Magazine article American Libraries

Chapter Report: Offshore Librarians Are Growing Stronger

Magazine article American Libraries

Chapter Report: Offshore Librarians Are Growing Stronger

Article excerpt

IMAGINE LIVING IN A PARALLEL world--a world where the average winter day is sunny and 81 degrees, where you can sway in a hammock on a soft sandy beach with a book in hand as the waves roll in. Or, image joining an ALA state chapter where you learn about the latest trends in library technology and then listen to a lecture on Aloha shirts. Well, if you combine these concepts then you'll have a good idea of the opportunities available in ALA's premier offshore state chapter, the Hawaii Library Association (HLA).

Even though Hawaii has a reputation for a relaxed lifestyle, for a variety of reasons many of our librarians face a demanding schedule that leaves little time and energy for professional activity. To those concerned with the health of HLA, there have been signs that its vibrancy has declined over the past decade. Notably, a decline in membership, conference attendance, volunteers, leaders, and general activities have plagued the chapter.

However, I would like to share some steps we are taking to strengthen our association and enliven our members.

Spatial management

Although Hawaii is made up of 132 islands strung across 1,600 miles of the Pacific Ocean, our population resides on only six--Oahu (where most people live) and its neighbors, Kauai to the north, and Molokai, Maui, Lanai, and Hawaii to the south. A review of HLA operations revealed few, if any, members and programs on the neighbor islands.

To remedy this, we created "island liaison" positions to help HLA manage affairs. Liaisons provide the Executive Board with a first point of contact for their island. They work with local librarians, both members and nonmembers, to identify programming needs, promote and advertise HLA events, and supply the HLA newsletter editors with library-related stories. With an annual budget of $500 each, island liaisons sponsor two local continuing-education programs before our annual conference.

By dividing the state into geographic zones, we have boosted programming in underserved areas throughout the state.

Continuing education

Each of our six sections sponsors two continuing-education events on Oahu before the annual conference. Although each controls its own budget and operates independently, the section heads meet at the beginning of the year to coordinate programming to ensure an even flow of events throughout the year. Once again, care is taken to distribute programming to different geographic areas on Oahu.

Innovative programming

While the majority of our continuing-education programs focus on the latest techniques and trends in library management, we are expanding our events to include information management in a variety of organizations. For example, in a program titled "Information Jungle," HLA members visited the Honolulu Zoo to learn how the staff manages its information needs. …

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