Notes From The Campaign Trail – Part One

Editor’s Note – So what’s it like to run for the top ACRL office – Vice-President/President-Elect – and what do you learn about ACRL, its members, and academic librarianship over the long months that make up the campaign process? Though he didn’t win the election, ex-ACRLog blog team member, Scott Walter’s learning experience as a candidate may offer some lessons for all of us. So we’ve invited Scott to share notes, thoughts, and ideas that developed while on the campaign trail in a series of posts that will appear over the next few weeks.

I won’t lie to you; it’s tough to lose an election by the length of one short straw. I was honored to be selected to stand for election to the office of Vice-President/President-Elect of ACRL, though, and humbled by the support of so many of my friends and colleagues.

The best part about life on the ACRL campaign trail is that it afforded me the opportunity to do two things that I rarely have time for: 1) to think deeply about the future of the Association and the profession; and 2) to engage ACRL members from across a wide range of committees, sections, and chapters in a discussion of their needs and concerns. Throughout the year, I had the opportunity to speak with ACRL members who I rarely see in my regular ACRL round. I also tapped experts from across the library world to help me to address the excellent questions posed to the candidates at the Midwinter Forum by Chapters Council. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I’d hate to waste it. Thanks to ACRLog, I don’t have to.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of the ideas that people brought to me during my time on the campaign trail. Some of these things reflect issues that I addressed in my campaign statements; others reflect issues I had not considered, but that I recognize as important to our members and our future. I’ll talk about ACRL’s role in leading the discussion about teaching in libraries, about the role of the librarian in the broader enterprise of higher education, about providing value for each member’s investment in the Association, about engaging the grass-roots of the Association, and about what I’ll call the “Three Rs”: recruitment, retention, and renewal.

I want to thank the ACRLog team for the opportunity to share these final thoughts from the campaign trail with their readers, and I encourage people to engage in a discussion of these ideas (and others). If any of them strike a chord with you, I hope you’ll volunteer to serve on an ACRL committee (and maybe even run for office). ACRL is what each one of us makes of it. I’d encourage everyone to take a turn at making it great.

And, I want to thank ACRL and Vice-President/President-Elect Erika Linke for a great ride! I look forward to continuing to work with you all in our common commitment to improving ACRL and providing leadership for the academic library profession of which I’m so happy to be a part.

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