News from ALA
Candidates Announced for 2010 Midwinter Council Executive Board Election
ALA has released its list of candidates for the upcoming 2010 election. Note: The slate is available through AL Direct and in American Libraries; a press release has not been issued. This is not the final list of candidates; any ALA member who wants to be on the ballet may file a petition. The deadline for filing is February 2, 2011. A final slate of candidates will be available after the petition deadline.
Note that a number of ALCTS members are running for ALA Council:
- Xan Arch (Stanford University)
- John DeSantis (Dartmouth College)
- Xudong Jin (Ohio Wesleyan University)
- Patricia Ann Loghry (University of Notre Dame)
- Andrew Pace (OCLC)
- Holly Tomren (University of California-Irvine)
- Kelvin Watson (National Agricultural Library)
ALA Presidential Candidates
Susan Stroyan and Maureen Sullivan are the candidates for the 2012–13 presidency of the American Library Association (ALA).
Stroyan is the Information Services Librarian at the Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois. She has held leadership positions in public, special, multitype library system, and academic settings over the past thirty-four years.
Sullivan serves as a consultant to numerous libraries of all types (academic, public, school, law. health sciences and other special libraries) and library consortia. In addition, she is a professor of practice in the Ph.D. program, Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions, at the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science.
A press release with full details about both candidates is is available. The candidates web pages are also available:
- Stroyan’s web page is available at http://www.suestroyan.com/
- Sullivan’s web page is at http://maureensullivan.org/
The following questions were posed to the 2011 candidates for the ALA presidency. Their responses follow with Stroyan’s remarks in green and Sullivan’s remarks in blue.
1. Why did you decide to run for ALA president? If you are elected, what will be your primary focus? What do you hope to accomplish during your term?
Stroyan: Last spring a former student sent me an email telling me how I had made a difference in her life; how my teaching and mentoring had meant so much to her. It’s very gratifying to know that you’ve influenced even one person for the good, and I realized that an ALA president can influence so many more people, not only other librarians but stakeholders in their communities. It’s an old story really – I have been mentored, taught, collaborated with and given every opportunity I could ask for during my career by those that have come before me and those around me, and I want to give back to this profession in every way that I can.
Let me tell you a bit about myself. I have worked in libraries since I was sixteen-years-old. Like so many of us, my first job was as a page in the public library in my home town of Lincoln, Illinois. By the time that I started my bachelors degree at Illinois State University, I knew that I wanted to be a librarian, and was employed as a work study student while completing a double major in library science and American history. I went on to complete my masters and PhD in library science at the University of Illinois with a focus on digital library issues. I've worked in many types of libraries: public, academic, special, even a library system. I'm so very proud to be a librarian. I love libraries and the people who work in them. What a smart, dedicated and creative group of people! It's an honor to be asked to run for this office; to represent the members of this profession as their spokesperson.
Over the past few years, ALA Presidents have focused on advocacy and diversity with incredible results. New programs such as Spectrum Scholars (http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/diversity/spectrum/index.cfm) and Emerging Leaders (http://www.ala.org/ala/educationcareers/leadership/emergingleaders/index...) are infusing our profession with people of color and identifying energetic creative people to help shape the direction of our organization through their innovative efforts. I support these initiatives and will work to see them flourish and become even more integral elements of the organization. During my year as president, I would like to focus on two other ALA 2015 strategic goals: TRANSFORMING LIBRARIES and MEMBER ENGAGEMENT.
These two goals speak to me for a number of reasons. Transforming Libraries is about how libraries adapt to our changing environment. I believe change is at the heart of any truly excellent library. Libraries will always, have always, and will continue to change to meet the needs of our constituents. Our libraries have evolved from the practices of the Ancient Library of Alexandria ( http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/14417/Library-of-Alexandria) to now the University of Texas San Antonio Library opening without any books. (http://www.utsa.edu/today/2010/09/aetlibrary.html) As long as I have been involved in libraries, we have ALWAYS been evolving, changing, transforming. The question is how can our professional association help facilitate that transformation? What can the American Library Association do for you, its members, to help you and your library adapt to the latest challenges and continue to thrive in your community?
