ALA 2016 Virtual Membership Meeting

Libraries Transform, strategic directions lead the discussion

June 2, 2016

The American Library Association (ALA) held its online Virtual Membership Meeting today. ALA President Sari Feldman called the meeting to order at 1:33 p.m.

Feldman began with a report on the Libraries Transform national public awareness campaign. The campaign aims to change the perception of libraries from “nice to have” to essential. Libraries today are less about what they have for people and more about what they do for and with people. More than 2,700 libraries have signed on, and Feldman encouraged more to join.

ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels followed by explaining how Libraries Transform fits into the larger goals of the organization, specifically the mission and the three strategic directions:

  • Advocacy, including the Center for the Future of Libraries, advocacy training, national legislation and policy, the Libraries Matter research portal, and I Love Libraries
  • Information policy, including intellectual freedom, copyright, privacy, e-government, public access to federally funded research, and broadband access
  • Professional and leadership development, including conferences and institutes, e-courses, publishing, the ALA Leadership Institute, the Emerging Leaders program, certifications and competencies, graduate degree accreditation, and our diversity efforts.

ALA Treasurer Mario M. González provided financial results for the eight months of the fiscal year ending April 30, 2016. The Association revenues are less than budget, but management is making every effort to contain expenses for a favorable outcome this fiscal year.

Martin Garnar and Trevor Dawes, cochairs of the Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, discussed the conclusion of their two-year task force. At ALA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida, later this month they plan to recommend the creation of a permanent working group, along with other ideas to be implemented over the next three years. More information will be available on the ALA Connect site.

Marci Merola, director of ALA’s Office for Library Advocacy (OLA), described the various ways OLA helps libraries at the state and local level. OLA has been implementing the Libraries Transform campaign, and it is now working to apply that advocacy to efforts for funding and legislation. OLA will also be working with local chapters on new training opportunities, such as its upcoming Advocacy Boot Camp.

Feldman adjourned the meeting at 2:28 p.m.

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