American Library Association (ALA) President Jim Neal recently launches and invites library advocates to apply for participation in the inaugural ALA Policy Corps initiative.
The presidential initiative is grounded in the ALA’s four strategic directions and the National Policy Agenda for Libraries that emerged out of the Policy Revolution! initiative. Its goals include developing policy experts available to ALA and the ALA Washington Office, creating longevity in expertise and engagement in early to mid-career library and information professionals, and positively impacting national public policy in areas key to ALA’s strategic goals.
ACRL worked with other ALA units including the Office for Information Technology Policy, American Association of School Librarians, Public Library Association, and United for Libraries in developing this program. This support includes a $10,000 contribution from the ACRL Board of Directors. The Board is confident that the Policy Corp will develop national policy advocates necessary to advancing the profession and ACRL will continue to serve as an active partner in the initiative.
The Corps will launch with an initial cohort of 10-12 participants with diverse representation from across library types and geographies. Participants will cultivate their passion and deep expertise for a public policy issue; create or enhance the skill set needed to impact legislation and policy; mentor others on a given policy issue of interest; participate in a cohort to share challenges and successes; and ultimately impact national, state and local policymaking.
The characteristics of successful applicants include:
- ALA membership;
- At least five years of library experience;
- Past advocacy experience at the local, state, national and/or international level;
- Desire to develop one’s policy advocacy skills and apply them over a period of years
- Solid speaking and writing skills;
- Awareness of and ability to express the impact of legislation and policy on their community, type of library and/or patrons;
- Commitment to keeping current on policy-related library issues and to building and supporting a strong, national network of advocates over time;
- Ability to make and sustain a five-year commitment; and
- Support from a library or educational institution.
Preference will be given to applicants with prior engagement in ALA such as service on boards, committees or other entities and/or participation in professional development or scholarship programs.