Leadership and Change

It takes a leader to face the reality of change; especially to face it, embrace it, and look for fresh views from people who might have some insights on how things could or should be - instead of being focused on how things are and why they should stay the same. A week or two ago, Jim Rettig — you know, the incoming ALA President — asked two sets of questions on NMRT-L. Leadership and Change is Aaron the Librarian's BIG answer.

Inevitably the people governing an organization are those who already know how to use the organization; just as we librarians are always trying to look at libraries with “new eyes” and make our libraries open and easy for the people coming in for the first time, its great that you as incoming president seem to be taking the time to try to step back and see ALA through the eyes of a “new user.” Like many a freshman student seeing a university library for a first time, I’m looking at ALA and seeing something that is enormous and filled with a lot of intimidating stuff that I really have no clue as to the value of, and very few clues on where to start trying to figure out how to make it most useful to me. So far, this NMRT list seems to be the closest thing to inviting and helpful signage that I’ve found!


OLA: The First 100 Days

You might wonder why the ALA needs an office called the Office for Library Advocacy. I sure do. Shouldn't the entire organization be the Association for Library Advocacy? Are they really so busy debating stupid council resolutions they needed to set up a new office for something that should be a primary function? But I digress...

In any case... Over at ALA Marganalia They Have A Post "OLA: The First 100 Days." ALA’s newest office, the Office for Library Advocacy (OLA), became official at the start of ALA’s fiscal year, September 1, 2007. Its existence is a direct response to ALA member needs identified through a number of surveys over the last several years. Advocacy is one of six goal areas in the ALA Ahead to 2010 strategic plan.

The purpose of OLA is to support the efforts of library advocates at the local, state and national level. The office works to create resources, training and peer-to-peer networks to help local advocates fulfill their local advocacy goals for the improvement of libraries of all types.

It looks like at least one office has some worthy goals!


CASLIS announces the creation of the Government Information Professionals Section

The Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services (CASLIS) is proud to announce the creation of the Government Information Professionals Section.

The Government Information Professionals Section represents the interests of librarians and information workers who provide library and information services to departments, agencies, and crown corporations of federal, provincial, territorial or municipal governments.


The Value of Libraries: 2008 CASLIS Ottawa Seminar

CASLIS Ottawa writes "CASLIS Ottawa is pleased to invite you to a two-day seminar to explore the value of special libraries — how we measure it and how we communicate it. The seminar will be held January 23 and 24, 2008 at 395 Wellington Street.

Special libraries — whether corporate, government or not-for-profit — face the constant struggle of justifying their existence and budgets and of explaining their value to their stakeholders. For more information, visit"

Light the Way: Outreach to the Underserved Grant

Here's good news about a one-time grant from the Association for Library Service to Children and Candlewick Press, publisher of Kate DiCamillo's popular kids books to honor a library (plus several honorable mentions) that serve underserved populations of young readers.

Said DiCamillo: "When I was a child from a broken home in search of comfort, librarians handed me a book. I am proud to join with ALSC today in this ongoing effort to put books into the hands of children who need the books--the light--the most."

Special population children may include those who have learning or physical differences, speak English as a second language, are in a non-traditional school environment or a non-traditional family setting (such as teen parents, foster children, children in the juvenile justice system and children in gay and lesbian families) and those who need accommodation service to meet their needs.

ALA's Got Wireframes

ALA has been in the process of redesigning their website for a while now. They did a Usability Assessment Report (pdf) at the end of last year. Now, Rob Carlson, ALA's Manager for Web Development, has just posted a link to wireframes for the new site. He's also posted a link to an online survey for user feedback.

Carlson cautiones that the wireframes are just "rough early sketches" without the visual detail or content of the finished site. They're there to give you an idea of where things are heading and how they'll be arranged. With that in mind, have a look yourself. The survey runs till the end of the month.

You can find out more about ALA's Website Redesign Project by going to the ALA Web Planning Wiki.


Social Respinsibilities Round Table Counting Some Out Of Recognition

Greg calls it ALA Election Fraud: The Social Responsibilities Round Table sent out a postcard of SRRT candidates for the election and left his name off, deliberately. He says the person who sent them, told him they "could not in good conscience play any role in votes being cast for you by anyone who is unaware of your hostility toward everything that SRRT stands for."
Greg says the money for these mailings comes from ALA.


ALA's custom search engine

rteeter writes "The American Library Association is experimenting with a Google custom search engine called the Librarian's E-Library. (Found via"

An interview with the ALA president

Jennifer Potter, president of the University at Buffalo chapter of ALA, had a chance to ask Leslie Burger, President of ALA, about her meeting with UB Provost Satish Tripathi and Interim Dean Lucinda M. Finley, in which they discussed the controversial decision to close the School of Informatics. In this recorded interview, Leslie reports a productive meeting that promised a bright future for the UB MLS program. Leslie also gives this advice to soon-to-graduate students: "Students need to be passionate about what they want to do. They need to create the change they want to see."

ALA's Website Survey

Anonymous Patron wrote in about an e-mail sent by ALA to its members a mere three and a half years since their site was redesigned:

We are currently conducting a usability assessment of our ALA website. This assessment is designed to take a very thorough look at the website, its problems and strengths, in order to guide ongoing improvements, development, and redesign.

You can connect to the survey here. Maybe this page would be the best place to start the rebuild?


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