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Mary Ghikas (staff)'s picture

Strategic Framework and Enabling Strategies: Discussion Thread 2: Information Policy

Strategic Framework

     Strategic Initiatives

          Advocacy

          Information Policy

          Professional and Leadership Development

     Enabling Strategies

 

  • Information policy

Information policy is comprised of laws, regulations and doctrines, and other decision making and practices, involving information creation, storage, equitable access, communication, accessibility, dissemination, use and preservation.
            The American Library Association (ALA), operating in the public interest, focuses at every level on a diverse set of policy areas that includes:  intellectual freedom, privacy, civil liberties, telecommunications, funding for education and research programs, funding for libraries, copyright and licensing, government information, and literacy.

            Operating on behalf of the public, ALA seeks through libraries to:

  • Serve as a knowledgeable resource on policy issues for ALA members and the public at large.
  • Lead the advocacy for legislation, regulation, and policies for the public interest.
  • Educate library staffs and the public on public policy matters.
  • Document the impact of legislation, regulation, and policies on the work of libraries and public access to information.
  • Promote coalitions to advance policy positions in advancing ALA’s agenda and mission.
  • Enable successful models of information access that support the ALA policy agenda.
  • Advocate for effective policies that enable libraries to meet the information needs of all sectors of the public.

 

David King's picture

For starters, I think this section could use some editing! For example: Instead of “The American Library Association (ALA), operating in the public interest, focuses at every level on a diverse set of policy areas that includes” - can’t this say something simpler, like “ALA focuses on:” - I really don’t think you need to include lofty phrases like “operating in the public interest” or “focuses at every level on a diverse set of … “ (I don’t even think that’s accurate).

Editing aside, to me this section is hard to understand. Here’s where I’m getting stuck:

  • “Serve as a knowledgeable resource on policy issues for ALA members and the public at large.” - Do we have a lot of “the public” coming to ALA for policy issues? Really? I think ALA exists to serve it’s members primarily (but I could be wrong here).
  • “Lead the advocacy for legislation …” - Great goal! See my comments in the Advocacy section (advocacy needs to start years before the legislation and regulation is discussed).
  • Educate … the public on public policy matters.” Again … isn’t ALA here to serve members? I think local libraries would be better off educating their community, rather than ALA somehow coming down to visit Topeka to educate us on intellectual freedom. That doesn’t really make sense to me. Maybe it will when this bullet point is more fleshed out?
  • “Enable successful models of information access that support the ALA policy agenda.” Again - how does ALA “enable” this? I’m missing some detail here, I think.

So - that’s what I saw, anyway. Good start - need more detail, I think.

Kimberly Lowe's picture

In this passage, "Information policy is comprised of laws, regulations and doctrines, and other decision making and practices," either that last "and" should not be there, or there should be another word before or after it.  I apologize for the nitpick but simply cannot make sense of the phrase "other decision making and practices."

Daniel Cornwall's picture

I am very happy to see Information Policy covered in the Strategic Framework. While I support just about everything here, I especially support the statements:

  • Serve as a knowledgeable resource on policy issues for ALA members and the public at large.
  • Educate library staffs and the public on public policy matters.
  • Document the impact of legislation, regulation, and policies on the work of libraries and public access to information.
  • Enable successful models of information access that support the ALA policy agenda.

I see where David Lee King is coming from when he says:

Educate … the public on public policy matters.” Again … isn’t ALA here to serve members? I think local libraries would be better off educating their community, rather than ALA somehow coming down to visit Topeka to educate us on intellectual freedom. That doesn’t really make sense to me.

Do we have a lot of “the public” coming to ALA for policy issues? Really? I think ALA exists to serve it’s members primarily (but I could be wrong here). - See more at: http://connect.ala.org/node/218695#sthash.Sxz5es3X.dpuf

In response, I'd say that ALA is serving its membership by educating the public on policy matters. Many librarians barely have time to keep with information policy matters themselves, much less organize educational events for their patrons. Also, in many rural states, libraries are run by volunteers who are essentially members of the public. They may or not be members of ALA but our membership is still served by educating them on sound information policy.

As to whether people are coming to ALA on information policy matters, they should be. Just like doctors and nurses would be ideally consulted on healthcare policy. We need to do a better job of making our expertise visible. Otherwise we're ceding the field to copyright holders and censorship advocates.

Finally, other professional associations do make an effort to educate the public on their issues. Two examples:

American Bar Association - http://www.americanbar.org/portals/public_education.html

American Medical Association -

http://www.ama-assn.org//ama/pub/physician-resources/patient-education-materials.page

One other issue I'd like to address is the statement, "Enable successful models of information access that support the ALA policy agenda." This statement probably could use some clarification.

When I see this statement, I see ALA bringing libraries together in advocating for open access, serving as a clearinghouse on how to build institutional repositories and bringing libraries and content creators together in building Creative Commons content. There may also be a role in publicizing successful "Douglas County Library" models of ebook ownership.

But what does this statement mean to the writers? Or to other members?

 

  • Serve as a knowledgeable resource on policy issues for ALA members and the public at large.
  • Lead the advocacy for legislation, regulation, and policies for the public interest.
  • Educate library staffs and the public on public policy matters.
  • Document the impact of legislation, regulation, and policies on the work of libraries and public access to information.
  • Promote coalitions to advance policy positions in advancing ALA’s agenda and mission.
  • Enable successful models of information access that support the ALA policy agenda.
  • Advocate for effective policies that enable libraries to meet the information needs of all sectors of the public.

- See more at: http://connect.ala.org/node/218695#sthash.Sxz5es3X.dpuf

  • Serve as a knowledgeable resource on policy issues for ALA members and the public at large.
  • Lead the advocacy for legislation, regulation, and policies for the public interest.
  • Educate library staffs and the public on public policy matters.
  • Document the impact of legislation, regulation, and policies on the work of libraries and public access to information.
  • Promote coalitions to advance policy positions in advancing ALA’s agenda and mission.
  • Enable successful models of information access that support the ALA policy agenda.
  • Advocate for effective policies that enable libraries to meet the information needs of all sectors of the public.

- See more at: http://connect.ala.org/node/218695#sthash.Sxz5es3X.dpuf

  • Serve as a knowledgeable resource on policy issues for ALA members and the public at large.
  • Lead the advocacy for legislation, regulation, and policies for the public interest.
  • Educate library staffs and the public on public policy matters.
  • Document the impact of legislation, regulation, and policies on the work of libraries and public access to information.
  • Promote coalitions to advance policy positions in advancing ALA’s agenda and mission.
  • Enable successful models of information access that support the ALA policy agenda.
  • Advocate for effective policies that enable libraries to meet the information needs of all sectors of the public.

- See more at: http://connect.ala.org/node/218695#sthash.Sxz5es3X.dpuf

Daniel Cornwall

Alaska Chapter Councilor

Member, Depository Library Council

http://librarianfromalaska.wordpress.com