Rolling with the Punches
Kniffel, Leonard, American Libraries
I don't know anybody who hasn't been hurt by this economic debacle that seems to be turning the entire country on its head--any number of countries, in fact. At the American Library Association, we've been hit just like everybody else. It is tempting to do a lot of hand-wringing and tooth-gnashing because it seems as if nothing will ever be the same. But honestly, when has anything ever been the same? And we have to ask ourselves, "The same as what?"
When expenses exceed revenue something has got to give, but after it does, forward is the only viable direction. It's hard to argue otherwise. Responsible employers have to reorganize and adjust during these difficult times. Most managers at ALA, including me, have never lived through an economic situation as serious as the one we face today. In the round of staff reductions that occurred at ALA in May, eight positions were regretfully eliminated (following the elimination of 10 last year). Among them was a senior editor at American Libraries, a post occupied by Gordon Flagg, who had been with AL since 1982.
Moving forward as ALA Publishing reorganizes, our top priority is to continue to deliver the professional content that library professionals need and want, when they need it most. Part of our plan for reorganization involves the shift to web--first publishing, which we undertook in January. In 2011 we will be moving to six bimonthly print issues of AL, which will contain as much to read as ever but will be less costly to produce and mail. …