President’s Message

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Portrait of Susan

<updated March 24, 2020>

I wrote my original message during lighter times; in the brief weeks since then our normal has been turned upside down. To echo a refrain we are hearing often these days, hard times such as these remind us of the importance of community and connection. In that spirit, the WAML executive board will discuss at our meeting next week what we can do to support our membership during this difficult situation. We welcome your thoughts on this.

On a more somber note, we are seeing the opposite of community building in the rise of coronavirus-related xenophobia incidents around the world. I’d like to reiterate WAML’s non-discrimination policy, which states that: “The Western Association of Map Libraries does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed) or lack thereof, gender, gender identity and expression, age, physical appearance, body size, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all of our members, volunteers, vendors, and participants in our conferences and publications.” I encourage us all to be gentle with each other in this strange new reality and continue to rely on our principles of community.

Aside from fellowship with other humans, over the past couple weeks I have found my biggest solace in the natural world: sprouting seeds in my kitchen, listening to the birds on my street, and watching the sun rise and set. So although this spring in many respects is not like others, I still hope you all find sources for the energy you need (because these things do take energy) to reflect and connect in these uncertain times.

<Susan’s original note>

Happy Spring! As the trees have sprung into blossom with gusto this year here in the Bay Area, I find myself reflecting–like so many others at this time of year–on the beauty and energy of beginnings. I hope to bring that same refreshed energy to my final months as WAML President as we continue our work towards establishing a sustainable funding strategy for the scholarship program and finalize our new mission and vision statements.

Perhaps you are also feeling the itch of springtime energy? There are many opportunities for getting involved in WAML! To list just a couple, we are currently seeking volunteers to help with the 2020 annual meeting and to review the indexing of the Information Bulletin. Please reach out if either of those sound intriguing or you’d like to talk more about other opportunities. And if you are interested in becoming more formally involved, consider running for a position on the Executive Board! Up for election this year are Secretary (a one-year term) and Vice-President/President-Elect (a three-year term, rotating in as President then Past President in years two and three). As your current president, I can attest that serving on the WAML Executive Board has been a wonderful way to get to work with a great group of people and help shape the direction of our organization. If you would like to run for an office, please submit your name and a short statement of interest for the ballot by Friday, March 27 to one of the Nominating Committee members: Tom Brittnacher (, Phil White (, and Kat Strickland (

Last but not least, don’t forget to save the date for the WAML annual meeting at the University of Idaho campus in Moscow, Idaho from Wednesday, September 9 through Friday, September 11! Hosted by Bruce Godfrey (University of Idaho) and organized by Matthew Toro (Arizona State University), it is sure to be a great conference. And as lore has it, this will be WAML’s first-ever conference hosted in Idaho–you won’t want to miss it! Updated information will be posted to the conference website as it becomes available

Wishing you all the joyful, colorful energy of Spring in riotous bloom!

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