ACRL

College & Research Libraries News

Meet the candidates for ALA President: Vote in the election this spring

by Maurice J. (Mitch) Freedman, Ken Haycock, and William Sannwald

The ACRL Board of Direc- tors posed the following questions to the candidates for ALA President, and C&RL News is pleased to publish their responses. Each candi- date was given 1,200 words in which he could choose to offer a brief opening state- ment and to respond to the questions; the responses are identified under each of the five questions.

Maurice J. Freedman

Ken Haycock

William Sannwald

Opening statement

Freedman:Academic libraries are facing pressures in the 21st century that didn't exist for most of the 20th. The Internet and electronic publishing, coupled with the UCITAlike appetites of the information industry, threaten the nation's academic libraries in several interrelated ways.

There are the administrators and funding bodies that love the idea of virtual, as opposed to physical, libraries. We must make the case for the continuing need for bricks and books, while acknowledging the extraordinary and complementary value of the electronic information.

The Internet is not a panacea. It is rife with self- and other-published “information” that is inaccurate, outdated, or otherwise of little or questionable worth. We must make the case to those whose belief in the Internet is quasi-religious that the academic librarian is the mediator who will organize and evaluate that inchoate mess and render it coherent to the academy’s community of users through such vehicles as bibliographic instruction, frontline day-in-day-out reference service, and a host of other means.

The information industry, commercial data owners, and now our former friend, the American Association of Publishers (AAP)— according to Pat Schroeder, AAP’s president, librarians are “the enemy”—want to eradicate the whole notion of fair use as well as other aspects of copyright law through UCITA legislation, shrink-wrap licensing, and excessively restrictive contracts for database usage. These attempts to unreasonably restrict access to electronic information are a threat to the future of libraries. Interlibrary loan, fair use photocopying, etc. could all become prohibited activities.

About the authors

MauriceJ. Freedman is director of the Westchester Library System, e-mail: freedman@wls.lib.ny.us; Ken Haycock is director of the University of British Columbia School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies, e-mail: ken.haycock@ubc.ca; William Sannwald is assistant to the city manager at San Diego Public Library, e-mail: wws@sdcity.sannet.gov

All of these challenges must be faced proactively and be vigorously opposed. As your ALA President, I will work closely with ACRL and others to fight for the continued fair use of databases and software and fight against excessive limitations on use in licensing agreements. No to UCITA!

Questions for ALA candidates

1. What are the fundamental values that you would emphasize as ALA President and what would be your top priorities?

Freedman:I will use the power of the ALA presidency to fight for these values and priorities:

• free access to libraries and information for all, no matter what their economic condition, physical challenges, ethnicity, national origin, sexual preference, or age;

• fair use of databases and software (No to UCITA! No to excessive limitations on use in licensing agreements);

• unfettered and unfiltered access to information in all formats;

• increased funding for libraries and government publication programs;

• better pay for all library workers—this will be a special priority. Pay equity is a crucial issue that I will address. Too many people are leaving or not entering academic library work because of inadequate salaries. I will use the power of the ALA presidency to promote the worth of librarians and provide tools for local libraries in their effort to obtain equitable salaries;

• programs and funding to ensure the recruitment, education, and retention of a diverse library work force;

• continued recognition that libraries are physical, as well as virtual places; and

• keep the “l” in library education by requiring ALA accredited schools to teach library administration, services, and principles.

Haycock:As President of ALA, I would work diligently to:

We must make the case for the continuing need for bricks and books, while acknowledging the extraordinary and complementary value of the electronic information.

