2010–2011 Year In Review
2010–2011 ALA President Roberta Stevens centered her presidential initiatives on fundraising and advocacy.
Gene Shimshock, backed up by the ALA Executive Board, cut the ribbon to open the exhibits floor at the 2011 Annual Conference.
Stevens’s “Frontline Fundraising” component was designed to provide tools that can be used by everyone—regardless of the size or type of library—who needs to supplement the budget from their jurisdiction or institution with additional support. The primary focus was the development of an online toolkit that covers the basics of annual funds, memorials and tributes, online giving, and planned giving. It also teaches users how to deepen relationships with donors and move them from being one-time givers to long-term library supporters.
Stevens’s advocacy component consisted of two major projects. In “Our Authors, Our Advocates,”nationally known authors—including Brad Meltzer, Sharon Draper, Neil Gaiman, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Scott Turow, and Mo Willems—were in the spotlight advocating for libraries. Twelve authors taped video public service announcements (PSAs) to increase support for libraries everywhere during a critical period of economic downturn; the PSAs can be downloaded at www.ilovelibraries.org/ourauthors/ourauthorsouradvocates. A related goal was for this national effort to serve as a model for states and local communities to begin cultivating their own local authors and other celebrities as library advocates. A “Cultivating Your Local Notables” toolkit was created to help libraries do that.
The “Why I Need My Library” video contest encouraged teens to create original videos describing why they think libraries are needed now more than ever. More than 150 YouTube videos were created by 600-plus teens, and a winning entry for each of two age groups—13 to 15 and 16 to 18—received a cash award to benefit their school or local public library. The winning videos can be viewed at www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advleg/whyineedmylibrary/index.cfm.
Libraries as tech centers—and havens during disasters
A 2011 survey found that U.S. public libraries continue to expand as technology centers for communities, providing essential resources for job-seekers and support for critical e-government services. In addition, as the demand for e-books increases, libraries are the go-to source for free downloads. However, budget cuts have forced libraries nationwide to reduce operating hours and access to services, just when resources are most needed.
The 2011 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study reported that virtually all public libraries—99 percent—provide public access to computers and the Internet. More than 87 percent of libraries provide technology training, and more than two-thirds (67 percent) offer access to e-books, up 12 percent from two years ago.
Conducted by ALA and the Information Policy & Access Center at the University of Maryland, the 2011 survey builds on the largest study of Internet connectivity in public libraries, which began in 1994. The study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and ALA, functions as an annual “state of the library” report on the technology resources brokered by libraries and the funding that enables free public access to these resources.
In addition to regular services and resources, libraries often play a key role in helping communities recover after a major disaster. "Libraries were 'life-savers' in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina," said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as she greeted ALA Annual Conference attendees via video during the Opening General Session in New Orleans. “They have also been community anchors during the long rebuilding process. Through the hard work of many library leaders and community members, libraries have returned, and they’re even stronger than they were before.”
ALA’s Office of Government Relations worked with Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) to help secure a change to Federal Emergency Management Agency policy that will allow libraries to be eligible for temporary relocation during major disasters and emergencies under the FEMA Public Assistance Program.
Prior to the policy change, libraries were specifically excluded from the list of eligible public facilities. “This is a common-sense change that I have been calling for since Hurricane Katrina,” Reed said. “It will help libraries in need relocate so they can keep serving the public in the wake of a flood or other emergency. Libraries are vital information hubs, and in the aftermath of a disaster, libraries take on an even greater community role, providing free and easy access to technology and essential information.”
ALA continued its efforts to help libraries around the world affected by major disasters. Immediately following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11, ALA set up a fund to take in donations on behalf of the Japan Library Association to help the destroyed libraries in northeastern Japan rebuild. ALA also continued its fundraising efforts for libraries in Haiti, reaching a milestone of $50,000.
The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) announced that total grants awarded to date through Beyond Words: The Dollar General School Library Relief Fund passed $1 million. Beyond Words provides funding to public schools affected by disasters to help rebuild and expand library programs; grants can be used to defray the cost of replacing or supplementing books, media, and/or equipment in the school library. A collaboration between AASL, ALA, and the National Education Association, the program is funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.
Salary survey shows increases
In the midst of tough economic times, job shortages, and cutbacks, the 2010 edition of the ALA-APA Salary Survey: Librarian—Public and Academic revealed average increases across all six position types, ranging from two percent for managers of support staff to 13 percent for directors of public and academic libraries. More than 580 library directors and human resources staff reported more than 11,000 salaries, giving this year’s survey a remarkable 35 percent response rate. The data—available for subscribers to the ALA-APA Library Salary Database or in print from ALA’s online store—helped employers justifying budgets, job seekers looking for salary ranges, human resources departments conducting pay equity studies, and researchers tracking compensation trends.
Spectrum program total grows to 725
Forty-eight Spectrum Scholarships were awarded in June, bringing the total number of scholarships awarded to more than 725. Support for scholarships came from individuals, organizations, and a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ten Spectrum Scholarships were funded by proceeds from the ALA/ProQuest Scholarship Bash; the Medical Library Association/National Library of Medicine supported two scholarships; and AASL, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), the Library Instruction Round Table, and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) each supported one scholarship. For 2011, scholarships were given in honor of individuals Leo Albert, Ron Clowney, Louise Giles, William R. Gordon, Howard M. and Gladys B. Teeple, and Betty J. Turock.
Spectrum Initiative nears $1 million goal
As of October 2011, more than $950,000 of a $1 million goal had been raised through the Spectrum Presidential Initiative for the Spectrum Scholarship Program. Started in 2009, the initiative aims to meet the critical needs of supporting master’s-level scholarships, providing two $25,000 doctoral scholarships, increasing the Spectrum Endowment, and developing special programs for recruitment and career development.
Another active year for the Campaign for America’s Libraries
The Campaign for America’s Libraries continued to work with partners to generate public awareness about the value of libraries and librarians, to reach new audiences, and to amplify pro-library messages.
Season five of the Step Up to the Plate @ your library program, developed by ALA and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, concluded with a grand-prize drawing at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Hall of Famer Andre Dawson chose Josh Smith, 13, of Haverhill, Mass., as the winner. The program encouraged fans of all ages to use the print and electronic resources at their library to answer a series of baseball trivia questions developed by library staff and the Hall of Fame. The start of season six of the program coincided with Major League Baseball opening day in March.
Launched at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, Connect with your kids @ your library positions the library as the place for quality family time. Campaign partner Lifetime Networks provided a grant to support the development of two television PSAs and donated air time for the PSAs, which feature families visiting the library.
The 75 public libraries participating in the American Dream Starts @ your library program, funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, continued to develop literacy services for adult English Language Learners and their families by expanding their print and digital collections, adding new technologies, increasing outreach and bookmobile services, building effective community partnerships, and engaging the media to promote library resources. Over the year, the 75 American Dream libraries partnered with almost 400 local organizations, agencies, and businesses; 95 percent used a portion of their funding to improve their ESL and bilingual collections; and five libraries hosted naturalization ceremonies for hundreds of new Americans.
ALA’s public awareness website continued to enjoy dramatic growth, with the average number of visitors to the site increasing by 86 percent and with page views increasing 95 percent. Facebook and Twitter followers and newsletter subscribers have more than doubled.
The Campaign for the World’s Libraries
In 2011, the Library Association of Barbados (LAB) and the Library Association of the Republic of China (Taiwan) became the newest members of the Campaign for the World’s Libraries. Developed by ALA and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the Campaign for the World’s Libraries showcases the unique and vital roles played by public, school, academic, and special libraries worldwide. Nearly 40 countries have joined the campaign and had the campaign’s @ your library logo translated into their country’s language. The @ your library logo is currently available in 32 languages and in the colors of each partner country’s flag colors.