The ALA Policy Corps aims to expand our ability to advocate on key policy issues on behalf of the library community. 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.
2018 ALA POLICY CORPS MEMBERS
Director of Library Services, Leech Lake Tribal College
Executive Director, National Information Standards Organization
Executive Director, Charleston County Public Library
Associate Prof., School Library Media, Montana State University
Associate Dean of Instructional Resources, Peninsula College
Collection & Organizational Data Analysis Librarian, Northwestern University Libraries
Senior Librarian/Manager, Systemwide Teen Services, Los Angeles Public Library
Head Librarian, North Shore Country Day School
Communications & External Relations Director, Cuyahoga County Public Library
Secretary, Alaska Association of School Librarians
Executive Director, Virginia Library Association
Director, Kent District Library
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 staffer on a visit to the Federal Communications Commission to discuss the E-rate program.
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 being launched as part of Jim Neal’s presidential initiatives in collaboration with 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). Throughout this pilot year, we hope that other units will become engaged with the Corps.
The pilot program is being developed and implemented by a representative working group:
- Clara Bohrer (Jim Neal's Presidential Advisory Committee)
- Audrey Church (AASL)
- Larra Clark (WO/PLA)
- Marc Gartler (WO)
- Christine Lind Hage (United)
- Eboni Henry (WO)
- Alan S. Inouye (WO)
- Robin Kear (Jim Neal’s Presidential Advisory Committee)
- Kathi Kromer (WO)
- Barb Macikas (PLA)
- Kara Malenfant (ACRL)
- Jonathan Miller (ACRL)
- Beth Nawalinski (United)
- Jim Neal (ALA President)
- Larry Neal (PLA)
- Sylvia Norton (AASL)
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. From 2013 to 2016, the Initiative established a national Public Policy Agenda for Libraries, created a Public Policy Advisory Council, and developed resources targeted to policymakers with the goal of emphasizing how libraries are responding to the changing needs of society.
The Policy Corps initiative is also an extension of the Libraries Transform campaign and is a core ‘Libraries Transform; Libraries Lead’ ALA presidential initiative for Jim Neal. In addition, the Policy Corps complements and provides a pathway for additional professional development related to the ALA Emerging Leaders 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. A workshop during the week of March 5-9, 2018, will provide a survey of key issues, major players in the legislative and policy processes, and the process of engaging national decision makers and influencers. Members of the Corps are also expected to participate in National Library Legislative Day on May 7-8, 2018, and on May 6 for Corps-specific meetings. Participants' travel to both events will be funded as part of the Corps initiative.
Participants will be provided learning materials via conference calls, webinars, and a listserv and asked to participate in sessions and meetings at ALA conferences as they can.
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)