Jim Rettig, ALA President-elect ULA/MPLA Keynote

Jim RettigI went to the ULA/MPLA conference in Salt Lake City last week and wanted to post some of my notes from the conference. I figured a good place to start was Jim Rettig‘s Keynote, “Creating Connections–Ideas for Our Association’s Future.”


Rettig speaks about how he will be a champion this year for libraries in general; he feels that his main duty as ALA president will be library advocacy. He also spoke about librarianship as a profession and how we need to redefine our identity as librarians.

Favorite quote

“What if they started [ALA] from scratch? If there were no ALA but we needed one, what would it look like? It would be filled with small groups of people who share interests, meeting and connecting.”

Here are my complete notes from the meeting:

We have a lot to offer; libraries help people to prosper; we provide services that help people lead successful lives;

Still the only agency in the United States that can provide life-long learning from cradle to grave;

SKILLs ACT; one of my main duties as ALA president is advocacy for libraries; we can enhance our advocacy efforts in many ways; SKILLs: every school within its district will sponsor a school library specialist; if schools don’t have that media specialist the students go to the public library; but the public library can’t put librarians in the classrooms; they can’t make contacts with teachers in the lunch room;

Mesa Arizona incident: every teacher librarian will be eliminated in 3 years and replace with an aid; Spokane Washington mom’s formed a grass roots movement for funding for school libraries; they formed alliances and ALA gave them great data about school libraries from their efforts

Advocacy for libraries

ALA issues and advocacy on the top nav bar from ALA.org

Click on take action: with your zip code you will have the contact info for all of your representatives, local, state and national;

ilovelibraries.org launched at end of annual conference of ALA; meant for people who are not librarians but love their libraries

We have a lot in common but we have not promoted it with each other; instead we have competed with each other; we need to come together and make the case for libraries; when you are going into a recession and people are going to need job finding tools it is the wrong time to cut funding for any community college or library

For the 17,000 who participated in an ALA survey the direction of ALA most voted for was library advocacy far and away;

People who have never experienced good library services have no idea what they are missing; our biggest challenge is getting people’s attention; once they have experienced them they ought to be booked;

Who are we

Who are we collectively and who do we want to become? mostly female and mostly white; also mostly and aging profession (not this room I don’t think); AARP research said 60% will continue to work either for money or for enjoyment post-retirement;

We have competition for people’s attention: facebook, yahoo groups MySpace, blogger;

We used to have a different publication model; now you can set up a blog and publish your ideas and get more than two comments in one day

Social networking instead of conference attendance;

We can’t just count on ALA membership for contribution and collaboration; we have to get their attention and get them hooked by the benefits this association this has to offer; ALA online community software has been described as “less-than intuitive” but we are working on this;

What if they started from scratch? If there were no ALA but we needed one, what would it look like? It would be filled with small groups of people who share interests, meeting and connecting; people want more than one home in the library world because they have more than one interest;

Craigslist: one place where you can look at stuff; it is almost ugly it is so simple but it is effective: we are working on something like this

Online salon and conversations with ALA leaders and members

Juried grassroots at 2009 annual conference: grass roots groups of members (not just people who are on committees) we want people with fresh ideas; there will be a call for these proposals

Unconferences: group of people coming to an online environment to just talk about a topic

Virtual poster sessions opened up to a bigger audience

Diversity: we cant solve this in on year; but we can work on it; scholarships for undergraduates for a day at the 2009 annual conference; show them we are a lot more than books

YouTube questions for the Mid Winter Meeting; questions for the candidates: what do you want to do in the future?

Midwinter meeting: we will be at the point where a new President of the United States will take the oath of office; the national archives have reclassified some documents some dating from WWII; we need to find someone who will prompt the government to be more open.


One Response to Jim Rettig, ALA President-elect ULA/MPLA Keynote

  1. […] was Jim Rettig??s Keynote, ???Creating Connections??Ideas for Our Association??s Future.??? Summarhttps://shapinglibraries.wordpress.com/2008/05/09/jim-rettig-ala-president-elect-ulampla-keynote/Business FYI Everett HeraldUrsula Stocke has joined Everett-based custom framing and fine art […]

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