Criteria for the Selection of American Library Association (ALA) Representatives to the Board of Trustees of the American Library in Paris (ALP)

Adopted by the American Library in Paris Board of Trustees

The American Library in Paris (ALP) has as its mission to:

  • Provide access in France to what is the best in English-speaking books, periodicals, and other materials by sustaining and extending a varied and enduring collection;
  • Provide the services of a contemporary American public library;
  • Encourage and support reading in English by children and young adults;
  • Act as an educational support center for people of all ages in their pursuit of formal instruction or personal growth;
  • Promote better understanding between France and the United States by making available to the French population the artistic, historical, and business record of American achievement;
  • Provide a better understanding and appreciation of the French and American cultures, their similarities and differences.

The history of the ALP reaches back to the 1917, when the American Library Association (ALA) established the Library War Service, sending books to France for the doughboys in the trenches.  In 1920 with community support and 30,000 books left from the Library War Service, ALA founded the ALP.
 
The proud history of the ALP was maintained over the years.  During World War II French and British soldiers received free book services.  Heavy use by civilians ensued because French libraries were closed.  Library Director, Dorothy Reeder, kept the ALP open and secretly carried books to Jewish community members.  Reeder is sent back to the United States in June 1941 for her own protection.  In 1952 the ALP showed its mettle once again when Senator Joe McCarthy sent Roy Cohn and David Schine to the Library to search for anti-American books.  They were turned away at the door.

Unlike American libraries in other countries, the ALP has never had federal funding of any sort and exists on the basis of continuous fund raising and philanthropic grants and gifts.  Today the library catalog is computerized and access to the electronic information highway is available to the library’s patrons.  Evenings with Authors, Children’s Programs and Story Hours operate along side the Kids’ Reading Program.  All draw crowds to the Library.  The ties between the ALP and ALA have never broken.  Representatives of ALA are invited to membership on the ALP Board of Trustees.  The American Library Association has made significant financial gifts to the ALP on the occasion of special anniversaries and celebrations.

ALA, serving the public interest, has a policy adopted by the Association’s Council on January 23, 1980, assigning a high priority to the development of libraries, librarianship, and information services throughout the world.  The policy affirms ALA’s continuous desire to foster international library development in all countries. 

In response to requests for assistance from abroad, ALA has on record a commitment to recommend librarians and information specialists who are both highly qualified and sensitive to cultural and national differences.  For the ALP, such ALA representatives must be able to respond to their international colleagues who are prepared to consider, within their own national and professional context and resources, any advice or suggestions made by ALA representatives.  ALA representatives must be alert to the possible ambivalence with which recommendations and advice may be received at any time; therefore, when offering their considered opinions, they must be especially sensitive to the professional accomplishments and national pride of their ALP hosts.

The ALP Board will apply the following guidelines and criteria in seeking ALA representatives.

General Professional Objectives

Representatives of ALA to the ALP Board are expected to:

  1. Learn in depth the situation of the host country in its political, social, and professional aspects.
  2. Make certain the ALP challenges and opportunities are well understood.
  3. Establish contacts with the Board of Trustees and the Director of the ALP, who have valuable perceptions and ideas, which they want to see reflected in the representative’s suggestions and recommendations.
  4. Encourage, when appropriate, the establishment of mutual internships or short-term assignments for ALP staff members, and internships at the ALP for students from ALA accredited programs of library and information science.
  5. Initiate local planning efforts when requested by the Executive Board of the ALP.
  6. Present an annual report about the challenges, activities, and opportunities of the ALP to the ALA International Relations Committee, the Council, and the ALA Executive Board, which is sensitive to the culture of France, the workings of the Board, and relative to the ALP’s needs.

Representatives of the ALA to the ALP should possess the following personal qualifications:

  1. Broad library background with appropriate specializations in U.S. public library management and/or library education.
  2. Broad professional contacts.
  3. Conceptual orientation.
  4. Knowledge of current library theories and practice.
  5. Broad knowledge of library and library related organizations, information services, and networks.
  6. Appreciation for the attitudes and views of persons from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds.
  7. Receptive to new ideas.
  8. Skill in interpersonal relations.
  9. Experience in working in international library associations and/or libraries.
  10. Skill in listening and in oral and written expression. 

The Responsibilities of ALA

  1. It is recognized that opportunities as representatives can sharpen and broaden professional qualifications and give representatives a valuable understanding of program quality, operational techniques, and managerial
    competence.  Therefore, it is ALA’s responsibility to encourage representatives of the highest standards so that the ALP realizes reciprocal benefits.
  2. ALA, in the appointment of representatives, should follow ALP policy, which does not condone violations to human rights or discrimination by race, color, sex, religion, or national origin.

Representatives’ Privileges

  1. ALA representatives to the ALP Board of Trustees will have the right to vote.
  2. Representatives will serve a term of two years with the possibility of one additional two-year appointment.
  3. Representatives are expected to attend at least two meetings in the Board’s  calendar year.

If you are interested in being nominated please submit a letter of interest and resume or CV by mail or email before May 20, 2013.

International Relations Office
American Library Association
50 East Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Email: intl@ala.org


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