Meet the Candidates for ALA President: Scott Walter

Three candidates appeal to ALA members for their vote

March 1, 2017

Scott Walter

This election takes place in the wake of one of the most unexpected turns in American politics in a century, and it has never been more important for us to stand together in defense of the values that bring us to our work.

Given this reality, every one of us faces choices about the work we want to do, the institutions we hope to save, and the world we wish to build for our friends, family, neighbors, and children. Libraries, archives, museums, and schools have a special role to play in the coming years in defense of informed citizenship, democracy, and the cause of intellectual freedom around the world. The American Library Association (ALA) has a critical role to play in this effort, but only if it embraces the work it must do to empower its members to make a difference at the local, state, and national levels.

Our attention to broad information policy issues must continue, especially in areas where we have made a difference, such as copyright, net neutrality, and privacy and surveillance. But there are also new partnerships to be forged in 2017, new actions to be undertaken, and new commitments to be made to our fundamental vision of libraries as a force for good in our society.

Should ALA continue to pursue “business as usual,” it can only fade in terms of the attention its most committed members will pay to it as they choose to invest their time, creativity, and expertise elsewhere.

Should ALA fail to empower its members to take a stand on issues that matter to them and to our profession, it can only result in those members seeking opportunities for engagement, professional development, and leadership elsewhere.

The time to make a difference for our members and our communities is now.

I have lived the better part of my life in libraries, as a student employee, staff member, professional librarian, and LIS professor. I have served as a leader in the Association of College and Research Libraries, ALA Council, local and state consortia, and local school boards.

If elected ALA president, my goals will be to:

  • ensure that ALA and its members are powerful advocates for the values we hold dear
  • articulate a meaningful role for ALA as a leader in local, state, and national efforts to protect libraries, librarians, and library users during a time when their rights, roles, and responsibilities face unprecedented challenges
  • and re-engage our membership across the arc of their careers—as students, new professionals and staff members, senior colleagues, and retirees—as they work to lead with their values in their communities.

A new vision for member engagement and leadership is the only path forward in these challenging times, and the only way to help make certain that ALA remains meaningful, on a personal level, to its members and their partners in our shared work in local communities, across the nation, and around the globe. This must be #OurALA, and we must work together in new ways to ensure its future. With your vote and commitment, we can make that happen.

Read statements from the other two candidates for president:

Terri Grief

Loida Garcia-Febo


Terri Grief

Meet the Candidates for ALA President: Terri Grief

Three candidates appeal to ALA members for their vote

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