My presidential initiative, entitled Libraries Change Lives, will focus on increasing public understanding of the value of libraries, especially in the realms of literacy, innovation, and community engagement. Now is the time for us to build the public will for libraries of all types.
As part of this effort, we have planned a campaign called America’s Right to Libraries and developed a Declaration for the Right to Libraries (attached-in original e-mail) to serve as a strong public statement of the value of libraries for individuals, communities, and our nation. Through this initiative, libraries of all types will have the opportunity in the next year to hold signing ceremonies where community members, organizations, and officials can visibly sign and stand up for their right to have vibrant school, public, academic, and special libraries in their community.
Beginning with our Annual Conference in Chicago, we will be inviting ALA members, ALA member groups, Chapter leaders and our affiliates to join us in the effort to secure hundreds of thousands of signatures from community members across the country. Our plan right now is for the signed scrolls to be presented at a national summit and ceremony to be held in the spring of 2014.
We hope that you will consider inviting people in your local community and in your state to join us in proclaiming the value of libraries. For those interested in holding local signing ceremonies, we will be providing a “toolkit” to help you plan your signing ceremony, garner public support and attract media attention.
I will be talking more about the campaign when we get together in Chicago in three weeks, but wanted to provide you with some advance information prior to our upcoming Annual Conference. In the meantime, please share this message and the Declaration with colleagues and friends, and please feel free to contact me with any ideas you may have about how we can use the Declaration to increase public awareness of the incredible value that libraries represent.
ALA President Elect