Thursday, June 07, 2007

Heading to ALA

I'm off to DC June 21 for the American Library Association conference, and it will be my first as well as possibly my last ALA conference. I get to see Stephen Abram, as well as the premeire of the Hollywood Librarian, some cool museums and a female Muslim refusenik named Irshad Manji. Some vendors will give me a free meal- the price I pay will only be my time as they introduce the latest product they have out. I am excited to go, though I may not sound like it. :-) We'll see if ALA can deliver- I'll be posting a few highlights here.

I have a theory about organizations: when they become too large (number of employees, number of people they are supposed to serve, etc) they become ineffective. There was a book written to this effect called Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, and maybe someday I'll take my friend Greg's advice and read it.

Back to ALA, it has become too large. It is ineffective. I send emails suggesting ideas for ad campaigns or requests for information, and I don't get a reply. None. Zip. My renewal confirmation comes 3 months after I send in my dues. How is that effective?

The Free Range Librarian says that the short answer to effect change "is to take over ALA governance." Awesome- let's do just that. I'll vote for you. There's a start. (Along those lines, if every 18-30 year old voted in 2008, we could put whoever we wanted in office. Pedro, anyone?)

1 comment:

Trevor said...

Hey Nathan,

I'm just catching up on your posts. It seems, form the later ones, that you had a good (or at least OK) time at the conference. I hope you will attend others. I strongly suggest attending the ACRL National Conference because it IS smaller and more focused on academic librarians. "Free" meals from vendors is always good; it like those time-share sales pitches. You can sit through a brief presentation for a free lunch - not bad.

There are several others who agree with you that ALA is ineffective, and indeed, the way to see change is to make the change. You may want to consider running for Council for a start. Also check out improveala.pbwiki.com, if you are not already familiar with it.

Cheers!
Trevor