General information

Interview with Terri Grief, Candidate for ALA President 2018-2019

Photo of Terri Grief

Photo of Terri Grief

What changes do you foresee in ALA’s divisional structure over the next five to ten years?

I don’t think there will be any huge changes. I hope that we more willing to share with one another, have less of a feeling of silos and more a feeling of collaboration. I expect our Retired Members RT and New Member RT will grow and other roundtables will pop up as there is need.


What are three things ALA should be doing to improve virtual participation?

  1. Ask the experts–you folks in LITA probably have the best ideas of anyone.
  2. Promote low cost and easy to use ideas across the divisions.
  3. Advertise the virtual opportunities virtually–use social media instead of relying on publications with offerings.


As ALA shifts from in person collaboration (Midwinter, ahem) to other forms of participation and thus revenue, how do we make up for the lost revenue?

I don’t feel like Midwinter is going to go away. At least I hope not. The ALA Annual Conference Remodel report sounds like there are going to be great changes that will make the Midwinter conference more appealing, more affordable and more revenue generating. I love face to face interactions and I really hope that it never goes away.


How will you encourage library students to get involved/take leadership roles in ALA?

I want to see those students become part of committees, roundtables and divisions as student members but as full participating members. I guess from being in a high school, I see students as powerful, thoughtful, and amazingly perceptive and these are high school students! I intend to appoint students to committees.


Is ALA a place for MLS-degreed professionals who do not work in libraries? Should it be? Why or why not?

Of course it is a place for those people. An person with an MLS degree is most likely interested in the same things as we are-access to information, technology, intellectual freedom, etc. I know that they could find a niche in our association.


With librarians of all types using technology as part of their everyday work, what specific leadership and expertise do you see LITA bringing to ALA?

I was using LITA as an example of how we can work together in my campaign speech but had to shorten it by about 30 seconds so I took that sentence out. What I said is this, “I plan to use my presidential funds to help you join with other units and divisions across the association to work on issues, develop programs and strengthen internal relationships. For example, if your group is dealing with issues around technology, who better to assist than LITA?” This association has to come together to survive and we have to be willing to ask for help from each other and be willing to give the help when someone asks. If we have open mind, all kinds of ideas bubble up. I’d love to see LITA and AASL do more programming on coding, for example.


How can ALA help LITA help everyone[/raise the bar/train the masses/etc]?

One of the things we have to do is to take the ALA strategic areas to heart. ALA has to share those strategic areas in a way that includes more than council if we really believe that those (4) areas are what our decisions should be based on. Where does LITA fit in with the four areas of Advocacy, Information Policy, Educational and Professional Development and (more than likely approved at this Midwinter) Diversity? I believe that LITA can be at the table in every one of those areas. We might naturally see that the membership especially needs you for Educational and Professional Development since you are the ones on the cutting edge of technology and could keep the rest of us in the loop. I remember seeing the first pair of Google glasses on Jenny Levine! But what about Information Policy? ALA needs to remember to include LITA when these issues come up. I know that your group has traditionally not written policy but I am pretty sure you have ideas when OITP presents something. I’d like to see you there before the policy is written. We all have to accept that our diversity will not change unless we all make a concerted effort to recruit. I know that many of your members are in the field of academia and what better place to find candidates that might be interested in your field? We all have to be advocates and that includes LITA, ASCLA, LAMA, and RUSA among others instead of just the traditional thinking of PLA, ACRL and the youth divisions. My platform is about strengthening relationships within ALA. The territorial feeling that we can’t share our expertise because it isn’t our territory has to stop if we want to become the strong and powerful association we need to survive. If I am elected, I want to emulate Courtney Young in her treatment of her co-divisional presidents and take it one step further. I’d like the division president-elects start as soon as I am elected to brainstorm ideas to work together. I will use my presidential funds to support these and watch our relationships get stronger across the association and then outside the association.