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The PLA Blog | Official Blog of the Public Library Association

ALA Council

Hi everybody, I’m Heidi. Now that I’m back home in San Francisco, I finally have time to post about Seattle!

My term as an at large member of Council began last summer, but so far that’s just meant that I got subscribed to the Council email list. The Council sessions at Midwinter were my first in-person meetings, and I even went up to the microphone once or twice to speak my mind. I was surprised and delighted by the number of Councilors who stopped by my seat in the back row to welcome me to Council and thank me for speaking up. Personally, I find Council FASCINATING and had a whole lot of fun. I felt very much like a sponge trying to drink in as much information as possible, but something tells me that Council will always throw a lot of information my way and that feeling might not go away.

During the Council session on Sunday we had an informal ‘hot topic’ discussion called “Creating a Buzz about Council.” As the governing body of our association, it is important that Councilors represent and reflect the entire membership. As it stands, school librarians and western states as well as students, front-line (non-administrator level) staff, and recent graduates are especially underrepresented. We did a bit of brainstorming to figure out why.

Some of the obstacles we identified:

  • big time commitment/can’t get time off for conferences
  • expensive
  • don’t know what Council is or why it is important
  • Council is too politicized/boring/inefficient
  • need name recognition to get elected

We discussed a number of potential solutions, including financial assistance for elected Councilors and increased mentoring efforts. I’d love to hear more from all of you about your perception of Council. If you’ve ever considered running for Council or are curious and want to hear more, drop me a line and I’ll do everything I can to bully you into running provide the support and encouragement you need to get involved.

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