C&RL News Comments - A Preview

All 3 candidates for ALA President were asked to submit answers to a series of questions to be published in C&RL News, and these should appear, I believe, in the March issue. Here's a preview.

Note: there are 6 questions, in total, but I've picked a section from my "opening statement" to include here (pending any final editing for space).

"Let’s begin by acknowledging that higher education has been under pressure for years, and that my home state of Illinois is on the leading edge of this trend. Economic changes, demographics, and partisan politics have come together to present an unprecedented challenge to financial support for higher education, individual students, and our state library consortium. As challenging as our situation in higher education already was, this election takes place in the shadow of one of the most unexpected turns ever in American politics, and one that has already shown us how hard we must work in defense of free speech, copyright, an independent press, net neutrality, the needs of a diverse student body, etc. Many of us in ACRL built our lives in libraries around the idea of collaboration, and the need for a collaborative, action-oriented mindset has never been clearer. We have a renewed mandate to work with campus colleagues to promote information literacy, media literacy, and engaged citizenship, and to work alongside faculty, student, and community groups to advocate for our core values in support of institutional mission, especially as these align with our commitments to intellectual freedom, social justice, and the public good. We have not faced challenges like these in my lifetime, and ACRL members have much to contribute to the work ahead for ALA, our campuses, and our country.

I bring to ALA leadership over 20 years of experience working in higher education and collaborating with campus and community partners to design and deliver programs that make a difference in the things that matter to our librarians, faculty, staff, and students. I bring the passion and commitment to our field shared with many of you during a career that has allowed me to teach, write, and speak to local, state, national, and international audiences about the value of libraries. I bring the “bias toward action” that has allowed me to work in concert with many of you to bring changes to academic libraries, move discussions of the future of libraries forward, and make certain that libraries are seen as valued partners in all endeavors where we might have a role. Now is not a time to be timid in defense of higher education, libraries, or the fundamental liberties that both have always worked to ensure. You have never known me to be timid."