Presidential Initiatives

My presidential initiatives are about Creating Connections:

  • connections among our libraries
  • connections between the communities we serve and those who make funding and policy decisions
  • connections with prospective library workers, especially those in groups underrepresented in the profession
  • connections that allow ALA members to benefit from and contribute to their association and the profession in new ways


We need to sustain and strengthen our advocacy efforts on behalf of all libraries. I view our school, public, academic, and other types of libraries as parts of an integrated library ecosystem. If one part of the system is threatened or suffers, the entire system is threatened and suffers. We know that libraries offer incredible lifelong learning opportunities, yet no one type of library can deliver learning opportunities from cradle to grave. Through our library ecosystem, however, we offer these opportunities in abundance. An ad hoc committee of experienced library advocates representing all types of libraries is working to enhance our advocacy programs and tools so that we and our supporters at the grass roots level can convey this message to decision-makers and the public at large. Yes we can strengthen our advocacy efforts for the benefit of every type of library!

The tie that binds all of our libraries together is lifelong learning—our libraries are the only agency in American society that provides universally accessible learning opportunities to every segment of society throughout their lives. Ours is a world in which change is constant, in which global competition for resources is accelerating, and in which job mobility—either in pursuit of opportunity or of necessity from collapse of an industry—is a way of life. Lifelong learning is also a way of life.

Advocacy on behalf of libraries is advocacy on behalf of the American people!

At the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver in January, 2009:

A task force chaired by Carol Brey-Casiano and including representatives from multiple types of libraries is at work. It is identifying best practices in various states.


American society is increasingly diverse. We need to develop a library workforce that reflects the society we serve. We are working with library directors and career center directors at Chicago area colleges with significant enrollment of students from underrepresented groups. We are letting them know about the career opportunities and the scholarship programs librarianship and ALA offer their students. They will work with us to offer students in these colleges a scholarship to spend a day with us at the 2009 Annual Conference in Chicago. Giving promising undergraduates from underrepresented groups a positive experience at the conference, on the exhibit floor, meeting with Spectrum Scholars, and attending programs will encourage them to consider a career in our rewarding field.

Member Participation

ALA's membership continues to increase, new technologies provide new opportunities, and library workers are incredibly creative experimenters! Already ALA members are experimenting with new ways for members to benefit from and contribute to their association.

During my term as president, we will increase these opportunities through new programs and experiments:

A “craigslist” of opportunities for members to get involved in ALA

Here there and everywhere the ALA Web site and publications inform members about opportunities to get involved in ALA, its divisions, and its round tables; continuing education opportunities; conferences; workshops, and more! A “craigslist” for ALA will make it easy for members to find their place in our big, complex, vibrant, opportunity-rich association.

An online salon and conversations with ALA leaders

We developed the ALA salon for members to engage in live online conversations with ALA leaders.

Like European discussion salons, the ALA Connections Salon have provided an online environment for members to participate in formal and informal discussions centered on a specific topic. The salons took place on OPAL ( Online Programming for All Libraries), a user-friendly site offering online rooms where participants can interact via voice-over-IP, text chatting, synchronized browsing and other functions.

OPAL Coordinator Tom Peters opened each ALA Salon by interviewing special guests invited for their knowledge of that salon’s topic. Following each interview, participants askrf questions and engagd with presenters and with one another about each salon's topic.

Tom Peters, Genevieve S. Owens (Williamsburg Regional Library, Virginia), and Karen G. Schneider (Equinox Software, Inc.) collaborated to develop the salon series. Dates and topics of the salons are listed below.  Click on the links to listen to the streaming audio.

September 26              Presidential Connections (An interview with Jim Rettig)
October 17                    Kid Connections (Pat Scales, ALSC president)
November 21               Political Connections (Emily Sheketoff, ALA Washington Office)
December 19                Gaming Connections (Scott Nicholson)


February 20                ALA Connections (John Chrastka and Kristin Murphy)
March 5                         Next Generation Catalog Connections (Marshall Breeding)
April 17                         Advocacy Connections (Marci Merola)
May 15                            Education and Recruitment Connections (Connie Paul and Julie Brewer)
June 19                          Future Connections (Joe Janes)

Unconference sessions at the Annual Conference

Come together with fellow members with shared interests at the Chicago 2009 Annual Conference. Select your own topics and set your own agenda for a stimulating discussion among others who share your passion.

Juried grassroots programs at the 2009 Annual Conference

You don’t need to be a member of a committee to present a program at the Chicago 2009 Annual Conference. Get together with your creative colleagues and propose a program that will enrich the Annual Conference.

Virtual poster session

Participate in a poster session that transcends the time and space constraints of the traditional conference poster session. Share your ideas with a worldwide audience through your dynamic e-poster.

YouTube comes to Midwinter

Can’t make it to the presidential candidates’ forum at the 2009 Denver Midwinter Meeting? Submit your question for the candidates through YouTube.

Join the Career Connections member community in ALA Connect to submit your resume so others can comment on it and give you suggestions for improving it.  Do the same for colleagues who submit their resumes to Career Connections.  This is a free service for everyone, no matter what stage their career is in.

I hope that each of these programs will be a catalyst for further experimentation and greater opportunities for members to participate, to benefit, and to contribute!