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The State of America's Libraries
Macey Morales
Manager, ALA Media Relations

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ALA news: articulating librarians' needs

During her presidential year, 2006–2007 ALA President Leslie Burger focused her activities on helping libraries transform their communitiesby better articulating librarians’ needs and their positions on key issues. Key elements of her vision are:

·         All libraries should have the funding they need.

·         Librarians and library workers should be paid what they’re worth.

·         Libraries should be the center of life in their communities/schools/campuses.

·         Libraries should be partners in education and economic development.

·         Libraries should be “spaces where people of all colors and all ethnicities come together to learn, explore and celebrate what it means to be part of a community and our democracy.”


Burger, director of the Princeton (N.J.) Public Library, set an agenda of guiding the ALA’s work in recreating libraries of all types; holding a “transformation summit” to provide practical tips for how everyone can revolutionize their libraries, regardless of budget constraints; publishing a transformation toolkit; establishing a “librarians without libraries” volunteer program to match people who have talents and skills with libraries that can use them; extending the ALA’s national advocacy effort through a Web-based initiative (; and creating a pool of emerging leaders who can act on all these initiatives.


Francine Fialkoff, editor-in-chief of Library Journal, commented that Burger’s agenda is “not merely a statement of purpose [but] a tool for national and local action” (Jan. 15, 2007)


Direct to your emailbox — American Libraries (AL), the ALA’s news and feature magazine, opened 2006 by launching American Libraries Direct, an online weekly newsletter emailed free to 48,000 library professionals who are members of the ALA. The e-newsletter links readers quickly to breaking news stories from AL, news from the ALA and all its units, U.S. and world updates relating to libraries and information about awards, coming events and action alerts.


Many voices, one event — More than 1,000 attendees gathered in Dallas in October for the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, a historic first co-sponsored by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, the American Indian Library Association, the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, the Chinese American Librarians Association, and REFORMA (the National Association to Provide Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking); all are ALA affiliates and work with its Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS). “I hope we don’t make this conference the last and make sure that diversity is part of everything that we do,” said Carla Hayden, ALA past president. Conference proceeds were divided equally among the five groups for their scholarship endowments.


Outreach to rural and tribal libraries — The library community intensified its outreach to rural and native American tribal libraries in 2006. OLOS estimates that 80 percent of U.S. libraries are rural — i.e., serve communities of 50,000 or less and are not connected with an urban center. The ALA provides on-line and hard-copy resources on how to garner local financial, political and volunteer support for library policies, services and programs, and OLOS delivers trainings and works with developing networks around the country, reaching out to and collaborating with these groups so their voices can be heard and their needs addressed


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ALA news, librarians, needs, report, State of America's Libraries, 2007
ALA news: articulating librarians' needs