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Report from ALA Midwinter Conference

Hello from your ALA Councilor, Steve Butzel. As the New Hampshire Chapter Councilor on the ALA Council, I recently attended the 2011 ALA Midwinter Conference. Today I’d like to give you an update on the report councilors received from Roberta Stevens, President of ALA.

At the ALA Council/Executive Board/Membership Information Session, President Stevens provided a brief overview of her complete report to the Association.  In particular, she highlighted her presidential initiatives, which you can learn more about at her website, http://www.robertastevens.com/initiatives.html. The first initiative she discussed was “Our Authors, Our Advocates”, which is an effort to enlist well-known and beloved authors to speak out for libraries through video and audio PSAs and quotes.  Authors who have participated to date include Laurie Halse Anderson, David Baldacci, Carmen Agra Deedy, Sharon Draper, Sara Paretsky, Scott Turow, and Mo Willems.  More have been contacted and are expected to confirm their participation.  Visit www.ilovelibraries.org/ourauthorsouradvocates for more information.  

She next reviewed her Frontline Fundraising initiative.  This initiative will provide librarians with tools and skills needed at the local level to supplement their budget regardless of the size and type of library. An online toolkit will be launched in February and will provide information on developing a fundraising plan and online giving, establishing a planned giving program, and conducting an annual fund drive.  

Finally she reviewed the "Why I Need My Library" Contest for teens, which will be soft-launched in January. This contest is intended to use young people to communicate why libraries are needed now more than ever. The initiative takes immediate-past-President Camila Alire’s member-driven, grassroots advocacy and Jim Rettig’s experimentation with social networking a step further with the aim of adding to the arsenal techniques for frontline advocacy and engaging a new constituency in supporting libraries. The products will be short videos by children and young adults made available on YouTube and the ilovelibraries and @yourlibrary websites. The winners will identify either their school or local public library as the beneficiary of cash prizes for the best videos in the contest.

Overall, I was very impressed with President Stevens throughout the entire conference. She did an excellent job facilitating what can be contentious Council sessions, and proved herself to be knowledgeable and enthusiastic about a wide range of ALA initiatives.

I’ll share more about the conference in future blog posts, but feel free to send me any questions you may have about the Midwinter Conference or about ALA in general. The more familiar I get with ALA’s numerous sections, roundtables, task forces and professional staff, the more I am impressed.

Thanks,
Steve Butzel, ALA Councilor, skbutzel at cityofportsmouth.com

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