Editor’s Note: In order to learn more about the candidates for President of the American Library Association, HLS asked the candidates a few questions about topics relevant to students and early career librarians. Read on to hear what they have to say!
Christine Lind Hage has been a full-time public librarian for 45 years and has been responsible for five major library construction projects. Recognized as Michigan’s Librarian of the Year in 1997 she has published and presented widely on various public library subjects both nationally and internationally.
Christine has been a frequent contributor to PUBLIB and is the author of THE PUBLIC LIBRARY START-UP GUIDE published in 2004 by ALA. Within ALA Christine is a past president of the Public Library Association and is the past president of United for Libraries. She also served as an ALA Councilor for 12 years, and Chair of the Office of Information Technology’s America’s Libraries for the 21st Century Committee.
She knew she would be a librarian since she was 8 years old and has never worked anywhere but a library. She is currently the director of the Rochester Hills (MI) Public Library.
1. In your opinion, what is the greatest challenge that LIS students face? How would you encourage/implement solutions to this problem as president of ALA?
I understand that students are interested in getting a job. I urge students to take advantage of internships in different kinds of libraries, to volunteer or to get part-time jobs in libraries. The exposure and experience will help clearly identify the type of library work you will make you the happiest.
These experiences will also allow you to make yourself known to potential employers. Networking is essential to get yourself known. Maintain contact with your fellow students and build your own network. Get involved in local state and national library associations. Network in any way you can.
One of the first jobs the President-Elect of ALA needs to tackle is the committee appointment process. We offer intern opportunities on all ALA committees. These positions are for ALA members who have never served on and ALA committee so this is a perfect way for people new to the profession to get involved. If you go to the ALA website you can learn about volunteer opportunities. I promise to appoint new people to each committee.
There is even an opportunity for you to get involved on the international level next year when IFLA will be in Columbus, OH. IFLA only comes to the US about every 10 years. You should consider volunteering because volunteers are admitted to the conference free! The IFLA Volunteer Website is at go.osu.edu/iflavolunteer.
2. According to the ALA Searchable Database of Accredited Library and Information Science programs, there are 59 ALA accredited programs in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. What, in your opinion, is the value of ALA accreditation? What changes, if any, do you think should be made to the accreditation process? How will you work with ALISE (The Association For Library and Information Science Education) to revise the accreditation process?
Although I’ve taught the graduate level public library class at Wayne State University and of course have my MLS degree, I can’t say I have great insight to the accreditation process. I know that the ALA Accreditation Committee conducts a thorough investigation and study of library schools and that the schools seriously prepare for the accreditation visit. I am comfortable relying on the Accreditation Committee’s recommendation.
3. What’s your take on the shift at some programs away from the word ‘library’ as an identifier? What does the change from ‘library’ to ‘information science’ signify?
My alma mater, the University of Michigan, was a library school, but has since changed its name to the School of Information. Although I love the word “library” the change in focus doesn’t bother me. Today we need library workers with a variety of different skills. Libraries need people who can evaluate, organize and deliver information to our patrons in a variety of formats. I have been impressed with the varied skill sets that recent graduates bring to their first job.
4. Other than joining ALA and getting involved, what advice do you have for new professionals entering the field of library and information science?
Network, network, network. This is an exciting profession and we have people interested in every facet of the profession. Talk to librarians and find out what they enjoy about their work and career. Don’t limit yourself to one library. Be open to new experiences. This is a constantly evolving profession with so many facets that no one need ever be bored.
5. Just for fun: what is the last book you read?
Catherine Anderson’s, A New Leaf, c. 2016
Thank you so much for talking with us Christine!
Readers, don’t forget to vote! Polls are open from March 15-April 22 and all ALA members are eligible to vote.