When Penny Hummel, a 2007 SLIS graduate, was approached (for the second time) by the Oregon Library Association (OLA) Nominating Committee to run for Vice President/ President Elect, the timing was right. As Director of the Canby Public Library, located on the outskirts of Portland, Hummel knew her passion for public libraries coupled with her background in marketing and communications could make a difference.
“So much of what we do in library advocacy is helping people understand the essential services that libraries provide,” Hummel said. “I said yes to running for the OLA office because I felt it was a valuable way to give back to the profession.”
Because the 1,000-member OLA serves a broad range of libraries – from special to school to academic – Hummel also saw this as an opportunity to gain a broader understanding of what is happening in libraries throughout the state of Oregon. “Having a strong state library association makes all the libraries in Oregon strong,” she said.
With her term starting in September 2012, Vice President/ President Elect Hummel will, among other duties, serve on OLA’s Legislative Committee and represent the association at the annual National Library Legislative Day, in Washington, D.C. “There’s a lot at stake with library funding at both the federal and state levels,” she said. “We always need to be out there making the case that libraries are the center of well-being for our communities.”
A member of OLA for many years, Hummel recommends that current students get involved with their state library association. “Anything you can do to show your commitment to the profession and passion for continuing to develop your professional skills will make you more competitive in a job search,” she said. “This shows that you’re willing to contribute to librarianship beyond your day-to-day job and that you’re committed to staying abreast of the most current issues emerging within the library profession.”
Hummel speaks from experience. She began her library career as a volunteer, sorting donations for the Friends of the Multnomah County Library’s annual used book sale. While working in the non-profit sector, her volunteer work with the library evolved, and she ultimately became President of the Friends of the Multnomah County Library. In 2001, she was hired as Marketing and Communications Manager of the Multnomah County Library, where she worked until she began her new Directorship, in Canby, during 2009.
Hummel will spend one year as second in command at OLA, learning the ropes. Then, in September 2013, she’ll move into the position of OLA President, a title she will carry for one year.