January 14, 2018

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.

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.

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.

Tools You Can Use | Federal Advocacy

At ALA’s recent annual conference, ALA’s Washington Office (WO) reported to Council that the 2017 National Legislative Day was the biggest ever. But if you missed it, fear not—WO and ALA as a whole also have many tips for how local librarians on the front lines can get involved with the fight for federal funding from their hometown without traveling to DC. For more tools and tips, see ALA’s Fight for Libraries! Campaign Tools.

“Acting for Humanity”: Libraries Worldwide Respond to UN Sustainable Development Goals | ALA Annual 2017

The majority of the offerings at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago focused on libraries and library-related content based in the United States and Canada. A notable exception was the International Relations Round Table (IRRT) Chair’s Program, “Acting for Humanity: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Libraries,” which took a look at how libraries both domestic and abroad are working to address the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed by the United Nations (UN) Development Programme.

OITP’s Report from the Swamp | ALA Annual 2017

Looking beyond the headlines to examine public policy issues that affect the American Library Association (ALA), panelists at the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) session “Report from the Swamp: Policy Developments from Washington” discussed the need for ongoing vigilance—and also promising avenues for advocacy.