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TL v57 n1 Keynote Address by Loriene Roy
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Tennessee Libraries

Volume 57 Number 1



General Session Keynote Address

Loriene Roy

ALA President-Elect


Welcome to my 2007-2008 ALA Presidential Year! Celebrating Community, Collaboration, and Culture

Boozhoo! Hello! I am greatly honored to have received an invitation to attend and participate in your 2007 Tennessee Library Association annual conference in Chattanooga. The features of my service as ALA President-Elect that I enjoy most are meeting new colleagues, connecting with former students and other friends, and writing about these experiences!

Your TLA conference (not to be confused with ‘my’ Texas Library Association annual conference) brought me numerous gifts, starting with an opportunity to reunite with Penny Frere, my former student and chauffeur from the airport to the Marriott at the Convention Center. I was fortunate to reconnect with another former student, Katie Libby, along with colleagues I have met through ALA, including Annelle Huggins and Vivian Wynn. I enjoyed the hospitality of your TLA officers and members. I benefited from attending your well-planned conference programs, including the legislative and intellectual freedom update and coverage of your Tennessee history book awards, as well as programs on library instruction and marketing. I also sampled Chattanooga’s cuisine, including an exotic combination of crispy grits with a side of green tomato pickles! I visited several local sites, including the Hunter Museum, and contributed to the local economy—returning home with pottery, clothing, and items from the museum store. I now have plans for a future visit to Chattanooga!

Above all, I am especially thankful for the opportunity to address your members in both a general session talk and a conference session. This paper summarizes some of the points made in the opening general session address on Thursday morning, April 19, 2007.

Each ALA President organizes a year of activity that supports ALA’s Key Action Areas, the ALA strategic plan (ALAhead to 2010), and his or her special interests. I decided to align my presidential plans with issues of current and past interest. Specifically, these initiatives are reflective of my own early career in allied health as a medical imager, my current career as a librarian educator, and my ongoing involvement in promoting literacy and libraries for indigenous children. Our activities are infused with two presences including international and indigenous perspectives. Those helping me are identified on the President-Elect website at These plans are detailed, below.

Workplace Wellness

We are aware that many members of our library workforce will soon be preparing for their retirement. There are many strategies that we can follow to live healthy work and personal lives regardless of our age. We will start to explore some of these strategies during the upcoming year.

A Workplace Wellness Task Force is helping me plan several events for ALA members. These will take place at ALA conferences, online, and through publications and website content.

  • We will host a wellness fair in the exhibits area of the 2008 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim. Attendees will receive information and sample products supporting and promoting library workers’ health.
  • We are creating an environmental assessment scan publication to help assess the condition of the workplace in supporting library workers’ health.
  • We are preparing a listing of stay-healthy-at-conference suggestions.
  • We will share these and other ideas on a website showcasing examples of how libraries are supporting wellness in the library workplace. This website will be launched on National Library Workers Day, April 2008.

Supporting Library and Information Science (LIS) Education Through Practice

Graduates of our LIS programs are asked to not only perform traditional duties but increasingly they are expected to bring new skills to the workplace and fast-track into positions of leadership. I believe that the preparation of entry level professionals is a responsibility that we all share. One way to do this is to provide LIS students with service-learning opportunities within the framework of their graduate studies. We are working to help bring this about through the following activities.

  • We are working with students and LIS programs to create a national/international database of fieldwork/capstone/practicum opportunities for students.
  • We will continue forums on education at the 2008 ALA Midwinter Meeting and ALA Annual Conference, focusing on doctoral student and master’s student experiences in community engagement.
  • We are investigating how to incorporate Poster Sessions to feature students’ fieldwork.
  • We will highlight student service-work on a project website.
  • We are editing a special monograph on fieldwork in LIS education, The Service Connection, and will celebrate its publication at the ALA 2008 Annual Conference.

 Circle of Literacy

 The first mission of the American public library was literacy, and literacy remains one of ALA’s Key Action Areas. We are focusing attention on literacy efforts targeted with facets of our communities who are often overlooked—those incarcerated, immigrants, and indigenous children. We will demonstrate our interest in these areas in the following ways.

  • We are creating a website that features examples of library services for incarcerated patrons.
  • Similarly, we are examining and highlighting library services for immigrants by presenting case-specific examples of successful and innovative programs.
  • We are organizing a Gathering of Readers virtual celebration of indigenous children’s reading and culture. This event will take place in April 2008, during the fiftieth anniversary of National Library Week in the United States; the 2008 National Library Week theme is Join the Circle@Your library®. Fifty to one hundred schools around the world that enroll indigenous children will be invited to share information about their cultures and/or to visit a content-rich website. Students will receive incentives, and indigenous authors and their works will be featured. A prototype of the website is available at
  • ALA recently received a two year grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to support “The American Dream Starts@Your Library®,” to assist in English-language literacy services in public libraries. The initiative will create programs at ALA, mini-grants to libraries, a toolkit of resources, highlights of successful programs, a website, and regional training. The Circle of Literacy Task Force will help with these efforts.
  • WBGH-Boston is producing a five-episode “American Experience” series that will air in January 2009. This series, called “We Still Remain,” will focus on five episodes in American Indian history and will also feature the contemporary lives of tribal communities. We will help promote library programming based on this television series.

Pilot projects

In addition to exploring the three areas of workplace wellness, supporting graduate education in our field with practical experience, and highlighting the circle of services offered by libraries, we are introducing two pilot projects. One is a national oral history program of retiring/retired librarians devoted to capturing the stories of our leaders and sharing them with others. The second is a feasibility study on establishing a national library camp to recruit young people into the fields of librarianship.

Ways to Stay Involved

We invite you to attend the events and participate in our efforts and keep in touch! Here are some ways to stay involved.

1. I invite you to send me ideas and news about your libraries. I can use these examples when I am involved in media events and in writing columns for American Libraries and other publications.

2. Consider nominating a retiree to the national oral history project. We will host a one day training event at the 2008 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.

3. Add anniversary events to a growing timeline calendar. The calendar lists anniversary events—such as library openings or the passing of library leaders—that coincide with my ALA presidential year. Complete the online form linked from

4. Send examples of how libraries are involved in services for immigrants, workplace wellness, services for those incarcerated, and fieldwork for LIS students.

5. Watch for the launch of the national/international service-learning capstone database.

6. Consider planning an event related to our initiatives. We would be happy to suggest topics and/or speakers.

7. Do you have contacts with a school that serves indigenous children? Consider nominating one or more schools to participate in the 2008 “Gathering of Readers.”

8. Follow news about these projects at

I’ll watch for all y’all at future events, such as the Honor Dance for me (June 22, 2007, 3:30 – 5:30 at the National Museum of the American Indian) and the Inaugural Banquet 2007 (June 26, 2007, starting at 7:00 p.m.), both during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC this summer. Chi megwitch! Thank you very much!

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