Statement by Ann Symons, Candidate for ALA President

Article excerpt

In 1993, our small community of Juneau, Alaska, erupted in an emotional censorship incident over the book Daddy's Roommate. Leading our school district's fight made me realize how essential ALA is to my everyday life as a working librarian. More important, ALA gave me the tools I needed to do my job: leadership skills, continuing education, and a network of colleagues to call upon for help. As a result of our success, I was honored with the Freedom to Read Foundation Roll of Honor Award and the AASL/SIRS Intellectual Freedom Award.

Involvement

I am ready to be your president. I have a long history of involvement in ALA: as a member of several divisions, Council, the Executive Board, treasurer, and now as chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee.

ALA has empowered me to make a difference. I have learned how to encourage Ted Stevens, Alaska's influential senator, to support ALA's positions on libraries and on citizen access to government information. ALA offers everyone - every kind of librarian at every level - an opportunity to participate. I believe ALA can equip all librarians to succeed in their daily work lives, just as it has helped me to protect and promote services to youth in my community. Together and focused we are strong.

To the next millenium

ALA Goal 2000 has made a difference for libraries and librarians. As ALA treasurer, I helped ensure that we had the financial resources to make this unprecedented strategic initiative a success. Today we are reaping numerous benefits from ALA Goal 2000, including increased federal funding, the passage of LSTA, discounted telecommunication rates, the promise of universal service, a growing Fund for America's Libraries, and a positive district court ruling on the Communications Decency Act (CDA). We have a major leadership role in the Supreme Court and New York State CDA cases. The press is covering libraries like never before and library school enrollments are swelling.

Opportunities and challenges

We have come a long way in the last few years. Now we must build upon this effort and take Goal 2000 into the next century. Our profession is changing, yet our mission remains the same. We have many opportunities and many challenges. My list includes:

* equitable access to global information,

* those who would dictate what we read, hear, and view,

* rural and school libraries connected to the Internet,

* fair use in a digital age,

* continuing education for ourselves and our staffs, and

* the information needs of an increasingly diverse population. …