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hermionish.gavelA post that I recently shared touched on my efforts to launch an outreach program at my library. Here’s an update on that front: letters from the townships, complete with absentee voter contact information, have been making their way to my library.

On Monday evening, I attended a township board meeting, within my library’s service area, to not only introduce myself as the new director (it’s important for the public to be able to have a face with the name of an organization), but to give an overview of library services and details about the outreach program. As I predicted, it went extremely well and the group was enthusiastic — even asking a few questions about the library. Worth noting: in attendance, were several members from the public.

As a trustee on a township board, I appreciate being apprised by what’s happening in my community. I actually enjoy it when a government entity attends one of our meetings and shares their news. It makes me better informed which helps our citizens be better informed, as well. With that said, I’d like to cultivate actual relationships with these organizations — share relevant library news about projects and special events. I plan on attending a board meeting, to begin cultivating a relationship, for each of the municipalities which represent the areas in which my library serves before spring hits. (I don’t want to be “one of those” whom will only attend meetings when they are asking for money or support on a millage.)

A bit of advice for anyone interested in partaking in similar activities, please make contact with the board’s clerk or chairman in order to be added to the official agenda. Of course, with the Open Meetings Act, it’s acceptable for you to just show up and speak during the public comment portion of the meeting; however, I, personally (and professionally), don’t feel that it’s appropriate for your first visit. You’re asking for a small portion of their time — show them respect. Call or email ahead.

There’s nothing worse than sitting on a board or in a committee meeting, after a long day at work, and wondering what the unknown person — sitting in the gallery — is going to say (or even possibly yell) during the time allotted for public comment. It’s simple: be courteous and don’t blindside the board.