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The ALA Political Machine Shuts Out the AL

This is just too much. I’ve been trying to figure out all year how to get my name on the ballot for ALA President, and there were no opportunities. Sure, I could nominate myself, and did! Did anything happen? Absolutely not. So I started exploring other options. Could I petition? Could I have a thousand voters sign to get me on board? I couldn’t find any rules about it. So, finally, I offered myself up as a write-in candidate. It turns out they don’t allow write-in candidates!

Yesterday I went down to the ALA polling station at my local public library to cast my ballot for the Annoyed Librarian as President and about 4600 other people for ALA Council. The poll monitor handed me my ballot and I secreted myself into the curtained booth, only to find there were no spaces for write-in candidates. I went out and asked her about it. She said of course there were no write-in candidates. I asked just who decided the candidates on the ballot, because there sure wasn’t a primary process. She said she assumed there was a cabal in Chicago that decided all these things. "You know Chicago politics!" Seeing as how I was the Annoyed Librarian and the people deserved a say in the election, I offered to expose myself. She said if I did, she’d call the police.

This is a scandal! Does the ALA allow third party candidates for President? They don’t seem to. This is even worse than two party politics. This is one party politics! The American Library Association? They should call it the Soviet Library Association, because that’s how these elections are run.

The ALA likes to prattle on about democracy (and if they don’t, they should), but what kind of democracy is this? The cabal decides who gets on the ballot for President. We don’t have any parties. We don’t have any primaries. We don’t have any caucuses. We don’t have any say! We’re blocked from running the sort of third party campaign that has made this country strong. Think John Anderson in ’80! Ross Perot in ’92! And Ralph Nader in 2000! (On second thought, forget that last one.)

Where were the opinion pollsters trying to figure out how we all stood on important issues of ALA policy so that the candidates would know what we stood for and pretend to agree with us to get our vote? Where were the stump speeches where the candidates mouthed the results of the opinion polls and promised us the moon? Nowhere, that’s where!

It’s no coincidence that ALA is based in Chicago. Typical machine politics. Were we not so apathetic, we’d rise up in arms against the machine.

If it mattered one whit who the President of ALA was for any given year, then I’d really be steamed. As it is, I think I’m just going to have a massage and a strong martini after work.

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Comments

  1. Annoyed More Often Than Not says:

    AL for ALA President!

  2. Annoyed More Often Than Not says:

    AL for ALA President!

  3. someone says:

    Henry Pelham and his brother would appreciate ALA elections.

  4. someone says:

    Henry Pelham and his brother would appreciate ALA elections.

  5. ZRW says:

    I wouldn’t want to be president of an organization that would have me as a member.

    I especially wouldn’t want a president who is so incompetent and doesn’t know how to read by-laws.

    Grow up AL.

  6. LJ says:

    Time to shut this blog down.

  7. Ron Paul says:

    Rave on AL, the lone voice in the wilderness is often heard but not heeded. It’s important that we not take ourselves so seriously that we then ignore the real needs of our users. I continue to be astonished that I regularly pay around $200 to be part of ALA and a few divisions. Tack on another division and a few round-tables, and I’d be close to the $420 the American Medical Assn. asks of its third-year-and-beyond members. Maybe some of that “change” happening at the Federal level will soon rub off on the ALA.

  8. Slag says:

    Good Grief Al, you expect me to read your blog and think about a third party candidacy when I am still trying to work through that behemoth of a ballot. How can I select 40 candidates when it takes me four years to decide upon just one candidate for President.

  9. VNT says:

    Just remember it is the American LIBRARY Association not American LIBRARIAN Association. So, we should only really care about the candidate’s library and administration than about the candidate them self.

    Take your ball and go home AL.

  10. someone says:

    I only join ALA during years when I go to the Annual Conference. The cost of the non-member registration is usually right around or a little bit more than the sum of the member registration fee and an ALA membership.

  11. XPV says:

    If you go to unconferences you only pay unfees which are much much less.

  12. Auntie Nanuuq says:

    “If it mattered one whit who the President of ALA was for any given year, then I’d really be steamed. As it is, I think I’m just going to have a massage and a strong martini after work. ” That about says it all, doesn’t it!

  13. yo says:

    I don’t even think the candidates for ALA President allow comments on their blogs anymore – can someone prove me wrong? All those questions rock the boat a little too much.

  14. Dances With Books says:

    I am amazed at times anyone continues to pay those 200+ bucks every year for “to be part of ALA and a few divisions.” And do the ALA presidents keep blogs anymore? I know a couple of years ago, one did, but she never updated it. Anyhow, a third party run could be fun, but, meh, I think I may as well go back home and just have a drink after work.

  15. sidney says:

    Doesn’t know how to read bylaws? Some people are way to serious.

  16. RJP says:

    If your employer doesn’t pay your dues, then you shouldn’t belong. It is a library organization not a librarian organization. If you are paying your own dues, you, my friend, are a chump.

  17. Vegans For Meat says:

    “Just remember it is the American LIBRARY Association not American LIBRARIAN Association. So, we should only really care about the candidate’s library and administration than about the candidate them self.

    Which is a great reason for librarians to bail out and only have Directors belong to the LIBRARY Association.

  18. ALA Junkie says:

    Read the bylaws. You need signatures from twenty-five (yes, 25) members to get on the ballot for either Council or ALA President. They need to be turned in by January 30.

    I generally enjoy reading AL, but this one was incredibly stupid and mis/un-informed.

  19. LDI says:

    Bylaws are for schmucks.

    If I want to be president, I should be able to be. If not, I will stamp my widdle feet and then blog about how terrible things are.

  20. Old librarian says:

    I voted for John Anderson.

  21. HZE says:

    If you truly are an old librarian, then you need to retire so that a young person can have a shot at fixing all the mistakes you have made.

    Have a nice day.

  22. sidney says:

    Why would anyone be an ALA Junkie?

  23. RJP says:

    I went from a food junkie to a library junkie.

    I went from ala carte to ALA Card.

  24. Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries.org says:

    AL, you are not the first and you probably won’t be the last. See “ALA Election Fraud” at http://www.shush.ws/wordpress/?p=245 and subsequent posts.

  25. I am No. 6 says:

    Do you really take seriously that the AL was trying to run as a write-in candidate? Good God, we are a humorless bunch.

    “Read the bylaws. You need signatures from twenty-five (yes, 25) members to get on the ballot for either Council or ALA President. They need to be turned in by January 30. I generally enjoy reading AL, but this one was incredibly stupid and mis/un-informed.”

  26. Librarian of the Future says:

    Perhaps the ALA Junkie also thinks that one votes for ALA officers at the local public library, overseen by election monitors. Note to ALA Junkie, this isn’t the case. The voting is all done online now. I just thought we should be clear on that.

  27. mtm says:

    AL there is a way, but it requires a bit of planning. Next year you can run as petition candidate. It requires a few signatures and you are on the ballot in all your glory! You would not be one nominated by the MAN, but rather by the people. A few years ago Mitch Freeman won this way and he was great!

  28. rape forced young says:

    mm. 10x )