Category Archives: ALA News & Such

ALA YouTube Candidates Forum

Read all about it here!

Not everyone is able to participate in and ask questions of the candidates at the presidential candidates’ forum held annually during the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Anyone who can’t be there can still participate by submitting YouTube videos to ask the candidates their questions.
The purposes of the YouTube Candidates Forum are:
  • To give those who cannot attend the face-to-face forum at Midwinter an opportunity to ask the candidates questions
  • To complement the face-to-face forum
  • To increase members’ interest in the election and, we hope, stimulate greater voter participation
The face-to-face forum and the YouTube forum will not intermingle–i.e., the face-to-face forum will proceed in its traditional format, presided over by ALA’s immediate past president.  The YouTube forum complements the Midwinter forum.
Submission guidelines:
  • Questions should be submitted as videos and posted to YouTube
  • Maximum running time for a video is 90 seconds
  • Every submission must be tagged: ALAelection09
  • The individual or group submitting a video must use their true name(s)
  • Anyone interested in the election and the candidates may submit questions
Deadline for submissions: January 16, 2009
Selection of questions:
Anyone who has acces to the Internert and YouTube will have access to all questions that are submitted with the correct required tagging. To assure that the video forum addresses members’ highest priorities and to keep the candidates’ response responsibility manageable, a jury consisting of recent ALA presidents will select six questions for the candidates to respond to. The jurors will submit their recommendations to the current president no later than January 18, 2009. The six questions that receive the strongest recommendations will be showcased in the video forum.

Searching the ALA Web Site

Karen writes:

When the ALA website went live last month, it did so with an added feature: the custom Search Engine Results Page. There are three parts to this, “key matches,” the usual kind of search results, and some ranked results from “big” Google. I had the task of building the initial set of key matches in the final hours before we went live, when most of the pages would be in their intended places. Since then, there have been changes, and some topics really do need key matches. Time for a tune-up.

So, we ran a report of the top 100 queries used on the site. Most are no surprise. Both banned books and banned book (oh, wouldn’t it be nice if there were just one!); library bill of rights and bill of rights; andcensorshipcopyrightcollection development, and standards. But why would over 2,000 people search “google” on the ALA site?

Whatever. There isn’t a single good page to route someone to, so I’ll just fill in the gaps, make some key matches for the pages that seem to elude people, and fill in all the permutations for the Newbery Medal while I’m at it.

The report also provides the top 100 keywords used. 13% of the searches included the word books, but only 5% included library.

ALA Web Site Style Guide

Karen Muller just shared this with the Web Advisory Committee:

I am pleased to attach the current draft of the Style Guide for the “new” ALA web.  As you go through it, you will see some places where we need specific input, or where content is still missing.

Please go through it as carefully as you have time for, ask questions, suggest edits, etc.

After we get your input, we’ll develop the next draft.  As we did with the Style Guide developed in 2003, we will be seeking the committee’s endorsement of this document.  It is the document *all* web developers, at any level in the ALA organization, will need to adhere to.

So that we have time to do another draft and route it back out in good time for Midwinter, we need your feedback by the Monday after Thanksgiving–or December 1. 

We’ll be happy to take comments earlier, as we may be able to do interim drafts of small portions so as to get as much developed in advance as possible.


Please take a look. As chair of the WAC this year, I’d love to get feedback from everyone, not just the folks who will be at the meetings. Please know this is a draft and it may be missing some needed content.

Update: Aaron the Librarian posted it before I did! :-)

Straight from ALA WAC, there is a 44 page draft style guide (doc or pdf)for the ALA website making the rounds.

If you’re Section 508 compliance-proficient or if you’d like to lend your eyes for a readthrough and comment upon, please feel free.  Comments here or over on WAC Chair, Michael Stephens’ Tame the Web post or via email to the Web Editorial Board would be much appreciated.  [add:]Please feel free to use the ALA ITTS WebPlanning Wiki as a more central commenting board. (You’ll need to register to comment on this wiki, tho)[end add]

I, Michael, and the WAC (along with all the ALA webcontent volunteers) thank you for your effort.

Online Salon: ALA President To Discuss Creating Connections

Join ALA President Jim Rettig at the ALA Connections Salon, an online event scheduled for 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST Friday, Sept. 26.  

Online Programming for All Libraries (OPAL) Coordinator Tom Peters will begin the hour with an interview with Rettig, whose presidential focus is “Creating Connections.”  Rettig’s initiatives foster connections among libraries, library workers, the communities libraries serve and those who make library funding and policy decisions.  Rettig is particularly interested in fostering connections among ALA members and exploring new ways for members to benefit from and contribute to our association.  The ALA Connections Salon is one such exploration.  

Like its 17th and 18th Century European counterparts, the ALA Connections Salon offers a place for ALA members to gather and discuss professional topics of interest.  Following the interview, participants will be free to ask questions and engage with Rettig and one another about ways to make the most of their ALA experience.

The salon will take place in OPAL, a user-friendly site offering online rooms where participants can interact via voice-over-IP, text chatting, synchronized browsing and other functions.  The link for the salon is, and a tip sheet for users is available at  

Future salons will take place each month throughout Rettig’s presidency on from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST Fridays as follows:


October 17 Kid Connections 

November 21 Political Connections 

December 19 Gaming Connections 


February 20 ALA Connections

March 20 Next Generation Catalog Connections

April 17 Advocacy Connections 

May 15 Education and Recruitment Connections 

June 19 Future Connections

For more information about ALA President Jim Rettig’s initiatives, please visit .

Chairing WAC

I haven’t got to mention that I’ll be chairing the ALA Web Advisory Committee for this coming year. I thank our president Jim Rettig for the appointment. I just sent this message to the group and wanted to share it here as well:

Greetings Web Advisory Committee!

I am very happy to serve as chair for this coming year. I’m even more excited about the launch of the new ALA website, which will be on September 22nd. The preview is available here:

Here’s some of what’s ahead:

For the first two weeks, we’ll be asking the members of WAC to proactively spend some time actively testing/surfing the site and reporting issues using the site’s feedback form. We’re hoping you can
help us identify problems before users encounter them.

There will be broken links. This will be an ongoing task to correct them, but the new CMS does identify them. The site will keep improving over time as more and more of the links are found and corrected.

You may notice that “ala” is part of the directory structures/URLS. This is a product of the CMS. It cannot be removed without disorganizing the thousands – thousands! – of pages/files, but ALA staff plan to explore a resolution in the coming months.

There will surely be some online discussion/blog posting/ranting/suggestions – I am going to do all I can to make sure the criticism is constructive. I will be posting about this on my blog and urging folks to be understanding and helpful.

In October, we’ll also be asking you to help alpha test ALA Connect, the new version of ALA’s online, collaborative space. More information about this will be forthcoming, and we appreciate your willingness to help move ALA’s web services forward during such a momentous time.

ALA will also begin a comprehensive accessibility review once the website goes live and we have most of the content in place.

Finally, I must thank EVERYONE involved with web development on the staff of ALA. I know many hours, much thought and loads of time have gone into making this new incarnation of our online presence so much better than what came before.

I look forward to working with all of you.


Michael Stephens – Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Dominican University

I am very excited about the possibilities for ALA Connect as a social platform for collaboration. I’ll be posting more here as we go along.