At the 2007 Midwinter Meeting candidate for ALA President-Elect, Jim Rettig, visited YALSA’s Board of Directors. Here is a summary of what he had to say:
Jim opened by saying that he admired what YA librarians do and talked about the importance of keeping teens engaged. He mentioned the importance of legislative advocacy and ALA’s role in that. He felt that ALA does a great job of defending intellectual freedom issues. In Jim’s opinion ALA has a couple of long term challenges: 1) lack of diversity in the profession and the high attrition rate for librarians under 35. ALA needs to engage the youth and minorities by finding new ways of participation for members. Committees shouldn’t be the only method for participation. Wants to collaborate with state and other library groups on the diversity issue. 2) ALA-APA: Jim wants a fiscally sound ALA-APA so it is able to better advocate for salaries and expand its certification program.

The Board asked Jim three questions. Here is how he responded. Please note, these responses are paraphrased here. They are not exact quotes.
Can you please elaborate on a statement you made in a meeting one of our Board members attended where you said that divisions are a drain on ALA?
Jim responded by saying that he never made such a comment. Jim mentioned that the terms of the Operating Agreement weren’t being followed. He said some divisions have become wealthy, but at the same time that ALA has not. According to Jim, divisions are the “profit-center” of ALA.

How would you ensure that the youth divisions would be equitably represented on ALA committees? There are 3 different youth divisions, but ALA often treats them as one entity.
Jim responded by saying he would rely heavily on the division vice-presidents to put forward good names for committee appointments.

Can you tell us about a time when your supported library service to teens?
Jim said that he sent a letter to the editor of his local paper on the filtering issue when CIPA was being challenged. He said teenagers needed a way to get sensitive information and that it is important not to put barriers in their way to accessing information.

The ALA/YALSA election polls open March 15th. Don’t forget to vote! Go to the 2007 Election page for more information.
-Beth Yoke

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