Magazine article American Libraries

Statement by Teri R. Switzer, Candidate for ALA Treasurer. (ALA Election)

Magazine article American Libraries

Statement by Teri R. Switzer, Candidate for ALA Treasurer. (ALA Election)

Article excerpt

This is an exciting time to be a librarian and it is an even more exciting time to be actively involved in ALA. Today's librarian is called on to assume a myriad of roles--educator, researcher, activist, and advocate. And these roles are made possible by the leadership and support that ALA provides. ALA continues to face challenging times and it needs to retain its aggressive leadership function. However, in order to continue with this role, it is imperative that ALA maintain its fiscal solvency.

Opportunities and challenges

In many respects, the future of our libraries lies in the hands of ALA. All types of libraries, from all over the country, depend on ALA to set the stage for assuming a proactive posture on such issues as recruitment, pay equity, intellectual freedom and related legislative issues, technology standards, and diversity. Although ALAction 2005 provides a solid strategic direction for the short term, ALA has to continue to move beyond the present and build on these action plans. It needs to take a serious look at its economic status to ensure its ability to provide the monetary support that is needed for the long term.

Libraries matter, but this apparent value appears to be getting lost among the many other things that the populace holds important. There are many things that are valued on both global and local levels and ALA needs to continually monitor these values because during the past year ALA has experienced several unexpected uses of its financial resources. Although there is not an immediate danger in ALA's ability to fulfill its commitments to these causes, it is imperative that an adequate funding line be maintained to ensure continued support of these and any ensuing obligations.

There are numerous opportunities for ALA to spotlight its presence and keep its commitments funded. ALA has done an excellent job keeping abreast of the changes and investigating new ventures. Establishing such programs as the Spectrum Scholarship fund, the Children's Internet Protection Act Legal Defense Fund, and completing the five-year business plan for the Allied Professional Association are all positive steps towards ensuring ALA's presence. However, we need to strategically plan how to fund other initiatives such as the last year of the "@ your library campaign" while budget reductions are looming and funding opportunities are limited. …

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