Thursday, January 12, 2012

WLA President's Message: Ron McCabe on Moving Libraries Forward!

I am honored to serve as the 2012 President of the Wisconsin Library Association.  Providing education for everyone is the greatest tradition of our democracy and nowhere has this tradition grown stronger than right here in Wisconsin.  Our libraries play a vital role in education and our community, the Wisconsin Library Association, has been moving libraries forward for 120 years. 
Through years that included two world wars and a Great Depression, thousands of passionate and committed librarians, trustees, and citizen activists made sure that Wisconsin’s libraries would continue to serve the many people who count on them.  Today millions of people count on us to move these great institutions through the next era of intense political, economic, and technological change.  This is our moment to make a contribution.
The WLA Strategic Plan, which is available on the WLA website, gives us a starting point for the work we need to do in 2012.  Much has changed, however, since the plan was drafted.   Political and economic support for libraries has been seriously eroded in the past year.  Technological change is also profoundly influencing how our libraries serve the public.  These changes have resulted in a challenging new environment for WLA. 
This year we need to rethink everything we are doing in our libraries as well as in WLA.  We need to do everything better at a reduced cost.  We need to find ways to increase revenues.  Planning and analysis will need to take place at all levels—individual libraries of all types; library systems; the Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning; and WLA.  Some of these efforts will be formal; most will involve informally sharing ideas.
We need everyone’s help to ensure the success of our libraries and WLA.  Each of us has something to offer that is important to the future of libraries in our great state.  It is time to increase membership and participation in WLA because acting alone at the local level will not secure a future for our institutions and the library services our people need.  We will stand together or fall apart under the economic and political pressure we now face.  Now is the time to add your voice, your ideas, and your passion to the great cause of educating Wisconsin’s people through library services.  At this moment of reexamination, your input and support is more important than ever.
Let’s ask the big questions, share ideas, and have a great year!

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