Michele on finding lifelong learning opportunity with AALL
Michele Masias is Chief Librarian of the Civil and Criminal Division Justice Libraries at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.
Why did you join AALL?
I joined AALL back in 2005 when I first started working for the Justice Libraries at the Department of Justice. Even though I had done legal research throughout my career, I had never been completely immersed in a law library setting and many of my colleagues at Justice were members of AALL, so it seemed like the perfect fit for professional development and for networking.
Why do you stay a member?
Several reasons, but one that immediately comes to mind is professional development. Like so many of us in our profession, lifelong learning is something that I both value and enjoy. I’ve also got immense support from our management team because our performance work plan has an element that encourages us to “strive to achieve at least 40 hours of continuing education, professional development, and or professional association involvement.”
What one membership benefit is most valuable to you?
I like reading the AALL Spectrum because there’s always something of interest that’s relevant to what’s going on in the library where I work. For example, the August 2014 issue had an article about implementing LibGuides, which we are preparing to do; and the May 2014 issue had an article about trends in library space. I also like the “member to member” section because I enjoy reading what other librarians from across AALL think about the question posed. I get the sense that “hey, these are librarians just like me, and they’re everywhere!”
What is your favorite memory associated with AALL?
Attending AALL conferences in Denver, Philadelphia, and Boston – all great memories of time spent meeting colleagues and friends face to face, learning about trends in the field, hearing about the experiences of others, and feeling that renewed sense of excitement about the work I do.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends, hiking, Yoga, working out at the gym, traveling, and reading, reading, reading. One of my life long goals is to climb all 54 of Colorado’s fourteeners, and have thus far climbed seven.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Song of the Jayhawk, which I probably wouldn’t have picked up to read but did so because the novel is written by a colleague and friend I went to library school with, Jack Marshall Maness. It’s captivating and well-written. The other book I’m rereading is This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, written by Marilyn Johnson. The book is a delightfully written “hurray for librarians and libraries” that highlights the many ways our profession is changing and challenged.
What’s your favorite travel/vacation destination?
I love to travel and find it both relaxing and culturally stimulating. Picking a favorite destination is hard – I could easily choose so many places in our great country, European countries, the Caribbean, Ireland, South America, Mexico or South Africa. What I can say, though, is that the magnificence and beauty of South Africa caught me off guard. It surpassed what I could have ever imagined. While there, I heard this quote, “The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa – for he has so much to look forward to” by Richard Mullin. It took me some time to grasp the true meaning of this quote, but after spending time in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, I’ve clearly come to understand what this quote conveys.