[Libs-Or] OLA's withdrawal from PNLA

Samantha Schmehl Hines samhines at gmail.com
Mon Nov 16 18:24:39 PST 2009

To the Oregon Library Association and the Members of OLA,

We are deeply saddened by OLA's recent decision to withdraw from PNLA.
The primary reason cited was the cost of having a representative
attend PNLA Board meetings during a temporary economic downturn. But a
permanent step was taken, and our great sadness is that we were not
involved in the dialogue nor given an opportunity to discuss the
perceived lack of PNLA's value.

The relationship between OLA and PNLA has historically been vital to
both organizations. According to OLA's official history A Journey
Through Time, "OLA arose from a meeting held at the annual conference
of PNLA." It should also be noted that it was three librarians from
Portland who drafted and signed PNLA's Articles of Incorporation in
1955. Before and since that time, Oregon has been a valued partner of
PNLA, and we will miss Oregon's voice at our Board meetings. As we
begin our second century of cooperation and promoting libraries in the
Northwest region, the PNLA Board still believes that PNLA can make a
unique contribution to the Northwest library environment.

The fourth PNLA Leadership Institute takes place in October 2010.
Since the first Leadership Institute in 2004, 100 Leads participants
have gone back to their libraries, library systems, and library
associations equipped with leadership and change management training
to help navigate their libraries through rapidly changing
environments. As noted in the OLA decision to leave PNLA, "The LEADS
Institute has a good reputation based on feedback from its
participants." Six of these individuals have given directly back to
the PNLA Board, and several others have worked on PNLA conference
committees over the past five years. Most importantly, LEADS
participants have also given back at the local level, which was the
original need and inspiration for the PNLA Leadership Institute.

The Young Readers Choice Awards - the oldest children's choice award
in North America - maintains a strong following throughout the region.
Participation in Oregon was second only to Alberta, and the Oregon
Association of School Libraries has approached PNLA to investigate
partnering with us in order to maintain its participation in YRCA. In
response to concerns raised from our Provincial partners, YRCA has
worked to include greater Canadian content in order to keep Harry
Hartman's vision for YRCA meaningful for children throughout the

Based on the strength of PNLA's past four conferences (including the
very successful 2006 conference in Eugene), PNLA is in a healthier
financial position than it has been in the past, and we invested
$3,500 back into our State and Provincial conferences in 2009. The
upcoming joint WLA/PNLA conference in Victoria looks to be another
wonderful professional development opportunity.  The session selection
process for the 2010 conference was incredibly competitive, with close
to 100 program proposals from around the region. Out of these
submissions, 36 of the best proposals have been selected on such
relevant themes as management, children's services, and a survey of
collaborative virtual reference models throughout the NW. The sessions
include presenters from Multnomah County Library, Tigard, and the
Oregon State Library - proof that there is, in Oregon, a desire to
contribute to and attend PNLA's annual conference.

Again, we are deeply saddened by OLA's recent decision to sever its
relationship with PNLA. A Journey Through Time foreshadows that "state
associations would eventually render PNLA obsolete" but notes that
this has not happened because "the need to share resources remains a
constant." PNLA will continue to promote libraries and the profession
of librarianship throughout the Northwest in the months and years
ahead, and we remain optimistic that the Oregon Library Association
may one day revisit its recent decision.

Sincerely yours,

The PNLA Board.

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