By Maggie Farrell
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my candidacy for ALA president-elect with the New Members Round Table. NMRT performs a critical function within ALA by introducing librarians and library workers to ALA and quickly getting them involved in activities that advance the association. The NMRT leadership role is impressive. As a new librarian, I found my ALA home in the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) and am personally grateful for the role of our roundtables in ALA governance and programs.
In considering the future of our profession, there are several important issues facing us, but a common concern for all types of libraries is the false perception that libraries are not essential to our communities. As I was advocating for increased funding for Wyoming libraries a few years ago, I had to counter the notion that people could just find what they needed on the Internet and that books via Amazon were readily available. As libraries compete for limited resources, we have to show with demonstrable data how they advance our communities. Our metrics need to go beyond library usage to showing how students are more successful when they develop information literacy skills, how programs in our public libraries support employment and economic development, and how school libraries assist in the development of critical thinking skills so students are better prepared for college and university studies. We need more training and best practices for librarians and library workers to work within their communities, demonstrating how libraries advance the broader goals of their communities.
My facilitation and consensus skills will be instrumental in bringing together a broad group of people to advance our advocacy efforts. My leadership focuses on the ability to develop and communicate a shared vision that advances an organization. I would be honored to lead ALA in our efforts to work effectively with our stakeholders and partners in demonstrating the many contributions of our libraries to communities.
As president, my focus will be to evaluate the progress on our strategic plan in order to develop the next plan, which will include advocating for libraries and library issues, protecting intellectual freedom, promoting diversity, and creating a sustainable, fiscally responsible and efficient operation. I will lead us forward in a way that strengthens our libraries, engages our members, and continues to promote our value to society and the world. This requires a diversity of voices and inclusion of the full membership to develop a new plan of action. I hope NMRT is deeply involved in this effort to ensure that our association provides pathways for new members to be engaged and that ALA is connecting in meaningful ways with librarians and library workers.
Please contact me at www.maggiefarrell.com if you have questions regarding my qualifications and vision, or find me on Facebook at “Maggie Farrell for ALA President.” Thank you for your service to NMRT and ALA. I ask for your vote.