It’s ALIA Board Election time again. And this year, rather than just making my mind up on the scant information provided by ALIA, I want to know their thoughts on a bunch of issues within the industry.
For this reason, I’ve written 11 questions with the input of industry peers and emailed these to nominees. The email sent and questions are available below. As stated I will be posting responses to the questions without editing of contents. I will be using the hashtag #ALIAVotes2020 for any social media posts – the responses will be posted on #ALIAVotes2020 – responses.
I’ve been an ALIA member my entire career but have increasingly started to wonder if it is worth being a member. I desperately want ALIA to be an organisation that is grassroots, proactive and reflective of members needs, as well as responding appropriately to trends within the industry.
It seems to me that to be any of these things it starts with who is representing us on the board. And to ensure we are getting directors who meet these needs we need to know more than the brief information we are provided for by ALIA.
Text of email and questions are below
I wanted to thank you for nominating for the important role of Director of the ALIA board in our national professional association.
As a career long ALIA member, I want to be involved in an organisation that is inclusive, responsive and reflects the views and needs of members. While ALIA has provided some information about you, to make an informed choice on who to vote for I feel like I need further information about your views on some of the issues facing the industry.
The questions below represent some of those issues and were compiled by me and industry peers. For transparency the questions and any responses will be posted to my blog so that a wider audience of ALIA members can also understand your views on these issues. The questions have been sent to all nominees for individual board positions and responses will be posted without editing.
Participation, is of course voluntary but would be very much appreciated by myself and other members who often feel that our voices are not heard by our professional association.
- There is a very top down approach to ALIA professional association, do you have any ideas or proposals for enabling more ALIA members to be directly involved at a grass roots level in developing ALIA policy and the running of the organisation?
- ALIA has a relevancy and retention problem with many library workers choosing to not be members. What changes to ALIA do you feel need to be made in order to make it a more appealing organisation to a wider range of people in the industry?
- In the draft report on the ALIA sustainable development goals, ALIA has made open access a priority for library services. Should ALIA be leading by example and making all research publications with ALIA branding including JALIA open access and why/why not?
- ALIA released the Diversity Trends Report last year, which made a number of recommendations about diversifying the industry. What do you feel is a way forward that both ALIA and the industry can do to attract and retain people from diverse backgrounds?
- In the same report ALIA identified that the industry is made up of 17% of people who identify as men and 83% who identify as women. The report also highlighted that men are paid more than women. What issues do you believe this highlights for the industry and what steps will you be taking to address the unequal pay issue?
- Do you believe that LIS education programs are producing graduates with the skills needed to work in contemporary libraries or as information professionals in a range of other industries? If so, what are those key skills and if not, why not?
- #Critlib has become a needed movement for reflection and change within the library industry. What does critical librarianship mean to you and how will it help inform your role as an ALIA board member?
- What is your opinion on the state of employment in the library industry?
- Many library workers become disillusioned and burnt out by the industry after a few years. What do you think are the causes of this and how can ALIA help address this problem?
- Climate change is a major concern going forward into the new decade, how should ALIA respond to this challenge?
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks again for taking the time to respond to these questions, it’s very much appreciated. As voting opens on the 20 January, if your response could be received by that date, it would help to ensure people had enough time to read and reflect before they vote. I will post responses right through until the voting period (18 February).
Good luck with your nomination, I am looking forward to hearing from you.
I will be posting responses as they are sent to me. And again I thank the board nominees for taking the time to respond and engage with this process.
I hope ALIA members feel this is useful in helping them make informed decisions about who to vote for.
And I especially wanted to thank Hugh, Clare, Steven and Heidi for their input into these questions and for Hugh who many years ago decided to start this process.