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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

"Big" ALA

I am not speaking officially in any capacity here, but only as a person. I heard the phrase "Big ALA" the other day as if it were something lofty and beyond the individual. 

Logically, everyone is part of "Big" ALA because in order to join a division, roundtable, committee, and/or interest group within ALA, you must join ALA. We are part of the whole. We can also be part of other groups with specialized interests, but we hold core values, the Library bill of rights and a code of ethics. 

WE (you and me) are what makes ALA. It would not exist without individuals. I wanted to share with you some silly, non-flattering photos of some of the exec board members, staff, and assistants who have the wonderful glorious opportunity to stay longer than anyone else to get the work done. We look exhausted, worn-out, yet are enthusiastic and hard-working. Just like every single one of you are every day. 

The leadership of ALA is human. The executive board members are just people, not 10-foot tall giants. They are there to carry out the work as advised by council and they represent you. The only difference is that they have beautiful desserts thanks to staff member Cheryl’s taking care of them during conference. 

You can contact them easily and let them know about any aspect of librarianship. The executive board members no longer represent only the division they come from, but all aspects of ALA and ALA-APA. They will listen to you because they see the Big picture of librarianship, but know that the individual pieces are important to the whole. When you put a puzzle together, the picture isn’t complete until every piece is together. The same with your organization. You are essential. You determine the Big picture

You are "Big ALA." Don’t let anyone think you’re anything less.

The individual staff members of ALA are incredibly committed. Here is a photo of one of the staff members who had to stay and prepare the minutes from the last meeting after Cathy transcribed them Wednesday afternoon. 
Another example is Lois Ann Gregory-Woods who will celebrate 40 years of service to ALA this October. There are many staff members who are committed to the ideals of librarianship and the principles of our organization. They are friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and eager. They are part of ALA. I want to thank every one of them who were there at ALA Annual and those who stayed behind to keep the organization running. Thank you! 

Now, please go seal those boxes of books and paperwork so they can get in the mail and I have something new to read. <grin> I appreciate you. I’ll love you even more when the post office delivers my box of books.

Mario Gonzalez Mario Gonzalez was caught in a blink which is unfortunate because he is a very f-i-n-e looking man. To be fair, I copied his ALA picture here. We were actually working so I didn’t have an opportunity to catch a better picture. I promise to do better next time, Mario.

Can you tell in the photo below that Rod Hersberger (treasurer) and Terri Kirk are having a good time? I wonder if Camilla realizes who she will be dealing with?

I intend to learn a great deal from Joseph Eagan (newly elected to the board), Terri Kirk (liaison to about every group), and Mary Ghikas (in the hat in the back, who is a POWERhouse). You can tell who I am because I am happy to be working and not being introduced.

Have you ever read one of Loriene Roy’s weekly updates of what she accomplished as president of ALA? If you do, you’ll no longer think of her as ALA president, but as superwoman! I’ll just dream about being such a fine person and leader.


  1. Heather says:

    E pluribus unum

  2. TERRI KIRK says:

    We do have fun while we work. You never know what Rod and I will be up to! Great staff makes the work easier and the fact that two school librarians are now on the Ex Board is wonderful. We do have must more in common with each other than we do have differences and it takes all of us to build the best association together!

  3. The staff are fabulous. If my principal saw how hard they worked, he’d be asking me why I was slacking. I did get my boxes of paperwork and books and I’m in heaven. Lots of reading to do amidst my unpacking the new library.

  4. Joseph Eagan says:

    Indeed, the ALA Executive Board members are not “10-foot tall giants”. But are we likely to gain 10 lbs a year from those rich desserts?

    Seriously, my first month as an ALA Executive Board member has been an incredible experience! The other Board members are talented, thoughtful and creative colleagues, and the ALA staff continues to astound me with their dedication, knowledge and hard work.