Why Vote for Molly Raphael for ALA President?
Knows ALA and how to get things done
Has proven leadership ability and experience
Has a vision for our future
Is a defender of our core values
Is committed to inclusiveness and diversity.
Has extensive experience working with the media and elected officials
Knows how the Federal Government works
Has worked and/or directly managed every area of library functions
Promotes collaboration across all types of libraries
Understands the role of the president
- Knows ALA and how to get things done. Her 35 years of active participation in ALA have yielded a broad and deep understanding of the Association and how it works. A term on Executive Board and three full terms on Council, as well as six years on the Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC), have provided knowledge and deep understanding of ALA’s leadership, governance, and financial management. Molly’s service encompasses all ALA constituencies. From her initial experience in the 1970’s as co-founder and first chair of ALA’s focus on services to the deaf community, through ALA-wide committee and governance service, to her most recent position as president of the Library Leadership and Management Association, Molly has demonstrated a commitment to the contributions of all parts of ALA. Through her direct participation in ALA’s governing and policy-formulation bodies, she has gained a sound understanding of the roles of Executive Board, the Council, the divisions, roundtables, and committees, as well as the roles of the Executive Director and staff. Most importantly, she knows how they must interact and coordinate their efforts for ALA to function effectively.
- Has proven leadership ability and experience. She led two large and complex library systems, where she had to listen, learn, and operate effectively in two very different political, economic, and cultural environments. Molly worked with elected officials, foundation and business leaders, and others at the local and national level to elevate the position of the library and its programs. She has worked collaboratively with leaders from a wide variety of organizations to build coalitions across different types of libraries and community constituencies. Molly will bring to the ALA presidency the critical skills required to operate in a large, complex organization.
- Has a vision for our future. “Libraries: Essential for Learning, Essential for Life” captures for Molly the role libraries play in society. She challenges us to demonstrate that libraries are essential, not optional, for lifelong learning. Recent studies support this view and constituents across all types of libraries are asserting that our society cannot afford to marginalize libraries. Together, we must argue persuasively that librarians advance early literacy, provide access to information for underserved, at-risk populations, improve information literacy for 21st Century skills, and so much more.
- Is a defender of our core values. Molly has served for two terms on the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC), as a Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) Trustee, and on the Coordinating Committee on Access to Information. As a front-line librarian and then as a public library administrator, she has defended the right to access to information and library resources, the privacy rights of patrons, and the general principles of intellectual freedom. As director of the Multnomah County Library, she crafted an innovative solution to protect the access of individuals, especially teens, while also providing parents with the ability to determine how their own children use the library. As a library director, she worked at the forefront of library services to protect the rights of a diverse community of library users. Molly has been a member of the FTRF since 1985.
- Is committed to inclusiveness and diversity. Over the past four decades, Molly has demonstrated that inclusiveness and diversity in the workplace and in library programs and outreach are fundamental in a democratic society. She has received recognition for her effectiveness in increasing diversity in employment, collections and services from Multnomah County’s Managers of Color. Molly has also been recognized for her work in partnership with labor leaders in Washington, DC, to ensure that front-line workers have a voice at the table in key decisions about library operations. Her style is one of inclusion in decision-making, involving people who are directly affected by the decisions.
- Has extensive experience working with the media and elected officials. One of the major roles of the ALA president is to be the chief spokesperson for ALA during the presidential year. Molly has extensive experience dealing with the media, including responding to intense media inquiries regarding library policies in Washington, DC and Multnomah County (Portland area), OR. She has met with editorial boards of newspapers, been interviewed on television and radio, and addressed audiences ranging across the spectrum from friendly to hostile. She has testified regularly to advocate for the library’s budget and explain library policies before legislative and administrative bodies at the local, state, and federal level, including committees of the US Congress.
- Knows how the Federal Government works. Molly worked in Washington, DC for 33 years. During that time, she was an active member of one of ALA’s chapters, the District of Columbia Library Association, served as its president, and chaired the National Library Legislative Day Committee. She knows how the different branches of government actually get their work done and when and how it is possible to influence decisions. She spent many years actively working with the ALA Washington Office. In addition, as the director of the library in the Nation’s Capital, she was often called upon to host high-level, visiting foreign dignitaries and members of Washington’s international community.
- Builds collaboratives. As Chicago Public Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey said in a speech several years ago, “We’re not in the library business; we’re in the Chicago business.” Molly has sought partners who share common values and interests in the library’s community. Libraries need to be seen as essential to the vision, mission, and goals of the communities or institutions they serve. She argues that when we see ourselves as being in the broader business of meeting community needs, we can create powerful alliances for achieving our goals. ALA is the place where we can build those collaboratives across all types of libraries.
- Has worked and/or directly managed every area of library functions. Molly knows the work of libraries at all levels, based on first-hand experience. She began her career as a children’s librarian and became professionally active during that time. She continued her career as a front-line reference librarian and then first-line supervisor, before moving into system-wide library administration. Molly served as a senior manager over the wide variety of program and support departments in a large, urban public library, including technical services and collection development; coordinators of children, young adult and adult services; information technology; marketing and communications; facilities; and security.
- Promotes collaboration across all types of libraries. As a public library leader, Molly has benefited from working with library leaders from all types of libraries. In Washington, DC, she collaborated with public school librarians and administrators, both as a front-line librarian as well as a library administrator. She was also a member of collaboratives that brought together library leaders from academic and research libraries. The DC Library Association has strong participation from federal and other types of special librarians, making the breadth of interaction with librarians across all types of libraries especially rich. Molly continued these partnerships and collaborations in Portland, Oregon, where collaboration was essential for the success of all types of libraries.
- Understands the role of the president. In his classic book, Presidential Power, Richard Neustadt observed that the power of the American president lies in the power to persuade. Neustadt’s observation is relevant to the ALA presidency. Molly has used the power of persuasion throughout her professional life. As ALA’s voice in 2011-12, Molly will speak forcefully for the principles and values of libraries and library workers. She will build on the work of her predecessors and provide a solid foundation for her successors.