Lib Politics Rodeo August 5, 2015

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) is holding its 9th National Conference of African American Librarians (NCAAL9) this week in St. Louis, Missouri.

This post was written by EveryLibrary Board member, Brian Hart. 

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) is holding its 9th National Conference of African American Librarians (NCAAL9) this week in St. Louis, Missouri. This year the conference will take place less than a 30 minute drive from Ferguson Municipal Public Library, which was named 2015 Library Journal Library of the Year, in part, for the exemplary model it set by keeping its doors open amid growing frustrations and riots following the police shooting of Michael Brown, a young African American male.

NCAAL9’s theme is “Reimagining Communities, Technologies and Libraries”.  As librarians and library-supporters convene in St. Louis for this week’s conference, I’m reminded of Mahatma Gandhi’s famous call-to-action, “be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Regardless of how one may feel about Gandhi, himself, it is hard to dispute that there is some measure of truth in these words.  If we are to reimagine our communities and libraries, we might also want to reimagine ourselves and our roles in those communities and libraries.  If, for instance, we want inclusive communities and institutions, then perhaps we can be engaging and inclusive.

EveryLibrary’s Executive Director John Chrastka and Board Member Brian Hart, who also serves on BCALA’s Executive Board, are pleased to be presenting at this week’s conference on the topic, The Librarian as Candidate: Activating Advocates through Engagement.  It is our hope that the presentation will serve to encourage librarians to continue to reexamine their roles and become more mobile and vocal as advocates for themselves, their profession and their institutions in a way that might galvanize communities and community members to rally behind them as passionately as they might in support of various causes or political candidates for whom they believe in or trust enough to cast votes.  In short, if we want libraries that are actively supported by their communities, then perhaps there is more that we can do to activate.

Other presentations and sessions at NCAAL9 centered around advocacy and the future of libraries and librarians include, Ferguson One Year Later – Community Perspectives and Lessons Learned with Scott Bonner, Charles Wade, Rodney Francis, Tasha Burton and Terrell Carter; An Open Conversation with the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Planning for Orlando and Beyond with Trevor A. Dawes and Andrew Jackson; and Managing and Leading in Troubled Waters with Richard Ashby Jr., Cyndee Sturgis Landrum and Sheba Marcus Bey.


There will be a measure on the November 3 ballot to renew the and increase a special tax for the South Pasadena Public Library (CA). It is expected to generate $230,000 per year. Public hearings on the ballot language and impartial analysis are set for August 17-24. Also for November, the Troy City (MI) Council approved a ballot measure that could renew the 0.7-mill tax to fund the library. The five year renewal could raise $3.2 million in the first year.

Fort Bend County (TX) is preparing a $120 million bond measure that could be on the November ballot. Included is an expansion of the Missouri city library and a new or expanded Precinct 3 library that are $18.6 million together. Also in the mix are new fairgrounds, sheriff’s office and an expanded Justice center.

Nearly 2 years ago today, residents in Shrewsbury (MA) passed a $23.3 million bond measure to renovate the library. Renovation has finally begun and the newspaper has shared some photos. We were tracking on this one when we first started the Rodeo and we are proud to see that the work has begun.

Other Happenings

We apologize to you, our donors that your recurring monthly donations to us were unexpectedly cancelled yesterday. We’re in touch with and everyone should be hearing from our Executive Director John Chrastka tomorrow. Your support means everything to us and we are very sorry if this has caused you any trouble. Hopefully you can join us in high-fiving our colleagues while we work on getting back on our feet.

Our brilliant artist in residence, Steve Kemple, has kicked off his third installment. For the month of August we’re high-fiving our co-workers every time the space station passes overhead.

Ballots are being counted for at least 6 August 4 library elections this morning. We will have a detailed round up of the August elections for you next week. Until then, happy trails!