent in marketing. This was a very unfulfilling career path for me, which led to my struggle of finding a career that would mesh my outgoing personality with my longing to work in an academic environment. As I analyzed things and reprioritized what I needed to make me happy; one thing kept resurfacing – I need to help people. After years of analysis, and admittedly some over analysis, it became evident that I had to work in public service; somehow, I had to make a difference in people’s lives.

Putting this new-found knowledge about myself at the forefront in planning for my future, I pursued an opportunity to work for the Public Libraries of Saginaw (PLOS). I did not have any academic background that would lend itself to library work specifically, but was confident that my communication skills, coupled with my general library knowledge and English education, would serve me well. My Branch Head agreed and I was offered the position of Adult Reference Library Assistant at Zauel Memorial Library within the PLOS system. I never looked back.

My position has been more fulfilling than I ever imagined. This is the first time in my 16 years since graduating with my bachelor’s degree that I look forward to going into work every day. Not only do I enjoy work, but I excel at it.

This is not a decision that I make lightly. I have put all of my life experiences, struggles, and triumphs into making this decision. I realize the challenges that I will face and the sacrifices that I will make for the ultimate goal of earning my MLIS. I am ready. The time has come.”

Personal Philosophy
I feel that libraries are an invaluable part of our society. I am proud to tell people that I work at a library. As I mentioned in my personal statement, I have an overriding desire to help others. The library is the perfect place for me to do this. On a daily basis, I find that the majority of people respect us as librarians and appreciate the services we offer. When I leave work at the end of the day, I feel like I have made a difference in people’s lives. This is invaluable. There aren’t many professions around where you get this feeling of accomplishment – of truly having a positive impact on our society.

It is this emotional connection that leads me to my fear of what the future of libraries may be. I appreciate all of the technology that we have access to and even embrace most of it, but I fear that once the human element is removed from library/information science, we will lose something that can’t ever be replaced. It is an intangible of sorts and I fear that by the time people realize our value within society – existing as a physical place with human interaction – it may be too late. At the same time, I find this an exciting time to be earning my Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) because we have opportunities to pioneer, if you will, unchartered territory. We can impact the outcome of all of this change.

I am most interested in public libraries and reference work. I feel that public libraries are very special places because we are accessible to everyone. In order for me to feel like I am helping at all – I need to feel like I am helping the people who need it the most. My public library is the perfect “home” for me. On top of that, I love digging around for nuggets of information. Reference and research are where it’s at. I call it “detective work” and I love sleuthing.

So to answer my question – Am I crazy? I don’t think so. A little eccentric? Definitely. Overwhelmed? You bet. Excited? Immensely. Crazy? Nah. Not yet.

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Assertion, Belief, and Assumption


My main assertion about libraries, specifically public libraries, as they stand today, May 18, 2013, is that the way libraries fulfill their role in society is changing at an ever-increasing rate. Intertwined with this is the changing role that librarians serve within these public libraries.

First, let me define a Public Library’s role as it is being used for this portion of my blog. In the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, Third Edition, Jennifer Arns (2009) describes the role of public libraries as “providing services intended to meet the social, educational, and recreational needs of the people residing in their service areas.” While I do not feel that this is an all-inclusive definition of a library’s role, I do feel that it does a good job of summarizing the three main areas libraries are set up to serve; those being social, educational, and recreational.

Traditionally, this role was, and in many cases still is, served within a physical space. This building, referred to as the “library,” houses all of the information and resources needed to fulfill the social, educational, and recreational role. The librarian has traditionally served as the person who connects the patron with the desired information or resource within this physical space. “Traditionally, librarian is known as a person located in the library building carrying out the tasks like acquiring, organizing, and preserving the printed documents besides helping the readers in locating the information needed for them” (Babu & Rao, 2001, p. 25). In their article Role of Librarian in Internet and World Wide Web Environment K.H. Babu and K. Nageswara Rao (2001, p. 25) go on to say:

In the last decades of the twentieth century this picture has rapidly changed under the influence of advances in computer and communication fields. The paper collections have given place to networked, computer resident, user searchable collections like bibliographic databases and Online Public Access Catalogues (OPAC) obliterating the need for the user to visit the library building.

