The perks of being a WNBA-Charlotte member!
Event Coordinator, 2012 and 2013 WNBA National Reading Group Month
“I moved back to the Charlotte area over two years ago and joined WNBA-Charlotte even before I’d completed moving. Through our Charlotte chapter, I’ve become friends and colleagues with a group of smart, engaged women who all share my lifelong enthusiasm for books. In addition, I can contribute my own years of book industry experience to the chapter and WNBA nationally, which is both fun and professionally rewarding. There’s great energy in the WNBA-Charlotte chapter, and I encourage everyone interested in books to join us.”
Why I belong to WNBA – Charlotte
Gwen Clift, MLIS
Automation Trainer, Cataloger
Media Services, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
I joined WNBA in order to broaden my horizons. As a librarian, I am often called upon to know authors and works, but it is really enlightening to also learn more about the entire process to move an idea into a published work. I am enjoying the group as a whole and often report what I learn to my daughter, an aspiring writer.
Why I founded the Charlotte chapter of WNBA
President 2009-2011 and current National Vice President
I had been a member of the Nashville chapter of WNBA in 1998-99, thoroughly enjoying their summer reading group and reading several Westerns I never, ever would have read if it weren’t for them. Then I moved to New York to join the world of Big-Time publishing, and I naturally joined that chapter. They had vibrant panels with famous people discussing a wide range of topics, and I learned a lot and met a few people who would prove helpful in my personal network. Then I moved to Charlotte. I remained a member of the New York chapter, remotely, and read the email invites to the cool events with envy and wistfulness. The idea of starting a chapter here occurred to me early on, but I didn’t know many book people outside of work, and I wanted the chapter to be diverse and have a wide variety of members, so I knew I had to bide my time. Meanwhile, I collected a few names of people to whom I thought I would reach out down the road when the time came.
In February 2009, I emailed Tracey Adams of Adams Literary and she and I and Betsy Thorpe of Novello Press got together to discuss the possibility of a Charlotte chapter and to gauge interest. We thought we all knew a handful of people who would be interested, and they were enthusiastic about it, too. So about 15 women gathered March 1, 2009, at Park Road Books, an indie store in Charlotte, NC, to hear Mary Grey James, national President-Elect, discuss the history and goals of the WNBA. Soon after, Charlotte chapter officers were elected and bylaws were approved, and the chapter was officially chartered June 6 at the annual National Board meeting. At the first official meeting held June 23 at Park Road Books, I — now chapter President – reported on the National Board meeting and Treasurer Sally Brewster – also the store’s owner – presented her summer reading recommendations, in what has become an annual event.
I did found the chapter for networking purposes, but primarily in order to meet new bookish friends. And I have accomplished that in spades! Not only have I gotten quite a bit of business through a few WNBA-Charlotte contacts, but I count many of my fellow members among my good friends. I have learned a lot at the events and had a lot of fun. I have felt proud of our efforts in assisting the Friends of the Library with fundraising in a variety of venues, too. But mostly, I love to talk about books with like-minded people, and that’s what we are at the WNBA.