Last Friday, we said goodbye to our 2017 Google Policy Fellow Alisa Holahan. The week before her departure, she and OITP hosted a lunch and discussion for this year’s cohort of Google Policy Fellows.
Similar to the six Policy Fellows lunches we have hosted in the past (in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011), the gathering was an opportunity for the Fellows to explore the intersection of information technology policy and libraries. Fellows from various policy organizations including the Center for Democracy and Technology, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and Public Knowledge attended to learn more about ALA’s role in shaping technology policy and addressing library needs.
Alan Inouye, Marijke Visser and Carrie Russell shared a brief overview of their roles and the focus at OITP and I represented the intersection between OITP and the OGR. After introductions, the conversation turned to a series of questions: How does the Ready to Code initiative support workforce innovation? How does the Washington Office set priorities? How do we decide our portfolios of work? The informal question-and-answer format generated an interesting exchange around libraries’ roles and interests in technology and innovation.
Most notably, this summer’s lunch marked the 10th anniversary of the Google Policy Fellow Program, of which ALA is a founding host organization. Since 2008, we have encouraged master’s and doctoral students in library and information studies or related areas with an interest in national public policy to apply and have now amassed a decade of alumni, including:
- 2008: Fiona de Young
- 2009: Sarah Roberts
- 2010: Gwen Glazer
- 2011: Jessie Mannisto
- 2012: Derek Attig
- 2013: Jamie Schleser
- 2014: Margaret Kavaras
- 2015: Johnna Percell
- 2016: Nick Gross
- 2017: Alisa Holahan
As the expanding role of libraries of all types evolves, the need for information professionals with Washington experience and savvy will continue to grow. The Washington Office is privileged to have hosted ten early-career professionals and to provide the means for them to obtain direct experience in national policy making.