ALA Membership Dues and You

For those not in the know (like me until a week or so ago)… ALA has begun (again) discussion on strategies for adjusting dues.

The last time ALA has discussed this was back around 2006 when people started complaining about the dues structure and how “one-size for all” was unfair to certain groups of the membership. The entity which discussed this back then was the “Presidential Task Force on the Graduated Dues Study” (I was a member of the Reactor Panel to this TF).

The contemporary discussion will be framed with this document [link corrected] (or a newer version) as a starting point. This topic will be on the agendas of the ALA Membership Committee, the ALA Membership Promotion Task Force, BARC, and Finance and Audit. The four ALA Annual meetings I’ve linked here are Open Meetings (ALA Policy 7.4.x). Feedback from these discussions will be incorporated into a revised proposal that will be presented to BARC and the Executive Board, probably at their Fall meeting.

If you are interested in the background data & discussions, I encourage you to attend these meetings and report out what you hear (alas, I’m already triple-plus-overbooked, but I hope to make at least part(s) of these meetings).

Dues, I’ve learned over the years, is a sticky wicket – there are more opinions about dues than there are paying or lapsed members.

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Cry Havoc! Who Cares, anyway?

I’ve got a head of steam building as I participate in my various ALA-related governance activities. Enough that the vague intention of “Reboot the Blog” has crystallized into actually updating (well, finally creating) a tagline to sort of define what I should talk about.

As always, one of my friends said it better than I could:

“We’re sort of mumbling to ourselves, which amounts to rearranging the deck chairs.
I waffle between ‘Cry havoc!’ and ‘Who cares, really?'”

The answer to that semi-rhetorical question is: *I* Care.

Cry Havoc!

Library Day in the Life Round 6.5

omg, it’s already the end of the day Friday?! Where has the week gone…
(I plead 1.5 days of low-health-score-induced delirium)

So, #libday6.3 was me feeling pretty woozy, but stubbornly coming in to work early (for my late shift) and amazingly knocking out 4 course guides for classes I am teaching before the end of the month (yes, Monday). Then the university looked at the weather forecast and canceled evening classes (which meant that one course guide was not needed until next Wednesday) and I, I to took the wuss route and went to the Dr.’s office, but the Dr.’s office was closed (due to the weather) so I went home with my woozy, took some fever reducer, and went to bed, and slept the night away.

So, #libday6.4 was me unconsciously taking Miss10 and NeighborKid to school and going back to bed (apparently I *seemed* as functional as ever, if a little tired looking, but remember none of this) until noon when MPOW colleagues called, worried that I’d died in the driveway shoveling snow or something, and then my wife called, because work colleagues had called her (she apparently thought had gone in to work), I reassured both parties and napped again until I had to drive the drum shuttle (Miss10 had a drum lesson, we thought, but apparently not), then I took some fever reducer and went to bed again.

And now today, #libday6.5 (after the 1.5 day sob story of sobbiness) – woke up very functional, came in to work and killed many little problems dead. Got distracted by the shiny on the internet for too long in the middle of the day (right after lunch). Directed one prof to Safari books, reviewed Value Line subscription (omg, that tab is still open, did I finish it yet?!), reviewed resources for another course guide and am thinking about how to organize then so my bright-tailed and bushy-eyed, Monday Morning at 8 a.m., Supply Chain Management students will be shocked to sudden wakefulness and be impressed at the wisdom and resources with which they are being directed.

Note to self : Lunchtime breaks = very bad for productivity for rest of day
(a.k.a : eat bigger breakfast, hold out for dinner)

Off to wrap up Value Line and that pesky Course Guide. Have a good weekend, kids; see you on the internets somewhen…

Library Day in the Life Round 6.2

Successfully got one big priority (completed while multitasking in a webinar) passed on to the next level for review and feedback (yay) – got completely zero done on 2nd priority (so will come in early tomorrow to get it done).

Wide open blocks of time on my calendar (which mean time to get things done) – but only the 2nd tier stuff got done. Remember to block out time on the calendar for nose-to-the-grindstone efforts on high-priority projects. Or maybe just get busier so I can multitask on meetings some more 🙂

Here’s the main question I want answered from the webinar this morning: “What do students want from a SMS/text reference service?

