ACRL

College & Research Libraries News

ALA candidates on ACRL

The four candidates for ALA president share their views on academic and research librarianship.

Recently the ALA presidential candidates were asked to give some thought to ALA/

ACRL relations and academic librarianship in general for this exclusive C&RL News feature. Their statements may aid you when you vote for ALA officers on this spring’s ballot.

Charles Bunge:

Greetings ACRL Colleagues,

I appreciate this opportunity to share my views with members of ALA’s largest division. As the president of an ALA division and in many other association activities, I have learned that ALA can accomplish its mis- sion only if it has strong divisions. Divisions can remain effective through cooperation and joint programming, so that their members are not pulled and tugged among divisions or blocked from helpful services by inter- divisional barriers and duplication of effort. As president of ALA, I would encourage efforts to strengthen divisions and cooperation among them.

Charles Bunge

I also have learned that divisions can be strong and effective only if ALA as a whole, including its centralized functions, is healthy and vested with enough authority to guarantee the overall viability of the association. As president, I would work hard toward optimizing the balance between central ALA functions and decentralized membership units, striving for a shared vision based on mutual trust. As your position paper for the upcoming White House Conference says, academic libraries are a source of national strength. Academic librari- ans will continue to play fundamental roles in the evolution and health of a learning society. And yet, the challenges you face in carrying out these roles have reached the crisis level. The needs for re- sources and services are growing in quantity, inten- sity, and complexity, while the funds to meet these needs are increasingly scarce. ACRL’s role must be to empower individual academic librarians to meet these challenges as creatively and effectively as possible. As ALA President, I would help ACRL in every appropriate way to continue to be a strong division that accomplishes its important mission and to be a division that uses its strength to provide leadership among the divisions and for ALA as a whole.

Marilyn L. Miller:

I believe strongly in the diversity of ALA as expressed through its formal and affiliated units. ACRL, ALA’s largest division, stands as a model of organization and contribution to the overall association. ACRL is well organized; it is productive and well supported by academic librarians throughout the country; and it has been forceful in helping to move ALA ahead on many fronts.

Marilyn L. Miller

The nineties look nei- ther less promising nor less grim for academic libraries than they do for other types of libraries. The effects of an economy that is keeping positions frozen and budgets so low that books cannot be purchased will have a long-term impact on library development. High on my agenda will be support of efforts to find a solution to the escalating cost of periodicals, whether it be a return to a form of the once-discussed National Periodicals Center or another option. In spite of difficult times, the con- cern of academic librarians that they be part of the instructional team on their campuses should not abate. User education will become more of a criti- cal challenge to academic librarians as their student populations continue to change, not only in multic- ultural characteristics but in learning styles and strategies as well. Relating technology to library users will also remain a critical challenge to aca- demic librarians: student preference for learning resources other than books, increased computer literacy of students upon arrival on campus, indi- vidualized electronic packaging, scholarly worksta- tions. No less challenging will be the continuing pressures for library collections that reflect multic- ultural and gender perspectives. As President of the American Library Association I will support ACRL’s agenda for improved library service to academic library communities and I will speak wherever and whenever possible about the accom- plishments and funding needs of academic librar- ies.

Marvin H. Scilken:

I have published The U°N°A°B°A°S°H°E°,D Librarian since 1971. I have been a member of ACRL for many years (faithfully reading College and Research Libraries and C&-RL News) and have been a public li- brarian for 30 years.

I have been a member of ALA Council seven years and have intro- duced two successful resolutions to make the library book dollar go further. In the 1960s I called to the attention of the U.S. Senate Sub- committee on Antitrust and Monopoly the price- fixing of library books. Subsequent hearings engendered over a thousand suits, enabling schools and libraries to recover some $10,000,000 in overcharges. My letters are frequently published in the library press.

Marvin H. Scilken

I view ACRL’s role in ALA as akin to the role played by college and university librarians in my own local county library organization. It was a college librarian who pushed for borrowers to have reciprocal borrowing in the county. This is one example of cross fertilization and hybrid vigor which occurs when librarians from different types of libraries work together. ACRL is ALA’s largest division and its active members help create ALA’s culture.

Today many college and research libraries are suffering serious budgetary stresses. Contributing to these difficulties are the recession, rising serial costs, and declining enrollments. One answer is increased or at least stable library budgets. This can happen if "Libraries Receive the Credit They Deserve.” The credit they deserve is to be recognized as the center of intellectual activity in the scholarly community. American college and research libraries are essential to the flowering and continuation of American culture. Scholars, faculty, and accrediting bodies understand this position. If the university is the womb of our culture, maybe libraries should be thought of as the placenta and umbilical cord, nurturing and carrying knowledge to students and faculty and ultimately to the world at large.

The recognition and visibility of the library must be increased on campus and with administration. I see this effort for visibility as part of an overall grass roots effort to increase libraries’ visibility. As with public libraries, school libraries, and other libraries, library staff and administration must call the attention of local and national media to the central role of the library.

ALA’s president has the opportunity to effect only one or two major initiatives. I will establish a nationwide campaign to encourage, reward, and honor librarians and libraries that are effective in getting credit for libraries in the local and national media.

My slogan is “Working to get libraries the credit they deserve.”

Herbert S. White:

The library profession must always be seen by the outside world as a unified and unfragmented whole, but much of its internal energies as evidenced through re- search, conference pres- entations, and committee discussions will be channeled through its divisions. ALA must play a central role in such over-arching issues as governmental relations, professional image, and intellectual freedom, but it must never inter- fere with the growth and development of divi- sional programs, because that is where the vitality of the profession will continue to be concentrated. The present operating agreement is an excellent working tool, but it must continue to be discussed and modified to support what the members want to do. I expect to continue to see strong ACRL programs, and to participate in them.

Herhert S. White

My roots in ACRL are deep. I have been a member since I joined ALA, and ACRL represents my primary divisional affiliation. I have written three articles for College and Research Libraries, and I have spoken to more state ACRL chapters and on more college and university campuses than I can remember. Much of my research and writing centers on issues faced by academic librarians of professional status, of funding, of technology—and of course these are all interrelated. Probably my most consistent message on behalf of academic librarians as president of ALA would be to try to show academic administrators that in times of funding scarcity, of network development, and of resource sharing opportunities, it is not the size of the collection but more importantly the quality and support of the librarians that determine the effectiveness of the library and its ability to serve its users.

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