While I do not agree that technology is obliterating the need for people to visit a physical location, I do believe that it changes the way libraries and librarians fulfill our traditional roles. So, in addition to technology, what is driving this change in the way we serve our role? Dianne Zabel (2005, p. 104) believes that shrinking budgets, demographics, and big box bookstores are factors impacting libraries.

Anyone who works closely with or for a library right now is well aware of impending budget cuts. These cuts impact us in numerous ways and have impacted many facets of libraries and librarianship. “These cost-cutting measures have included the following strategies: trimming hours, merging departments, consolidating service points, hiring freezes, the use of fixed-term appointments, and hiring entry-level rather than experienced librarians” (Zabel, 2005, p. 104).

The next factor driving change is demographics. While Baby Boomers, the post WWII generation, still make up a large segment of our population, people born after 1981 are considered the up and coming generation. This generation is known as Millennials. In her paper Marketing the Millennials: What They Expect From Their Library Experience Patricia Duck (2005) characterizes Millennials as “visually oriented,” “easily bored,” “very demanding,” and “used to having the best of everything.” So how does this translate to libraries? “She found that Millennials were more concerned with comforts (such as refreshments in the library), were knowledgeable about using Google but not necessarily knowledgeable about using library databases, and approximately half found library databases difficult to search” (Zabel, 2004, p.104).

I mentioned earlier that while I agree that technology is changing the face of libraries and librarians, I do not agree with the belief that this technology is obliterating the need for people to visit a physical library. Our users are viewing libraries as a place. Dianne Zabel (2005, p.104) states that “our users (especially undergraduate students) view our library as a place to meet and to use computers. People use our library as a gathering space.” Part of the reason for this shift is thanks to big box bookstores like Barnes & Noble. Zabel (2005, p.104) goes on to say that “our users want a pleasant and lively space with eye-catching displays of current books and magazines. They also want comfortable seating and want to be allowed to have food and drink.”


Based on my main assertion that the way libraries fulfill their role in society is changing at an ever-increasing rate; and that Intertwined with this is the changing role that librarians serve within these public libraries, comes my belief that libraries in the physical sense will continue to exist well into the future. Libraries will change and evolve along with the librarians working in them.  In his essay Main Street Public Library: Study Challenges Traditional Assumptions About Libraries’ Roles in the Community  (2011, p. 46) Wayne Wiegand sums things up:

My research had already proved that the introduction of pre-1956 communications technologies (silent movies before 1910, radio in the 1920s, talkies in the 1930s, and TV in the 1950s) had not affected patron desire for stories, evident in the circulation of popular fiction. By factoring in the newer forms these stories take in 21st-century media (CDs, DVDs, e-books, etc.), statistics on circulation demonstrate that all five institutions were busier in 2008 than 1956.

Change is not new to this field. It is something that has happened in the past and will continue to happen in the future. “Traditionally librarians have been information providers for centuries. They now have the opportunity to use modern tools to provide quicker, more complete, and more sophisticated service to the users” (Babu & Rao, 2001, p. 25).

When I reflect on Dr. Maatta’s assigned readings for Week One, one thing that stood out the most is how much we as libraries and librarians have already evolved. Change is inevitable and we must embrace it to move forward.


My assumption is that as the field of Library and Information Science evolves, physical library spaces will change. The number of physical library buildings may shrink due to budget cuts; the number of people working within libraries may diminish; the interiors may change to offer more creature comforts; we will all become more dependent on the technology housed within these spaces (and even the technology accessed from remote locations); but libraries and librarians will continue to exist.  Because, after all, “Libraries are not important; they are essential” (Haycock & Sheldon, 2008, p. 3).


Arns, J.W. (2009). Libraries. In Encyclopedia of Library & Information Science (3rd ed.). Retrieved from

 Babu, K. H., & Rao, K. N. (2001). Role of librarian in Internet and
World Wide Web environment. Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline, 4, 25+. Retrieved from

Duck, Patricia (April 2005). Marketing the Millennials: What They Expect From Their Library Experience. Paper presentation presented at the meeting of ACRL, 12th National Conference, Minneapolis.

