Magazine article American Libraries

Continuing Education, Social Responsibility Top Agenda

Magazine article American Libraries

Continuing Education, Social Responsibility Top Agenda

Article excerpt

Continuing education for librarians and social responsibility topped the agenda of the ALA Executive Board at its three meetings during Annual Conference in Washington, D. C., June 25-July 1. The Association's management body also approved the 1998-99 budget and received financial reports from Treasurer Bruce Daniels, Endowment Trustee Bernard Margolis, and Fund for America's Libraries Executive Director Walter Hansen.

"It is the best time in the history of library service to be involved with libraries," said Darlene Weingand, professor at the University of Wisconsin/Madison SLIS. She recommended that the Association focus on certification, distance education, creating a continuing education clearing-house, and supporting support staff. The key to success, Weingand noted, is partnerships. Enhancing the library's role in public education through Public Programs was also recommended.

The presentation (EBD#12.20) -- in which Weingand was joined by Patrick Golden of the Williamsburg (Va.) Public Library, Carolyn Anthony, Skokie (Ill.) Public Library director and chair of the ALA Committee on Education, and ALA staffers Associate Executive Director for Communications Peggy Barber, Public Programs Director Deb Robertson, and Office for Library Personnel Resources Director Lorelle Swader -- was the second in a planned series aimed at informing the board in the Association's "key action areas," adopted last year: "education and continuous learning,diversity, intellectual freedom, equity of access, and 21st-century literacy."

Board member Martin Gomez noted that these recommendations need to be "discussed in connection with the summit on library education," which the board initiated at its spring meeting (AL, June/July, p. 118).

Ginnie Cooper, president of ALA's Public Library Association, reported on a plan to create a "certified public library administrator" program (EBD#12.21),which the board approved. The plan involves creating a separate 501C-6 organization to administer what Cooper said "is not licensing, it's voluntary enhancement" jointly developed by PLA, the Library Administration and Management Association, and the Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies.

Board member Nancy Kranich remarked that this kind of action "is positioning ALA to take up the slack from library schools as they give up on the `L' word."

Socially responsible investing

Is ALA's investment strategy socially responsible? Endowment Trustee Bernard Margolis fielded questions from the board (EBD#13.1). "We have always looked at the endowment as a way to make money," he said, advising that were the Association to invest only in companies with policies and positions in agreement with its own, earnings would undoubtedly suffer. ALA currently owns stock in 167 companies.

Considering the logistics and loss involved in either investing only in companies that are identifiably socially responsible or simply avoiding those that are overtly irresponsible, the board concluded that the latter was the most appropriate course for ALA.

Fund Director Hansen reported (EBD#6.6) that Kenneth B. Miller, great grandson of Andrew Carnegie, had joined the fund board of directors. He observed that the fund needed more time to be effective and said several sponsorship deals were in the works under the tutelage of the Gable Group consultants. …

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