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THE BIBLIO FILE is a podcast about "the book," and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by Nigel Beale it features wide ranging, long-form conversations with best practitioners inside the book trade and out - from writer to reader. Why listen? The hope is that it will help you to read, write, publish, edit, design, and collect better, and improve how you communicate serious, big, necessary, new, good ideas and stories...

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Feb 19, 2009

I was in Chicago and met with Keith Michael Fiels, Executive Director of the American Library Association. According to The ALA Constitution the purpose of ALA is “…to promote library service and librarianship.” Stated mission is “To provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.”

In 1998 the ALA Council voted commitment to five Key Action Areas as guiding principles for directing the Association’s energies and resources: Diversity, Equity of Access, Education and Continuous Learning, Intellectual Freedom, and 21st Century Literacy. Subsequent strategic plans added to these: Advocacy for Libraries and the Profession, and Organizational Excellence. 

Keith and I talk here about these principles, about the benefits of belonging to the ALA, simple actions librarians can take to improve their libraries, the future of the book, the future of libraries, video games, copyright, digitization, the recent Google settlement, library fines, libraries as social centers, amalgamation of libraries and archives, access to databases and dead links, the importance of libraries as purchasers of non best-selling books, and the bounce-back of literary reading.

Copyright © 2008 by Nigel Beale.