Meet Your '23-'24 Candidates for NELA's Executive Board

NELA is pleased to announce an excellent slate of candidates for the positions of Vice-President/President Elect, Member-at-Large, and Treasurer for the 2023 - 2024 Executive Board. All people with active NELA memberships should have received a ballot from NELA's official QuestionPro account on Tuesday, June 13th. We have gotten feedback that some people have been finding it in their spam folder. If you have an active membership, and you have double-checked your spam folder, and you still are not seeing a ballot, please email Megan Bishop at [email protected].

Candidates for Vice-President/President Elect

Jennifer He | Lee Shaw

Jennifer He

Jennifer has been a member of NELA since 2018, where she currently serves as chair of the ITS section. She is passionate about helping librarians incorporate technology into their work to enhance their productivity. She has led conferences and “In the Know” sessions on topics such as designing websites, chatbot integration, digital makerspaces, multilingual translation tools, Google Analytics, social media automation tools, and accessibility and usability standards. During her latest presentation, Jennifer shared insights on how the use of AI chat, image, and video generators can assist librarians in enhancing their work.

If elected as Vice President, Jennifer aims to empower librarians to adopt technology tools to streamline their workflows. Additionally, she is committed to advocating for better resources and working conditions for library workers who hold more traditional roles. She plans to propose this issue as an advocacy topic for NELA.

Jennifer is a skilled web designer and developer with over 15 years of experience managing digital projects for libraries. She has extensive experience managing complex web design and usability projects for a range of organizations including museums, educational institutions, nonprofits, and higher education. Some of the notable projects she has designed and developed include those for Harvard/NASA Data System, Boston Arts Academy, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, New Free Library, Boston Kids Comics Fest, Simmons College, and Smith College. Jennifer holds an MLIS degree from Simmons University and is currently transitioning from her role as a web designer for libraries to establishing her own tech startup company. Her new venture will focus on utilizing AI tools to create websites for libraries, non-profits, and small businesses.

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Lee Shaw

Lee Shaw is the Director of the South Berwick Public Library (ME). He received his MIS degree from the University of North Carolina in 2012 and worked as a Children’s Librarian in Raleigh before moving to NYC, where he worked as the librarian of the Conjuring Arts Research Center, and later as a Children’s Librarian in Brooklyn. He campaigned for funding for an oral history project documenting the experiences of members of the Ecuadorian community near his branch. Although COVID disrupted the original plan, the money was used to create a collection of Ecuadorian books in Spanish. Lee currently serves on the board of H-TEP, an NGO working to establish public libraries in the ethnically Tolupan region of Northern Honduras, and plans to travel there in April of 2023. Before settling in South Berwick, Lee oversaw the re-opening and modernization of a small public library in Maine after the library was defunded and its doors shut.

Lee believes in the library as a safe space, a place for families, and an important democratic institution. Lee is a musician, and he encourages staff to pursue their passions and bring their unique experiences and gifts to programming and library services. He would be honored to serve the library workers of New England as Vice President of NELA.

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Candidates for Member-at-Large

Jeni Clary | Aaron Coutu | Emily Miranda | Amy Rosa | Miki Wolfe

Jeni Clary

Jeni Clary was hired by Colorado’s innovative Anythink library system due to her background as a children’s department manager in a bookstore. She immediately recognized that she enjoyed giving things away more than selling them, and after seven years working in libraries (and a couple of very long moves around the country) is currently serving as the Circulation Manager of Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Jeni grew up in the woods with three brothers, a menagerie of animals, and a lot of trees to read books in.  When not parenting or asking strangers in line at the grocery store if they have a library card, she loves both fantasy books and historical nonfiction, playing video games and knitting despite lacking the coordination for either, dreaming up and making new flavors of ice cream, once crash landed in a hot air balloon, and occasionally does library themed stand up as Brattleboro’s Comedy Librarian.

Jeni is a graduate of NELLS I, is about to attend NELLS II, and serves on the Brattleboro Winter Carnival Committee, as well as being both a founding member of and the historian for the Town of Brattleboro’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Board.  If elected, she would bring a unique perspective and a sense of fun to the Member at Large position, as well as limitless enthusiasm for seeking new ways to share library resources with even more people and new ways to connect library staff throughout New England with opportunities to share and increase their knowledge.  As lifelong learning is one of her favorite parts of being a librarian, she looks forward to the learning process involved in serving on the NELA Executive Board.

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Aaron Coutu

Aaron has worked in libraries since 1999, though he also volunteered in his junior high and high school libraries before heading off to college. He is currently the Director of the Warwick (RI) Public Library system, which is located in the third most populous city in Rhode Island. Prior to that, he served as the Assistant Director and Technology Coordinator of the Cumberland (RI) Public Library for 11 years. He also served as the Young Adult Librarian at the Greenville (RI) Public Library for 7 years. Aaron also was an adjunct instructor at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Library & Information Studies from 2005 through 2021.

