Anyone who follows me at all know that I have worked tirelessly over the last few years to help make inroads between libraries and horror as a genre [and its specific authors and their titles].
One of the ways I have done this is to work officially with the Horror Writers Association to help them connect with libraries. This is a writers group that values libraries and the work we do to build life long readers. As a professional [Active] writing member of the organization, I can be that literal bridge between the writers and the libraries in a way others cannot.
As I have gotten more and more involved with the organization as a volunteer, and as I have seen great improvements in the organization as a whole over the last 5 years, I finally put my hat in the ring to stop just being a volunteer and start being one of the people who officially runs the org [although to be fair, it's still a volunteer job, just a more official one]. I ran for Secretary on a platform that I have already given many hours to the org and proven I can get work done, and that I have been a Cook County, IL elected official for 17 years as a member of the La Grange Public Library Board where I have held every office but Treasurer and been one of 7 people responsible for managing almost $3 million dollars of tax payer money [And unlike many a Cook County elected official before me, I have never been indicted]. In other words, I know what being Secretary would entail.
So I wrote my candidate statement and waited. It turns out I was opposed by someone I greatly admire as a writer, business person and human being-- Michael Bailey [by the way, go buy his books, especially any anthologies he has edited, for your collections. They are amazing and win tons of awards. May I suggest beginning with The Library of the Dead; it's very good and it's easy to hand sell to patrons. My daughter in particular is an evangelist for Christopher Golden's story in the collection.] Michael has also given a lot of his time to the HWA. I actually felt bad that I was running against him because he totally deserves it too. In fact, when an author I know direct messaged me to tell me he voted for me, I was shocked. I told him, "Heck, even I was considering voting for Michael." And I was only half kidding.
Sunday, I was informed that I had won, and I was both shocked and humbled.
So thanks to everyone who voted for me. I am very honored because I know my opponent got a ton of votes. But I am humbled because I know that many authors had to vote for me to win; authors who know and respect Michael also, authors who felt I am doing good work and could best represent their interests on the board. This means that the work I have been doing is being taken as seriously by the authors as it is the libraries. I work in a vacuum, at home in front of my computer, advocating for horror each and every day with my written words and sometimes, with my appearances. But I don't always get feedback to know if it is working. Today, I have some proof that it is.
I promise to help make sure the organization continues to work to bridge the gap between the authors and the readers. In fact, I had a breakfast meeting this morning to nail down the details on a program that will do just that; something a few of us at HWA have been working on all summer. But you will have to wait for those details until October.
In the meantime I want to remind you that there are many genre writers associations that want librarian input. HWA is not the only one. I wrote a longer post about it in April of 2017: Call to Action: Get Involved with a Writers Association. Please read that post and consider joining a writers association too. It doesn;t have to be the horror one. Don't feel like they won't take you in. One thing I have learned with my involvement in the HWA is that the authors truly want our help and input. And today is proof of that.
Below I have attached the official election results announcement, just to prove to myself that it is real.
HWA ELECTION RESULTS
HWA is pleased to release the results of our 2018 election:
Lisa Morton (who ran unopposed) has been re-elected President.
Becky Spratford has been elected Secretary.
Linda Addison, James Chambers, and Ellen Datlow have been (re-)elected to Trustee positions.
Becky and James will be officially taking office on November 1. All positions are two-year terms.
This election saw exceptionally high voter turn-out (a good sign), so HWA is grateful to all Active members who voted. We are also grateful to all of those who took the time to run for office.Special thanks to our outgoing Secretary Joe McKinney and outgoing Trustee Alessandro Manzetti for all of their hard work on behalf of the organization.
Becky Spratford is a Readers' Advisor in Illinois specializing in serving patrons ages 13 and up. She trains library staff all over the world on how to match books with readers through the local public library. She runs the critically acclaimed RA training blog RA for All. She is under contract to provide content for EBSCO’s NoveList database and writes reviews for Booklist and content for Library Journal. Becky is also known for her work with horror readers as the author of The Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror, Second Edition [ALA Editions, 2012] and is currently hard at work on the 3rd Edition. She is a proud member of the Horror Writers Association and currently serves as the Association’s Secretary and organizer of their annual LIbrarians’ Day. You can follow Becky on Twitter @RAforAll.