Officially Speaking | August 2014

President's Column | Councilor's Report: AC14 | Thank You to Our Friends  

Align and Conquer 

Photo of Ellen RiordanCreating a Better Future for Children through Libraries is our mission as an association. Our strategic plan has three board goals to help us do that: Advocacy, Access, and Education. This three prong approach is the foundation of our work together and an important construct to guide us. 
In my presidential year, I plan to align and conquer our challenges by making sure that the work we do and we ask our members to do in all of the committees, task forces, and pilot programs brings us closer to our mission. We have a promising start. This year we will convene a diversity forum, present a preconference on honor books, think through how to measure the value of services through research and data, and make important decisions about new media for children. All these things will help us do a better job in creating a better future for children and do much to help our profession reimagine its value and opportunities for growth. 
Ambitious plans can only be successful with dedicated members helping. I am confident that we have a host of talented, smart, committed, and willing librarians at the ready. I will also tell you that the process of ensuring that members are engaged and understand the issues ahead is a daunting task and one that requires a focus on our core values of collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, integrity, respect, leadership, and responsiveness.  I am proud to lead an organization that upholds these values and acts on them in its structure of governance and professionalism. 
The time in which we work is one of profound change and transformation. The communities that we  serve—the schools, families, towns, cities, and rural areas in which our libraries operate—have differing expectations. Our plan, carefully constructed and with a clear sense of mission, helps us continue to create a better future even if we can’t see it yet. The value of a plan is not to constrain but to empower and my belief is that by articulating our plan, we empower our members to act.
Transformation can be a scary thing and often it is used as a synonym for change. I suggest transformation, in a visionary sense, can be the ability to see the familiar in a new light. This, I believe, is what we will discover: our values and our mission remain but are seen by ourselves and others in a new light.  This concept is well illustrated by one of my favorite children’s books.  In Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke, Fletcher valiantly and futilely tries to “save” his favorite tree by preventing the leaves from falling from its branches. Fletcher worries that if the tree changes, it will die. What he comes to discover is the natural process of renewal, which brings both loss and discovery.  Fletcher comes to admire his tree’s winter silhouette encased in ice that sparkles in sunlight.  
With our plan to create a better future for children, we are empowered to view the inevitable and natural changes that occur as a transformation in the best sense: a renewed appreciation of our worth, the value of reading, the joy of discovering connections and a passion for our work.–Ellen Riordan, ALSC President

Councilor's Report 

Photo of Andrew Medlar
I’m happy to share with you the following information from the recent ALA Council meetings held during the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, where I was proud to represent ALSC as your Division Councilor.

-- Annual attendance was 18,626, including close to 600 international attendees representing 78 countries. This overall number is down from Chicago in 2013 and up from Anaheim in 2012. Attendance figures for all past conferences are available online.

-- Council heard reports from the very active ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee (which is about to publish an update to its interpretation document), Committee on Legislation, and Freedom to Read Foundation (Herb Krug is the newest member of the Roll of Honor), all of which are continually working to support the work of ALA and its members.

--The Digital Content Working Group announced that its work for the next two years will focus on high prices, digital preservation, and media beyond e-books.

-- Council passed resolutions supporting stable funding for Air Force Libraries; on granting the District of Columbia budgetary authority to provide services, including public libraries, during federal government shutdowns; and reaffirming support for Net Neutrality

-- Memorial resolutions were passed in honor of ALSC Past Presidents Maggie Kimmel (on which I was proud to be the mover, seconded by ALSC Past Presidents Thom Barthelmess & Amy Kellman) and Marilyn Miller (which was endorsed by the ALSC Board), and Eliza Dresang (which was moved by ALA President Stripling and seconded by ALSC President Starr LaTronica).

One of the final events of Annual Conference is the farewell to the departing ALA president, which this past year has been the gracious and effective Barbara Stripling, and the inauguration of the new, which this year is the dynamic and dedicated Courtney Young, who will work wonderfully to continue the work of her predecessors. 
It has been an honor to be ALSC’s voice on ALA Council for the past two years, and, as I transition off of Council to take up the duties of ALSC Vice President/President-Elect, I want to thank you all for this opportunity. I’m pleased that Lisa Von Drasek will be stepping up as ALSC Councilor for the next year and appreciate her support and involvement in Vegas. According to the ALSC bylaw (Article 5, section 3) approved by membership this past spring, a Councilor vacancy is filled by a second or third year ALSC Board member selected by a vote of all Board members (view the board actions online) and I know that Lisa will do great work on Council on behalf of all of us. She can be reached by email. I also want to give a shout-out to AASL Councilor Val Edwards and YALSA Councilor Vicki Emery, with whom I so enjoyed co-convening the Youth Council Caucus, and encourage any and all ALSC members with an interest in representing youth issues ALA-wide to consider running for a seat on Council in the future. If you have any questions at all about the experience, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at—Andrew Medlar, ALSC Vice President/President-Elect & Immediate Past Division Councilor 

Thank You to Our Most Recent Donors 

Many thanks to the following generous contributors to Friends of ALSC. To learn how you can support ALSC, visit and click on "About ALSC--Contact ALSC--Donate to ALSC” on the left-hand navigation menu.

Gold Circle

Anne Britton

Silver Circle

Bound to Stay Bound Inc.
Dudley B. Carlson

Friends Circle

Lalitha Nataraj