A.1 Mission, Priority Areas, Goals (Old Number 1)

   


A.1.1 Introduction (Old Number 1.1)

Any organization as large, diverse, and dynamic as ALA must periodically reassess priorities in order to make progress in selected areas determined to be of prime concern to its members. The diversity of the membership dictates a wide range of interests that frequently overlap or complement one another. Nonetheless, we can identify overriding priorities that ALA should pursue vigorously within the United States and coordinate with groups abroad. Only such focusing of efforts and the subsequent allocation of Association funds and evaluation of its activities can ensure needed progress within the profession.

ALA recognizes its broad social responsibilities. The broad social responsibilities of the American Library Association are defined in terms of the contribution that librarianship can make in ameliorating or solving the critical problems of society; support for efforts to help inform and educate the people of the United States on these problems and to encourage them to examine the many views on and the facts regarding each problem; and the willingness of ALA to take a position on current critical issues with the relationship to libraries and library service set forth in the position statement.

ALA promotes the creation, maintenance, and enhancement of a learning society, encouraging its members to work with educators, government officials, and organizations in coalitions to initiate and support comprehensive efforts to ensure that school, public, academic, and special libraries in every community cooperate to provide lifelong learning services to all. (See also Library Personnel Practices (B9); Intellectual Freedom (B.2); Federal Legislative Policy (B.5.6); and Services and Responsibilities of Libraries (B.8); see also ‘‘Policy Reference File’’: Realities, a report from the ALA Task Force on Excellence in Education. - PDF, 14 pgs)

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A.1.2 Mission (Old Number 1.2)

The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

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A.1.3 Vision (Old Number 1.3)

 ALA is the leading advocate for:

  • The value of libraries and librarians in connecting people to recorded knowledge in all forms.
  • The public’s right to a free and open information society. (See “Policy Reference File”: ALA Ahead to 2010: 2004–2005 ALA CD#31.2 - PDF, 2 pgs) 

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    A.1.4 Core Organizational Values (Old Number 1.3.1)

     The Association is committed to:

    • Extending and expanding library services in America and around the world
    • All types of libraries – academic, public, school and special
    • All librarians, library staff, trustees and other individuals and groups working to improve library services
    • Member service
    • An open, inclusive, and collaborative environment
    • Ethics, professionalism and integrity
    • Excellence and innovation
    • Intellectual Freedom
    • Social responsibility and the public good

    See “Policy Reference File”: ALA Strategic Plan 2011-2015, ALA CD#36.2 - PDF, 8 pgs)

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    A.1.5 Key Action Areas (Old Number 1.4)

     ALA is committed to seven Key Action Areas as guiding principles for investment of energies and resources:

    Advocacy for Libraries and the Profession

    The association actively works to increase public awareness of the crucial value of libraries and librarians, to promote state and national legislation beneficial to libraries and library users, and to supply the resources, training and support networks needed by local advocates seeking to increase support for libraries of all types.

    Diversity

    Diversity is a fundamental value of the association and its members, and is reflected in its commitment to recruiting people of color and people with disabilities to the profession and to the promotion and development of library collections and services for all people.

    Education and Lifelong Learning

    The association provides opportunities for the professional development and education of all library staff members and trustees; it promotes continuous, lifelong learning for all people through library and information services of every type.

    Equitable Access to Information and Library Services

    The Association advocates funding and policies that support libraries as great democratic institutions, serving people of every age, income level, location, ethnicity, or physical ability, and providing the full range of information resources needed to live, learn, govern, and work.

    Intellectual Freedom

    Intellectual freedom is a basic right in a democratic society and a core value of the library profession. The American Library Association actively defends the right of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

    Literacy

    The ALA assists and promotes libraries in helping children and adults develop the skills they need-the ability to read and use computers-understanding that the ability to seek and effectively utilize information resources is essential in a global information society.

    Organizational Excellence

    The association is inclusive, effective and responsive to the needs of ALA members.

    Transforming Libraries

     ALA provides leadership in the transformation of libraries and library services in a dynamic and increasingly global digital information environment.