 Haycock, K. and Sheldon, B. (2008). The portable MLIS: Insights from the experts. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

 Wiegand, W. (2011, September-October). Main Street Public Library: study challenges traditional assumptions, about libraries’ roles in the community. American Libraries, 42(9-10), 46+. Retrieved from

 Zabel, D. (2005, Winter). Trends in reference and public services librarianship and the role of RUSA: part two. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 45(2), 104+. Retrieved from


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My name is Jennifer Harden. I attended Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) starting in 1992, graduating with my degree in 1997. While there, I majored in Communication and minored in English. I was a very active student. I served as Vice President of the Communication Guild, was a member of Alpha Chi National Honor Society, and also belonged to the Alpha Mu Gamma National Foreign Language Honor Society. During my time at SVSU I worked numerous internships, including one at our local television station WNEM-TV5.

Upon graduation, I worked in marketing. My first job was in the circulation department at Business News Publishing in Troy, MI. Basically, I designed those annoying little cards that fall out of magazines and get thrown in the trash. Very fulfilling career path.

After that position, I worked at a food service consulting firm in Northville, MI, called The Hysen Group. This was a demanding job, but I learned a lot. Everything I did was done in-house except when we were working with clients. I took my first trip to New York City while working this job.

Upon returning to Mid-Michigan, I worked in marketing and public relations at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. I was an intern here during college, so this was an easy transition. As a full-time employee, I did all of our event planning and implementation; edited our e-newsletter; composed all of our online promotional materials; proofread our annual catalog; and did lots of other fun jobs.

I left Bronner’s to become a stay-at-home mom. I was a stay-at-home mom for six years, raising our daughter, Ella, who is eight years old. Our son, Trent, is four years old, so I was only a stay-at-home mom with him for the first two years. When I returned to work, I knew that I had to do something more fulfilling. I am a religious person who believes that everything happens for a reason. I won’t get into the details here, but let’s just say that my job at Public Libraries of Saginaw (PLOS) came about as a result of divine intervention. I currently work at our Zauel Memorial Library branch located in Saginaw Township.

At Zauel Memorial Library, I split my time (28 hours/week) between the adult reference desk and my cubicle. I am the Young Adult (YA) Librarian (I use the title “Librarian” loosely, since I obviously do not have my MLIS yet). I plan all of our YA programming and order all of our YA materials (i.e. fiction, non-fiction, biographies, talking books, e-books, and downloadable audio).

I am also the Audiovisual (AV) Librarian (again, using the title loosely). I order all fiction and non-fiction audiobooks, music, and fiction and non-fiction DVDs. I also order all of our e-books and downloadable audio.

I am our technology page supervisor. I supervise three pages. I make sure that they perform their job responsibilities; conduct their annual reviews; help with concerns and answer questions; and create their schedule every month. With three college students, creating their schedules is very challenging.

I serve on the PLOS Fundraising Committee, our One Book, One Community Committee, and our Website Committee. I enjoy participating in these committees, because it gives me another opportunity to serve our patrons and help our library system.

I am in charge of Zauel Memorial Library’s display case (which welcomes local non-profits to display their wares) and our topic area (which highlights a relevant topic by featuring all materials from around the library that pertain to that topic).

I love working for PLOS and hope to move up within the system. That is why I am embarking on this journey to obtain my Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) at Wayne State University. I always knew I would earn a Master’s degree in something; I just wasn’t always sure of what that “something” would be. I put a lot of thought into this decision and am moving forward without an ounce of hesitation or doubt. This is the path I am supposed to be on. I would even love a Ph.D. one day, but that’s strictly for personal fulfillment.

So join me on this journey as I start down the path toward my MLIS. That’s what this blog is all about. It is being created for LIS 6010 at Wayne State University. It will start with my assumptions/assertions and end with final reflections. It is sure to be an interesting journey. I can’t wait to get started . . .

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If you’ve found this, then I’ve done something right. This is my first time setting up a blog. Please let me know if you have any problems accessing my Personal Journal. Please watch for my Introduction and Assumptions/Assertions, which will be posted by May 19, 2013.

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