WASHINGTON, D.C. - American Library Association (ALA) President Jim Neal today launches and invites library advocates to apply for participation in the inaugural ALA Policy Corps initiative.
“The ALA has significantly expanded its advocacy work and its political activism—building a wide network of library workers, trustees, corporate partners and friends who are influencing legislative action and government policy,” Neal said. “There is a need also to cultivate a group of practitioners and trustees who have deep and sustained knowledge of key policy issues of importance to the library community and who are able to intervene and participate in targeted advocacy work.”
The presidential initiative is grounded in the ALA’s four strategic directions and the National Policy Agenda for Libraries that emerged out of the Policy Revolution! initiative. Its goals include developing policy experts available to ALA and the ALA Washington Office, creating longevity in expertise and engagement in early to mid-career library and information professionals, and positively impacting national public policy in areas key to ALA’s strategic goals. The Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) has partnered with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), Public Library Association (PLA) and United for Libraries (UNITED) as part of this 2017-18 presidential initiative and pilot and is developing the program in concert with a working group*.
The Corps will launch with an initial cohort of 10-12 participants with diverse representation from across library types and geographies. Participants will cultivate their passion and deep expertise for a public policy issue; create or enhance the skill set needed to impact legislation and policy; mentor others on a given policy issue of interest; participate in a cohort to share challenges and successes; and ultimately impact national, state and local policymaking.
The characteristics of successful applicants include:
- ALA membership;
- At least five years of library experience;
- Past advocacy experience at the local, state, national and/or international level;
- Desire to develop one’s policy advocacy skills and apply them over a period of years
- Solid speaking and writing skills;
- Awareness of and ability to express the impact of legislation and policy on their community, type of library and/or patrons;
- Commitment to keeping current on policy-related library issues and to building and supporting a strong, national network of advocates over time;
- Ability to make and sustain a five-year commitment; and
- Support from a library or educational institution.
Preference will be given to applicants with prior engagement in ALA such as service on boards, committees or other entities and/or participation in professional development or scholarship programs.
* ALA Policy Corps Working Group Members
Clara Bohrer, Jim Neal’s Presidential Advisory Committee
Audrey Church, AASL
Larra Clark, OITP/PLA
Marc Gartler, OITP
Christine Lind Hage, UNITED
Alan S. Inouye, OITP
Robin Kear, Jim Neal’s Presidential Advisory Committee
Kathi Kromer, ALA Washington Office
Barb Macikas, PLA
Kara Malenfant, ACRL
Jonathan Miller, ACRL
Beth Nawalinski, UNITED
Jim Neal, ALA President
Larry Neal, PLA
Sylvia Norton, AASL