Tuesday 12 March 2013

ALIA 2013 Candidate Profile: Susan Coker

To continue our coverage of the 2013 ALIA elections we have the responses from Susan Coker

How can ALIA appeal to students and people entering the industry/profession?

I believe that the best thing ALIA can do for students is to communicate well with them.  Students are already closely linked to the institution through which they are studying, even if externally, and this may be a way to reach students, and demonstrate the value of being a member of ALIA.  We need to find an answer to “What’s in it for me?”  ALIA provides discounts, and support for new graduates already, but perhaps that is not widely enough known.

What are some of the advocacy issues you would like to see ALIA address?

  • Libraries role in literacy issues, in all its forms.
  • The impact of the national broadband network
  • DMR, e-books
  • ALIA itself.  A vibrant, engaged membership is critical to ALIA’s success.  We have had the “every member an advocate” campaign.  I would like to see this re-worked to “every member an advocate for membership of ALIA”.  Our members on the ground are the best advertisement and advocate for joining ALIA.

How can ALIA reach out and engage with people working in special libraries or other areas where they feel better served by other associations?

I don’t believe that special interest groups are in competition with ALIA, but rather are complementary.  In our professional lives we find time for interests, both broad, and specific.  I am a member of the Local Government Managers Association, because that membership provides support for my role as a manager with Townsville City Council, which complements my membership of ALIA.  The different sectors in ALIA have more in common, than they do difference.  Membership of a special interest group provides specialist support and sharing of information.  Membership of ALIA provides the broad perspective.  This really came home to me at Information Online where I was a first-time attendee.  All sessions were broadly applicable to the whole library sector , from service design to open access issues, via use of social media.

Is anything you would like to let our readers know about you and what you would like to accomplish as a Board member?

There’s not much more to tell about me.  In my spare time, I volunteer for the Pyjama Foundation, http://www.thepyjamafoundation.com/
Spending time each week with a teenager in foster care.  What I hope to achieve from gaining a position on the ALIA Board is to give something back to the Association that I have been a member of, and to broaden my understanding of the other library sectors, outside public libraries.  In saying that, I would like to focus on what all sectors share, rather than what makes them different.  

For more information about the ALIA 2013 elections head over to the ALIA web site 

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