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Insider Article [August 2012] [07/26/12] (President's Message)
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President's Message

Have I Done Everything I Can Do Today?

Photo of Wayne DisherWhen I was a UCLA undergraduate, I remember being handed a book of quotations by UCLA’s legendary basketball coach, John Wooden. Not being a fan of basketball, I tossed the book on a shelf and didn’t read it. (I may be at risk of having my UCLA degree revoked for admitting this!) It wasn’t until recently that I rediscovered the book. And as chance would have it, I instantly found dozens of quotations that really spoke to an issue I am quite concerned with these days—the issue of “involvement,” or lack thereof. The pressure to finish what’s already on our plates often prevents us from taking on anything else. So when I saw Mr. Wooden’s quote, “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do,” followed by, “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming,” I had one of those “aha” moments. I need to pay attention! I need to get involved! If I expect change, I have to help lead it!

Is our engagement and involvement even necessary? The answer is a resounding “YES!!!” We have most recently seen at least one successful example of the benefits of getting involved and becoming more engaged. Against all odds, CLA members and our incredible lobbying team of Mike Dillon and Christina DiCaro worked with library supporters statewide to convince the state legislature and Governor Brown to restore partial funding to the state’s libraries. We can move mountains, but in order to do so we need some help pushing!

This is where YOU come in. As a member of the California Library Association, you have incredible opportunities to take an active role—at a level of involvement that is comfortable to you. If you’re a student or recent library school graduate, or if you’ve been in the profession for a few years and are wondering where to begin, think about joining one of the amazing CLA Interest Groups. These groups are the heart of activity in our organization and are pretty fantastic places to meet some incredible colleagues. You can volunteer for committees that do everything from planning events to recommending legislative action. Of course there’s the annual CLA conference and Spring Fling programs to help reenergize and inspire. Annual CLA board elections are also a critical place in which your voting and involvement is necessary. Consider running for a CLA office and participating on the CLA board.
In closing, I want to thank you for what you have done for CLA already and to thank you in advance for all I know you will continue to do for CLA. It is the last part of that sentence which means the most to me and which has guided my own involvement! When I have a moment to relax, I ask myself, “Have I done everything I can do today?” In the words of Coach Wooden, “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you SHOULD have accomplished with your ability”.

Wayne Disher, President
California Library Association