Leadership Lessons and CIPA Resolutions

By Watkins, Christine | American Libraries, September 2001 | Go to article overview

Leadership Lessons and CIPA Resolutions


Watkins, Christine, American Libraries


This year's World Book/ALA Goal Award of $10,000 went to ALA's Chapter Relations Committee for a proposal entitled "Creating Library Leaders."

Developed by the committee and former Michigan Library Association Executive Director Marianne Hartzell, the project aims to establish training in leadership skills as an integral part of each chapter's mission.

"Several chapters already have some form of leadership training, such as Texas and Michigan," says Hartzell. "And while leadership training alone is no guarantee of strong library services or even a strong chapter, there is surely some correlation. The grant and the workshop it will enable us to present in January are the first steps in institutionalizing this type of training for chapters in general.

"One of the roles of a national organization is to help level the playing field by extending opportunities to smaller states and chapters that wouldn't be able to develop these programs on their own. Given the 'aging' of the profession, with many current leaders nearing retirement, the need to train new leaders is stronger than ever."

Leading in New Orleans

A full-day workshop will be held January 18, 2002, in conjunction with the ALA Midwinter Meeting in New Orleans, to train two individuals from each of ALA's 57 chapters in the effective design, promotion, management, and evaluation of a leadership training program. The knowledge gained at the session will be applicable to a variety of leadership training initiatives, and participants will have access to an online discussion list following the training to share information and raise questions.

An outline of the training session and an invitation to identify two individuals to attend the training will be sent to each chapter in September. Thanks to the grant, the workshop will be offered free of charge, but chapters and participants will be asked to commit to developing a leadership program within their respective chapters in the year following the training.

Leading the CIPA way

Twenty-two states and one regional chapter responded to a recent query about local efforts and activities relating to the current lawsuit filed by ALA against the Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA) (see p. 16). The comments about the dollars raised and the resolutions passed were interesting, but most telling were the varied tones of voice in this chorus of professional values, pragmatic librarianship, and political savvy.

Understanding and communicating all aspects of this issue is what being an information professional is all about. The decision to "go public" with association support on a Web site, in a newspaper article, or in a letter to an elected official is a powerful act that requires preparation and care in order to be effective. Public understanding and grassroots opposition will be among the most potent allies for overturning the provisions of the act, and neither will come from simply toeing the party line. Support that comes with some struggle maybe even stronger in the long run.

From Kathy Ellen Bullard, chapter councilor, Rhode Island Library Association (RILA):

RILA passed a resolution in favor of ALA's CIPA action in February 2001. …

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