Virtual Membership Meeting: Well-Attended & Lively
ALA President Molly Raphael details some of her major initiatives and responds to member questions.
Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels provides a progress report on strategic initiatives.
The ALA’s first Virtual Membership Meeting in action on June 6, 2012.
Nearly 500 ALA members from around the world participated in the first-ever ALA Virtual Membership Meeting on Wednesday, June 6. It was a wonderful opportunity to convene the membership in an online setting to discuss current projects, ongoing initiatives, and the direction of the Association. Members were able to participate directly in the discussions through chat and voice over IP, asking questions of ALA leaders while sharing information and insights from their own libraries. A full video and document archive of the Meeting is available at http://connect.ala.org/members for your review.
Membership Meetings are convened for two main reasons: to communicate with members about the Association’s work and to allow members an opportunity to participate in setting policy for the Association by submitting resolutions for consideration. ALA President Molly Raphael delivered a report detailing her two initiatives focusing on Diversity and Leadership Development and Advocacy along with a recap of extensive meetings she and other ALA leaders have had with the publishing and author communities about eBooks and Libraries. She went on to detail the activities of the School Libraries Task Force empaneled to address the urgent need for advocacy for school libraries. Her complete report is available at http://connect.ala.org/node/178525 and in the video archive.
Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels gave an “ALA Progress Report” on work toward achieving the goals of the ALA 2015 Strategic Plan. He detailed Association and member efforts in Advocacy, Building the Profession, Transforming Libraries, Members Engagement, and Organizational Effectiveness. Highlights include the “Connecting with your Kids @ your library” advocacy campaign; the new ALA CE portal with more than 100,000 people participating in online learning last year; the Transforming Our Libraries, Ourselves theme for this year’s Annual Conference; new ways to engage with other members on Connect; and the success of several joint ALA and divisional membership recruitment campaigns. A full video and slide archive is on ALA Connect.
Clara Bohrer, chair of the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC), presented the ALA Financial report. She began with a discussion of the Association’s financial health and went on to detail ways that ALA management and member leaders continue to address the Association’s budget in a challenging economy. She went on to detail efforts to reduce expenditures and achieve efficiencies, actions taken to reallocate resources when possible, and new business initiatives like the recent acquisition of Neal-Schuman by ALA Publishing. The details are available via http://connect.ala.org/node/176920. Her full report is included in the video archive.
Under the leadership of the ALA Committee on Membership Meetings, this virtual event provided new access to Association information and business for members while allowing more participation by members who do not attend conferences regularly. On ALA Connect, committee members convened several discussion topics identified in a recent member survey as conversation starters. Two discussion threads were highlighted during the Meeting, with members invited to comment during the live event about their own experiences. The first topic, concerning “Improving the Role of Libraries in Our Communities,” elicited some interesting examples of the ways that libraries and librarians identify and address diverse needs in their communities. The second topic of “eBooks and Libraries” was a wide-ranging discussion and included Alan Inouye, director of the Office for Information Technology Policy, who provided an update about ALA’s ongoing leadership in this area. Comments and concerns were voiced from all types of libraries. Both discussions are included in the video and chat archives on Connect at http://connect.ala.org/members.
Membership Meetings are the venue for members to present resolutions for consideration and possible referral to ALA Council as policy recommendations, along with memorials and tributes to honor fellow members, both living and deceased, who have made a significant contribution to the profession and to libraries. While no resolutions were offered at the June 6 Virtual Membership Meeting, the ALA Resolutions Committee is ready to help in the preparation of any that are offered at the next Membership Meeting in Anaheim during ALA Annual Conference from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 23. Please see the committee page at http://www.ala.org/groups/committees/ala/ala-resolution for resources and guidelines.
Thanks to all who participated in making this first-ever Virtual Membership Meeting a success. The Members group on ALA Connect is open to all ALA members to continue the discussions started last Wednesday and to broaden the conversation about how ALA impacts the work lives and workplaces of our members. Your membership makes a difference for libraries. Thank you for being a part of the ALA.