—Maurice Freedman

• (re)position libraries and librarians as critical educational, economic, and social forces—my experience as a senior education official and as a participant in ALA legislative days convinces me that library advocates need not only training and support but also need solid evidence to present to decision-makers that we do indeed make a difference to learning, to research, and to the quality of life in our academic communities;

• guarantee equitable access to information—as a public library trustee, an elected municipal councilor, and a former school board president the need to guarantee access to information is fundamental to my beliefs about democracy; but this right is only as good as one’s ability to discern and make effective use of accurate, relevant, and current information, best developed through collaborative partnerships between librarians and faculty for programs of information literacy;-

• recruit, educate, and support a diverse workforce reflective of the communities we serve—as an academic administrator, it is clear to me that we need to enhance and complement our scholarship initiatives through active recruitment strategies with young people making their first career decisions;

• educate professionals based on our core values and core competencies—as chair of the steering committee for the Congress on Professional Education, the concerns of the profession are well-known to me, as is the need to protect librarianship as a discrete academic discipline critical to effective public service and supported by access to continuous lifelong learning opportunities for all members.

These priorities reflect the needs and priorities discussed with me by members.

Sannwald:The main task of being ALA President and my main priority is to be the spokesperson for libraries and librarians. The message I have is tied into my belief that libraries are a positive good, vital to civic and academic life, and that the information age has increased rather than diminished the importance of libraries and librarians. This is important because the growth of technology has caused academic administrators and elected officials to question the traditional library.

We need to retain our values of free access to information and emphasize that libraries are a public good; that the best libraries are those that understand the needs of their users and collect and/or make available the resources users need. We need to embrace new values of partnerships and cooperation if we are going to thrive, and libraries need to partner with private and public organizations to attain mutual benefits. We need cooperative efforts on a regional, state, national, and international level to share finite resources and services. Our governing bodies demand that we look for innovative ways to accomplish our mission, and partnerships and cooperative efforts create a favorable public image and often lead to synergy and efficiencies.

2. As President of ALA you will be called upon to speak for librarians on a variety of issues. How do you propose to seek input from the various ALA. divisions and to weigh that input to represent effectively and accurately the views of librarians to the general public, the press, and local, state, or national governmental entities?

Freedman:I will create an advisory council that will include a representative from each division to counsel me on policy matters. I will work closely with ACRL and others to provide presidential support and leadership on those issues especially important to them. The ALA President has the opportunity to speak for the association and to help each of the divisions with their respective missions. I will be visible and outspoken on behalf of libraries with the general public, all of the media, and government entities at all levels. The ALA President has to be out front but with the support of the membership and the divisions.

Haycock:The committee structure of ALA should be examined to ensure representation from all affected bodies in the organization. Then, ideally, the appropriate ALA groups would be consulted prior to any representation of views to their particular constituency or decision-makers. However, in the “real” world, the president also needs broad experience across the association in order to respond quickly and intelligently to questions raised and opportunities presented when they occur: it is not always possible to consult before responding.

My experience in academic, public, school, and special libraries, and as director of an ALA-accredited program, has enabled me to become aware of the many issues facing different groups in ALA and become familiar with the nature of inquiries. My media training as an elected school board president and city councilor also has proven useful when addressing the issues that we face as librarians. Also, the special knowledge of ACRL leaders, like Patricia Breivik, Jim Neal, Hannelore Rader, Maureen Sullivan, and many others who have endorsed my candidacy, should be incorporated into any representation of ALA and librarianship in their area of expertise.

Sannwald:I have been a committee member for six ALA divisions (including ACRL), and my activities have been centered on those divisions and organizations that represent all types of libraries like LAMA and OCLC. The diversity of libraries represented by ALA and its divisions is a strong point that I appreciate. As a division president, I felt that communication in my “divisional presidential class” was good, but that the tie to ALA as an organization needed to be stronger. This is a delicate balance because the divisions need to be strong and semi-independent under the ALA banner, but still deliver a common voice for libraries. During the three-year commitment as ALA President, I would visit each division executive board at least once a year to share ideas and get input. If I had to speak to a group interested in a particular library, I would call one of the people I respect in that type of library to get his or her thinking.

I have been an effective spokesperson for libraries at all levels of local, state, and national government, and, as a marketing professor, I believe I know how to craft communication strategies. One of my city council members said I was more like a game show host than librarian, and I think that is not a bad trait for a spokesperson to have.

