Unexpected Impact of VLA Legislative Day
by Janet Justis
Mari-Jana O. Phelps works at the Dumphries Neighborhood Library. From 1996 to 1997 she worked for Virginia Congressman Frank R. Wolf. She reports that she stays in touch with him and that "he was great to work for." With her masters in Political Management it's easy to understand why Congressman Wolf hired her, and why she "enjoyed [her] time on the Hill" so much.
Mari-Jana attended her first National Library Legislative Day in 2000. It, and the Virginia librarians in attendance, impressed her so much that she is pursuing a degree in library science. Mari-Jana says:
I attended the NLLD in 2000 and was fascinated by all the smart librarians talking about smart things. That was why I decided, after my first National Library Legislative Day, I wanted to expand my education some more and go to library school. I wanted to widen my knowledge and embrace a field that had so many smart people fall in love with it. Coming back to NLLD in 2001 felt so much more special because I was enrolled in the School of Library and Information Science, The Catholic School of America under Dean Liebscher's leadership. I was part of the crowd and loved it. My educational background includes a MA in Political Management so being in the library field and at NLLD acting as ambassadors and lobbyists for our libraries felt just right. I know I will always participate in NLLD because it also offers me the unique opportunity to combine two degrees (one in works) that seem too different to combine.
Mari-Jana took most of the pictures that accompany this article. Let us hope that her enthusiasm, both for libraries and for actively trying to influence policy decisions in Washington, is contagious.