We Hear You

Please email forwardtogether@ala.org with your thoughts and feedback.

Since this project began, we have heard from thousands of members. Many had questions, many had concerns, and many offered encouragement. As a group, we spent most of the last year focused on developing fair and feasible recommendations based on feedback from members and non-members. Now it’s time to move on from the what and how and attempt to explain the why. This page begins that process. As you provide your questions and comments, we’ll be providing you with the best answers and responses we have. 

The Opportunity

Forward Together is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to realign our association for the world we live in today.

The Urgency

As society and technology moves forward, ALA has not changed its practice and member engagement models. That inaction has led us and our members to hunger for innovation and forward thinking. The recommendations included in Forward Together, informed and created by ALA members, are intended to do just what the title states; move the world’s oldest and largest library association forward together, as a whole, with established members and new members to advocate and “provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”

The Process

To guide the outcomes of Forward Together, the following characteristics of a future ALA were developed through member feedback. The ALA of the future must

  • enable consistent, strategic, and effective member engagement;
  • enable organization-wide planning focused on a common mission and vision for library workers, library supporters, and libraries;
  • be financially sustainable;
  • enable sustainable, long-term change (including evaluation of progress and more frequent future adjustments);
  • allow stakeholders to have confidence in decisions made when they are not in the room;
  • deliver high-value support and impact for members;
  • pursue environmental sustainability in its activities; and
  • center equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The Vision

Forward Together envisions a cohesive structure which allows many different opportunities for members to participate, engage, and bring forth issues for prioritization by the association.

A Commitment to EDI

Special consideration was given to the need to infuse the values of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) into ALA’s core. SCOE heard and recognized that many people who are underrepresented in the association feel disillusioned and excluded from ALA’s current structure and are unable to see a path toward leadership, professional development, and moving the association forward. To address these issues, the committee took a close look at the institutional and structural barriers to participation and influence including cost, ability to travel, institutional support, oppression and marginalization of groups, and political differences. The recommendations seek to make an association that creates an equitable playing field, supports its members in their endeavors, and creates spaces for underrepresented people to gain desired support and experiences in professional development and focused, intentional leadership paths.