Sari Feldman, Candidate for ALA President

New Member Round Table
By Sari Feldman, Candidate for ALA President

The future of ALA is contingent upon a commitment to strong leadership development and member engagement. ALA must develop leaders able to take libraries into the future. The New Member Round Table is doing important work to better connect those new to the association and the library profession with the wide variety of opportunities that ALA provides.

As ALA president, I will support and sponsor initiatives that promote engagement with a special focus on leadership development. We cannot underestimate the value that ALA provides as a forum for learning and growing in the profession. ALA profoundly shaped my own professional development at critical stages throughout my career. Early on, ALA provided key leadership development opportunities that enhanced my professional skills. ALA became the place where I could share ideas with colleagues and learn about best practices in library service.

I place a high value on engaging our members at all points in their careers, providing support and guidance that advances both individuals and the library profession. We need our members to understand the critical role they play in our advocacy efforts. I will work to help members see the ways in which their contributions are essential to the ongoing success of a future-focused, financially stable ALA.

Beyond engaging our members, it is crucial that we do more to attract a diverse group of library professionals and supporters to lead our organization. The key to building diversity in any organization is to foster a collaborative and inclusive culture. Part of creating that kind of culture is effective communication; the other part involves becoming comfortable with and adept at change. The fact of the matter is that we need to do more across ALA to communicate the broad changes in our profession and to encourage innovators, risk takers, and entrepreneurs to join us in the workforce and the Association.

I want to ensure that the sense of community that ALA provides is sustained for generations to come, so it is imperative that we address the financial challenges affecting the Association. My ability to identify new revenue streams and increase fund development to ensure financial sustainability is an essential leadership skill that I will apply.

I hold a broad perspective on the critical issues affecting libraries of all kinds. In addition to my leadership experience in public libraries, I have served as an adjunct faculty member at Syracuse University for more than 20 years and co-authored articles on topics ranging from early literacy to broadband access. As ALA president, I will bring the necessary vision, talent and commitment to lead our Association into the future.