Q&A: Kathleen Moeller-Peiffer, incoming ASCLA Vice President/President-Elect

Congratulations to Kathi Moeller-Peiffer of the New Jersey State Library on her election to the ASCLA Vice President/President-Elect position! We asked Kathi some questions about her relationship with ASCLA and what she does when she’s not preoccupied with important library work. Swing by the ASCLA/COSLA Reception at the ALA Annual Conference to meet Kathi and other ASCLA members.

ASCLA Vice President/President-Elect Kathi Moeller-Peiffer
ASCLA Vice President/President-Elect Kathi Moeller-Peiffer

Why do you love ASCLA?

I love being an ASCLA member primarily due to the diversity of its membership. I’ve met librarians who work as independent consultants, at state library agencies, with cooperatives and consortia and as the main source of library service to underserved populations, such as the blind and physically handicapped and incarcerated youth and adults. I learn a little something from all of them.

What do you think the best parts of ASCLA are that would appeal to new members?

As mentioned above, the diversity. Also, it is one of the smaller ALA divisions which means that you get to know people more quickly and easily and can often find yourself being offered a leadership role in the organization sooner than in one of the large divisions. Finally, the very talented and bright people of both ASCLA and the ALA ASCLA office are a great benefit of membership!

In your opinion, how are current economic challenges affecting both the professions represented by ASCLA and the association itself?

It is stressful, no doubt about it. All of the professions represented by ASCLA are taking fiscal cuts which then impacts the number of librarians who can join the association, leading to fiscal implications for us as well. ASCLA professionals continue to advocate, educate and lobby funding bodies to restore monies cut. ASCLA as an association has been handling its finances very intelligently and has been creating money-making opportunities with webinars, pre-conferences and library trips abroad in order to weather these difficult fiscal times.

What is a significant change or improvement that you would like to see made within ASCLA during the next 3-5 years?

I would like to see the membership grow to the point where we have financial stability and therefore more time being allotted to us from ALA Headquarters. Right now we have 25% of our Director’s and Marketing Manager’s time. With just a small increase to 30% they could both do so much more in terms of fund-raising idea implementation.

What about the ALA Annual Conference are you looking forward to the most?

I am very much looking forward to the many groups that I’ll be meeting with for the first time in my role as vice president/president elect and the new knowledge that I’ll be gaining of both ASCLA and ALA. And, of course, the ASCLA/COSLA awards reception!

When you’re not spending your time at the library or at conferences, what do you like to do? Any hobbies?

Well, I do enjoy spending time with my husband’s and my three Labrador Retrievers. (That is not to say they couldn’t benefit from some time with the Dog Whisperer!) I also enjoy traveling, especially abroad. Over the past few years I’ve been to Hawaii, the Isle of Rhodes in Greece and Dubrovnik, Croatia and will be visiting Puerto Rico this fall.

Read any good books lately?

I’ve just started reading Karen White’s book After the Rain, which I’ll follow with her other recent books Sea Change and The Time Between. She is a tremendously gifted writer. Once I’ve started one of her books I simply cannot put it down.

If you had a superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

I have never, ever been asked this question before…good job stumping me! I believe that I would want the ability to time travel, both into the past and the future. I would not use it to change anything, but simply to observe what is happening and learn more about myself and others.

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