Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dear ALA - please focus

Just a quick aside because it drives me (& a number of other present & former ALA members) nuts:

Dear ALA,
I know that you're decent folks and have a great social conscience. That's wonderful. But - unless it relates to things like library's budgets being cut, better marketing & spokespeople to help libraries publicize their value so they DON'T get cut, pushing for less restrictive copyright legislation, getting database and other vendors to make their licensing more standardized and their systems less proprietary & expensive, opposing the censorship of books/information resources, (library-specific concerns... and there are plenty of them out there) - I don't want to hear about it at your annual conference.
If members want to be involved in getting troops out of Afghanistan or Iraq or whatever, they can feel free to do so. There's an array of organizations designed to deal with those issues (have you heard of Moveon.org?).
For as long as ALA distracts itself with geopolitical concerns that are not related specifically to the library profession, it's taking its eye off the ball. Since there are still such huge concerns out there to contend with as the role of libraries in the future (and even whether or not there is one, let alone what it will look like), I think ALA can't afford to spend its time on these matters.


Natty said...

Hear, hear!

Anonymous said...

Well said!!! Count me as a current ALA member who is in complete agreement.
I'd like to see all of our library organizations focus on the specific needs of their constituents. Social conscience is necessary, but like you say, there are lots of organizations, churches, etc. who have this as their mission.