Interview with Angela Badke, MLA Board of Directors Candidate

This month, one of Superiorland Library Cooperative’s associate member librarians, Angela Badke is on the MLA ballot, seeking a Member-at-Large Board position. If elected, Angela will serve a three-year term beginning July 1, 2022, and ending June 30, 2025. We exchanged emails with Angela to learn about her work in libraries, why she’s interested in the MLA Board, and what makes her a great fit for the new role. Read on for our conversation with Angela!

Angela has served as the Tribal Librarian for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community at the Ojibwa Community Library, Baraga, Michigan since 2015. Before that, she served as an instructor of Composition and English as a Second Language (ESL) Program at Michigan Technological University. Angela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Journalism from Michigan Technological University, a Master of Science in Rhetoric and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University, and is currently earning a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Wayne State University. Angela has been an MLA member since 2021.

Tell us a little about yourself!

My name is Angela Badke. I am a tribal member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, and currently serve as their Tribal Librarian. I am running for a seat on the Michigan Library Association Board of Directors to serve and advocate for all Michigan libraries.

Can you share how you got your start working in libraries?

I actually started in libraries as an undergrad at the Michigan Technological University (MTU) library before deciding I wanted to try teaching/becoming a professor. I taught at MTU for four years, and mostly worked with students who were from other countries. Ultimately, though, my time at their library kept popping up as something I really enjoyed and I toyed with the idea of going back for an MLIS for many years before being hired by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community for my current position. I started at the Ojibwa Community Library in 2015. I knew so little back then! As soon as I started here, it was the best job I’d ever had. I love that I get to use all aspects of my experience– teaching, working with little kids, research, writing, coordinating, and customer service.

Why are you interested in serving on the MLA board?

The nomination was unexpected actually. But, I’ve been really wanting to get involved in some way for awhile now and this just felt like one way I could make a difference. I knew MLA did a lot of advocacy work, which I really liked about them as an organization. My candidacy “platform” is based heavily on DEI initiatives, since that is really where I like to focus my personal work. I also really like giving a voice to smaller and more rural libraries. It’s hard coming from a super tiny library to feel like you have any real say, and I want to give other libraries like Ojibwa (small, rural, and/or tribal) a voice to show that we really do some incredible work within our communities.

How will you use your own experience and expertise to benefit MLA and the Michigan library community?

If elected, my goal as an MLA board member is to advocate for continued action within Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives. This may look like supporting BIPOC businesses and authors or advocating for BIPOC library staff or underrepresented libraries such as tribal or small and rural spaces. Equity, diversity, accessibility, and belonging are important to me, and I’ve dedicated most of my library career working toward bringing cultural awareness and advocating for representation of marginalized groups in library spaces.

Let’s end with a fun one! Tell us about a recent favorite read.

This is a great question! It’s hard being in school to take a second and read for fun, but I recently read two really great books that I can share. 

Shortly before school started, I read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. It was so good! I’ve been on this WWII non-fiction and historical fiction kick for a while, so this was a huge change. But ever since I read it, I’ve been recommending it to people. Even though it’s really a murder mystery, I appreciated the detail to the biology of the swamp and it’s animals portrayed in the story, as well as how Kya grows up and cares for herself. As a kid, I often used to pretend I needed to survive on my own, so this book really brought forward those memories for me. 

Over Christmas break, I re-read Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice, who is an Ojibwe author from Canada. This book is the perfect blend of creepy apocalyptic events and winter survivalism that I just love. There are also a lot of references to culture and reservation life that are fun to read about; several characters reminded me of friends and family. This book has become my go-to (I’ve read it 3 or 4 times!) when I want a quick, weird story to curl up with in deep winter.

Voting for the MLA 2022 Board of Directors Election is now open. MLA will hold elections from April 4 to April 25. This year MLA members will vote for an MLA President-elect, an ALA Councilor, and three Member-at-Large board positions. These positions will serve for three-year terms beginning July 1, 2022.

Visit this link for information on all candidates. 

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