Librarians and libraries are facing a critical time in the nation’s current political climate—more critical than I can remember. Our core values are being threatened, and we’ll have to be more united, more visible, and more vocal than ever before. I never imagined that the US presidential election would have turned out the way it did when I developed my platform for the campaign. However, my objectives resonate even more strongly now. ALA will lead us during this difficult time, and I trust our membership and our profession to keep fighting for our democratic values.
Strengthening relationships. Together we can more productively advocate for libraries across the board. The relationships we can strengthen within ALA will create opportunities for advocacy outside the Association. ALA has been described as having silos that prevent divisions and units from working together. My plan is to encourage joint projects and support them financially. The more we understand one another, the stronger we will be.
Empowering communities. Advocacy is vital to empowering our communities. We must clearly articulate the value of libraries. Continuing the Harwood Institute training across the Association is crucial. Developing relationships with our constituents results in ripple effects throughout our profession. I envision that those relationships will lead to recruitment of a more diverse population to the field of librarianship. Libraries do transform communities.
Uniting voices. Last year, the Every Student Succeeds Act replaced the No Child Left Behind version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with language that includes “effective school library programs.” This was years in the making and directly benefits school libraries, librarians, and, most critically, students. The difference this time was the concerted push from ALA. With leadership from the Washington Office, more than 10,000 members contacted their senators and representatives.
This same outpouring of support was evident again when Carla Hayden was confirmed as Librarian of Congress. These two successes represent a new mood in ALA that I will build on and strengthen as your president.
Now more than ever we have to strengthen relationships with our partners, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Association of Research Libraries, and those in the legislature—both state and national—who stand with us to support our values. Working together and uniting our voices within our Association has to be a priority because we must be willing to demonstrate to others that we believe in our core values individually and as an Association.
My experience as a school librarian is fundamental to my campaign. During my career, building relationships between the librarian and students, teachers, administrators, and parents made the difference in the success of the library. My experience as a state president, a division president, and a member of the ALA Executive Board has positioned me well to lead this Association through the political climate with a positive attitude and a never-give-up spirit. My experience is also a critical element when we think of beginning a new chapter in ALA with a new executive director. I humbly ask for your vote.
Read statements from the other two candidates for president: