Roberta Stevens, outreach projects and partnerships officer at the Library of Congress and project manager of the National Book Festival, was inaugurated as ALA president at the 2010 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.
Taking a pass on an inaugural speech, Stevens instead turned over the mike at her inaugural banquet to four of her favorite authors—Marie Arana, Brad Meltzer, Sharon Draper, and Carmen Agra Deedy—to launch her Our Authors, Our Advocates presidential initiative, which aims to establish a cadre of nationally known writers who are ready and willing to speak out on behalf of libraries.
“Authors are not only the natural allies of libraries, but often celebrities in their own right,” Stevens says on her website. “This initiative will focus on using these well-known, articulate, and impassioned spokespeople to highlight the key role libraries and library staff play in the economic, social and educational fabric of our nation.”
The initiative highlights authors in support of libraries through interviews, posters, podcasts, publications, and other media support. Much like ALA’s READ posters, the initiative can build a broad base of support for libraries over time. Additionally, it will be used as a model for creating advocates for libraries at the community level through the toolkit “Cultivating Your Local Notables,” which provides guidance on identifying and enlisting local “celebrities” as your library’s advocate.
Responding to the reduced resources at libraries throughout the nation, Stevens’s Frontline Fundraising initiative will provide tools that can be used by everyone, regardless of the size and type of library, who needs to supplement the budget from their jurisdiction or institution with additional support. Building on the work of Frontline Advocacy, the initiative will help members develop and utilize the tools and skills needed at the local level, with the primary focus on the development of an online toolkit and webinars that can be broadly accessed by ALA’s members.
Presidential programs at the 2011 Midwinter Meeting on frontline fundraising and at the Annual Conference featuring a panel of top donors who give their views on what makes a successful request for support are also planned. These programs will be taped and made available to members on the ALA website.
Stevens also introduced a “Why I Need My Library” Contest that invites young people to communicate why libraries are needed now more than ever through short videos made available on YouTube and the ilovelibraries and @yourlibrary websites.
Molly Raphael, retired director of the Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon, was named ALA president-elect in the 2010 election. Raphael will serve as president-elect for the 2010-2011 term and will be inaugurated as ALA president at the 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans. Raphael said she looks forward to working with everyone in ALA to ensure that the critical roles of libraries in our society are sustained.
Two new ALA Executive Board members were elected by the ALA Council in a vote taken at the 2010 ALA Midwinter Meeting, held January 15–19, 2010, in Boston. They are Kevin Reynolds, assistant university librarian for learning and access services at the Jessie Ball duPont Library at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and J. Linda Williams, coordinator of library media services for the Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Annapolis, Maryland. Each is serving a three-year term that runs from July 2010 to June 2013.