Looking Forward Together

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Welcome to the Forward Together Blog!

As we reimagine our association for the 21st century and look to model ourselves into the ideal association that meets the needs of our ever evolving membership, I invite you to join ALA members from across the association in exploring their member experiences, their hopes for ALA, and how we can all work together to make ALA the best version of itself.  Members of the Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness will write the first several posts, but we invite members who want to contribute their thoughts on Forward Together to submit ideas by emailing ALA Staff Liaison to SCOE Raymond Garcia at rgarcia@ala.org.

As we enter a time of uncertainty for the association and indeed for all of society, we are also entering a time of hope, with a sense of urgency. Now is the time to recreate ALA for a new generation of members and to learn from the wisdom and guidance of our established ALA members. Now is the time to ensure ALA has at least another 150 years ahead of it and to honor the work of the 150 years behind it to make this next generation possible. Now is the time for change.

As we move towards an association that incorporates the voices of its engaged 57,000 members year-round through modern tools and streamlined processes, we strive for an association that is truly equitable, diverse, and inclusive. That is fiscally stable. That centers its core values such as intellectual freedom, and advocates for libraries everywhere. We imagine an association where anyone can participate from anywhere, when they are able to – utilizing talents previously untapped. As an association, we are ready to continue growing and improving, through exciting changes already underway, such as the formation of Core and through potential changes forthcoming, such as those in Forward Together.

We received excellent, enthusiastic feedback from members at our ALA Midwinter Meetings in Philadelphia and had great conversations online during our Forward Together Webinars and through email. If you missed a webinar and want to learn more, they are archived on ALA Connect. Now that we’ve had time to explore the areas of Forward Together that members really love and the areas that may need more work and conversation, the ALA Executive Board, as announced earlier this week by President Wanda Brown, is bringing  Forward Together to ALA Council for their consideration. 

The process for consideration by ALA Council and implementation by ALA members and staff falls into a multi-step process (outlined here) which ends in an all-member vote and that process will be led by the Forward Together Working Group. All ALA members are invited to apply to be appointed to this new working group, which will be co-led by two ALA members. The volunteer application is available online through May 8, 2020, and appointments will be made in May. For the charge for the working group, its partner fiscal analysis working group, and the skills, experience, and expertise we hope the members of the working groups will possess, see the volunteer form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WK65CDV

On a personal note, I’d like to extend my gratitude to the Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness. Their terms end in June. This group of individuals have been some of the most passionate, knowledgeable, enthusiastic people I have ever met. While we all came from different areas of the association, we all started with one thing in common: a desire to continue improving the association we all love so much – not by dictating what *we* thought was best for the association, but by bringing ideas, being open to conversation, and by listening to what members wanted. Bringing Forward Together to the membership was truly a labor of love, and I think I speak on behalf of all of SCOE when I say that we cannot wait to see where our association goes next and are honored to be champions for change, just like so many of you.

Looking forward to the next 150+ years together,

-Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada

Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness Chair

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