CHICAGO —The recently released 2010-11 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Report highlights the key initiatives of former ALA President Roberta Stevens, including “Frontline Fundraising,” “Our Authors, Our Advocates” and the “Why I Need My Library” video contest. The report also underscores how libraries are providing essential resources for job-seekers, support for critical e-government services and programs to promote financial literacy.
Among the report’s highlights is a 2011 survey that shows how U.S. public libraries continue to expand as technology centers for communities, providing essential resources for job-seekers and support for critical e-government services. In addition, as the demand for e-books increases, libraries are the go-to source for free downloads. However, budget cuts have forced libraries nationwide to reduce operating hours and access to services, just when resources are most needed.
Other highlights include successful efforts to secure legislation that strengthens libraries. ALA’s Office of Government Relations worked with Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) to help secure a change to Federal Emergency Management Agency policy that will allow libraries to be eligible for temporary relocation during major disasters and emergencies under the FEMA Public Assistance Program. Prior to the policy change, libraries were specifically excluded from the list of eligible public facilities
Among the ALA’s other accomplishments was the association’s efforts to help libraries affected by disasters around the world. In the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11, 2011, ALA set up a fund to take in donations on behalf of the Japan Library Association to help the destroyed libraries in northeastern Japan rebuild. ALA also continued its fundraising efforts for libraries in Haiti. And the American Association of School Librarians announced the distribution of more than $1 million to school libraries affected by natural disasters through “Beyond Words: The Dollar General School Library Relief Fund.”
Times were tough, but there are encouraging signs for the future of the library profession. The 2010 edition of the ALA-APA Salary Survey: Librarian—Public and Academic revealed average increases across all six position types, ranging from two percent for managers of support staff to 13 percent for directors of public and academic libraries.
The ALA continued to provide support for future librarians through the Spectrum Scholarship Program. As of October 2011, more than $950,000 of a $1 million goal had been raised through the Spectrum Presidential Initiative for the Spectrum Scholarship Program. Started in 2009, the initiative aims to meet the critical needs of supporting master’s-level scholarships, providing two $25,000 doctoral scholarships, increasing the Spectrum Endowment and developing special programs for recruitment and career development.
Read about other accomplishments from the year in the 2010-11 ALA Annual Report.