A Letter from ALA President Camila Alire

September 29, 2009

Dear Colleagues:

The weekend of September 11th, a group comprised of the ALA board members, division leaders, roundtable representatives and senior staff met in Itasca, Illinois, to begin the development of ALA’s new strategic plan. The new plan’s goals and objectives will set the association’s strategic directions for the next five years to 2015. (ALA’s current plan goes through 2010.)

For the last six months, work has been underway to gather member input and information on the changing environment for libraries, librarians and the association. To date, 15 member forums have been conducted at state chapter meetings, and another 20 are planned for this fall and early spring of 2010. A member survey of ALA programs and services, their importance, and the association’s performance in each area was conducted, with 9,000 members participating.

In addition to the survey and forums, an Environmental Scan has been created on ALA Connect (
http://connect.ala.org/), containing articles, reports and other information on the social, educational, economic, political, and technological environments within which we will operate, as well as issues and trends specific to different types of libraries. (To see the Environmental Scan, surveys or forum reports, go to ALA Connect, log in, and click “My Member Communities” and then “ALA 2015 Environmental Scan.”)

In mid-October, ALA board members will meet with a larger group of division leadership and roundtable representatives in Chicago to continue working on draft goals and objectives. Following this meeting, we will then circulate a draft plan for discussion by ALA councilors, committees and the membership as a whole. It is our hope that those members attending Midwinter will schedule discussions of the plan as part of their meeting agendas, and we are looking to schedule a working session on the plan for Council as part of the Information Session at Midwinter.

Again, following Midwinter, ALA groups and individual members will be invited to share their thoughts and suggestions which will be considered for incorporation into the document as we prepare for review and approval by the Board in April. The document will then go to Council prior to Annual Conference for Council’s final approval at Annual Conference.

When we developed the current 2010 plan, we received over 2,500 comments from ALA groups and individual members. These comments were aggregated, analyzed, and ultimately incorporated into the plan as it moved forward over the course of its year- long development. We look forward to the same high level of member involvement as we move forward on our 2015 Plan.

Thank you for your help in this process.

Camila A. Alire


American Library Association