I have been asked why I accepted the nomination to run for ALA President. My reasons go to the heart of why I believe you will decide that you want to vote for me.
First, I bring a deep commitment to the power of librarians and libraries to change lives. Through a long career as a school librarian and library administrator, I have held students (my “users”) at the core of every decision, every action. Since I first entered the field, I have dedicated myself to empowering students to be critical thinkers and independent learners. Because I saw the positive impact on my students, I felt compelled to share with other librarians and educators as I continued to learn and develop my vision and strategies. For thirty years, I have been writing, editing, and presenting about ideas important to our field – research skills, assessment, inquiry, literacy, intellectual freedom, digital inquiry and literacy, national standards, library program evaluation, empathy, primary sources, instructional development, learning through libraries, and 21st-century librarianship. I have now joined the faculty of Syracuse University to build the next generation of librarians.
I have a proven record of strong, collaborative leadership, both in the field and in ALA. My seven years as Director of Library Services for the New York City Department of Education were both the most challenging and most rewarding of my career. There are over 1700 schools in New York City. I navigated that complex system to build a collaborative culture and lead our libraries to more effective practices. I have stepped up to take leadership roles in ALA because I know that our national association provides both a national voice and local support for libraries and librarians of all types. As AASL President, ALA Executive Board member, ALA Councilor, and member of numerous ALA committees and task forces, I have contributed thoughtful reasoning, collaborative decision-making, and strategic actions to increase the diversity, inclusiveness, and effectiveness of ALA. I pledge to continue to strengthen the inclusiveness and diversity in our association as ALA President.
I will be a public champion for our core values of intellectual freedom, diversity, and equitable access to information in all formats. I have seen the widening digital divide and the marginalizing of some of our community members due to economic distress, limited access and connectivity to the digital world of information, and language or educational barriers. I have also seen the power of libraries to help community members bridge those divides. ALA must provide strong support to librarians across the country as we transform our libraries to help our communities fulfill their needs and reach their aspirations. We can do this and now is the time!
Those with whom I have worked over the years know me as a lemonade-maker. I do have a very positive outlook. I can always figure out how to navigate difficult issues and bring a group to a consensus decision that moves us forward to more effective practices. I will bring that ability to move an organization to positive action to the ALA presidency.
Make your voice count. Vote for Barbara Stripling as ALA President.