I have some ideas and I want to hear your ideas. Together I think we can come up with some remarkable prospects for you and ALA.
Here are a few examples:
- The stories of award winning librarians and libraries should be captured and posted on the ALA web site in detail for others to replicate;
- Poster sessions could include a 2-5 minute video vignette posted on a shared YouTube site for all ALA members to see;
- Members could be encouraged to assist/teach each other through short webinars, podcasts, call-outs etc. on a “Tech Tuesday” model
- ALA staff capture news stories about successful libraries/librarians/staff members about model programs/ideas/events to followed up by divisions/roundtable/offices to acquire the full story so others may replicate it as best practice.
Member Engagement is about ALA providing opportunities for all members to be a part of the solution. If ALA is going to be different, then we have to want it to be different and make that happen. I want to help put into place situations within the ALA structure that allow you to participate in as many meaningful ways as you are interested in doing. It also means you are engaged with your community:
- Create an environment for a virtual conference.
- Continue and expand Jim Rettig's highly successful grassroots programming where members not affiliated with any unit were able to provide programs at conference.
- Offer opportunities for member to member engagement where successful programs can be shared.
- Develop easier use of ALA’s web page for members.
My theme, LEADING FROM LIBRARIES ( www.SueStroyan.com) brings these two goals together through training, sharing, mentoring, showcasing our achievements—all using technologies we have available to us today. I'm inspired by my many colleagues around the country who have reached enormous successes in these incredible difficult economic times. I want to champion these successes during my year as president. I want to connect members with each other by finding ways to allow us to communicate more openly, easily, and quickly.
Sullivan: This is a time of great opportunity and some risk for libraries, librarians and library staff. While those who fund and govern libraries often ask questions about the value of what we do and how we contribute to our communities, those who use our services and come to our programs know our value and contributions. We must strengthen our ability to make the case and I believe that ALA is the best resource and voice for us on a national level. The new Strategic Plan and its seven key action areas provide an excellent framework for ensuring a vibrant and meaningful future for the profession. My first read of it made me want to pursue this important leadership position.
Another compelling document that influenced my decision to run is the ALA Young Librarians Working Group Final Report and Recommendations (6/11/2010). I have had the privilege of being involved in the ALA Emerging Leaders program from its inception as one of ALA President Leslie Burger’s initiatives. Participants in this program and many other new professionals with whom I have worked in the past five years are eager to contribute to ALA and to the profession. This report lays out a series of short-term and longer-term steps designed to increase the engagement and integration of new professionals. I believe our ability to do this is critical to the future of ALA.
ALA has been a continuing source of enrichment and professional development for me throughout my career. Service as the ALA president for me is the best way to contribute and I am now able to make the time commitment necessary.
My focus will be to build upon the work of recent ALA presidents in the areas of advocacy, diversity and ensuring that libraries and librarians remain vital in a transformed context. My professional work in the past twenty years has been focused on helping libraries to become more effective organizations and developing the leadership capability of librarians and others who work in libraries. As president of ALA I will bring this experience and a deep commitment to strengthening the profession and all who work in it.
I will take the opportunity share my ideas but I very much want the campaign to be a time for me to listen and learn from the many, diverse voices among the ALA membership.
During my term I hope to accomplish the following:
- Continue to guide the implementation of the 2011-2015 Strategic Plan
- Provide effective leadership to ALA as a whole and be a strong voice for libraries and how they make a difference in people’s lives
- Foster greater collaboration among ALA divisions and units – focus on common opportunities and aspirations
- Develop an ALA-wide leadership development initiative through a process in which the divisions and other appropriate ALA units would participate
- Find ways to relate to and serve the variety of professionals who seek community within our many divisions
- Engage more new professionals in meaningful ways and retain them as members
- Identify sustainable ways to promote synergies between local government and libraries
- Explore ways to strengthen and extend our international activities
2. Please discuss how your ALA goals and philosophy relate to ALCTS. How might ALCTS help facilitate achievement of those goals?
