Wednesday, October 25, 2006

JCLC Conference Notes, Day One: Presidents' Plenary

This session was moderated by Keith Michael Fiels, Executive Director of ALA. It featured Leslie Burger, current ALA President, Loriene Roy, the upcoming ALA President, and past presidents Carol Brey-Casiano and Carla Hayden. The topic of discussion was "Successes and Challenges in Addressing Diversity Issues."

  • Brey-Casiano saw the ALA presidency as a humbling experience. Her initiative: the Many Voices, One Nation reading program. The reading list is still available and growing.
  • Roy is the first Native person elected. She finds that some are angry at her for not talking enough about her culture, and others are angry at her for talking too much about it.
  • Burger hopes to accomplish many things in the remaining months of her pregnancy (she meant to say presidency, but slipped). She sees her term as a chance to create opportunities for future leaders, an opportunity for all members (I have my questions about that statement, but I will refrain for now). Her first presidential task was the committee appointments. Her initiative is the Emerging Leaders program, which got 342 applications for 100 spots, all under 35 years of age. She has discovered that simple things can turn out to be controversial, like her "volunteers" out of retirees initiative. (I have my questions about those two things too, but, I will refrain for one. Two, a few other librarian bloggers have raised some of the questions out there better than I could.)
  • Hayden: Her challenge was attracting librarians to urban zones given the low salaries for one. Maybe an idea to solve this is "growing your own."
(As I sit there, I am still wondering over the emphasis on recruitment. Why the heck do we need so many librarians as they make it sound given the dismal job market? There are plenty of students looking for jobs. Is the issue really recruitment?).

  • Brey-Casiano: Her challenge was asking if we will be able to provide services in libraries to everyone? Or rather, she wanted to answer that question. What about immigrants, especially given the post-9/11 climate? Her other challenge, similar to Hayden's, as she is in El Paso, which is a nice city, low cost of living, decent salaries (i.e. you'd think people would want to go work there). It is a community growing in terms of diversity. They are using a "growing your own" approach.
  • Roy, on a humorous moment, claims to be the only ALA President to have given anyone a barium enema (she has a previous life in hospitals).


Mark said...

" 342 applications for 100 spots, all under 35 years of age."

That, is interesting. Did she make it sound as if everyone who applied were under 35, or if the 100 spots all went to those under 35?

Interesting is all...

Angel, librarian and educator said...

Mark: Actually, that was exactly the impression I got, that the 100 chosen were all under the age of 35. Now, whether that was coincidence, "good planning," or something a bit more left to conspiracy theorists, I will leave that others to ponder. But it sounded clear that those selected were all under 35. She did sound pretty pleased about that fact (take that for what it's worth. Just my impression being in the audience). It does make me wonder if the fact that "under 35" only was the initial requirement had something to do with it, maybe they got less "older" applicants? Interesting indeed. Best, and keep on blogging.