Starting at the Beginning: ALA’s Mission

To kick off ALA Civics Class, I talked to Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels (aka, The Big Kahuna) about our mission. ALA does so much that sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what’s at the heart of the organization and why we do what we do. ALA has to align its services to its mission, just as libraries do, so it’s important to understand the scope of ALA’s mission.

I also asked Keith what the mission means in action and how he evaluates whether an initiative aligns with said mission.

Honestly, I hadn’t read ALA’s mission statement since I started working there. Given the professional debate, it’s interesting that there’s no mention of reading or books in it, concentrating instead on learning and information. Personally I like that focus because it includes books, technology, physical space, literacy, instruction, and everything else we do.

One of my goals for Civics Class is to help you figure out where you want to contribute to that mission and how. So what does ALA’s mission mean to you?

2 Responses to “Starting at the Beginning: ALA’s Mission”

  1. Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries Says:

    Information is key. A key issue is whether legal pornography is considered “information.” I would like to see the ALA address that. Is pornography “information” in the ALA’s view? Decide one way or another and that will end a whole lot of debate nationwide.



    Jenny Reply:

    Thanks, Dan. I know a lot of members feel that the issues around information, information literacy, and intellectual freedom are important, and I’m hoping that Civics Class will help them understand where and how to get involved so that their voices can be heard and their contributions shared.


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