Aaron has also had an opportunity to serve in a number of roles in the Rhode Island Library Association (RILA), including as Vice President from 2013-2015 and President from 2015-2017. Over the years, he has also served on RILA’s Communications Committee, Membership Committee, Legislative Action Committee, Salaries Task Force, and as a liaison between RILA and the School Librarians of Rhode Island.

With his non-professional persona, Aaron served as a trustee of the Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library from 2004-2022 and 2013-2021 with stints as chair of the board from 2009-2011 and 2014-2021. He has also been a member of the Library Board of Rhode Island since 2018.

During that period, he has also served as the chair of the library board’s Legislation Committee. He was also a member of the Reopening Public Libraries Task Force empaneled by the RI Office of Library & Information Services to help libraries in the state prepare their responses to COVID-19 so they could safely open to the public. During his time as a Young Adult Librarian, Aaron was a member of the Rhode Island Teen Book Award Committee from 2001-2013, chairing the committee from 2002-2013.

Over the years, Aaron has been an active participant in NELA. He served on the New England Round Table of Teen & Children’s Librarians as the RI State Representative from 2002-2004. He is also a current member of the Educational Assistance and Membership Committees.

Aaron was raised with an emphasis on the importance of giving back to the community. This means giving public service not just to the communities where he lives and works, but also to his profession. Serving on the NELA Executive Board would allow him to continue to do so in a different way. Aaron believes this particular position will help him become more familiar with the governance of the association as he becomes part of the team to help it continue to grow and develop. It would be an honor for him to serve as the NELA Member at Large.

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Emily Miranda

Emily Miranda is currently the Supervisor of Children’s Services at Watertown Free Public Library in Watertown, MA. She has an MLIS from Simmons University and is a mid-career librarian with over 15 years of experience at various MA libraries. Her interests include community engagement, advocating for families, intellectual freedom and staff development. She welcomes the opportunity to serve with colleagues supporting New England Libraries.

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Amy Rosa

Amy Rosa has been the Library Manager at Community Libraries of Providence - Washington Park Library for almost 5 years. She began working in libraries over 20 years ago, received her degree at Indiana University and was previously working at various locations all over Massachusetts.

Her background is in management, teen services, circulation, reference/adult services and even a bit of cataloging! She serves as the Library Staff Representative to the Board of Directors, Chair of the Marketing and Advocacy Committee, a member of the Facilities Committee, a member of the Programming Committee at the Roger Williams Park Conservancy, and has served on many School Committees in various roles.

She is very enthusiastic about programming and community connections and is excited to bring her expertise in advocacy and outreach to NELA. Amy is a native of Taunton, MA but has resided in Providence with her family for the past 10+ years. Some fun hobbies include yoga, rock climbing, and folded book art!

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Miki Wolfe

Miki Wolfe is currently the director of Morse Institute Library in Natick, MA. A Rhode Island native, she holds an MLS degree from Florida State University, where she also received a second graduate degree in (wait for it) “The Online Navigation of Social Spaces for Libraries and Nonprofits”. What does this mean? It means Miki spent a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter, and all of her research was outdated by the time she received her degree. However, her research also affects her approach to the infinite potential of the public library as a force for public good. Miki has worked in public libraries from small libraries (Oak Bluffs and Sharon, MA) and city libraries (Gainesville, FL), and understands each institution’s unique perspectives on librarianship.

Miki is a 2016 MLS Project SET graduate, and returned to Project SET as a Alumni Mentor in 2018 and 2019. Miki is also a 2012 graduate of the Sunshine State Leadership Institute. In 2019, she was a co-recipient of the MLS Stronger Together award, given for contributions to the MA library community. Outside the library, Miki works to raise money and awareness for causes like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. When not working or fundraising, Miki can be found poking away at her latest cross-stitch project, mountain biking, or on the softball field.

As a NELA Member-at-Large, Miki looks forward to continuing to work with colleagues from across New England on a variety of issues, helping library staff connect and learn from one another.

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Candidate for Treasurer

Bernie Procknik

Bernie Prochnik 

Bernie has been the Director of the Bath Public Library (NH) since 1999. Originally from the UK, Bernie came to the US in 1991 with a MA in Business and certification as a Chartered Accountant.

Bernie would like to thank everyone for giving her the opportunity to serve for the last 4 years as your Treasurer and for the chance to give something back for all of the years of progressive work that has been accomplished by NELA. She would like to serve one more term to set up a great transition plan to help secure NELA’s financial future for years to come. Bernie welcomes the opportunity to once again serve alongside colleagues committed to serving New England library workers.

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