In late April, the American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office had the pleasure of hosting 14 graduate students from the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. These students—all with interests in information policy—came to learn and discuss the wide range of our policy work and how we approach it—and enjoy a buffet of Chinese food. ALA Washington Office Executive Director Emily Sheketoff, ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) Deputy Director Larra Clark, and I represented ALA.
The discussions were wide ranging. “What is the nature and scope of information policy” deservedly took some of our time together. We spent time talking about the importance and role of coalitions and their benefits and challenges. Larra Clark led a discussion on net neutrality that served as a case study, featuring an important and challenging topic that has been (and remains) on our agenda. Overall, the discussions revealed the layers of the onion—the nuances of information policy and politics—underneath what’s reported in the popular press.
We were pleased to have the students visit us—and indeed one part of our mission is to cultivate interest and support of information policy in new entrants to the profession. The visit also builds on our myriad relationships and work with the College, and with professors John Bertot, co-director of the University of Maryland’s Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC), and Paul Jaeger, associate professor and iPAC co-director, in particular. For example, the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy is a partner on the in-process Digital Inclusion study funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the successor to the Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study (PLFTAS), a long-time collaboration between ALA and the University of Maryland.
Included in the Maryland delegation were Johnna Percell, this year’s Google Policy Fellow here in OITP and Lynne Bradley, an adjunct instructor at the College and of course our former director of government relations. Many thanks to Lindsay Sarin for orchestrating the visit from the Maryland side and to Ros Reynolds, assistant director of Administration for the ALA Washington Office, for her assistance here in the office.
Photos from the event: