Sustaining Advocacy: A Presidential Journey Ends, but the Push Continues

By Alire, Camila | American Libraries, June-July 2010 | Go to article overview

Sustaining Advocacy: A Presidential Journey Ends, but the Push Continues


Alire, Camila, American Libraries


My presidential year was all about a journey--literally and virtually. Part of reviving the old Route 66 from Chicago to LA (in this case, Library Advocacy), my presidential initiatives focused on frontline library advocacy and advocacy for literacy. Although my journey is concluding, advocacy will be sustained after my presidency ends.

I never imagined that I could be so excited by something called advocacy; but witnessing these initiatives designed and implemented through the hard work of ALA member-volunteers has truly been one of the highlights of my career.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Many thanks to Patty Wong and Julie Todaro (read their article on page 82), who served as cochairs of the Presidential Initiatives Steering Committee, as well as Marci Merola, director of the Office for Library Advocacy (OLA); Dale Lipschultz, ALA literacy officer; and JoAnne Kempf, director of the ALA Governance Office, for all their time, dedication, and hard work. Words cannot express my appreciation. The same gratitude is extended to all of the member-volunteers who worked on the initiatives.

Frontline Advocacy Toolkits are available online (ala.org/frontlineadvocacy/) for libraries of all kinds to adapt and use. The front-line library advocacy program is more timely now than ever before, given our nation's economy and the funding challenges libraries are facing. The movement is designed to supplement the legislative advocacy efforts of state chapters' legislative committees, library boards, and Friends groups. Information and tools for the initiative are permanently housed at ala.org/advocacyuniversity.

My other presidential initiative on family literacy and libraries is equally exciting. Thanks to Mary Jo Venetis for shepherding this effort with representatives from ALA's five ethnic affiliates. The affiliates' Family Literacy Focus working groups have awarded grants to various libraries across the country to develop projects that can be replicated by public libraries all over the country. …

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