Stroyan: ALCTS members can play an integral part in the achievement of my theme Leading from Libraries by contacting me ( email@example.com) with responses to my ideas, and suggesting additional ideas they may have that I have set forth for my term as ALA President. ACLTS has been a leader in conference programming for years. Your recent institutes and forums on cutting-edge topics are a model for the kinds of programming the entire organization could offer to inform and engage members. I would also look to ALCTS to help me articulate positions on issues of national significance, such as preservation and access, the Google Book settlement, etc. Your division is a treasure trove of expertise and I think I would be coming to you to "pick your brains" frequently. Also, as indicated above, I intend to provide opportunities to shine a light on individual members with expertise so they may share their creative projects, programs or model apps with other members. Through these opportunities I intend to use these examples to advocate for more library dollars both within our institutions and to our larger communities.
Sullivan: The more than 5,000 members of ALCTS do some of the most important work in libraries today. This includes the work to develop metadata standards, ensuring that libraries have collections and access to collections that those whom they serve need and want, continuing to provide intellectual access to the ever-expanding world of information and knowledge, and the absolute necessity of preserving information and materials in a variety of formats.
ALCTS members also face some of the more serious challenges as libraries transform in the digital world. ALCTS and its members are dedicated to ALA’s core values, especially those principles that ensure access to information. ALCTS will advance ALA’s goals by continuing to align its goals and plans with those outlined in the Strategic Plan. The commitment and engagement of every ALA division and unit is critical to implementation of the new plan and the overall success of ALA. I think the best way to address this question is through discussion with ALCTS leadership. I am confident that together we can determine meaningful ways for this to happen.
3. What do you see as the greatest challenges facing individuals engaged in the areas of work represented by ALCTS (acquisitions, cataloging, serials, preservation, and collection development) in the near term future? How can ALA assist ALCTS members to meet those challenges?
Stroyan: ALCTS has risen to the challenges of change in libraries since the introduction of the MARC format and OCLC in the 1970s. Change continues to be the name of the game for the individuals in library areas associated with ALCTS. First and foremost is the anticipated implementation of RDA. When testing is completed in early 2011, it’s expected that it will be implemented in a number of libraries. The transition may be more difficult for smaller libraries. ALCTS is the natural group to organize training efforts throughout the country. Possibilities might include: regional workshops where catalogers can work on samples together and learn from each other; train the trainer workshops; and webinars. Somewhat related to the RDA issue is the future of MARC and whether it will be replaced. Discussions of RDA and MARC seem to go hand in hand. Will the replacement of MARC be universally adopted or will cataloging in MARC co-exist with RDA? Another major challenge is the continued shrinking of the budget for personnel and resources. Perhaps ALCTS could develop materials to help administrators understand the value added services of technical services. Lastly, the pace of technological change is unrelenting which strains the resources of each individual institution and ACTLS itself to keep up with the training and retraining challenges for all ALA members. I suspect that you are looking into ways that the new social networking media can help with this challenge.
Sullivan: I believe the greatest challenge is making the transition to the digital context and doing so with confidence and affirmation of the valuable contributions this work has made and will make in the future. We can play a critical stewardship role and collaborate with other professionals and scholars to insure the preservation of data and metadata for scientific, social, and artistic research that will serve future generations.
I believe it is very important for librarians to identify what the critical work activities and roles will be in the future; to explore the different ways in which this work might be performed; to identify the key competencies that will be needed; and to plan how to embrace new roles and educate new and continuing professionals to successfully carry out these responsibilities. ALA can assist by affirming the importance of this work, the need to rethink how it will be performed in the future, and by working with ALCTS to ensure that its members have the opportunities and support for the professional development that is needed.
4. How can ALA ensure that certain members, whose primary affiliation is to a "type of activity" division, feel connected to the concerns of the organization as a whole? How might their involvement be increased? How might ALA's awareness of their concerns be increased?
