I decided to run for ALA president for two reasons. One, I want to use the power and influence of the biggest library professional association in the world to make progress on some of our biggest challenges and issues – ebooks and digital content, diversity, the future of school libraries, the relevancy of all types of libraries. Two, I will use this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase libraries as the essential community assets they are.
My primary focus will always be on serving members. That means working with staff and member leadership to ensure that the activities ALA engages in and the resources we expend are always done with our members in mind. It also means understanding and responding to what’s keeping librarians and library staff up at night. The blueprint for this will be ALA’s strategic plan.
Here’s what I intend to accomplish:
I am most effective in working with diverse groups of people to get the best results. I believe that this is what ALA needs now, and that’s what I can do with members and stakeholders.
Ebooks – Build on the work of Presidents Molly Raphael and Maureen Sullivan with publishers to develop solutions for ebooks that allow libraries to continue building collections for their communities and serving the needs of readers, while ensuring that publishers and authors prosper.
Library Visibility and Awareness – There shouldn’t be a “Hey, look what libraries are doing these days!” story in the Wall Street Journal “discovering” that libraries contribute to student achievement and scholarly research, help people find jobs, facilitate literacy, or generally offer opportunities for people to transform their lives. It should be so well known and understood that it isn’t news. ALA has to take a consistent, unrelenting approach on a national level to promoting all libraries as life-changing, valuable community assets.
Diversity – Draw on the membership and expertise of the ALA ethnic caucuses to increase awareness of the opportunities within ALA and the profession. Also, to help us learn how to incorporate diverse perspectives and experiences into how ALA serves the profession.
Working Together within ALA – This is more internally focused but critical to ALA’s long-term success in serving our profession. We need to tackle our big issues and problems in a more collaborative manner. I’m an experienced facilitator, and I will use those skills to help turn good ideas and discussion into action in an organization that has not always been successful in coming together to tackle our biggest challenges. ALA should be the place that issues and people coalesce to identify challenges, have a process to reach consensus, and to move forward representing the profession’s best interests.