The ALA Policy Corps aims to expand our ability to advocate on key policy issues on behalf of the library community. The Corps builds on the Policy Revolution! Initiative and was launched in partnership with 2017-18 ALA President Jim Neal. A collaboration of the American Association of School Librarians, Association of College & Research Libraries, Public Library Association, United for Libraries, and the ALA Washington Office, the Policy Corps is governed by a representative Working Group. Participants in the Corps focus on issues for which deep and sustained knowledge are necessary to advance ALA policy goals and library values among policymakers.
2019 ALA POLICY CORPS MEMBERS
Library Director, Taos Public Library, N.M.
Reference Librarian, Motlow State Community College, Tenn.
Library Director, Baker Free Library, N.H.
Digital Resources Manager, Ohio Public Library Information Network, Ohio
Scholarly Communication Coordinator, Miami University, King Library, Ohio
A critical resource for our policy advocacy is library advocates with specific knowledge in our priority areas. We need both the front-line experience and perspective and the additional capacity to reach and influence more decisionmakers more often. Such advocates may serve on a think tank panel to discuss how libraries advance small business and entrepreneurship opportunities, testify at a Congressional hearing on copyright policy, or accompany Washington Office staff on a visit to the Federal Communications Commission to discuss the E-rate program, for instance.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND GOALS
To create ongoing capacity for the library community to develop and sustain strategic advocacy efforts, build relationships, and positively impact public policy decisions that align with ALA’s national policy agenda. Goals for the program include:
- Cultivate policy experts available to ALA and the ALA Washington Office who are able to intervene and participate in targeted advocacy work such as testifying before legislative committees, meeting with governmental or industry leaders and their staffs, participating in national forums, working with policy partners, and interacting with local, regional, and national media
- Create longevity in expertise and engagement in early to mid-career library and information professionals
- Positively impact national public policy in areas key to ALA’s strategic goals and library values
The ALA Policy Corps is a collaboration of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), Public Library Association (PLA), United for Libraries, and the ALA Washington Office (WO).
The program has been developed and implemented by a representative working group. Current members include:
- Clara Bohrer
- Audrey Church
- Larra Clark
- Marc Gartler
- Alan S. Inouye
- Robin Kear
- Kathi Kromer
- Barb Macikas
- Kara Malenfant
- Jonathan Miller
- Mark Miller
- Beth Nawalinski
- Jim Neal
- Larry Neal
- Sylvia Norton
- Eileen Palmer
RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER ALA INITIATIVES
This program represents a progression of the Policy Revolution! Initiative led by the Washington Office. Policy Revolution! was a three-year initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which established a National Policy Agenda for Libraries and developed resources targeted to policymakers that emphasize how libraries are addressing national priorities. The Corps program also is an extension of the Libraries Transform campaign. It complements and provides a pathway for additional professional development related to the ALA Emerging Leader program, ACRL's College Library Directors Mentorship program, and the PLA Leadership Academy.
Given that sustained engagement in policy advocacy is a hallmark of this initiative, participants in the Corps are expected to be involved for multiple years. The first year focuses on training. Subsequent years will deepen engagement with policy advocacy with ongoing activities and opportunities for networking across the cohort and among other policy advocates inside and outside the library community.
Two events in Washington, D.C. anchor the first-year experience. The first workshop in Spring 2019 will provide a survey of key issues, major players in the legislative and policy processes, and the processes of engaging national decision makers and influencers. A second workshop will take place in Fall 2019. Participants' travel to both events will be funded as part of the Corps initiative. Participants will be provided with learning materials via monthly conference calls or webinars, and a listserv and asked to participate in sessions and meetings at ALA conferences as they can.
- Press Release: ALA announces 2019 Policy Corps members (January 23, 2019)
- Press Release: ALA seeks applicants for Policy Corps (October 22, 2018)
- American Libraries: ALA Policy Corps members urge ongoing relationships with elected officials. (June 24, 2018)
- Dewey Decibel podcast: Becoming a Library Advocate. (June 8, 2018)
- Publishers Weekly: ALA Announces First Members of New Policy Corps. (January 4, 2018)
- Press Release: ALA President announces 12-member cohort for newly launched ALA Policy Corps. (January 4, 2018)
- Associations Now: Library Association Launches Policy Corps to Help Advance Industry Interests. (October 19, 2017)