LITA Blog Comments - A Preview

All 3 candidates for ALA President were asked to submit answers to a series of questions to be posted on the LITA blog, and these should be posted, in alphabetical order (my lifetime nemesis), by the end of the week. Here's a preview of my answers.

Note: there are 7 questions, in total, but I picked this one thinking about the recent debate regarding educational requirements for the position of Executive Director of the ALA:

Is ALA a place for MLS-degreed professionals who do not work in libraries? Should it be? Why, or why not?

"Of course it is. Next question?

Seriously, though, the ALA mission statement makes clear that the mission of the Association is to “to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship.” Since one may provide library and information services outside the framework of a library (and, in fact, this is far more the case than it was when this mission statement was first adopted), it stands to reason that anyone doing our work, in any context, should find a home and a network of colleagues in ALA.

The more difficult question that you did not ask is whether or not ALA is a place for people providing these services, and sharing our work both inside and outside of libraries, who do not hold an ALA-accredited degree. The answer to that question is also “Yes!” I once worked in an academic library where the AD for Facilities was a licensed architect, but not a librarian; I certainly think he would have found a home in the LLAMA Buildings and Equipment Section. Likewise, there are many academic librarians who find a home in the Society for College and University Planning, given how important libraries (and librarians) are to institutional planning efforts.

Our libraries have become the home for professionals from different backgrounds who come together to provide the highest quality collections, technology, resources, facilities, and services for our communities. If ALA is to be the home for all those whose work contributes directly to “the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services,” we need to welcome all who work in libraries, and to the benefit of library and information services, to the Association."

The complete interview is now available on the LITA Blog.