Friday, October 24, 2008

Two BIG Upcoming Events

Depending on your personal perspective, there are two big events coming up next week. The presidential (and other offices!) election is on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Also, starting on Tuesday, November 4, and running through Friday, November 7, there is the Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conferenceat the Marriott West in Middleton.

Both of these events are important in their own ways and, at first blush, may seem completely unrelated. But consider that ALA's latest survey of 2007 grads referred to in Library Journal's "Library Salaries and Jobs: Overview", only 29% of the respondents listed their new jobs as being in the private sector. That means that over 70% of the positions are in the public sector. The people making the public sector budget proposals and decisions that effect everything from building upkeep to employee payroll and benefits are often governmental bodies of elected officials (with the help of dedicated civil service administrators). So, having a voice in who is elected can effect Library and Information Studies professionals in a very direct way. Of course there are so many other ways that elected officials and politics effect our profession, such as the role politics can play in legal issues surrounding censorship and copyright.

Since politics, and by extension government, play such a big part in our professional world, be sure your voice is heard this election! If you need information on where to vote in the Madison area, look no further than the city of Madison's Office of the City Clerk's website. This site has information on how to vote early via absentee ballots that can be mailed to you now and up until Oct. 30. Right now, (today if you'd like!), you can vote in person via absentee ballot at the City County building located just off the square near the State Capitol. By voting early you can avoid the possible long lines or other problems that may impede your voting on election day. All absentee ballots are counted just like regular votes. If you still need to register to vote, you can do it in person at the City County Building or register at your City of Madison polling place on November 4. If you are not voting in Madison and need advice on voting absentee in another municipality, please visit the "Can I Vote?" website for assistance.

Also, since politics and government play such an important role in our profession, professional associations like WLA are integral to our well being. Not only does WLA organize great events like their Annual Conference, which provides us with numerous development opportunities we might not have otherwise, they are also an organization that spends countless (and sometimes thankless) hours giving librarians a voice in the political arena through their lobbying and public relations work. If you want to learn more about WLA and their work in the political arena, check out their website, but also consider attending the state conference. At the conference you can meet librarians in the field who will be chocked full of advice on how be active politically in the profession, as well as how to go about landing a job once you graduate. WLA offers special rates for students to attend the whole conference or just one day. It is not too late to sign up to go, so what are you waiting for?

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