Hi! I’m Beth Gallaway, a new addition to the YALSA blogging team. I’ve been charged with blogging “about ALA from a YALSA perspective.” I’ve been a YALSA member since 1998, have served on a variety of committees, am an SUS trainer, blogged the last 3 conferences for PLA, and in case you didn’t know it, I’m into video games, currently conquering Guitar Hero.

So, today, March 16, marked the beginning of ALA’s online voting. On the ballots are changes to bylaws, as well as names for selecting our next slate of councilors, board members, and folks to serve on a variety of committees.

My login (ALA membership #) and a unique password were emailed to me with instructions. I went to https://www.alavote.org/2006/ and logged in easily.

I belong to both ALSC and YALSA, so I had 2 division ballots in addition to the main ALA ballot. On each ballot, candidate names had a button next to them, labeled “bio,” Clicking the button made a new window open, showing individual credentials: resume, publications, committee work, accomplishments, and often, a personal statement. Even the bylaw changes had bios that included the original language, the proposed change, and the board’s current stance on the issue. So, even if you feel you haven’t done your homework, you can become an informed voter on the spot.

It took me about 15 minutes to complete all three ballots. If you missed the names of Youth Division members running for ALA council at large, Beth Yoke sent them out on YALSA-L a few weeks ago. The following list is not an endorsement and provided for informational purposes; I leave it up to all of you to consider the implications of having the interests of ALSC and YALSA brought to the Big ALA table–or not.

Cassandra Barnett
Elizabeth (Beth) E. Bingham
Carolyn Brodie
Luann Cogliser
Heidi Dolamore
Eva Efron
Ann Dutton Ewbank

Nancy Fredericks
Carolyn P. Giambra
Dora T. Ho
Dennis J. LeLoup
Virginia (Ginny) Moore
Ria Newhouse
M.A. (Peg) Oettinger
Brenda Pruitt-Annisette
Ellen Riordan

Frances Roscello
Barbara Silverman
Clara Sitter
Margie Thomas
Nancy P. Zimmerman

As far as the issues go, increasing dues are perhaps the biggest one. Amy Alessio outlines the benefits of a YALSA dues increase in her post on March 14. The modest $10 that YALSA is asking for means giving up seeing one movie. Or two of those fancy coffee drinks. Or not buying one gaming magazine. 🙂 And the benefits will bring us an extra $50K, now that we’ve hit 5000 members! (Congrats by the way to Marybeth Gallant, a library teacher in Ashland MA, her library is a member of the region I work for as a library trainer/consultant for youth services).

Increases in ALA dues are on the ballot this year too, with a proposed increase of $10 a year each year for three years. American Librarians Online conducted a poll in January, querying members about the proposed increase and 87% of the 510 respondents voted NO even though it has been 10 years since the last dues increase, and the cost of doing business increases each year.

I know many of our salaries have stagnated in the past few years, and perhaps the amount wouldn’t hurt so much if there were payment plans (like the amount deducted periodically from our paychecks) or if all libraries were willing to pay for staff professional memberships, but we are fortunate that dues are low compared to other professional organizations, and that we get so much bang for our bucks. How much use do you get out of ALA publications? Booklists? Website? Grants? Support? Professional Development? What’s it really worth?

For more information about ALA dues increases, check out the following:
ALA Q& A: Dues Increase:
http://www.ala.org/ala/ourassociation/governingdocs/aheadto2010/qaduesincrease.htm

Executive Director Explains Need for Dues Increase:
http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/selectedarticles/duesincrease.htm

2006 AL Direct Straw Poll Results
http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/aldirecta/2006pollresults/2006polls.htm

Online voting continues through April 24, 2006. If you have trouble, help is only a call or email away: User Support: call 800-974-8099 or e-mail 2006electionhelp AT alavote DOT org – note that support is monitored only from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday – Friday (excluding April 14, 2005).

~posted by Beth Gallaway