In some communities, we see that testing pressures and budget decisions have led to the elimination of school libraries and school librarians. In some districts, we see that school libraries are seen as a “frill”—nice to have but not essential to student learning. Yet school libraries and school librarians are among the most effective and efficient … Continue reading Support School Libraries!
Over the last year and a half, we have been talking a lot with members about advocacy and the strategic direction of the Association for the coming years. In dozens of kitchen-table conversations, chapter forums, virtual town hall meetings; in conversations with divisions, round tables, committees, and affiliates; and in discussions with Council and the … Continue reading The Advocacy Continuum
In other words, libraries need to be the community hub where people can come to see the new and exciting—to see the future. And by communities, I mean all the communities we serve as libraries: municipalities and counties, colleges and universities, elementary and secondary schools. Libraries were once the place where community members gathered to … Continue reading Welcome to the Future—at Your Library
In May, then-President Barbara Stripling brought together a hundred individuals—and about half from outside the library community—at the Library of Congress to discuss the future of libraries. In the process, these individuals also helped launch a new ALA Center for the Future of Libraries. Later that month, Miguel Figueroa was named director of the … Continue reading Who Will Shape the Future?
In any conversation with ALA members, advocacy consistently emerges as a number one priority. This coming year, we’re taking a fresh look at advocacy, and our vision for advocacy going forward. Our new vision of advocacy needs to reflect both what I would describe as “upstream” and “downstream” advocacy. “Downstream” advocacy is what happens when … Continue reading A New Vision of Advocacy
All around us, libraries are transforming as they adapt to broader changes in the communities they serve and the environment in which they now operate. In the process, librarians have discovered that as they better understand their communities and their aspirations, the more deeply they are “engaged”; the more impact they can have on their … Continue reading Libraries Transforming Communities
Over the next several years, ALA will be leading a major initiative to help libraries of all types utilize proven community engagement tools and techniques to better understand their communities and to encourage community-based innovations in library service. This effort, which is part of the Association’s strategic goal of assisting in the ongoing transformation of libraries, … Continue reading The “Kitchen Table” Conversations and ALA
Each year, I spend a good deal of time speaking to various groups about libraries and the Association. Often, I talk about library myths. One of the most widespread and persistent myths is that younger people are not joining the Association. Data, however, shows that this is just not true. In a 2009 study conducted … Continue reading Who We Are
In late April, the ALA Executive Board and the Budget Analysis and Review Committee met to review the status of the current 2013 ALA budget and to approve a preliminary budget for the 2014 fiscal year that begins September 1, 2013. The continuing impact of the recession on libraries and projected revenues this year and … Continue reading Rethinking, Reinventing
Libraries of all types are currently undergoing changes that most agree are transformative in nature. But what do we mean when we talk about “transforming” libraries? We mean that we are not just dealing with quantitative change—doing more, for instance—but with qualitative change. This means fundamental change in the very nature of what we do … Continue reading Defining “Transformation”
Over the past few months, the ALA Executive Board has been involved in a range of discussions that reflect some of the more urgent issues facing libraries, and the Association’s strategic priorities. Because the Association, like libraries, must change and evolve to best serve our communities, a series of brainstorming meetings this fall asked both … Continue reading Reenvisioning ALA
Two items discussed during the ALA Executive Board Spring Meeting, held April 20–22, 2012, at the Association’s Chicago headquarters, illustrate the wide range of issues and activities affecting our members and their libraries. The board approved procedures and guidelines for ALA’s first Virtual Membership Meeting and discussed the current impasse regarding ebooks and libraries and … Continue reading On a Screen Near You