Editor’s Corner

Welcome to a new year of Documents to the People! I’m hoping that at least some of you made it your new year’s resolution to submit to DttP. (It’s an easy resolution to keep!)

This will be a particularly short Editor’s Corner, as I want to dedicate the space normally reserved for me to something more important: ALA presidential candidate responses to questions from GODORT’s chair, Stephen Woods, and Steering. That information, based on notes by Jill Vassilakos-Long and lightly edited, is below.

ALA Presidential Candidates on GODORT

GODORT Chair Stephen Woods worked with Steering to develop the following talking points for the ALA presidential candidates who had asked to speak to GODORT:

  1. Additional staffing for larger roundtables like GODORT
  2. Real solutions that you would like to implement for members who want to participate in ALA, but cannot afford to come to two national conferences a year.
  3. What do you see as GODORT’s role with respect to ALA’s internal policymaking structure, specifically when it comes to ALA’s position and actions on matters related to government information access and preservation?

ALA Presidential Candidate Christine Lind Hage spoke at Steering 1:

Answers to the three questions asked by Steering, the following is simply the gist of what the candidate said, taken from Jill Vassilakos-Long’s notes:

ALA staffing to support roundtables? ALA’s budget problems impact staffing, as more people join ALA it may be possible to address this concern.

ALA support for wider participation for members who cannot come to conferences (Hage is generally for virtual participation.)

GODORT’s voice in ALA positions? Hage advised us that ALAWO takes the lead in political action. When pressed on how GODORT could have more of a voice, she suggested that GODORT send a liaison to the OITP Advisory Board.

ALA Presidential Candidate Lisa Janice Hinchcliffe spoke at the General Membership Meeting:

Answers to the three questions asked by Steering, the following is simply the gist of what the candidate said, taken from Jill Vassilakos-Long’s notes:

Wanted to focus on the question of “Why Lisa?” Is a mid-career, mid-level librarian who is very aware of the stresses and challenges librarians face in their day-to-day work lives. Ms. Hinchcliffe stated that she has always admired GODORT members for the passion that they bring to the commitments that we make to bring our work forward.

ALA staffing to support roundtables? Wants to align ALA’s budget with its priorities.

ALA support for wider participation for members who cannot come to conferences? Hinchcliffe pledges her ALA presidential funds to experimentation to develop best practices for digital inclusion in our ALA member work, so that we do not leave behind those members who cannot attend conference. Examine long-term viability of our system of two conferences a year.

GODORT’s voice in ALA positions? Hinchcliffe stated that, in her mind, she is joining us in working toward our priorities.

ALA Presidential Candidate Jim Neal spoke at the General Membership Meeting:

Answers to the three questions asked by Steering, the following is simply the gist of what the candidate said, taken from Jill Vassilakos-Long’s notes:

ALA staffing to support roundtables? ALA needs to evaluate support given to roundtables and offer program officer support.

ALA support for wider participation for members who cannot come to conferences? Virtual participation is growing; we have the policies worked out. We need to ensure we have the technologies, support services, and costs resolved. We need infrastructure and support to make virtual participation more available. It is critical to the health of this organization.

GODORT’s voice in ALA positions? There are vital concerns with maintaining public access to government information from all levels of government. As it becomes more electronic we need to think critically about how we provide access and service. Preservation of born digital information is of particular concern. Neal stated that he has been speaking about this all over the world, including in a May American Libraries article. The library community needs to take ownership of the issue and work out how we capture, how we organize, and how we provide permanent availability and usability of born digital information. So much of this is coming out of government sectors. Neal stated that he commits to working closely with GODORT, because GODORT members are the experts in this area—to help ALA get the right policies and the right best practices in place to preserve born-digital information.

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