3. In our environment of rapid change, what are your views on the future of librarianship and future roles libraries will play in society? What should ALA be doing differently that would have an impact on the perception of the role of librarians in society? How would you as ALA President lead the association in continuing to attract highly capable individuals to the profession?

Freedman:Librarians will continue to have a very proactive role, especially as society becomes increasingly reliant on technologically driven forms of information access.

We will continue to have the same vital role in the selection, organization, evaluation, and delivery of high-quality information; in the design of access systems; and in the design of instructional and information literacy services—the latter is especially important.

Libraries and librarians will have a crucial role in bridging the digital divide; this will be as true for community college learning resource centers as it is for the major research institutions and the libraries in-between.

They will be critically important in developing new forms of partnerships and collaboration across types of libraries, types of campus units (e.g., IT, faculty, museums), and community/corporate organizations.

As higher education changes with distance and online instruction, librarians will play critical roles as partners in developing customized resources and services for this new environment; we will be consulting directly with faculty and students, and beyond the traditional walls.

Librarians will continue to play a vital role in the preservation of cultural heritage (e.g., preservation, special collections, etc.). The new challenge will be the preservation of the electronically based information that has been shaping policy and culture.

Haycock:It is my belief that librarianship can become the 21st-century profession and that ALA must focus its resources to ensure that this happens. I am optimistic about the future of our profession. Even in the past 18 months, we have noticed that our graduates are being recruited by corporations for positions as professional librarians at starting salaries 50 percent higher than comparable positions in public sector positions in academic and public libraries. Corporate America is recognizing our value and rewarding us accordingly; our own institutions will be encouraged to do likewise as a result. We need to seize opportunities to work with the new administration in Washington, D.C., with its ambitious program for education, to ensure that the contributions of libraries and librarians are recognized and valued.

Corporate America is recognizing our value and rewarding us accordingly; our own institutions will be encouraged to do likewise as a result.

—Ken Haycock

Recruitment is of considerable concern to me as an academic administrator. Research indicates that young people tend to make their first career choice in high school and that “first career librarians” tend to participate more actively in associations and in management positions. I would thus couple our scholarship efforts with active recruitment at the high school level—an investment in the future. I would also ensure that college and university librarians had the necessary recruitment materials at hand to encourage interested students.

Sannwald:Libraries will play an even more significant role in society because people need the information available in libraries and the information services provided by librarians. Libraries and librarianship will be different because of technology and stakeholder expectations, but we won’t go away.

My decision to become a librarian was shaped by the librarian in my hometown who talked with me about librarianship as a career and introduced me to Arthur Curley, who was the librarian in the adjoining town. People select career paths because of personal experiences and influences, and I have tried to be an evangelist for library careers. Every year we invite undergraduates from University of California, San Diego, to visit the library, and this has resulted in three new staff members going on to library school. ALA members can do the same thing, especially with the student workers employed in libraries. I believe the @your library campaign will increase the visibility of libraries, and help in recruitment, as well as positively enhance the image of libraries and librarians.

4. What is your position on members participating virtually as committee members or in other roles in ALA and its divisions?

Freedman:Librarians must take advantage of all of the media available to them. Conference calls, e-mail, chatrooms—these various means of communication are essential. It is grand that members can participate virtually as either observers or participants in the various ALA electronic lists. Committee work is enhanced by e-mail and chatrooms. E-mail and chatrooms also are marvelous ways to give new librarians access to what is going on in the association and an opportunity to participate in areas of interest to them.

My only concern and reservation is that mechanisms be in place to ensure that the spirit of the open meeting policy of ALA is not violated.

Haycock:Every opportunity for intellectual participation and considered discourse should be taken if we are serious about member involvement and incorporation of diverse viewpoints. The logistics and implications can be handled effectively once identified. Indeed, the council committee examining this issue is making fine progress.

