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.
The application process for the 2018 ALA Policy Corps is now open. Applications, available on the ALA Policy Corps web page, will be accepted through Friday, November 3, 2017.
The ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services seeks proposals for the Diversity Research Grant program. Applications may address any diversity-related topic which addresses critical gaps in the knowledge of diversity, equity, and outreach issues within library and information science.
The application deadline has been extended to midnight central time on April 15, 2017.
The Diversity Research Grant consists of a one-time $2,500 award for original research. A jury of ALA members will evaluate proposals and select up to three awards. Grant recipients will be announced ahead of the 2017 ALA Annual Conference. Researchers are invited to present interim findings at the News You Can Use Diversity Research Grant Update held each ALA Midwinter Meeting and are asked to publish findings in a publication of their choosing within one year of completing their project.
Proposals are currently being accepted for one year research projects that will be undertaken July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. Grants should not be sought for work leading toward the completion of a degree, thesis or dissertation. A complete proposal must include the following: a cover letter, a one-page vita for each of the researchers involved (including ALA membership number, the Principle Investigator should hold ALA membership), a concise abstract of the project and a description of the project detailing the justification and needs for the research project, research objectives, expected outcomes and benefits, and a budget plan and timeline on the provided template.
For a complete list of criteria and proposal instructions, please visit the ALA website.
For more information or to inquire about possible research topics, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 545-2433 ext. 5048.
To help libraries meet the information needs of their communities during these challenging times, the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) has created Libraries Respond, a comprehensive online resource that aims to keep current events in conversation with libraries’ ongoing work in and commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.
Resources featured on Libraries Respond include:
- Focused topic areas including the 2016 Election, the Dakota Access Pipeline (#NODAPL), immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, and protections for our nation’s transgender students.
- Official statements from ALA leadership and its divisions and affiliate organizations.
- News coverage of libraries’ response to current events.
- Resources developed by librarians in the field.
- “10 Things Your Library Can Do for 2017 and Beyond,” a quick-reference guide
- Self-care tips for frontline library staff.
Rebecca M. Marrall’s ACRL 2015 conference paper “Developing Best Practices for Serving Transgender Patrons at Academic Library Service Points” is featured as resource in the Protections for Our Nation’s Transgender Students section of the site.
From the ALA Washington Office…
On February 3, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoked all of the designations of Lifeline Broadband Providers and ordered the retraction of multiple reports, including the “E-rate Modernization Progress Report” and “Improving the Nation’s Digital Infrastructure.”
ALA is dismayed by these actions to reduce digital opportunity and revise the public record. ALA President Julie Todaro released the following statement.
“The American Library Association (ALA) strenuously objects to recent actions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). First, the ALA is alarmed by the sudden revocation of the nine Lifeline Broadband Provider designations. Reducing options for Lifeline broadband services is a step back in efforts to close the homework gap and digital divide, and is at odds with Chairman Pai’s stated desire to advance digital empowerment. The 2016 Lifeline modernization order represented a critical milestone in our national commitment to connect low-income Americans to the broadband that powers educational and economic opportunity. ALA and our nation’s 120,000 libraries are committed to advancing digital opportunity for all, and we urge the FCC to increase the number of broadband options available for Lifeline customers.
“The ALA also calls for the FCC to maintain an accurate and complete historical record. While new FCC leadership may have new policy directions, the public record should not be permanently altered. Governmental agencies must be accountable in this regard. We urge the reversal of the retraction decisions and an agreement that the FCC will not order the removal of any other documents from the public record. Such actions undermine the credibility of the FCC and Chairman Pai’s recent move to increase transparency of the Commission’s rulemaking.
“Full and public debate with the accompanying historical record preserved on these foundational internet issues that affect every person in this country should be the standard we expect and demand.”
The ACRL Board of Directors encourages ACRL members attending the ALA Midwinter Meeting to participate in the upcoming Atlanta March for Social Justice & Women from 1 to 5:00 pm on Saturday, January 21, 2017.
According to the website for the event, the Atlanta March for Social Justice & Women was planned as a “peaceful demonstration of solidarity bringing together members of underrepresented communities, women, and their allies in Georgia and nationally.”
During a time when many colleges and universities are working to highlight the importance of protecting diverse learning environments and reaffirming their support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students on their campuses, the march is an opportunity for academic libraries to showcase their role in promoting the free exchange of different viewpoints, as well as privacy and confidentiality in the library. Additionally, this event an opportunity to highlight ACRL’s commitment to addressing issues of diversity, inclusion, justice, and gender equality in our communities.
ALA has made arrangements for members to participate in this historic event, including a poster-making session on the morning of the march from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm in Hall A3 of the Georgia World Congress Center.
The march will begin at the Center for Civil and Human Rights and end at the Georgia State Capitol. People who wish to travel together to the march are encouraged to gather at the poster-making session by 12:15 pm. Maps of the march route and directions to the Center for Civil and Human Rights will be available.
For more information see the Facebook groups for the event below: