Voting has officially begun for the new Canadian Library Association Executive Council! There has been a lot of discussion in the past year regarding the future of the CLA and now is the time to let your voice be heard by casting a vote for the new Executive Council
This spring, when I attended the CLA conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the mood was one of optimism and change. However, my friends and I couldn’t help but notice the generational divide among the attendees and contemplate its effect on the overall organizational structure of the CLA. We observed that most of the attendees were either baby-boomers or relatively young librarians (from their mid-twenties to early thirties). We couldn’t help but wonder “Where are all the librarians in-between?” The leadership positions at the CLA were almost all occupied by veteran librarians (the baby-boomer bunch) and although it makes sense that us optimistic young librarians can make valuable contributions to the CLA, it’s possible that those librarians in-between have become jaded over time because of the quasi “old-boys’ club” atmosphere that seemed prevalent at times at the conference. My friends and I discussed our concern that over time we might also lose interest in our national association if we felt disconnected to those representing us on the Executive Council. Although Dr. Ken Haycock became president of the CLA when he was only 29, that was over thirty years ago in 1978 and I certainly cannot see the CLA voting for anyone in their twenties in the current climate.
It is no secret that with experience comes wisdom but in the workplace librarians are being called upon earlier and earlier in their careers to take on leadership positions. So then why not take on leadership positions within the Canadian Library Association? Under the current conditions of libraries being threatened left and right, being involved in our national association allows librarians to stand strong together, regardless of age, and advocate for libraries. It is both up to the veteran librarians to facilitate the transfer of leadership within the CLA and for the younger and in-between librarians to speak up.
There are lots of opportunities to become involved in the CLA; it’s simply a matter of getting your act together and applying when the occasion presents itself. In the past week, the CLA has sent out calls for proposals and posters for the next conference and a call for volunteers for committees. If you are feeling motivated, I encourage you to check out these opportunities. Even if it might be too late for you to become CLA president at 29 like Dr. Ken Haycock, everyone has to start somewhere and these are great ways to become involved and gain experience within the CLA. If you are still somewhat skeptical about getting involved in a professional association the very least you can do is go and vote! The candidates for all of the positions look like they would bring a creative and fresh perspective to the various Executive positions. So read their descriptions and get involved in the CLA by voting for a Executive Council that represents you!
One of my projects this summer at my library job with the federal government is to create information capsules to promote the library’s e-resources. For this project, I am working in collaboration with a colleague who is quite a bit older than myself (all right, she’s my mom’s age!). Since our objective is to create material that will catch the user’s attention when it is sent by email, my first draft included catchy titles, bright colours, and a “virtual librarian”. I was told by my colleague that while my approach was essentially great for younger users, I needed to appeal also to the tastes of people in her generation who prefer calm colours and a more professional look. After which she said we were “not running a daycare”. Am I completely in left field to think that bright colours and lots of visuals are eye-catching and appealing no matter what generation you belong to? I honestly believe that the e-resources offered by our library are very cool and I want the federal government workers to as well. However, I’m having a hard time imagining users of any generation, BabyBoomers included, being enticed to use the library’s e-resources if we send out capsules using a shade of green most commonly found on hospital walls.
Can some differences of opinion be blamed on the generational gap? Where do we draw the line?