ALA Annual 2016

Onward! (To #ALAAC16 and Beyond!)

“All was well.”

–J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Unfathomably, it’s now time for my final monthly presidential blog post (otherwise known as POTA Blog #12). As we look ahead to ALA Annual Conference in Orlando in just about two weeks it is also, of course, a time to look back over the past year. While the 2015-16 Annual Report will be coming soon and will do an excellent job of more thoroughly documenting ALSC’s incredible achievements over the past twelve months, I would like to highlight here three things I said that I would do when I asked for your vote for the honor of serving as ALSC President and which we’ve successfully done together.

Reaching out to Congress at National Library Legislative Day in May with Vice President Betsy Orsburn & Executive Director Aimee Strittmatter (Photo by Angela Hubbard)
Reaching out to Congress at National Library Legislative Day in May with Vice President Betsy Orsburn & Executive Director Aimee Strittmatter (Photo by Angela Hubbard)

1. Reaching Out

Over the past year, the ALSC team has engaged in productive conversations with such groups as:

And that’s to name just a few! The efforts of our incredible office staff and our Liaison to National Organizations Committee are ongoing and vital to our success. And my #ALSCtour (including during my Vice Presidential year) has taken me to more than a dozen states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Europe, and Asia, with the South Pacific still on tap for later this summer. I believe these efforts are important because by teaming up and showing up we can increase the impact of our work on children’s lives by expanding the awareness of the essential work of libraries in every community and of the support ALSC provides to everyone serving children in libraries. Just as each of us must have a seat at the table in our individual communities, ALSC must be a voice in these conversations at the highest levels to affect positive change for our kids.

The staff of the Monroe Public Library in Wisconsin is ready & set to read this summer! (Photo by Shawn Brommer)
The staff of the Monroe Public Library in Wisconsin is ready & set to read with their community this summer! #ALSCtour (Photo by Shawn Brommer)

2. Giving Back


To create a better future for children, ALSC’s purpose, giving back to others, individually and collectively, is important and impactful. I’m particularly proud of ALSC’s support of REFORMA’s Children in Crisis project this year as well as the stand we’ve taken for our core values in North Carolina and the supportive resources we’ve identified for serving all members of each of our communities. And I ask each of you to please join me in giving back to our Association by making a contribution to Friends of ALSC, which ensures excellence in our traditional programs and services and supports growth in new directions as our profession meets the exciting opportunities of our future.


3. Moving Forward

The ALSC Board has a full plate in Orlando beginning June 23, and there are several key areas in which we’ll be moving our organization forward during Annual.

  • Our current successful Strategic Plan is due to wrap-up in the next year, so the Board will be convening, together with those elected to begin serving at the conclusion of Annual, to stride ahead with developing the Plan’s next iteration to make sure we’re ready for the 2020s. There will be opportunities for member input in Orlando at Leadership & ALSC, our Membership Meeting, and small focus group gatherings, and the conversations will continue into the fall. Please stay tuned and be involved!
  • The Summer Reading & Learning Task Force will be submitting a report detailing their work and information-gathering over the past six months, and I’m looking forward to hearing their thoughts on how ALSC can better support members in our work during this significant time of the year.
  • I’ve had a sneak peak at the recommendations of our Student Gift Membership Task Force which will be coming to the Board for discussion and there are some awesome ideas in there for ways to welcome and engage even more folks in our work.
  • After several years of careful study and consideration, the Board is poised to move the needle forward in some exciting and innovative ways with consideration of a Digital Media Award Plan. Much of this discussion will actually occur before we all get on a plane, and you can follow along here on ALA Connect.

As you can tell, there is much to be done at Annual and you can be part of it from wherever you are by following along on Twitter with #ALAAC16, #ALSCBoard, #ALSCtour and with live updates here at the ALSC Blog. Full details on the ALSC line-up of events are available here.


Finally, THANK YOU for an amazing and unforgettable year to ALSC’s magnificent staff–Aimee, Angela, Courtney, Dan, Kristen, Laura, & Marsha–to ALSC’s dedicated Board–Betsy, Chris, Diane, Doris, Ellen, Gretchen, Jenna, Julie, Kay, Mary, Megan, & Vicky–and to all of you (ALSC membership numbers are up so the downside is that I can’t fit everybody’s name here). And all the best wishes in the world to our 2016-17 president, Betsy Orsburn!



  1. Diane Foote

    Andrew, it’s been a joy serving with you on the Board. It’s always gratifying at the end of the year to sum everything up and look where your hard work has brought us! Onward indeed and best wishes to Betsy….I won’t be on the Board any longer after Annual 2016 but know I’ll be cheering on the division from the membership ranks.

    1. Andrew Medlar

      The feeling is very mutual, Diane–thank YOU!

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