Here’s what I’m thinking of for our syllabus. I’m sure we’ll meander, go on tangents, and take extra time with some of these topics, but it’ll give us a helpful foundation for explaining why some of the weird things about ALA are the way they are.
- What is “ALA?” – divisions, sections, round tables, member initiative groups, assemblies, and offices (oh, my)
- ALA governance and how it all works – ALA Board, ALA Executive Committee, Council, President, BARC, and elections
- ALA committees – let’s make some sense of the 1200+ committees (yeah, you read that right)
- How to get on committees – advice for the committeelorn
- Virtual participation – what does this mean, what’s happened so far, what still needs to happen, how do we get there
- Getting things done in ALA – underused options like membership meetings, resolutions, and subcommittees
- Other ways to get involved – ways to volunteer that don’t involve committee work
- ALA conferences
- ALA affiliates and other library orgs – how do they all fit together? what’s the difference between them?
- Why ALA? – why we need ALA and what’s in it for you
What’s missing? What do you want to add to one of the headings? Now is a good time to speak up, because we’re in the process of building something special to dive into the amorphous topic of “what is ALA.”
I think we’ll also have some conversations on Twitter using the #alacivics hashtag, which I’ll be tracking so I’ll try to close the loop and bring those discussions back to this blog so that there’s one central site for finding everything. Note, too, that all of the class material will be under the category heading “ALA Civics Class.” Watch out for pop quizzes.