Member of the Month

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Melissa Baker

Melissa Ann Baker 
Marketing and Program Coordinator, Montgomery County Memorial Library System

Professional experience
My undergraduate degree is in studio art - painting. I have always had a passion for children’s literature, especially the art of picture books, and that led me to follow my B.F.A. with a Masters in Library Science from the University of North Texas, with an emphasis in Youth Librarianship and Storytelling. I have worked in public libraries throughout my career, beginning in the circulation department and moving my way through adult, teen, and children’s services until landing in my current position with library administration.

The Texas Library Association has supported my growth and offered me opportunities to network with other enthusiastic individuals who share my love of libraries. Currently, I am serving as Chairman of TLA’s PR & Marketing Committee and Co-Chair of the Local Arrangements Meeting Rooms Committee for the 2016 TLA Annual Conference.

Innovative library practices
I have a unique perspective on innovation in libraries, since I am at the moment involved in developing a statewide library PR campaign for TLA, which will feature technology and innovation in the field. There are so many exciting programs and services being offered in libraries today, like green screens and maker spaces amidst stacks of books. In my own library system, we have hosted fitness classes and Lego clubs and knitting groups, plus numerous STEM programs, such as robotics and coding classes. I think the library world is changing to become much more of a collaborative space where people come to create and engage with others, as much as they come to do traditional research.  

Favorite literary character or book
Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. I actually got to see Suzanne Collins speak at a TLA Conference before her books took off, and way before the movies. I didn’t know anything about the series at the time, but her talk about war and its effects on childhood inspired me to read the books, and I got hooked! I have read the trilogy multiple times now, and I was always there on opening day to see the movies when they released. I even asked for archery gear for Christmas, so that I could channel my inner Katniss!  

Most memorable TLA experience
This is a hard one! It is probably a toss-up between the wonderful time I spent at the TALL Texans Leadership Development Institute in 2013 and serving on the TLA Conference Local Arrangements Committee in 2012. Let’s just say that one experience was relaxing and meditative, filled with inspiring individuals willing to share their ideas and expertise, and the other was a non-stop week of excitement with lots of running around to make sure that all those microphones were working and everyone knew where to go to find their own bit of inspiration in the breakout sessions. Both experiences offered me a chance to work with other information professionals in the field who were just as passionate about what is happening in libraries today, and I am so fortunate to continue to find opportunities like that through TLA.

Created on Oct 1, 2015 | Last updated February 02, 2016