There have been several posts of late and more and more , that got me to communicating (via Twitter, Meebo Rooms, IM, and email) with several folks about how to un-break some broken things at our favorite association.
Here’s a quickie overview of our side conversation so far:
- What should be ALA’s Core focus? (someone posted the 7 key areas page, not what I meant)
- Why [does / do] [ALA / the Divisions] seem so inefficient? (bureaucracy build-up of a century)
- Do we need term limits on Councilors? (maybe, maybe not – probably won’t/can’t happen)
- How to get the newer people involved in a discussion about what ALA’s Core mission should be?
- How do we get change agents (and a majority) elected to Council?
- How does the bureaucracy need to be streamlined?
- What other changes need made?
How’s this for a soundbyte?
“ALA needs to focus on libraries and librarians, and we’re pledging to push the conversation where it needs to be”
There’s loads to be hashed out & while dispersed conversation is good, a wiki should make it easier to turn out a finished product. So let me introduce to you, the one and only
Billy Shears… Improve ALA Wiki. [UPDATE] (try the three lowercase initials of our favorite association as the pwd)
See below the fold for some of my view of our conversation notes or head on over to the Wiki to see what we’ve done so far.
Raw notes from conversations section:
* Change agents to Council: no, we need a majority on council, as that’s how Exec Board will be elected. But to do that a group of like-minded people need to agree to run as a slate and vote as a bloc. Can that be done?
* I really like the idea of running as a slate — the question is what platforms could this bloc espouse and still make it through to a successful election?
* Start with a core of like-minded people and get them talking. Have conversations with ALA members where we ask people what their concerns are.
* “ALA needs to focus on libraries and librarians, and we’re pledging to push the conversation where it needs to be: improving our image in society, fighting library closures, evaluating the accreditation process.”
* Change this perception: All Council does is pass far-left-of-center ‘social’ resolutions. I’d add that it doesn’t even pass *useful* social resolutions;.. ALA doesn’t have any influence over institutions that discriminate against its own members.
ALA Core Mission & Finances:
* The financial issue needs reframing, once we figure what ALA should be doing the costs of doing so need defining and monetizing and costing out.
* Basically, the Association finances need to become more transparent — as members become aware how the funds generated are applied, the rubber will meet the road and the pain points will be clearer. The Membership basically have no idea where their money goes
* Inefficiencies (Divisional or otherwise) — again, figuring out where the price (or financial pain) points are will help fix or at least demonstrate the inefficiencies (each Division should be covering their own costs, ALA should be getting remunerated for only what ALA puts in)
* The question of what ALA should be doing is a good one. Right now most of the revenue is from conferences and publishing, with the latter somewhat flatlined in the last several years. ALA’s legislative advocacy is—to me—important work.
ALA Priorities (which most could get behind?)
* Legislative Advocacy
* Public Programs
* Intellectual Freedom
* Equity of Access