ALA president calls for applicants to newly launched ALA Policy Corps

For Immediate Release
Tue, 10/03/2017


Shawnda Hines

Press Officer

ALA Washington Office

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.

The application process for the 2018 ALA Policy Corps is now open. Applications, available on the ALA Policy Corps web page, will be accepted through Friday, November 3, 2017.


* 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