Meet the MLA Staff

Debbie Mikula headshot

Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director
(517) 881-1266
[email protected]

Since June 2019, Debbie has served as the Michigan Library Association’s Executive Director. She places a high priority on any organization or project that creates a sense of place, showcases a community’s authentic heritage, and contributes to the economic prosperity of a region. Libraries are no exception. She is a passionate advocate of arts and culture in the state and on a national basis – having led the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, ArtServe Michigan, Michigan Association of Community Arts Agencies, and the League of Historic American Theatres.

Contact Debbie with questions about:


Rachel Ash headshotRachel Ash
Membership and Communications Director
(517) 881-6652
[email protected]

Rachel serves as MLA's Membership and Communications Director. She joined MLA in 2015. Libraries and library professionals have made a deep and lasting impact on her life from a young age. Access to books, summer reading programs, and an amazing school librarian fostered her love of learning, curiosity about the world and a lifelong love of literature. Rachel received a general associate's degree and an associate's degree in computer programming from Lansing Community College and has a background in fine art. Prior to her employment with MLA, she worked for many years for a small family-owned business.

Contact Rachel with questions about:

You can also contact Rachel to:

  • Share a great story or breaking news about your library
  • Schedule a library visit


Lisa Buttigieg headshotLisa Buttigieg
Administrative Assistant
(517) 881-1683
[email protected]

Lisa is responsible for providing the highest level of customer service to members and key constituencies. She serves as the primary contact for the MLA office and also assists her colleagues with special projects, meetings and conferences. Lisa earned her associate degree in Commercial Art/Graphic Design from Lansing Community College.

Contact Lisa with questions about:


Amber Sheerin, CMP, DES, CTAAmber Sheerin Headshot
Program and Event Director
(517) 881-3194
[email protected]

Amber is responsible for helping to craft the best conferences and other professional development opportunities for MLA members. Amber is a graduate of Ferris State University and has a Certificate in Event and Convention Management from New York University. She is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), a Digital Event Strategist (DES), and is certified in Virtual Event and Meeting Management (VEMM) from the Event Leadership Institute. Amber was named the 2023 Innovative Planner of the Year by the Michigan chapter of Meeting Professionals International.

Contact Amber with questions about:


Keeley Briggs headshotKeeley Briggs
Membership and Program Coordinator
(517) 881-0496
[email protected]

Keeley joined the MLA team in 2022. As MLA's Database Coordinator, Keeley is responsible for maintaining the member database as well as playing a support role in special projects and events. Prior to employment with MLA, Keeley worked in a variety of public library roles from clerking in the teen department to managing a branch library.

Contact Keeley with questions about:


Meet the MLA Interns

Interested in interning with MLA? Click here to learn more about this opportunity.


Kara MacKenzieKara MacKenzie
Summer Semester 2022 Social Media Strategist Intern

Kara MacKenzie (she/her) is a social media intern, technical writing specialist, and avid plant mom from Battle Creek, Michigan. She is currently a junior at Michigan State University, where she majors in Professional & Public Writing and Women’s & Gender Studies. Kara is interested in the intersections between rhetoric and social justice, and hopes to one day use her writing skills to benefit a nonprofit organization or work in the publishing industry. When she isn’t working, she can usually be found drawing, watering her plants, or reading books with strong queer representation and feminist or social justice themes. Kara is a strong supporter of local libraries and is excited to celebrate and showcase the amazing things that Michigan libraries are doing!


Trinity JonesTrinity Jones
Fall Semester 2022 Social Media Strategist Intern

Trinity Jones is marketing major at Eastern Michigan University, class of 2023. When not nose deep in her studies, Trinity's hobbies include content creation and strategy. Trinity creates relatable videos to drive connections and messages to an audience. After graduation, Trinity's goal is to inspire, inform and curate positive opportunities for her community. She likes to spend time at the main Detroit Public Library reading Langston Hughes!


Hannah O'MalleyHannah O'Malley
Fall Semester 2022 Social Media Strategist Intern

Hannah is a senior at Michigan State University majoring in Experience Architecture. With a background in user experience and research, she strives to create memorable and impactful experiences for users. Offline, Hannah enjoys making dinner with her roommates and reading the latest issue of Vogue!


Megan PetersonMegan Peterson
Fall Semester 2022 Event Coordination Intern

Megan Peterson is a senior at Central Michigan University. She is double majoring in English and Nonprofit Administration with a certificate in Creative Writing. On campus, she loves getting involved in the literary community and pretending to love every classic she has to read for class. When she's not studying, she loves browsing local bookstores, spending time with friends, and cooking new recipes.


Avery Thompson Avery Thompson
Spring Semester 2023 Social Media Strategist Intern

Avery Thompson (she/her/hers) is a full-time Sophomore at the University of Michigan who is thrilled to be joining the MLA team for the Winter/Spring semester. She is a projected Sociology major hoping to earn a minor in LGBTQ+ Studies, and absolutely adores writing, drawing, and mingling. She hopes to learn more about library advocacy with her belief that libraries can be a pillar of social change. During her time at U of M, she has thoroughly enjoyed her employment at the Spectrum Center (LGBTQ+ center on campus) and has built up organizational skills as a result of her serving as a Front Desk Student Lead, along with her involvement with the SC Programming Board. In her spare time, she enjoys activities such as drawing comics, needle-felting, and working on her Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. She is grateful for this wonderful opportunity and excited to meet all of the wonderful folks working with MLA!


Thejas Varma Thejas Varma
Summer Semester 2023 Social Media Strategist Intern

Thejas Varma is a rising senior at the University of Michigan. He is majoring in Communication & Media with a minor in English. During his spare time, he enjoys walking around Ann Arbor, listening to music, or perusing digital articles on niche topics.


Oliver BrownOliver Brown
Spring Semester 2023 Social Media Strategist Intern

Oliver Brown (He/Him/His) is currently pursuing his Master’s in Library Science (MLIS) with a Concentration in Archival Administration at Wayne State University. He has a deep involvement with libraries, as he currently serves as Vice President of his local library board and works as a Substitute Library Clerk at another nearby library. Oliver is excited to take on the role of Social Media Strategist Intern for Fall 2023, as he is very passionate about advocating for libraries and how they can cultivate community and economic growth.


Uniting the Michigan Library Community

MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.

Friends of Michigan Libraries logo