I am honored to stand for election as treasurer of the American Library Association (ALA), and I ask for your support.
ALA’s treasurer does what you might expect, but there’s more to the job than many realize, especially in the coming three years. Of course, I will dedicate myself to ALA’s financial success. But I will also help make sure ALA invests its assets to align with key priorities: advocacy; information policy; professional and leadership development; and equity, diversity, and inclusion.
I will do this by stressing the same three principles I used as an ALA councilor and Executive Board member: transparency, trust, and transformation.
Transparency. Previous treasurers have helped make the financial workings of ALA more understandable—from annual budgets and balance sheets to the role of endowment trustees and relationships with divisions, chapters, round tables, committees, and affiliates. My excellent working relationship with Council, the Executive Board, and ALA leadership and finance staff will make ALA’s finances even more transparent. Members can always expect an open mind, direct communication, and candor.
Trust. Professionally, I have managed revenue budgets as high as $30 million. As a member of the Library and Information Technology Association and its former president, I consulted with the division’s board regarding its financial future, urged its merger with other divisions, and helped create its budget review committee. Managing finances requires a level of trust that I have worked hard to earn. Trust is also earned by devoting oneself to creating a more inclusive environment, both at our places of work and within the Association. I am committed to viewing ALA’s initiatives through the required lens of social justice.
Transformation. ALA membership, governance, finances, IT infrastructure, staff work spaces, and conferences are in a state of major transformation. As an Executive Board member, I’ve been a key player in strategic discussions and the financial impact that comes with them. As a member of the Finance and Audit Committee, I have worked closely with the current ALA treasurer, Budget Analysis and Review Committee, and ALA Finance staff to ensure that budgets and investments align with organizational strategy and aren’t simply numbers on a page. While ALA invests in its future, it’s important to have a leader with an eye toward fiscal responsibility as well as wise investment. As treasurer, I will work hard to ensure that the profession’s core values are never compromised.
ALA faces an interesting paradox. On the one hand, it has suffered budget deficits in the wake of financial crisis, de-professionalization from outside forces, and an organizational structure that is rooted in 19th- and 20th-century governance models. On the other hand, its outstanding balance sheet reflects the value libraries bring to society and the profession, and a devoted membership that embraces a 21st-century focus and direction.
I firmly believe ALA can leverage its balance sheet to invest in financial development, IT, and advocacy—the heart, body, and soul of the Association—to ensure both short-term relevance and long-term viability. I will lead ALA’s embrace of a transparent realism in its financial planning and reporting that supports a shared commitment to libraries, library workers, and the future of the Association.