The ALA Think Tank grew from a group that was originally conceived at the ALA Annual conference in Washington DC as a way to save money on conferences. The original 13 members were made up of young librarians and leaders who had an interest in doing more for the profession and getting more out of the conference. From this, we realized that we cou…ld take advantage of the shared experiences and knowledge of the group and gain even more from the conference. We began brainstorming ways to improve conferences for younger professionals, find ways that ALA can work to better support new young leaders in the profession, and generally advocate for the next generation of librarianship.
We realized that what was stopping many young professionals from becoming more involved in ALA and other organizations was that the organization is increasingly unresponsive to change. We continuously hear that many librarians are not involved in the organization because “it does nothing for them.” It is our opinion that the organization has itself been institutionalized in such a way that it is suffering from a kind of analysis paralysis and unable to move forward and really achieve what needs to be done for new professionals and to be responsive to the changes that are occuring librarianship.
The ALA Think Tank operates outside of the restrictions of the ALA and is not bound by the institutionalization of the organization. This allows young professionals the ability to self-create a better conference experience, to learn from each in a more meaningful way, and be the change that they feel they would like to see in the profession. Along the way, we hope that we can lead by example and show professional organizations what it is that its members want by doing those things.
This new group is a way to share and support new ideas from a wider group of people and as a way to enact a kind of guerilla change in our professional organizations. We encourage you all to share your experiences and ideas for change as well as finding ways to make that change happen. We want to work together to lead the change in ALA that needs to happen before more young and new professionals are discouraged by institutionalization of the org.
This group’s intent is to not be legitimized by ALA through any of the means that generally occur such as the establishment of round tables, interest groups, letters to the editor, or ALA resolutions, etc… Instead, by working outside of the rules of ALA to improve the organization by doing what it can’t we are going to have the freedom to be the change that must occur.
We also encourage you all to establish your own ALA Think Tanks within your state organizations if you feel that changes need to occur there.
Here is the Facebook Group for anyone interested.
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