Understanding a turbulent world to develop library policy agenda

Today, the American Library Association (ALA) releases the draft “Trends Report: Snapshots of a Turbulent World” (with Appendix I (pdf) and Appendix II (pdf)) to stimulate discussion about and ultimately inform a national policy agenda for the U.S. library community. A draft policy agenda will be developed for public comment through the Policy Revolution! initiative led by the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) with guidance from its Library Advisory Committee (LAC).

“The speed of change related to technology and the linked policy dimensions is breathtaking. Similarly, library roles and demands are evolving, and so the library community’s national policy priorities need to be critically reviewed and realigned accordingly,” said OITP Advisory Committee Chair and LAC Ex Officio Member Dan Lee.

As a baseline component for this analysis of public policy, the ALA undertook a broad-ranging scan of the horizon of emerging trends affecting U.S. communities. Studies, reports, and more substantive articles on major trends relevant were reviewed, categorized, analyzed, and debated in the past months. ALA Executive Board and LAC member James G. Neal will discuss this report as part of a panel this week at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress in Lyon, France.

The Policy Revolution! is a three-year initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It includes three major components: establishing policy priorities, engaging decision makers and influencers to advance policy goals, and upgrading ALA policy advocacy practice and capabilities for long-term sustainability.

ALA invites comments on the draft by September 15, 2014. Comments should be posted below or emailed to Larra Clark at lclark at alawash dot org, with the subject line “Comments on Trends Report.” We invite both substantive comments, as well as ideas about how subsets of this material may be useful in various strategy and planning endeavors. The final trends report is expected to be published this fall.

About Larra Clark

As Deputy Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), Larra’s responsibilities include overall management of OITP’s telecommunications portfolio and day-to-day management of America’s Libraries for the 21st Century (AL21C) projects and those in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, she served as the project manager in the ALA Office for Research & Statistics for three years.


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