Sannwald:I think it is a great idea that has had mixed success due to a number of factors. Success seems to be based on three factors: attitude, task, and technology. Physical and virtual committee members must have an attitude that the arrangement will work if it is to succeed, and both types of members must be treated equally. Some committees require a lot of “stuff’ and interaction to work. If committee members are constantly referring to objects or reports in a meeting, it is not a good committee choice for virtual membership. Technology in the long run will improve virtual member participation through video conferencing and other techniques that allow fuller participation than e- and snail mail.

Last year I conducted ten LAMA Institutes around the United States, and I talked with many ALA members who don’t usually attend conferences, but who have a lot to contribute to the profession. I believe that ALA has a responsibility to have full participation from its membership, and the number of virtual members in ALA activities should be increased.

5. Do you believe that ALA is effectively organized to meet its goals and the aspirations of its members? If not, how do you think it should be organized?

Freedman:ALA probably could be organized better . . . what couldn’t? But the substantial diversity of interests militates against centrality, and probably efficiency, too. The divisions and roundtables have wonderful and important roles to play in promoting the areas of librarianship of concern to them. The president must speak for the association, but ALA’s units shouldn’t be unduly constrained from pursuing their respective interests.

I will spend my time as ALA President fighting for those issues and priorities I have identified. I will tend not to devote precious advocacy time and energy on “fixing” or better organizing the ALA structure.

Haycock:ALA is organized effectively to meet the needs of its members for involvement and participation. It is effectively organized to enable a broad representation of issues and activities with staff and support. It is not efficient, however, and it is difficult to bring the best of the “silos” together and to focus resources for results. However, while every reorganization study recognizes a need for change, no study has garnered broad support for change. My conclusion is that you recognize the strengths of the current organization and deal with those realities of moving the agenda forward. Navel gazing is not productive in the short term and not how I would choose to spend my one year as president.

Sannwald:First, I think that the ALA staff is tops from the executive director on down, and they are the people who really make the organization run. They are so good that they make it easy for the member volunteers to organize ALA almost any way and still have it be successful. Trying to get a quorum for a general members meeting has been difficult, and this may indicate a problem with how members relate to certain aspects of ALA, but most membership meetings are boring. The real strength of ALA is in the extraordinary participation by members in its committees and divisions. Divisions like ACRL, PLA, and others are doing quite well, however smaller divisions have had difficulty in meeting the revenue targets required to undertake certain activities. This is an issue that will need to be addressed and resolved to the satisfaction of all members.

Organizations are organic things and need to change to meet the needs of members, and divisions and committees are constantly evolving to reflect new member interests and issues in the profession. This will continue. As I indicated in an earlier question, I think it is important to tap the entire membership, allowing full participation by any member who wants it.

6. One of the most crucial roles for ALA is to promote the importance of libraries and to increase the awareness that there are many types of libraries serving different audiences and needs. How would you as the ALA President use the “@your library campaign” and other opportunities to promote libraries?

Freedman:I would use all of ALA’s communication facilities and intensively pursue all of the opportunities available to promote the nation’s libraries. The strength of America’s information resources is in the sum and diversity of its libraries and their collections. Appearances on television and radio on behalf of the @your library campaign will be critical. Print coverage will be essential, too.

I have been the host of a TV information talk show for more than a decade. Through the success of the show and the attendant recognition in the community, I know firsthand how important television coverage is in promoting libraries.

The message must be simple and repeated consistently and clearly. Libraries are a public good. They benefit everyone, not just the people who use them.

I will advocate for libraries and persuade each audience of exactly what it is about libraries that will benefit the community, enrich their lives, help them with their jobs, and enhance their pursuit of happiness.

The library is a great institution. I believe in it. I will promote America’s libraries and America’s librarians.

For more information about my views; the full-text of many of the dozens of papers I have written; my years with the Library of Congress, the world’s largest research library; as assistant head of the African-Asian Exchange Section and as part of the management of the processing department and its 1,500-person staff, complex operations, and offices all over the world, see my Web site at http: //www.mitch4pres.org.

