From the Desk of ALA: 9/12/2014 Executive Director Report Highlights

On 9/12/2014, American Library Association (ALA) Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels sent out his 19 page “Report to [ALA] Council and Executive Board.” The full report will eventually be posted to the 2013-2014 Executive Board Documents page on the ALA website. Below are three pages of highlights provided by Director Fiels.  Please let me know if you have questions or comments about any of this material or would like a copy of the full report.


Report to Council and Executive Board

 September 12, 2014

 Keith Michael Fiels Executive Director


Membership Count

The ALA membership count as of July 31, 2014 was 56,280.  Four divisions and four Round Tables had membership increases compared to July 2013.


Celebrate Library Card Sign-Up Month

September is Library Card Sign-up Month and new downloadable tools along with print and digital public service announcements (PSAs) are now available.  Tools include a sample press release, op-ed, proclamation, PSA scripts and radio quality PSAs.  Legendary comic creator Stan Lee is serving as the Honorary Chair of Library Card Sign-up Month in September.  Stan Lee taped a brief interview with PIO/Campaign staff and shared these comments: “Having a library card, it’s like having a key to all the information in the world.  When you have a library card you can read anything about anything, and I have found that whatever you read, it doesn’t matter – it increases your fund of knowledge.  So a library card is the ‘Open Sesame’ to all the knowledge in the world.”  Lee has also agreed to promote Library Card Sign-Up Month through his social media channels.


Nearly 100 Percent of Public Libraries Offer Tech Training and Workforce Programs, Study Finds

According to a new ALA study, nearly 100 percent of America’s public libraries offer workforce development training programs, online job resources, and technology skills training. Overall, libraries report technology improvements—including nearly ubiquitous public Wi-Fi, growing mobile resources and a leap in e-book access—but the ALA’s 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey also documents digital differences among states and an urban/rural divide. Unique to this study are the Interactive mapping tools that combine digital inclusion survey and community-level data.  The map enables libraries to better understand their community demographics, education and learning, economic/workforce, and health contexts along with the digital inclusion services that they provide.  The study is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and conducted by the ALA Office for Research & Statistics and the Information Policy & Access Center at the University of Maryland College Park.  Grant partners include ALA OITP and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).  Read the press release.


Workforce Bill Passes, Includes Libraries

In July, President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, a law that will open access to federal funding support to public libraries for effective job training and job search programs.  ALA President Courtney Young applauded the presidential signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in a statement.  ALA thanks Senator Jack Reed (DRI) and Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) for their efforts to include libraries in the legislation.


ALA Active on Surveillance and Privacy Issues

ALA continues to work closely and aggressively in tandem with partners in several coalitions to reform the multiple statutes that provide the government with various forms of surveillance and investigatory authority.  In June, ALA joined more than 30 other civil liberties and privacy organizations in writing to key members of the Senate to support the modification of the USA FREEDOM Act so that it truly ends the “bulk collection” of telephone business records, and builds transparency and additional oversight into court-approved surveillance activities.


Simon & Schuster Expands ebook Lending Program

In June, Simon & Schuster revealed that it will expand its pilot library ebook lending program to serve all U.S. libraries.  Immediate Past President Barbara Stripling responded to the ebook expansion by releasing a press statement indicating ALA encouragement of the continued progress on the library ebook front, though noting much work remains to be done.


2014 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence

Booklist and RUSA hosted the 2014 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence award ceremony at the ALA Annual Conference.  Both medal winners, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Donna Tartt, were present to accept their awards in person.  Nancy Pearl served as emcee, and celebrated crime fiction author and library champion Karin Slaughter delighted audiences with her keynote speech.  Kearns Goodwin received the nonfiction medal for The Bully Pulpit and Tartt received the fiction medal for The Goldfinch.  A dessert and cocktail reception followed, where guests mingled with all three authors.  In addition to coverage of the announcements in many national media outlets, more than 451,000 Web pickups were noted.  (see also RUSA coverage in this  Report)


AASL Transforms Learning with New Mission Statement and Strategic Plan

AASL challenges leaders in all fields to bring about an evolution in student learning with its adoption of a new mission statement and strategic plan.  During the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, the AASL Board of Directors unanimously voted to approve the mission statement: The American Association of School Librarians empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.


PLA Board Approves Updated Strategic Plan

At the 2014 ALA Annual Conference, the PLA Board of Directors approved an updated strategic plan that builds on PLA’s success to date, regarding two strategic goal areas in particular — Advocacy & Awareness and Leadership & Transformation—and focuses the association for the next three years.  The desired outcome of the planning process is to guide and create clarity on how PLA should invest its valuable and limited resources to meet the future needs of its members and other stakeholders.  Read the background and revised strategic plan.


ALSC National Institute

The ALSC National Institute with the theme of “Expanding Our Worlds, Creating Community,” will be held September 18 – 20, 2014 in Oakland, California.  Featuring quality educational programming and inspirational speakers, event registration has reached maximum capacity and is now waiting-list only.  A number of award-winning authors and illustrators will be present at the Institute and a special reception, held at Children’s Fairyland, is a highlight event.


LITA Forum in Albuquerque

LITA is organizing the 2014 Forum with two workshops, three keynotes, 30 plus concurrent sessions, poster sessions, and multiple networking opportunities.  The Forum is scheduled for Wednesday, November 5 through Saturday, November 8 and promises to deliver strong programming and networking opportunities.  The two workshops begin on Wednesday, November 5, 1:00-5:00 p.m. and run through Thursday, November 6, 8:00 a.m. to noon.  Learn Python by Playing with Library Data with Francis Kayiwa will provide the basics on how to set up your Python environment, install useful packages, and, write programs. Linked Data for Libraries: How libraries can make use of Linked Open Data to share information about library resources and to improve discovery, access, and understanding for library users will feature Dean Krafft and Jon Corson-Rikert from Cornell University Library.  For more information, also see the LITA section of this report.


Stay Up to Date on Young Adult Literature

The 2014 YA Literature Symposium will be held on November 14-16 in Austin, Texas.   Check out the preliminary program, register at  Early registration closes September 15.  Join the conversation on Twitter with #yalit14


American Libraries Live Free Streaming Video Broadcasts

A recent American Libraries Live episode (free streaming video broadcasts) included a discussion on “The Kid and Teen-Friendly Library,” moderated by Jennifer Velasquez with expert panelists Amy J. Alessio, Lana Adlawan, Heather Booth, and Amanda Foulk.  This episode is available in the archive on  The next episode will be September 18 on “Libraries Self-Service Software and Devices.”  Advertising sponsorship continues to grow, and most of the programs average more than 1,200 viewers.  AL Live is a shared project between American Libraries and ALA TechSource.

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