February 16, 2018

Indulge me, Please!

What a fantastic weekend I had! Our Friends of the Library group gave my library the funds to rent a bus to take 35 of our managers to Washington to participate in our Library Journal/Gale Library of the Year celebration. It was a magical evening!

We left Columbus at 6 a.m. on Sunday morning and made it to Washington around 3 p.m. About one and a half hours out our air conditioning croaked and it was 101 degrees on the bus! I had stowed my luggage beneath the bus. When I retrieved it the handle had melted!

35 CML staff on the bus

It was a glorious reception, and the energy of our staff was so powerful. I haven’t seen so many faces nearly cracking from the big smiles.

CML Staff on the Steps of the Reception

During the award presentation I was deeply humbled by the words of John Berry, former editor of Library Journal and author of the cover article about our award. He acknowledged to the crowd that I had made him a convert regarding the value of marketing for libraries! What a fantastic moment for me and my great team for the perseverance as change agents.

Alison and John Berry

I know for so many of you who have a marketing function that it can be hard to make the library world understand your value. I’m so proud and humbled to say that it can be done, and the payoff is tremendous.

This past weekend I saw a great documentary about the Disney animation studio called “Waking Sleeping Beauty.” At one moment in the film they talk about the COO of Disney, who carried in his wallet a piece of paper that said: “Humility is the greatest virtue.” In that spirit, let me praise — as a representative of all our great staff at CML — our branch manager, Cathy Williams. Cathy runs a branch that is a beacon of hope in a very destitute area in Columbus. In the alley behind the branch is a crack house. Across the parking lot is a pit bull breeder who lets the dogs loose. Recently one of the dogs attacked a young girl who had just left the branch, resulting in a 911 call. In spite of these obstacles, Cathy brings hope and faith into that community everyday, committed to making a difference in the lives of her community. That is what this award is all about. To Cathy, and all the dedicated library staff who persevere in the face of incredible obstacles: you inspire me every day.

Cathy Williams at the award ceremony.

Thank you Library Journal, John Berry and Gale/Cengage. What a great honor!

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.