Wednesday, April 1, 2015

ALA Elections Open

Elections for ALA President Elect and Councilors at Large is open.

Polls close on May 1, 2015. Election results will be released following the May 8th Election Committee meeting. For election information, go to the ALA Elections website:

ALA President Statement on Indiana Law

From ALA News Press Release
ALA President Courtney Young releases statement regarding Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act

  “The Religious Freedom Restoration Act contradicts the fundamental values of the ALA and libraries. The ALA deplores and rejects any law that violates the civil liberties of any person.  Our association is built around the ALA Code of Ethics and the Library Bill of Rights that reflect this deeply held value.  Access to all applies to libraries as well as restaurants, businesses, and associations like ours.   

“We reaffirm that is it is the responsibility of library staff everywhere, regardless of the legal ability to refuse service, to offer equal and unfettered access to all users in keeping with the library Bill of Rights and principles of intellectual freedom.

“The Indiana RFRA has understandably triggered deep concern in the ALA community, which is currently scheduled for its 2021 Midwinter Meeting in Indianapolis.  Although the law has been denounced by the Mayor of Indianapolis, the Chamber of Commerce, and many businesses, the ALA and key Indiana members continue to monitor the legislative situation.

 “ALA’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is calling for input from the membership—how can we best engage our host communities when ALA holds its conference in the midst of a local controversy that touches us all?

 “The ALA and its members will continue efforts to work towards developing a long-term strategy to encounter the growing trend of RFRA’s, which threaten to undermine civil rights and the fundamental principles upon which libraries are founded.”

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ALA Seeks Input on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’s charge is to develop a plan and strategic actions to build more equity, diversity and inclusion among our members, the field of librarianship and our communities.

The Task Force is currently in the information-gathering phase with the first survey that presents the definitions created by the task force and asks individuals to consider ALA’s current alignment with those definitions. The survey can be accessed until Feb. 16, 2015 at ALA members and nonmembers are encouraged to participate.

Additional series of short surveys will be conducted at times coinciding with the ALA Midwinter Meetings and Annual Conferences through 2016. The surveys are designed to help understand the culture of the association, the profession and our communities with respect to equity, diversity and inclusion.

The final, analyzed results of the survey will be reported by April 2015 via the Task Force's ALA Connect community and distributed through various ALA channels.

For more information, see ALA's advocacy & diversity site

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Trustee Resource

From the American Library Association

NEW Short Takes for Trustees

Short Takes for Trustees is a series of 10 short videos (8-10 minutes each) that can be shown during Trustee meetings to stimulate discussion about the important role that Trustees play in the governance of their libraries. Topics in the series explain the basics, such as what it means to be a Trustee (discussing the broad fiduciary responsibilities of governing boards as well as the limits of an advisory board), as well as how to set policy, how to evaluate the library director (and why you should!), along with board self evaluation, and the ethical and parliamentary standards for boards — both governing and advisory.

The courses are: What It Means to Be a Trustee; Board Meetings; Board Ethics; Library Advocacy; Library Policies; Strategic Planning; Working with Friends; Evaluating the Library Director; Board Self Evaluation, and Succession Planning and New Board Orientation. Learn more about the series, pricing, and how to register. United for Libraries members save an extra $10 through Feb. 28! Libraries in Nebraska, North Dakota, and Texas have access to Short Takes to Trustees through their statewide group membership.

School Librarians Transform Learning

From ALA President Courtney Young

School Librarians Transform Learning

How do school librarians transform learning? As library professionals, we all know that school librarians are indispensable to education. We know that schools with a strong school library program and a certified school librarian give their students the best chance to succeed. We also know that the education today’s children receive at the school library level will affect their ability to use and benefit from public and academic libraries throughout their lives.

We truly are an “ecosystem,” and we all need to support strong school libraries. That is why the American Association of School Librarians is launching an awareness-campaign during the ALA Midwinter Meeting this month: to educate the whole of our profession -- and through them, the public -- about the importance of school librarians in the lives of children.

How do school librarians transform learning? Here are just a few ways:
•    Schools with a strong school library program and a certified school librarian give their students the best chance to succeed.
•    Certified school librarians make the whole school more effective. They teach students how to learn, and they help teachers drive student success.
•    Students and teachers love, value, and use school libraries every day.

I am personally asking you to speak out about the value of school librarians in your communities. Everyone can be an advocate for school libraries!
Visit the School Libraries Make a Difference web resource on for specific ways to get involved, including drafting a letter to the editor or writing an op-ed for a local publication. Letters to the editor and op-eds are an easy way to reach large numbers of community members.  If you have never written one of these letters, or need tips along the way, I Love Libraries provides a comprehensive guide to writing and placing an op-ed piece at
We know that our children’s education and readiness for the workforce is in peril when school library budgets and school librarians are cut. You have a role in ensuring excellence for every student by demanding a school library with a certified school librarian in every school. Join us in speaking up for school libraries!

Courtney L. Young
ALA President

Thursday, December 4, 2014

ALA District Dispatch

On December 9, 2014, the American Library Association’s Washington Office will launch a new and reinvigorated District Dispatch blog that will highlight federal legislation and policy news that impacts libraries. The new District Dispatch makes it easier for library advocates to find important information policy news, search articles, share news and “drill down” further into national policy issues. The new District Dispatch also includes a “Breaking News” feature that makes it easier for advocates to find the most current and critical policy information they need to take action at the national level. Finally, the new blog makes it easier for library staff to find free policy-related webinars.

As we head into a new Congress, ALA members are encouraged to subscribe to the District Dispatch to keep abreast of relevant library policy news, such as federal funding opportunities, copyright reform, open access legislation, Federal Communications Commission proceedings and much more. Visit the blog today: