Libraries Transform

Making a difference for our profession

July 27, 2015

Sari Feldman

Because my grandchildren will use technologies I cannot even imagine, libraries transform.

Because algorithms don’t inspire readers, libraries transform.

Because solving for X doesn’t ­always give us the “why,” libraries transform.

Welcome to ALA’s new, multi-year public awareness campaign, “Libraries Transform.” Its ultimate goal is to increase funding support for libraries and advance information policy issues in alignment with ALA’s advocacy goals. The “Libraries Transform” campaign demonstrates how libraries of all types support individual opportunity and community progress.

I feel optimistic about the future of libraries after attending the recent ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition. It provided the opportunity to connect, collaborate, and celebrate our profession and the contribution of all libraries across the nation. It was incredible to be in San Francisco on the day the US Supreme Court delivered its milestone ruling on marriage equality—and it seemed especially fitting to celebrate diversity, equality, and inclusion with members of a profession that lives those values each and every day.

Of course, I also enjoyed a personally significant milestone at the ALA inaugural brunch. Surrounded by friends, family, and colleagues, I launched the “Libraries Transform” campaign.

The campaign can be translated as a statement of the dramatic outcomes we achieve every single day: Libraries transform people by supporting exploration and learning that drives individual ­opportunity. Libraries are committed to advancing their legacy of reading and developing a digitally inclusive society.

“Libraries Transform” is also a ­reflection on how libraries evolve to meet changing needs. From technology integration to a more outcome-intensive focus, libraries have transformed over time to keep pace with a dynamic knowledge economy.

Finally, “Libraries Transform” shows that we are most powerful when we recognize that we are one profession serving thousands of communities.

This campaign is made possible by generous support from OverDrive and will draw its power from the ALA membership. It will be ­effective only if we all commit to ­delivering its key messages. Please visit, where you’ll find downloadable content and information about the trends influencing library transformation.

Our campaign will be successful if we can accomplish three goals:

  1. Increase awareness of and support for transforming libraries.
  2. Shift perceptions of libraries and library work from “obsolete” or “nice to have” to essential.
  3. Energize and engage all library workers as well as build external advocates to influence local, state, and national decision makers.

Over the next two months, you will be invited to brainstorm national, state, and local implementation strategies. We want to hear your ideas for how this campaign can be brought to life in your local community. The public campaign launches in October.

In addition to the awareness campaign, we’ll be working with the Center for the Future of Libraries to aggregate tools and resources to help library professionals deal with the cultural implications of this transformation.

We are also working with the ALA Knowledge Alliance to recruit smart, talented, and diverse individuals to the profession. We believe our story of library transformation will be an incredibly compelling recruitment strategy.

Transforming ourselves, transforming our organizations, and transforming our image is how we will move boldly into the future, advancing the Association and enhancing libraries. Let’s spark progress together. Let’s show the world how libraries transform.


SirsiDynix booth at ALA 2015 Annual Conference and Exhibition

A Look at Tech

Patron-engaging products in the exhibit hall

Ephemera from the local history reference collection at Albany County (Wyo.) Public Library in Laramie.

What To Collect?

Building a local history reference collection at your library