Should the next AALL executive director be a law librarian or an association professional?

Recently AALL members learned that our association’s executive director is resigning after 11 years at the helm. Kate Hagan is leaving at the end of this fiscal year in September. A search committee chaired by Gail Warren, a former AALL treasurer, who also served as a member of the search committee that selected Kate Hagan for the job in 2007, has been formed. Will the Executive Board once again hire an association professional? Should it?

Whether the executive director should be a librarian or an association professional has been the subject of much debate within ALA recently. For nearly a century, every ALA executive director has been a credentialed librarian. In November, this changed when the ALA Council replaced the requirement by stating that a library degree is strongly preferred but not a required educational qualification for the executive director position. Some ALA members are opposed to the change and are trying to overturn the Council action by voting on a resolution to reverse the Council’s decision right now. Results will be announced on Wednesday, April 11th.

Prior to the current voting, ALA released a number of documents that framed the debate. Here’s one, ALA’s Pros/Cons Table which outlines the issues, issues that the reader can place in an AALL context with one caveat, AALL is a much, much smaller library association than ALA.

What candidate pool will yield the best available executive director for AALL? — Joe

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