A challenge to my PLN

Earlier this year, in one of my “I must do everything at once” phases, I attended the ALIA Boardroom Bound workshop at Information Online. Let’s just say I was pretty overcommitted professionally at the time, and decided that the way I could best serve the association was by NOT running for the Board. My attitude hasn’t changed. It isn’t right for me, not now. The best thing I can do for the association is be an involved member, and encourage others to be members too. And so: this challenge.

The call for nominations for the ALIA Board of Directors and President-elect are now out. The deadline is Wednesday 21st December. Off the top of my head I can think of at least half a dozen members of my PLN who would be awesome board members and/or Presidential candidates, and I would vote for.

What I am would really like this year, is that I actually get to vote. The ALIA by-laws state that if there are enough nominees to fill the vacant positions (but no more, and therefore no vote) then there has still been an election. Without voting it sure doesn’t feel like an election to me. It feels like I have no choice. No voice unless I nominate. And as already stated, I’m not in a position to nominate.

There hasn’t been a “voting election” for the ALIA Board for the last two years. And there hasn’t been a “voting election” for the ALIA President-elect for even longer. Why is this? Why, when I can think of half a dozen passionate, committed, incredibly capable professionals (including para-professionals, as they are eligible) who could fulfil this important function? And that’s just off the top of my head. Give me a full list of my tweeps and people I have met at conferences and industry events and I will find more.

I know some of the answers. I know that a lot of people are already overcommitted. I know that a lot of people don’t think they’re old enough, senior enough or serious enough to nominate. (One of the responses to my tweets about this post was: ALIA Board – never even crossed my mind before??? Don’t other ppl (=older, more serious ppl) do that? 🙂 )

I know that within my PLN are arguably some of the most hard working, enthusiastic, professionally involved people in the profession in this country (and some of our neighbours too). I know not all of them have been in the profession for decades or are in a senior position, so they may not even consider themselves eligible for the job (you could be!). I know that many already struggle with work-life balance. I know that many don’t have jobs that would easily accommodate being on a corporate board for two years. Or families that would easily accommodate it. Or lives that would easily accommodate it.

I also know that ALIA isn’t perfect. I recently received a silver pin for five terms of involvement with the association. To qualify for a silver pin, you must volunteer for five years, but they don’t have to be consecutive. Mine were. So believe me, after five straight years of being an active volunteer, I know it’s not a perfect organisation (but find me a perfect organisation and I’ll find you a unicorn). I think there’s a danger that the more active you are, the more you get to know, and the more you find fault. However one of the great benefits of an association like ALIA, is that its members can shape it. And the biggest danger is that if we don’t have enough nominees to constitute a voting election, we don’t get a voice in who shapes it.

So here is my challenge. You may not be 100% ready for the Board. You may not be in 100% agreement with the broad church that is ALIA. But you can make a 100% informed decision. Read the documents. Talk to your colleagues, boss, and family. And, when you’re ready, nominate for the ALIA Board of Directors.

You can count on my vote.


About Naomi Doessel

I'm a librarian by profession and a reader at heart. I occasionally blog about the profession, my relationship with food, and I annually fundraise for ovarian cancer research and prevention during Frocktober.
This entry was posted in attitudes, librarians, PLN, professional development. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A challenge to my PLN

  1. I agree with @katecbyrne ” Hear, Hear! A very important issue and a great call to arms”

    Fab post – maybe when I’m finished with NGAC……

  2. thewhaanga says:

    great post Naomi! I might have to amp up promotion of LIANZA activities on my website…

    You rock 🙂


  3. notamember says:

    You said it. The Board has the final say. Sometimes they can consult their members – and their advisory. But they don’t have to act on any recommendations.

    And sometimes they can just steamroll through their own plans, and members start wondering why they even bother paying their memberships. I know I did.

    So, good luck with your nomination, Naomi. If you get in, then I may even consider joining ALIA again.

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