Piddly stuff = done :: LibGuide for class tomorrow night = ?
(where “?” equals “not started” *sigh*)

Low reflective quotient for this post, gotta go now…

Library Day in the Life Round 6.1

Looking back at my tweets today, I see I have a high priority project which keeps getting bumped by other, immediate-term, fires (which I quench, handily).

I’ve already spoken with the Dean and Dept Chair about remedying this sort of thing, but the reality is I *do* have the answers to a lot of stuff which goes on around here. (maybe if I could get Ignotus Peverell’s Invisibility Cloak… or maybe if I could feed off despair… no, no, the invisibility cloak would fit my style much better)

As always, stuff will get done (I’m staying late (again) to be sure of that, though I really should balance my life a bit better and go home to vegetate and power up on creativity through self-misdirection) in spite of the impedimenta.

Moar tomorrow… remember, Library Day in the Life is a Week-long event (or so I read on the internet today)

ALA Council Patterns and Churn

Based on an email exchange over on the ALA Council list, I did some noodling around (my wife would call it procrastinating on my tenure documentation) with Diedre Conkling’s ALA Council service records spreadsheet over on the Feminist Task Force Wiki and responded to the discussion [text of my response below].

I wonder what sort of discussion non-ALA-Councilors would have about the discussion (hence the plethora of links above for background discovery)

Generally, or, what the numbers below say to *me*, it takes ~10 years to change the general mind-set of ALA Council on a given topic. It takes ~7 years to change the general mind set of the Exec Bd.

This roughly aligns with my observations over the last seven or so years. For example, in 2009 Council passed the TFoEMP recommendations — many of which were originally proposed to Council, piecemeal, at least a decade earlier (these proposals were already at least five years old when I started observing Council around 2003/4 – I defer to longer-serving / institutional-memory types for the accurate dates)

Through discussions and observation with EB members and former members, I think the Exec Board was ready to move many of the “piecemeal precursors to the TFoEMP recommendations” forward around 2006, but were aware of Council’s still-simmering resistance to these recommendations, which resulted in the TFoEMP creation and their ultimate passage.

Then I went a little preachy, what can I say? *shrug*

I’m not convinced today’s libraries and their information environment can withstand ten years of resistance to new ideas and technologies from the leading voice for libraries and library users when the life span of some technologies is less than 3 years from cutting-edge to obsolescence.

Am I saying three year terms are too long? Hahaha, no
Am I saying there should be term limits? Again, no.
Am I saying there needs to be better representation from people who leverage today’s technologies and/or think about tomorrow’s upcoming technologies? Yes. Unequivocally, yes.

A person’s age does not matter.
A person’s amount of experience with ALA / Governance does not matter
(though time-in-grade may help at the Exec Board level).

Awareness of the:
* possible futures ahead for library and information organizations,
* fights necessary to ensure encoding, retention, dispersion/aggregation, archiving, findability, use, and creation of information and their supporting data structures,
* potentials for leading or guiding discussion in the near term and the long term for the benefit of libraries and users, and
* awareness of how the results of short- and near-term decisions and policies enacted today can affect the usability of data and information far into the future;
These are key concerns which every member of Council and the Exec board should be able to address in some facet or another.

Right now, ALA is still a strong consolidation of voices – we have 60,000+ members.

How effective we are in today’s situation(s) will affect how many voices we can claim to speak for in the future.
We have a growing number of people who are well-embedded in today’s information culture. We may not like where today’s information culture is going, but it *is* going to continue to go somewhere.

We can attempt to fight it and be rolled under the wave, or we can leap on a surfboard and ride the wave, bobbing and weaving around obstacles, but still serving as a consolidated voice for libraries and library users.
That’s why we’re here, isn’t it?

The ALA mission comes to mind again:
“To provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”

I’m interested to hear what you think about the requirements for the leadership of ALA (whether you’re a member or not) – what is more important in councilors or Executive Board members:

  • experience with governance?
  • awareness of current and/or future challenges/opportunities?
  • popularity?
  • ability to verbalize well?
  • ability to inform or prioritize efforts?
  • what else?

Thanks for reading…