Thursday, March 09, 2006

ALA 101 - Part 4: Offices

The ALA web page lists fifteen (15) Offices. Actually, two of them are sort of subsets of the third, but each acts independently. All of the offices except the ALA Washington Office (and its two components: Office for Government Relations and Office for Information Technology and Policy) are located at ALA Headquarters in Chicago. (More on that in the post on ALA buildings.)

If you want to know where your dues dollars go, this is an important part of the answer to the question. The current ALA offices include [I've learned, and I think the links from the ALA page will follow here]:

1OGR and OITP are housed at ALA’s Washington Office. Other offices are in Chicago.

Let me offer some personal reflections on the Offices with which I have dealt.

The Chapter Relations Office is the one which works most closely with the individual state associations to support their work, and to help ALA have a presence in the states. As a "Chapter President" in 1998-99, I found that I received a lot of good information. As a Chapter Councilor, I had a lot of interaction.

OIF is who you call if someone challenges material which your library owns. I have had a charmed career in this area, and have not had to use their services.

Because of my ALA work, I have been to the Washington Office during ALA Legislative Day, and have worked closely with staff there on CIPA and UCITA (OGR). I have been serving on the E-Rate Task Force which is part of the activities of OITP.

Most of my contacts with HRDR and ORS have been the result of serving as the Executive Board Liaison to their advisory committees. PIO does ALA's press releases and has called on me several times for radio "gigs." Public Programs lets me know about some of the nation-wide grant funded discussion programs which I have been part of over the years.

The last one I'll mention is the Governance Office. Those are the folks who are responsible for the "care and feeding" of the Executive Board and of ALA Council. There are some really great people in that office, and I know that when I leave the EB in June, I'll miss that close contact with many of them.

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