Just as Ford has a number of different autos that are sold with very distinct personalities under the Ford brand, libraries can promote different types of libraries and library services using the "library brand."

— William Sannwald

Haycock:As a member of the ALA Executive Board that commissioned the studies leading to the @yourlibrary campaign I am eager to use not only the “brand” but also the research results that led to the brand: the public values the wide range of resources we offer, that we are “free,” and that we provide expert personal assistance—these resonated with all audiences using different types of libraries. The @yourlibrary project also has a second component focusing on that expert assistance, the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the professional librarian, and this should not be overlooked. It is important to ensure that the brand is used widely, that associations, institutions, and editors are encouraged to use it creatively, and that the president stays on message if we are to enter the consciousness of critical decision-makers. Please visit my Web site at http://www.kenhaycock.com for further information.

Sannwald:From a marketing point of view, the @your library symbol is a great concept. As the pictogram indicating libraries has become universally recognized, this campaign will create a “brand mark” for libraries, and branding is the most valuable commodity to have. In marketing terms, ALA is creating brand recognition and it will be big if done correctly.

Just as Ford has a number of different autos that are sold with very distinct personalities under the Ford brand, libraries can promote different types of libraries and library services using the “library brand.” For example, a public library could announce an author program or a university library could declare the opening of a computer lab @your library. By having all types of libraries use the same promotional campaign, the strength and visibility of all types of libraries is increased by each individual campaign.

There is some controversy over the use of the campaign by library vendors, and this issue will need to be resolved. We must protect our new brand just as Coke and Ford protect their brands.

I would use the @your library campaign as part of my promotional strategy to let the public know the wonderful things that are happening at all types of libraries, and what a great job librarians are doing. The brand mark should be part of every promotional piece that ALA uses over the five-year campaign.

ACRL members running for ALA Council

The following ACRL members are either nominated or petition candidates for ALA councilor in the spring 2001 elections. ACRL members are encouraged to vote for these candidates to increase ACRL’s voice in ALA’s affairs.

Gladys Smiley Bell,assistant director for Public Services Harvey Library, Hampton University.

Stanton F. Biddle,Baruch College, CUNY.

Wanda V. Dole,university librarian, Washburn University of Topeka.

Tami Echavarria,coordinator of instructional services, Washburn University of Topeka.

Patricia Fisher,associate director for collection services, University of Denver.

Maurice J. Freedman,director, Westchester Library System.

Linda Marie Golian,university librarian, Florida Gulf Coast University.

Andrea Morris Gruhl,supervisory librarian, U.S. Government Printing Office, Library Programs Service.

Ken Haycock,director, University of British Columbia School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies.

Julie G. Huiskamp,coordinator of Learning Resources, Wilder Library, Northeast Iowa Community College.

Thomas J. Kemp,library director, Heritage Quest Library.

Jeff Kempe,electronic resources librarian, Williamsburg Regional Library.

Robert Klassen,Arlington, Virginia.

Les Kong,head of public services, California State University, San Bernadino.

Rosemary Allen Little,politics and law librarian, Princeton University.

Bernard A. Margolis,president, Boston Public Library.

Stephen L. Matthews,librarian/media coordinator, Foxcroft School.

Patricia G. Oyler,professor, Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

Veronda J. Pitchford,member services and special project librarian, Chicago Libraiy System.

William Sannwald,assistant to the city manager, San Diego Public Library.

Sharon A. Saulmon,trustee, Rose State College,

Frederick W. Stoss,associate librarian, University of Buffalo, SUNY.

Theresa A. Tobin,Humanities Library head, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Tom Wilding,director of libraries, University of Texas at Arlington.

Myoung Chung Wilson,reference librarian, Rutgers University.

Marie Turner Wright,associate librarian, Indiana University-Purdue UniversityIndianapolis Library.

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