Wednesday, February 13, 2013

ALA Elections - Part 2 - President

Courtney for ALA PresidentI am enthusiastically supporting Courtney Young for ALA President in this election. I am excited about her candidacy. If elected she would become ALA's youngest President. Yet at the same time, she has built an incredible track record in the Association already.

Let me pause for a moment to talk about my history of public endorsements. For my first seven years of service on ALA Council I was the Connecticut Chapter Library Association. In that role, I worked to connect the state association with the national one, and worked to help the chapter members to become more active in their national association. In that role, I did not think it was appropriate to campaign for any candidate for ALA office (well, except when I was running). I then served three years on the ALA Executive Board. As one of those chosen from ALA Council to help govern the Association, it was not appropriate for me to choose one candidate over the other since I would be working with the winner, no matter who it was. Since then, I have actively worked for some ALA candidates.

As in many past years, there are two very good candidates for ALA President. My endorsement of Courtney does not diminish my respect (personal and professional) for her opponent.

Here are some of the reasons why I am supporting Courtney:
  1. Courtney has vision and an understanding of where the Association needs to go.
  2. Courtney has had leadership experience, particularly through the New Members Round Table which is an important source of engaging new librarians.
  3. She has a great deal of background in the financial issues which will continue to be important in setting ALA's direction. (She has served on many of the same committees on which I have served.)
  4. She is very articulate. As ALA President you never know what external event will shape your ALA President, and I am sure that Courtney will handle whatever comes her way with complete confidence and aplomb.

Here is a link to the debate held at ALA Midwinter. (Fair warning that it automatically plays...) Courtney is the first of the two ALA Presidential candidates to speak.

Finally, for Facebook fans (yes, I am powerless over Facebook, and my life there has become unmanageable), Courtney's campaign has a Facebook page. That is in addition to the traditional web page.

I have one final observation about ALA Presidential candidates. Usually the candidates are chosen to give some choice. Rarely is it male versus female (although that does happen). More often it is an ALA insider versus an outsider. In this case the insider is Courtney. I am supporting her because of this. An ALA President realistically has only a little more than 2 years to accomplish any specific goals. The winner of the election has the two months (or so) between the results being announced and Conference to get up and running. There is one year as President-Elect to set the stage, and one year as President to get something done. I have seen enough to realize that once the spotlight is off (as immediate Past President), not much new is accomplished on any specific goals. Some ALA leaders have effectively worked with their predecessors and successors to accomplish more than would be expected. And Courtney is one of those who will be able to do this because she understands both how important it is, and how to actually do it. With a short window, the insider has a much better chance of achieving results.

Please vote for Courtney.

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