Friday, January 25, 2013

ALA Elections - Part 1

ALA Midwinter is almost upon us. I will not be attending it this year. However, it is where a lot of the campaigning for ALA and Division offices takes place.

I'll be blogging about the candidates for ALA President in a separate post, as I have in past years. I'll also take a look at the Council candidates list.

I belong to several divisions, and recently received the issue of the newsletter listing the candidates. And, what a great crop of candidates! In this case the Division is the newest named division: United for Libraries.

First a bit of history. United for Libraries was formed by the merger of the ALA division ALTA -- Association for Library Trustees and Advocates which then became ALTAFF, Association for Library Trustees Advocates, Friends, and Foundations -- with the independent FOLUSA -- Friends of Libraries USA. Over the years I have belonged to one, the other, and occasionally both. The merger makes sense, but that is not the topic.

While on the ALA Executive Board, one of my liaison assignments was to what was then ALTA. I always enjoyed working with the wonderful folks who were working so hard to advocate for libraries.

This year, in addition to candidates for President and Secretary/Treasurer, UFL is electing a division councilor and board members. For the board positions, they are putting up only the number of candidates to fill the vacancies.

For what ALA Council does, see my (now old) post on ALA governance.

The candidates for Vice-President/President-Elect are both people I know and respect. It will be a hard choice for me. One candidate is Christine Hage who I know from activity on PUBLIB, ALA Council, and PLA. While it is not mentioned in the UFL write-up, my recollection is that she has served as PLA (Public Library Association) President. That experience would stand her in good stead in this position.The other candidate is someone whose skill I respect greatly. Peter Pearson is the President (i.e., "head honcho" or chief paid employee) for the Friends of the St. Paul (MN) Public Library. He has led the organization to be one of the premier public library support organizations. He was my inspiration when I was in Bridgeport (CT) and worked to help re-start the Friends group there. When I got to Eau Claire, I found that he had been very helpful in setting up and guiding that organization over the years.

The Division Councilor candidates include the incumbent, Susan Schmidt and Nann Blaine Hilyard. I can't claim to know Susan well, but I know that she has done a good job (based on electronic postings) in reporting to UFL. Nann is someone I know very well. She is very active on PUBLIB. That is where I first "met" her, and I think that we actually first met in person at a social event organized on that list. Since then, we both served on ALA Council together. We also served on the ALA Executive Board together.

For me, this will be a tough decision.

The other parts in this series, will include a discussion of ALA Council candidates as well as one posting about the ALA President campaign.

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