Yesterday was the deadline to submit ballots if you’re running for an ALA office, so I hope those poor souls out there who got sucked into the ALA maelstrom submitted their ballots on time.
This year, I thought it would be a good idea to make myself a candidate for ALA President. That way I could enjoy the conferences in style! I’d get a big suite and could hold lavish parties that I could then charge to the ALA. I could have had a great 5-day party, but since the ALA meetings and conferences are being shortened to make them cheaper for people, a 4-day party will have to do. I prefer my parties drug-free, but there could be plenty of champagne, martinis, and tasty snack foods, plus maybe some gummi bears for the younger librarians. As ALA President, I could invite whom I like, so I’d invite everyone! This would be a "big tent" kind of presidency.
Because librarian budgets are so hard hit these days, I’d want to do something for the impoverished librarians who can’t afford to come to conferences. I thought maybe a gift certificate and free drink pass at one of those big national chain restaurants. Not the best food and drink, perhaps, but at least it would be for someplace available even in the sticks. And maybe some chain with an all-you-can-eat option, for the librarians amongst us seeking more…um…"value."
As ALA President, I would also endeavor to avoid any ALA Council meetings, mainly because they consist of hours of incredible boredom interspersed occasionally by minutes of sheer annoyance. The only people who actually like ALA Council meetings are fanatics, and we don’t need to provide any space for them to rant. If they want to complain about the world, they can start a blog, after all. The best way to avoid Council meetings would probably be to cancel the meetings. I’m not sure ALA Presidents have that power, but they darn well should have. I think the organization will pretty much run itself anyway, and then we can avoid the embarrassment of another Council resolution against cosmic injustice.
It would also be a lot of fun to make stuffy pronouncements to national news organizations when they call me up. Being President of ALA means you automatically know everything about every library issue, which is why reporters want some good quotes. My stock quote would be, "American libraries are vitally important for our future, our children’s future, their children’s future, and so on…,and the American Library Association is dedicated to doing important library-related things during my Presidency." That should sound good, regardless of whether I’m asked about Internet pornography, the future of reading, or my favorite shoes.
I’d also want to build coalitions to accomplish the goals of my Presidency. Since my Presidency wouldn’t have any goals other than throwing a great party and canceling ALA Council meetings, I probably wouldn’t need a very big coalition. Maybe just the caterers.
Do ALA Presidents ever get to be on talk shows? I would like that. I always imagined I’d be great on a talk show, especially one of those point-counterpoint ones, where I could distract my opponents with a flash of leg while withering them with a well chosen bon mot. Since my identity is a secret, I’d have to appear with that little black bar over my eyes, but I could probably handle a black bar over my eyes for a while, as long as I was seated and didn’t have to walk across a crowded room or anything.
Would I need any other campaign promises except a big party and canceling Council meetings? I could say "Read My Lips, No New Dues," but I couldn’t guarantee that one. The dues might have to be raised just to pay for the party. It’s the sort of sacrifice politicians make all the time for their constituents, and I promise to be no different.
After a year of total ALA President and Council inactivity, we could then assess the situation and see if we could tell any difference from business as usual. I have a suspicion we won’t notice any negative effects, and I’ll use that as my platform when I run again next year.