Stroyan: ALA is made up of divisions, programs, roundtables, committees, offices which allow members to find niches where they find colleagues to work on standards, best practices, programs, etc. This is a strength that becomes a challenge when an organization as large as ALA tries to include all members in all concerns. I have worked in many types of libraries and have been involved in RUSA, ACRL, NMRT, ALA and LLAMA. We must be inclusive to solve our problems, yet there are times when an issue is beyond just one division or roundtable. This is when the strength is in the larger organization’s mission. For example, ALCTS might bring an issue to ALA Council which then would support that and make the issue an ALA issue. The opposite can happen where a concern comes up and the expertise of the division is needed to address the details of the issue before action is taken by Council. It is imperative that ALCTS members participate in the governance of ALA to maintain the division’s involvement in the larger organization. As your president I pledge that I will ask, “Who should be at the table for this discussion?” In making appointments I will seek advice from all ALA units for committee appointments, advisory groups, advocacy, and on any crisis issues I will seek advice from appropriate units as they may arise during my term.
Sullivan: ALA can do this by actively promoting cross-divisional collaboration; continuing to offer programs and services that have broad appeal; offering professional development opportunities that transcend “type of activity” boundaries, engaging division leaders in discussions and decisions that affect the profession as a whole and creating opportunities for “type of activity” members to contribute to ALA-wide initiatives.
5. In recent years it has been difficult for ALCTS members to "see themselves" or to see that the association embraces issues that are critical to ALCTS. What steps will you take to increase ALA's inclusiveness within its own ranks?
Stroyan: ALA is a large organization and no one person can easily be an expert on every issue. ALA’s president must rely on its division’s experts to fully appreciate the issues and concerns that must be addressed. If I am elected, as your president, I’ll appoint ALCTS members to appropriate committees and task forces. Other opportunities for ACLTS voices to be heard would include joint sessions such as fall leadership planning and midwinter and annual conference interaction leadership initiatives.
Sullivan: The first step I will take is to work with the newly elected leaders of the divisions to identify ways to promote collaboration and inclusiveness. I will solicit their ideas and opinions and will welcome requests that are specific to the needs of their members. I also will solicit suggestions for committee appointments and will make a special effort to identify committees where the expertise and experience of ALCTS members is important. I will consult ALCTS leadership on those issues that most directly relate to your work and are of importance to you. I welcome your ideas and perspectives.
Call for Poster Sessions for ALA Annual 2011 in New Orleans
The 2011 ALA Annual Poster Session proposal form is now available. The deadline for submitting proposals is January 7, 2011. Notifications of selected poster sessions for 2011 will be sent on or before February 28, 2011 prior to the ALA Early Bird Registration deadline. Contact Candace Benefiel ( CBENEFIE@lib-gw.tamu.edu), Poster Session Review Panel Chair, for more information.
ALA Launches New Conference Scheduler
ALA’s Information Technology and Telecommunication Services (ITTS) has spent three months building a new Conference Scheduler (formerly known as the “Event Planner”) into ALA Connect, and it officially launched on December 13, 2010 in the afternoon.
The new Scheduler will offer a number of new features for attendees, such as:
- The use of existing [Connect] logins rather than new ones
- Personalized recommendations for sessions and exhibitors based on your ALA groups/affiliations, profile interests, and types of libraries you noted you’re interested in
- Real-time data for both sessions and exhibitors
- The ability to prioritize multiple sessions in the same time slot
- The ability to link to sessions from external sites
- Commenting on sessions
- Links on session pages to the group’s Connect page
- The ability to mark a session as “attended” and produce a list of everything you went to
- Logos for and links to sponsoring units
- Expanded options for searching by meeting type and location
Midwinter Meeting Wiki Now Available
The Midwinter Meeting wiki ( http://alamw.ala.org/2011/index.php?title=Main_Page) is now available. The wiki is open to all attendees and exhibitors who will be attending the 2011 ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego January 7–11, 2011. The wiki includes a Midwinter Meeting preview, general information, association work, events (including those for first-time attendees and those seeking employment), discussion and interest group information, and a guide to San Diego.