I am honored to lead ALA during this critical time for libraries, librarians, library workers, library supporters, and the communities we serve.  We have important work to do together because libraries are essential for learning and essential for life.  With your help, I am optimistic that together we can raise the place of libraries of all types in their respective communities to even greater heights.

As I promised during the campaign, I will focus my initiatives in two ALA priority areas:  advocacy and diversity.  When I consider ALA’s 2015 Strategic Plan and the priorities that it identifies, I am confident that we can move ALA forward in strategic and valuable ways.

My advocacy initiative is focusing on how we can engage our communities to speak out more effectively for libraries of all types, not just during times of crisis but throughout the years.  My working title for this initiative is “Why Libraries Matter: Empowering Community Voices”.  I am very pleased that Patty Wong, Yolo County (CA) Library Director, and Barbara Stripling, Director of Library Services for New York Public Schools, are co-chairing this advocacy initiative, which will build on the work of other ALA presidents.  We are working closely with the ALA Office for Library Advocacy and other related parts of ALA (the Washington Office and the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends, and Foundations) to coordinate all of these efforts.

For my diversity initiative, I plan to contribute to the current effort being led by ALA Past President Betty Turock to increase significantly Spectrum Scholarship funding and, in addition, to promote inclusiveness in our leadership development efforts.  We want the leadership of our association and our libraries to reflect the diversity of our membership.  Recruitment is very important, but we should not stop there.  I am working with the ALA Office for Diversity and several ALA member leaders who have been involved in diversity and inclusiveness work both within ALA and in their “day jobs”.  We want to be sure that the library leaders of today and tomorrow are as diverse as the communities that we serve.

Please check back here again for updates as our plans move forward.

Molly Raphael, 2011-2012 ALA President