ALIA Board Nominees in the Spotlight

I know I haven’t blogged here in ages. I’ve been posting to my pregnancy blog and generally busy with being pregnant and working full time.

But my attention was caught by this great blog post from @aliangac where they ask nominees for the ALIA board a series of questions and post the answers. I thought a reflective post on in would be a worthwhile thing to do.

If you don’t work in a library, you may wish to stop here. The rest of this post is likely not to be of interest to you.

I really liked the questions. They’re not hugely hard hitting, but they benefitted a lot from thought and reflection (which some candidates did notably better at than others). They also gave enough room to help distinguish the candidates. I especially appreciated the questions from Kyla. Practical questions are great for this purpose.

The first thing that caught my attention was that only four of the nine nominees answered the questions put to them by the New Grads group. I’m genuinely curious as to why this is? It’s a great opportunity to put your thoughts out there and let voters see why they should vote for you. Not just for new grads but for all of the other ALIA members who are following on Twitter or via the blog. I have no idea why the others didn’t respond but I’m certainly a lot more likely to vote for those that did.

I really appreciated hearing what the candidates had to say. It was possible to get some idea of what their specific interests were and where their talents lie. For me, this helps select people to vote for who are more likely to take ALIA in directions that match my preferences.

I found it interesting that quite a few of the candidates appeared to take an ‘Ask not what ALIA can do for you…’ approach. I’ve noticed this before from people in the profession and don’t necessarily disagree with it. However in this setting with new grads as an audience, this can be as much about selling ALIA as selling themselves as representatives to ALIA. Questions 2 and 4 address this directly and it would have been nice to see some more original responses to these.

It’s of particular interest to me because I did need to be sold ALIA. As a poor student I was unconvinced and even when looking for reasons to join, didn’t find much that spoke to me. The argument that eventually tipped me over was that ALIA accredits library schools and that this is an important and not simple process (thanks to my lecturer Paul Genoni for this and other reasons). Even more convincing would have been strong evidence of ALIA embracing and pushing new technology and helping members get their heads around it. I still think this is an area that other library organisations do better at and ALIA should address more seriously.  I don’t believe that the current PD scheme does this effectively and I have some pretty serious reservations about a mandatory PD scheme overseen by ALIA.

The next thing that stood out was that quite a few answers seemed to take the straight ALIA line with little to no personal additions or interpretation. This would be ok if I wanted to maintain the status quo, but it’s not exactly a compelling argument for adding someone to the board. At least, not to me. I’m more interested to know what you’d do differently, not that you’d keep doing the same things that are currently being done.

So those are my thoughts on the responses so far by nominees. I’m hanging out to read @HughRundle‘s blog post with his questions to nominees and their answers (due March 11). If it’s anything like last time, Hugh will be asking some extremely relevant, up to date and hard hitting questions and it’s always very enlightening to see how nominees handle them. I’m sure it will further help me refine my vote. I’ll blog my resposes to it if I have the time and energy with my advancing pregnancy.

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