Sunday, October 23, 2011

ALA Executive Board fall meeting 2011


After a full day of travel, also known as MRY-SFO-IAD-PIT-ORD, I arrived in Chicago for the ALA fall board meeting. Although I tried to limited telling my epic travel saga, I always ended it by making the point that I was still upright and smiling.

Friday morning was the traditional board effectiveness session led by ALA's professional Parliamentarian Eli Mina. I always find this session useful and learn something new. I must admit it was kind of exciting to realize that I've learned a lot about being an effective board member and know what strategies we were talking about when. The first time the "two hats" idea was presented I was a bit confused, but I'm happy to say I now know it inside and out.

The afternoon was spent at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel for the Joint Boards meeting. The boards/executive committees of the ALA Divisions and the ALA Executive Board have lunch and meet together, usually in a facilitated session. This time we worked through the transforming libraries goal area of the strategic plan. The goal statement is

ALA provides leadership in the transformation of libraries and library services in a dynamic and increasingly global digital information environment.
During the first breakout session, we focused "on what short-term and longer-term changes we see happening within libraries in order to respond to the external challenges and opportunities libraries are facing."
The areas we explored included:
  • Physical space
  • Virtual space
  • Library workforce
  • Service portfolio
  • Customer expectations
  • External relationships
  • Library Leadership expectations
We were assigned groups and each group was to consider the following questions based on one goal area:
  • What are the key factors influencing/driving change?
  • How do you see your area (breakout topic) transforming libraries in the short-term (1-3 years)?
  • How do you see your area (breakout topic) transforming libraries in the longer-term (4+ years)?
In our second breakout session we focused "on what we believe are the implications for future programs and services offered by ALA and its Divisions" and considered two questions:

  • What are the implications for collective ALA's programs and services (membership, partnerships, advocacy agenda, education programs, support to Divisions, etc.
  • What are the implications for Divisions (membership, education programs, partnerships, networking, etc.)?
I think we had a productive session and ALA Executive Board and Division leadership are getting a better handle on how to work towards transforming libraries and the Association. Hopefully the round tables will be folded into these conversations.

After the session was over I walked back to my hotel via Michigan Ave. I noticed that Lush products were being sold in Macy's, so I popped in for a bottle of The Olive Branch body wash. I also looked in various store windows and people watched.

That evening the majority of the board went to dinner together. I sat at the end of the table with Eli Mina and his lovely wife whom I'd met in D.C. in 2010. We enjoyed a good meal and lively conversation.

Saturday and Sunday were packed meeting days. We had very full agendas, check them out here. We heard several informative reports and had really good discussion. I thought ALA President Molly Raphael did a really great job getting us through everything and keeping us effective as a board.

I had a late flight back to Pittsburgh. I picked up a bag of Garrett's popcorn at the airport. I'm not sure how I've not managed to buy some until now. It is delicious! I'm definitely picking up more the next time I head to Chicago.

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