Thursday, March 5, 2015

2015 ALA Election Candidate Analysis from A Lowrider POV

ALA 2015 Presidential Candidates

Joe Janes

Joe Janes is an academic who uses run of the mill librarian arguments about the importance of libraries.  He sounds like a great guy who is really nice, but didn't have much to say about how he was going to lead ALA.

He gave some standard answers like, "We must rethink, reinvigorate, and reinstate our why--our rational for being--above and beyond the familiar."

I've heard that for a very long time already with little result.  We won't be getting any real changes with his Joe's leadership.  He will maintain the status quo.  I'm not voting for him.

James LaRue

James LaRue has been a librarian, a community leader, columnist, radio and tv show host, writer, teacher and a leader of a large organization.  His statement is concise and focused.  You can tell he has experience writing.

1)  We should elevate librarians as community leaders.  "Imagine librarians who catalog their community..."
2) We muse unleash our power in the marketplace.  "This means we should define and defend digital publishing agreements." 
3)We must showcase our leadership as 21century Literacy champions.  "This begins with early childhood literacy."

James LaRue sounds like he really knows what he is talking about and his writing is passionate.  His literacy champion idea goes covers human development and the need for information literacy at all points.  His messaging about messaging is accurate and exciting. 

JP Porcaro

JP Porcaro is a librarian, a DJ and a comics fanatic among other things.  His platform is really about relationships and people in our organization and in libraries.  

Presidential initiative: "As president, I will challenge ALA to embark on a large-scale public relations campaign demonstrating that it's the staff that makes the library."  

In the public eye: "Its time to step up our visibility as a profession and as a career--in the eyes of the public.  

Telling out stories: Jp told a story of consoling a student in mourning while on his reference shift and asserted that "human engagement" is a vital aspect of librarianship.

Promoting Diversity: "Comparing figures between ALA's 1985 "Equity at Issue" document with the latest ALA diversity figures, we have had little change in attracting people of color to our field."

The Library's Future is ALA's Future: "I have the hope that we can tell our story anew--the story of librarians--to the public."

JP is the only one of the ALA candidates to mention Diversity and Library Staff.  For these reasons alone I would vote for him, but his focus on human relationships and interactions is the clincher for me.  I'm voting JP.

Julie Todaro

Julie is a dean for a community college library.  She has vast work experience in a variety of libraries and settings and is also a consultant and author.  Her platform is all about leadership.

Libraries lead: "...I will be committed to stimulating innovation, expanding content, snd modes and methods of delivering messages."

Library Workers Lead: "...I will be committed to the design and delivery of education, training, and marketing content that illustrates and advocates the expertise of those who work in library and information settings."

Library Supporters Lead:  "...I will honor the contributions of supporters and stakeholders and ensure that they have positive and persuasive messages to influence decision makers and civic leaders..."

Julie clearly has real world skills and knows the library lingo.  I don't think there is much in her message that I have not heard repeated for years.  I like the leadership concept, but she really talked about it in such an objective manner that it came off sounding like the standard stuff people hear about library advocacy.  I'm sure she is a talented manager and Dean, but I am not sure she is the right person to lead ALA at this juncture in time.

Here are my choices in order:

1)  JP Porcaro
2) James LaRue
3) Julie Todaro
4) Joe Janes

Conclusion:  Vote JP!


Anonymous said...

Looks like it's crucial that your first name begin with a J however...!

James LaRue said...

Thanks for the comments, Max. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. My own take is that much of the President's job is not internal, but external: communicating to the larger world. I've got a lot of experience with that. But JP certainly has a lot going for him, too. But yes, you've got to start with a J. Next year, K.

ramontrane said...

Hi Max: I really appreciate your info about the candidates. It's true, every year candidates talk about the same, the same and the same (exactly like politicians). We need new concrete ideas and work more with our communities considering the demographic changes going on in the country. ALA is not very strong with inclusion and I mean real inclusion and not just mention it. Thank again.

Ross Betzer said...

Nice post, Max! I think we're lucky to have four fairly varied candidates this time around, but it makes for a lot of statement copy to wade through! Your analysis and opinion is interesting and super useful.

Max Macias said...

Thanks so much for reading Ross. I do agree--they are all well-qualified and any one of them would do a great job. I'm glad you found the post useful!


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