Ask the ALA Library

Political activities

Q. I am a high-school senior working on a school project in which we must write an extensive paper on a special interest group of our choice. I've always been interested in being a librarian, so I chose the American Library Association. Your website has been helpful, but I don't see any information on the ALA interaction (or impact) on recent congressional or presidential elections. Where should I be looking?

Storm Center

Q. I saw this week's article at the Huffington Post website about movie librarians, Librarians Save The Day! 11 Great Movies In Which They Star. I was very surprised to see a film there starring one of my favorite actresses, Bette Davis, that I never heard of! By any chance, can ALA tell me anything about Storm Center (1956)? I'm hoping to add it to my list of requested films from that online DVD rental service.

How many closings?

Q. I keep reading about recent closings of public libraries or proposed closings of branches in some larger cities, and I recall that others, such as in Salinas, CA, closed but re-opened.  How many libraries have, in fact, been closed?  I hope it isn't many, as I've also been reading about increased library usage, and I would hate to see cutting libraries viewed as a tool for dealing with strained budgets.

Evaluating your reference collection

Question: Due to budget cuts, my library is looking closely at the reference collection.  Are there any policies or guidelines for evaluating reference collections, especially in light of print and paid database resources?

Answer: While ALA does not have a collection development (or evaluation) policy for the reference collection, we do have various guidelines to help you create your own policy.  The ALA Library has gathered some resources on our Professional Tips Wiki: