My Answers to the CLA Mini-Survey

As part of their preparations for the AGM, CLA has been distributing a two-question mini-survey to members soliciting feedback about how CLA is perceived and how it can better accomplish its mandate. 

Here are my answers:

1. Why does CLA matter?
To me, CLA matters because it is (and/or should be) the only national voice for all of Canadian librarians.  No matter how many delegates it gets to its own conference or how many members it may have, OLA will never be able to fill this role.  No matter how nice its magazine is or how cheap its membership is comparatively, ALA will never be able to fill this role.  No matter how they structure themselves or how they may account for the giant that is Ontario, my provincial association (or a coalition of provincial associations) will never carry the same weight.  As someone pointed out to me yesterday, “we focus too much on the 'L', we should focus more on the 'C'”.

2. CLA is the national advocate for Canada's libraries.  How can we better accomplish this?
Honestly, I think CLA missed a question that should've been inserted between the first and second one on their survey:  “Given our current financial crisis, how should we fix it?”  I think we need to focus on fixing our financial problems before turning to how the association can work better on its broader mandate. 

I've posted some of my own half-formed ideas and I know that the membership (especially the membership who are engaged enough to come to and actively participate in the annual conference and therefore will receive this survey) would have tons of other ideas. 

But as for the question itself, I think CLA does a pretty good job as a national advocate for the most part.  But again, echoing what I've heard others say, CLA members spend a lot of time and money on divisions and don't target specific issues – for example, right now Copyright is the hot topic and we should be really quick and vocal in our response – so I suspect the new structure will somehow de-emphasize the divisions and focus more on specific topics/areas. 

What will come of it?  It remains to be seen.  But I know today's AGM is going to be *very* interesting. 

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  1. From Head Tale - “The Bullshit State of Politics in Canadian Libraryland” on 29 Nov 2012 at 9:49 pm

    […] on record that I really like CLA and the role it can and should play as the national voice for librarians.  I really like CLA…in theory.  In fact, I have defended CLA against colleague who say that […]

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