My Mission

Transforming Libraries. Empowering Individuals. Transforming Communities.

My Mission

Libraries are on the cusp of greatness. We must seize the moment by re-defining ourselves and capturing the exciting possibilities offered by technology and social media; the explosion of information; and the challenges of maintaining a strong democracy while nourishing the expression of diverse viewpoints. ALA must be instrumental in leading the transformation of libraries (Goal Area 3 in ALA 2015), so that our members can experiment with and share innovative practices and can enhance their own leadership capacities.

As ALA President, I plan to serve ALA members in all types of libraries by championing intellectual freedom and the right to privacy; literacy; advocacy for all types of libraries; public funding for libraries and library salaries; legislative action; equitable access to information, including e-books; and community-building and civic engagement through libraries.  My 2013-2014 presidential initiative, Libraries Change Lives, will continue and deepen ALA’s support for fulfilling the promise of libraries by enabling libraries of all types to build transformative practice around the community priorities they have discovered by turning outward. The goal for all libraries is to listen to their communities and support community members in achieving their aspirations.

The Libraries Change Lives initiative will be framed around three areas of transformative practice that enable community members to change their lives:  literacy, community engagement, and innovation. During my presidential year, I will sustain and strengthen current ALA initiatives in these three areas, including an ALA-wide focus on advocacy for school libraries, a portal to ALA’s literacy efforts across the Association, continued investigation and advocacy around digital content, and continuing our community engagement initiative, the Promise of Libraries, being implemented in partnership with the Harwood Institute.


 My Plan

  • Strengthen ALA support for transformation process
    • Foster a dialogue that engages all ALA members.
    • Promote integration of electronic content, technology, and future trends through flexible and rapid research and response.
    • Support sharing of innovative practices.
    • Strengthen connections among all divisions and types of library.
    • Build coalitions and relationships with external agencies.
  • Champion the values of intellectual freedom, equitable access to information, and democratic conversation
    • Promote a public agenda for intellectual freedom and privacy; support members in implementing these values.
    • Demand equitable access to information, technology, and infrastructure, particularly in our most underserved rural and urban areas.
    • Actively provoke civic engagement by fostering conversations among diverse members of our constituencies.
  • Empower community voices
    • Support the leadership and training of youth librarians for school and public libraries.
    • Implement a national agenda to strengthen school libraries.
    • Enable librarians and library workers to engage all constituencies within their communities and design services with their community members.
  • Foster diversity in library leadership
    • Strengthen opportunities for mentoring and leadership development, both as professionals in the field and as ALA leaders.
    • Develop strategies for increasing the diversity of librarians in the field and in leadership positions in ALA.
  • Build a strong, collective ALA voice
    • Support a strategic legislative agenda.
    • Engage ALA members and our communities in advocating for transformed libraries


What I Believe

Mahatma Gandhi’s words have guided my professional life: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” For each of my professional beliefs below, I have taken positive actions to bring those beliefs to life.

I believe in taking risks and challenging myself to explore new opportunities to learn and grow.

I believe in taking action on what I have learned.

I believe that equity, justice, and intellectual freedom are the foundational values of libraries.

I believe that we must teach young people to be responsible participants in our society by seeking diverse perspectives and using high-quality information to make decisions and form opinions.

I believe that, as librarians and library workers, we can nurture critical and creative thinking.

I believe that libraries build literacy and strengthen families.

I believe that libraries of all types provide community spaces (both virtual and real) for civic engagement, conversation, and discovery.

I believe that all types of libraries must work together to foster lifelong learning through the library.

I believe that librarians must be leaders.

I believe that ALA will be a strong national advocate for libraries and librarians when we all contribute our individual voices to the ALA conversation.

I believe that, together in ALA, we can transform our libraries and transform our communities.


My mission, my plans, and my beliefs are reflected in the 2013-14 Presidential Initiative Libraries Change Lives.

– Barbara Stripling, ALA President 2013-2014