January 20, 2018

Organizations & Consortia

Mile High | ALA Midwinter Preview 2018

The American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting returns to Denver, February 9–12, at the Colorado Convention Center. While the later-than-usual timing pushes the conference closer to March’s Public Library Association (PLA) biennial gathering, a potential bottleneck for some, Midwinter offers plenty of compelling content to pull librarians to the Mile High City.

ALA Full Membership to Vote on Executive Director Qualifications

When Keith Michael Fiels, the former executive director (ED) of the American Library Association (ALA), announced in September 2016 that he would retire the following July, ALA leadership began considering its requirements for the role. As ALA convened a search committee and engaged a search firm to find the next ED, the question arose as to whether potential candidates should be required to hold an MLIS—or the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)/school librarian equivalent—or whether the degree should be merely preferred.

2017 ACRL/NY Symposium: The Mission

The 2017 ACRL/NY (Greater New York Metropolitan Area Chapter of Association of College and Research Libraries) Symposium, held on December 1 at Baruch College in Manhattan, led off with an interesting proposition: that thinking creatively about access—and how libraries can provide the widest range of access now and into the future—can offer a new kind of framework for shaping collections.

National Library Partnership Tackles Health Literacy Gap

More than 90 million Americans have low health literacy, hindering their ability to take control of and address their own health needs, according to a 2004 study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. The Public Library Association (PLA) and its parent organization the American Library Association (ALA), together with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), are working to expand the extent to which libraries—among the most trusted of community institutions—can address this issue.

Knight Foundation, Aspen Institute Launch Trust, Media and Democracy Initiative

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (KF) announced September 25 the launch of a major new program, the Trust, Media and Democracy Initiative (TMD), in partnership with the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program. The initiative will spend the next year working to explore the erosion of trust in democratic institutions—particularly the press—and examine solutions around rebuilding that relationship in order to support the role of “strong, trusted journalism as essential to a healthy democracy.” TMD will be run by the Aspen Institute, with $2 million in support from KF.

ALA Launches Policy Corps

On October 3 the American Library Association (ALA) launched the ALA Policy Corps, an initiative that will bring together a core group of library practitioners from across the field and help them develop a deep expertise in public policy issues.

House Approves IMLS, LSTA, IAL Funding for FY18

When President Donald Trump released his preliminary budget proposal for FY18 in March, revealing major cuts to government spending that would have eliminated support for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the library community took the threat as a call to arms. The dynamic response paid off on September 14, when the full House of Representatives voted to approve a spending package, H.R. 3354, that would preserve federal funding for IMLS at FY17 levels, as well as all funding for its programs under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Department of Education’s Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Program.

Highlights from the National Conference of African American Librarians

From rebounding attendance to amazing site visits to a surprise visit from a United States congressman, the tenth National Conference of African American Librarians (NCAALX) offered attendees excitement, motivation, and unity of purpose.

Be Heard: Advocacy in Action | Federal Advocacy

U.S. library advocates battle unprecedented challenges to federal support; you can help.

ALA: Fighting for Funding | Federal Advocacy

On July 13, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies voted to recommend level funding in FY18 for IMLS, likely including $183 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program. The full Appropriations Committee markup and vote took place on July 19; the budget passed 28–22. While the vote was an important step toward securing federal library funding going forward, the fight is not over, says ALA president Jim Neal.