     (Approved annually since 1997 by the ALA Council as the “programmatic priorities”
    of the Association. See “Policy Reference File”: ALA Strategic Plan 2011-2015, ALA CD#36.2 - PDF 8 pages)

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    A.1.6 Goals and Objectives (Old Number 1.5)

    The Goals and Objectives represent strategic areas of focus for the next three to five years.  The goals articulate the outcomes ALA would like to achieve and answer the question, “What will constitute future success?”  The achievement of each goal will move the organization toward realization of its envisioned future.  The goals are not necessarily identified in priority order.

    Objectives provide direction on how ALA will accomplish its articulated goals.  Objectives are considered in the 3-5 year planning horizon.

    Goal Area:  Advocacy, Funding and Public Policy

    Goal Statement:  ALA equips and leads advocates for libraries, library issues and the library profession, and plays a key role in formulating legislation, policies and standards that affect library and information services.

    Strategic Objectives:

    1. Increase public awareness of the value and impact of all types of libraries and the important role of librarians and other library staff.
    2. Increase research and evaluation documenting the value and impact of all libraries.
    3. Increase resources and training for advocates seeking to secure increased funding and support for all libraries.
    4. Lead advocacy for crucial library issues such as literacy, intellectual freedom, privacy, fair use, preservation of our cultural heritage, information literacy, equity of access, and permanent no fee public access to government information.
    5. Increase ALA’s role in the formulation of library-related local, state, national, and international legislation, policies and standards.
    6. Increase collaboration and alliances with organizations at all levels to advance legislation and public policy issues affecting libraries, librarians and information services.
    7. Use new technologies to build greater public understanding and support for libraries of all types.

    Goal Area:  Building the Profession

    Goal Statement:  ALA promotes excellence and diversity in the library field.

    Strategic Objectives:

    1. Ensure that library education and training reflect the core values of the profession and the needs of the communities served by libraries of all types.
    2. Increase the availability of and access to continuing education, career development and certification opportunities for librarians, library staff, trustees and library advocates.
    3. Provide increased leadership and career development opportunities for Library and Information Science students.
    4. Increase the diversity of the library workforce to reflect an increasingly diverse national and global community.
    5. Increase ALA activities to assist libraries in recruiting, developing and retaining a high-quality, diverse library workforce.

    Goal Area: Transforming Libraries

    Goal Statement:  ALA provides leadership in the transformation of libraries and library services in a dynamic and increasingly global digital information environment.

    Strategic Objectives:

    1. Increase opportunities to share innovative practices and concepts across the profession, nationally and internationally, and among all libraries.
    2. Increase recognition of and support for experimentation with innovative and transformational ideas.
    3. Help libraries make use of new and emerging technologies by promoting and supporting technological experimentation and innovation.
    4. Increase leadership development and training opportunities designed to support the ongoing transformation of libraries.

    Goal Area:  Member Engagement

    Goal Statement:  ALA provides an environment in which all members, regardless of location or position, have the opportunity to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from engagement in their association.

    Strategic Objectives:

    1. Increase member and staff innovation and experimentation in the creation of new opportunities for face to face and virtual engagement.
    2. Increase member engagement by identifying and eliminating barriers to participation and through technological innovation.
    3. Develop new models to recognize member contributions in a changing association.
    4. Continue to enhance a web presence that engages members and the public.

    Goal Area:  Organizational Excellence

    Goal Statement:  ALA operates effectively, efficiently, creatively and in a socially responsible fashion to accomplish its mission.

    Strategic Objectives:

    1. Develop and sustain the resources required to ensure the vitality of the association, its programs and services.
    2. Enhance the association's organizational structure to meet the changing needs of members, libraries and the users they serve.
    3. Assess and continuously improve products and services to better serve current members and to attract new members.
    4. Strengthen support for and collaboration with Chapters and Affiliates.

    (See “Policy Reference File”: ALA Strategic Plan 2011-2015, ALA CD#36.2 - PDF, 8 pgs)

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