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ALA Cognotes


ALA President's Provides a Spark for Change

By Brad Martin
LAC Group

Richard Harwood, founder and president of the Harwood Institute, opened his presentation at the ALA President’s Program on Sunday, January 22 by saying, “I want to talk about why I believe libraries are needed today perhaps more than any other time in my lifetime, and I want to talk about what it will take for each of us, for each of you, to lead in this environment.”

Harwood, describing the condition of America he has seen as he traveled the country, told of a nation facing the greatest recession since the great depression, of many people who are scared about losing their homes, of others who have lost their jobs or are trying to make their next paycheck work. “They are worried. They are bereft,” said Harwood. He added that people want to reconnect and re-engage with each other, but are facing huge obstacles.

“We have a politics that is so toxic and acrimonious and divisive that people are afraid to come back into the public square. We have a news media that seems to take great pride in creating conflict, when in fact what people are looking is for someone to look at the issues that we need to deal with as a society.” Harwood said “there are few leaders in our communities and in this country that people trust,” noting that when he asks people who they trust as a leader, they often say Oprah. “It seems to me that if we are going to move this country forward, we need more than Oprah,” he added.

“We have many organizations that seemed to me more concerned about their own survival, more concerned about their own good than serving the common good.”

“If libraries want to be more

» see page 14

ALA President Molly Raphael welcomes speaker Rich Harwood to the podium for the President’s Program keynote address Sunday, January 22.

Empowering Voices: Transforming Communities and Libraries

By Brad Martin
LAC Group

David Lankes, Syracuse University School of Information, sparked a conversation in two separate events Saturday, January 20, and Sunday January 21, about transforming the role of libraries by prompting audience members to envision the needs and aspirations of their communities and what impact this has on their institutions.

Lankes set the tone by saying that conversations are important, because the result is our behavior. “Talking is important, for two reasons,” said Lankes. “We are shaped by the conversations, and we shape the conversation. Today, the most important conversation is with our community and learning what makes them better.”

“Don’t ask the library members what they think of the library. Don’t ask how the library can help them. Ask instead what problems they need to solve,” he added. “Expect more – of yourself, your colleagues and your community.”

(first photo) The Conversation Starts Here when David Lankes, left, speaks with ALA President Molly Raphael about empowering libraries at the Saturday, January 21 program. (second photo) Nearly 200 participants joined in the ALA Fun Run 5K & Walk Saturday, January 21 at Reverchon Park & Katy Trail in Dallas. (third photo) Midwinter Meeting attendees flood the exhibit floor after the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, January 20, to enjoy the ALA/ERT Exhibits Opening Reception

Youth Media Awards Announced

At the 2012 Midwinter Meeting in Dallas, the American Library Association (ALA) announced the top books, video and audiobooks for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards.

A list of the 2012 award winners follows:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

Dead End in Norvelt, written by Jack Gantos, is the 2012 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Farrar Straus Giroux. Two Newbery Honor Books also were named: Inside Out & Back

» see page 8

Chrystal Carr Jeter, Chair Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee, left, Molly Raphael, 2011-2012 ALA President, Sarah Flowers, President Young Adult Library Services Association, Mary Fellows, President Association for Library Service to Children, and Maria Kramer, President REFORMA, announce the Youth Media Awards on Monday, January 23 at ALA Midwinter 2012 in Dallas.