Rettig for President

I finally had some time to read about the candidates and listen to the podcast from Seattle and I’d like to take just a moment to endorse Jim Rettig for president of the American Library Association.

A few reasons why:

In the Q&A segment of the podcast, biblioblogger Gary McClay asks the presidential candidates “What does Library 2.0 mean to you?”

Nancy Davenport answers first and discusses applying Web 2.0 tools to libraries and the association, promoting better communication. Nice answer, but Rettig really grabbed me with his response.

Rettig replies (as best I can transcribe): Library 2.0 is an example that ALA can learn from so that we can create ALA 2.0: which would be about inclusion, participation and collaboration. We are very, very good about talking about collaboration and breaking down silos at ALA but we aren’t as good at actually doing it. And the model that L2 provides of all stakeholders having an opportunity to participate and have their voices heard is one that we need to work on. We need to boldly experiment in how people can participate in this association.

Rettig for ALA President

I agree and appreciate the fact that Rettig acknowledges how the L2 model can offer a voice to all members of the association, and, in my mind, especially those new members who will shape the future of the association.

Also, he’s a blogger at Twilight Librarian and has been blogging since July of last year — and comments are open! That’s a definite indicator for me — if I see a library blog with comments closed I worry that the library might not want people entering into conversastion. Trust trumps fear in my book!

From his platform at, I like this as well:

ALA and its divisions work hard to educate policy makers about the value of libraries to their communities. I will continue to speak out on behalf of libraries of every type and the fundamental rights and freedoms they represent.

The 2005 OCLC Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources report shows that the public associates libraries with books. This is good, but not good enough! Libraries offer far more than books, especially our services that help individuals successfully navigate the complex information landscape to obtain the information they need in their lives. This is another great story to tell! We need to get better at it. We should not dissociate ourselves from the value of books and reading, but we should broaden public perception of the rich offerings available to them through their libraries.

Amen! I’m all for painting a broader bigger picture of how libraries change lives, the stories they tell and what might be found inside the physical or virtual walls.

So, if you are trying to decide who to vote for, listen to the podcast, check out Jim’s blog and ponder the future of an open, participatory ALA.

Disclaimer: I serve on the New Member Participation Task Force with Jim.