Leaving ALA

It seems a number of people are making a point of leaving the ALA (via and including Dorothea Salo). I have compiled a summary of the reasons why below. Apologies for any unintentional misrepresentation:

  • Michael Gorman and the anti-technology, anti-progress statements he has been making publicly in the past several months. (See).
  • The perceived racism of Mr Gorman’s remark: That does not mean that everything can be dumbed down to some kind of hip-hop or bells-and-whistles kind of stuff. As Dorothea Salo says, It is simply not acceptable for an ALA spokesperson to use a musical genre associated with African-Americans as a term of opprobrium.
  • The failure of the ALA to adequately and publicly deal with the above
  • It costs too much.
  • It does little to ensure proper pay for professional work: (I thought my $15K union card [er, MLS] was enough to at least get a foot in, but no – classic catch 22.
  • ALA are focussing on recruiting more librarians to the profession when there is arguably no need.
  • Few of my coworkers are involved in the ALA.
  • The organisation is so bureaucratic, that trying to change it would be like facing a giant, cranky squid armed only with a small, pointy stick
  • It is hard to finance participation, e.g. going to conferences

A number of these also explain why I don’t join CILIP. Obviously Michael Gorman’s impressions of Prince Philip are not relevant here, but the price, lack of value, lack of advocacy of pay (especially with regard to the professional qualification), the unrepresentativeness of CILIP amongst my colleages (of 5 cataloguers in our department, one of whom has just left, only one is a member, although she makes up for all of us with her enthusiasm and she is finding it very difficult to raise funds to enable her to go to the forthcoming IFLA conference), and the thing about the squid, certainly put me off.