Magazine article American Libraries

Statement by Leslie Burger, Candidate for ALA President

Magazine article American Libraries

Statement by Leslie Burger, Candidate for ALA President

Article excerpt

I accepted the nomination for the ALA presidency because I believe that I can provide the dynamic leadership to transform libraries into the well-funded, highly valued resources that Americans deserve and desire. By working together and speaking with a unified voice, we can galvanize public opinion so no individuals or communities are left behind in the information age. Today, we face slashed budgets as well as closed libraries. We must act quickly and decisively not only to stop the loss of access but also to bring to our constituents tomorrow's libraries today.

I live by the philosophy "If you can dream it, you can do it." We are only limited in our ability to get things done by the boundaries of our imagination. At the Princeton (N.J.) Public Library, I applied skills gained as an active participant in ALA, consultant, and division and chapter president to demonstrate how leadership can transform libraries. Within a year of coming to Princeton, I mobilized public support and raised sufficient funds to build a new library that captured the heart and soul of our community. Similar results in libraries where I have worked or served as a consultant prove that good leadership can turn around public, school, and academic libraries throughout the nation.

As ALA president, I will apply my successful leadership experience to stretch the Association's boundaries well beyond its current limits, helping members demonstrate the power and value of libraries to transform lives within their communities.

Setting a policy agenda

I will work to ensure that ALA is the leading voice in formulating policies that affect libraries and librarians. We must build a proactive legislative agenda that reframes the debate to promote the public interest and advance our shared vision for the next generation of library users. We must stand for equitable, free, and open access by countering attempts to undermine this in the public arena. Our powerful stance on issues to protect access to government information, free expression, and privacy must set the tone for our positions on similar issues. I will ensure that ALA remains vigilant in monitoring attempts to abridge our intellectual freedom and civil liberties and make sure that all members have the tools they need to defend such attacks at the local level. …

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