Saturday, January 12, 2008

ALA Presidential Candidates Forum

About 100 people are here listening to the candidates debate. First to speak is my friend (and the candidate I support) Camila Alire. Her theme is "Vision, Vitality, and Voice."

Among other proposals is for an "At Home ALA Legislative Day" to have coordinated visits to legislators while they are home.

Good salaries and better salaries are on her agenda, including our ability to advocate for ourselves. Camila is committed to diversity (and was president of REFORMA a number of years ago). Equity of Access is on her list. Literacy skills are critical.

Camila is incredibly vivacious and the vitality part of her platform rings personally true.

Linda Williams is a school librarian from Maryland and is someone I know and like. Libraries are our foundation and our future is her theme. Equity of Access is an important goal. (She mentioned speaking with one voice (which can be a sensitive topic in ALA!) She will work to break down the "silos" in ALA. (A good idea!)

She did focus on the closing of school libraries and the fact that 40% of schools do not have library professionals.

We need to engage more members in the association. She referred to an ASAE book which addresses the needs of younger members of the profession. She wants ALA to use Web 2.0 skills to engage members of the Association.

Dr. Ruth Gordon asked the first question. Which was a multipart question and included a reference to ALA's "third rail," the Operating Agreement.

Leonard Kniffel, editor of the American Libraries, talked about the various ways that AL will distribute the statements and question and answers in several ways. His question was about bi-lingual education. (And there is not much difference between the two candidates on this issue.

[I am going back to the PLA Board, having "shown the flag" at the forum.]

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